Anger is an emotion that I am very familiar with. Anger is defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” It is usually an emotion used as a defense mechanism to prevent anymore harm or wrongful action towards you. This can be whether or not there is an actual threat to you, as the emotion serves as a preventative measure. It can be a very powerful emotion, capable of changing your whole mindset temporarily. It can provoke the “fight, flight, or freeze” response depending on the situation. It can be an overwhelming emotion as well, as it can rob you of logical thought and interpretation. Anger is a normal, almost everyday emotion, but compounded with other issues/concerns, it become quite the detriment to your life. For a time, Anger was a driving force behind a lot of the things I regret in my own life.
My anger was crazy. I did all the usual things one does when anger gets out of control. Throwing objects, punching walls, screaming at the top of my lungs, you name it. Anger, at least at the climax, felt good to me in the moment. I was able to get out all the pent up energy through my very less than optimal means. Unfortunately, my very negative and toxic methods of releasing my anger got me labeled as crazy, psycho, lunatic, etc and that doesn’t feel good for anyone. I would say and do things I did not mean to do in the heat of the moment. I was fully conscious, but my understanding of the situation could not be swayed so I went off. Afterwards, I would feel extremely remorseful and physically weak. At what cost did I get out my anger? I always asked myself, “Why am I like this?” I was too proud to go to therapy or talk about my issues, so they built up and then I would explode. The anger would get worse, and this may sound interesting, but it would also get more and more complex. It was like my mind would find new ways to misinterpret situations, thus trapping me in angry cycles. It took me some time (and therapy) to figure out the root of my anger, and my right to have the emotion. I just did not have the right to display my anger the way I did.
I say that anger is a misunderstood emotion. Some see anger as meaningless, as it can imply a sense of emotional discord and volatility. Nevertheless, it is a very basic emotion that EVERYONE feels at one point or another. It usually manifests as a cover up for other emotions the person is feeling. Thus, I feel like it needs to be expressed. It needs to be allowed to manifest in order for you to return to a sense of clarity that you can live with. I feel anger gets a bad name due to the more “popular” expressions of it that we see (the punching walls, throwing objects, physical assault, etc) and thus it is a shunned emotion. Therein lies the problem, we need to learn more positive methods of anger expression. The anger will exist and trying to will it away just breeds even more anger down the line. You do feel a sense of relief when it is expressed and everyone can benefit from the clarity of a positive show of it.
As I have said before, anger needs to be expressed. It can usually breed from a misunderstanding or misconstrued slight, so direct communication can stop it in it’s tracks. I feel if people are more direct with how they feel (without being directly disrespectful), then the more physical aspects of anger can be prevented. People need to be able to communicate differing opinions and values without resorting to emotional outrage and out of control behavior. Anger also breeds from mental health imbalance as well. Depression, anxiety, sadness, all of these emotions can use anger as a scapegoat for protection. Therapy, meditation, even venting to a trusted confidant can help relieve some of the “over emotion” that might be building up inside of us. Someone somewhere will want to listen to you and that can help to pre-empt a negative angry expression. Through therapy specifically, you can learn the ever powerful technique of mindfulness that keeps you grounded even through angry expression so that your feelings can be broadcasted without any negative annotation. Exercise can also really help use up energy that might have went towards a negative angry expression. You can channel all of that energy to becoming a better you, mentally and physically!
Anger is not the enemy. It is not a solely negative emotion and I feel it is very necessary for us to be able to express it when we feel it. We all have our different triggers in terms of what we perceive as insulting or an attack on us. We have a right to establish boundaries and express ourselves to assert our respect. We just absolutely need to be mindful of our methods of expression. It can be tempting to “go off” when we feel provoked, but that leads to labeling and ostracization. Thus with learning more refined methods of expression, whether through self reflection, therapy, exercise, etc, we can all get our points across and properly set boundaries respectfully and purposefully.