As an expert in the relationship dynamics between people for 20 years, I will share with you that anger issues, specifically, the mismanagement of anger is the major cause of conflict in our personal and professional relationships. If you are a person who others say you have anger issues, then likely you do. For the lack of management of one’s anger is a relationship problem because those of whom you are interacting with do suffer – because of your impulsive aggressive reaction style. It is that very lack of having a healthy reactive response and thus the lack of having a healthy interaction with others that is the relationship issue. The mismanagement of anger is an individual problem that requires change, it is not the “fault” of the other. Albeit an individual problem, it becomes a relational problem because the individual when angry reacts to another person, thus the other person then reacts to the person with anger issues who then further reacts . . . . and so on and so on in a pattern of interaction. Even a non reaction from person A to person B (the person with anger), is an interaction. In essence, it is your behavior, your mismanagement of anger that creates an unhealthy relationship dynamic.
This blog article addresses the following:
- In what contexts/environments does anger rear its ugly head?
- Who is affected by anger?
- Take ownership of your behavior even when another triggers you.
- Reality vs. living in a fantasy world.
- Is anger unhealthy?
In what contexts/environments does anger rear its ugly head?
- Work, home, restaurant, supermarket, book store, department store – these are just but a few of the many examples of environments of which one has the choice to display their angry reaction onto others. Thereby experiencing an unhealthy relationship dynamic between people.
- Spouse, children, parents, siblings, boss, colleagues, customers, clients – these are just a few examples of people with which one has the choice to not control their angry reaction interaction experiencing an unhealthy relationship dynamic, or to manage their angry feelings and choose not to display them. The control of one’s anger offers the opportunity to have a positive interaction and experience between one’s self and the person you are interacting with thus a healthy reaction interaction relationship dynamic.
Take Ownership Even When Another Triggers You
Often people who have an angry reactive response toward others report that the other person’s behavior triggered them to react the way in which they did. Although another’s words may upset you, frustrate you, sadden you, embarrass you – this is not an excuse for your angry outbursts. Yet, those with angry responsive reactions (those with anger issues) typically do indeed use it as an excuse. They say they are not using it as an excuse, and rather just reporting the facts. I will tell you this, if you are not taking ownership of your own response to others, your reaction to others, your interaction with others, then YOU are the one with the problem. It is imperative that we each take ownership of our own behavior, of how we treat others, regardless of how another behaves. An angry reaction is a choice – each and every time in each and every interaction, with each and every relationship, in each and every context and environment.
Reality Vs. Fantasy World
It is delusional to think that others are always going to be nice. It is absurd to think that others are always going to be helpful. It is ludicrous to think that others are always going to be competent. It is living in a fantasy world to think that others are always going to treat you fairly and be respectful. The list goes on . . . If you live in a world in your mind that you think others are going to consistently interact with you in such a way that is to your liking, then you are living in a world that is not reality and rather fantasy. We all encounter people who frustrate us, and “push our buttons”. We all experience events, situations, and people that trigger us to feel angry. The difference between the person with anger issues vs. the person who does not is how those angry feelings are managed. In essence, it is the mismanagement of rage, it is the mismanagement of anger that is the major cause of conflict in our personal and professional relationships. Rather than living in a fantasy world of expectations that others will live according to your vision of right vs. wrong and how they should act, know the reality is: people will disappoint.
Is your level of tolerance of other’s disappointing behavior low, which triggers an angry response from you? Is your frustration level of tolerance low? For an example, if your frustration level is so low to where a customer of yours you find you cannot be kind, patient and empathetic toward their needs and rather you react with anger- then you have an anger mismanagement problem.
Is Anger Unhealthy?
The feeling of anger in and of itself is a natural human emotion, and not unhealthy. Anger is simply natures way of helping us by empowering us to ward off what we perceive to be a threat to our well being, or what we perceive to be an attack. The problem is, those who have a low tolerance for frustration, annoyance, and/or inconvenience when they are subjected to aggravation, they feel they should not have to be subjected to this. Is anyone so entitled as to go through life without frustration? The answer is no. It is these same people with the problem of anger mismanagement who do not have the mindful awareness and coping methods of which to deal with their own inner emotional frustration. Thus they react in an unhealthy way- with an angry reactive interactive response. Then, a dance (an ugly painful dance) occurs which is the relational dynamic between people where anger is at the presenting face of it all. In actuality anger is other emotions, thoughts, and feelings turned outward. Examples include;
- Anger is depression/sadness turned outward.
- Anger is frustration turned outward.
- Anger is disappointment turned outward.
- Anger is emotional hurt turned outward.
I hope this blog helped shed some light on my point which is; anger issues although an individual personal problem that needs individual management of, is often an interaction with another, and thus is a relationship problem. It is the mismanagement of anger that affects ones individual mental health and wellness and all the lives of those of whom we touch system wide.