Anger is a
chain of simultaneous body and mind reactions. It happens quickly
as one of the responses to threat or perceived threat. It takes
one thirtieth of a second from threat to reaction for the chain
of mind and body reactions to take place!
of anger can serve many different functions. Some people with
low self esteem automatically substitute anger during threatening
experiences due to their fears of being seen as vulnerable.
They have learned that acting tough and macho makes them feel
important. Often negative emotions serve to manipulate, control
or intimidate others. Sometimes you even substitute an inappropriate
emotion for another response out of fear. Getting angry when
frightened or crying when frustrated are examples of misguided
Event----> How The Event Is Interpreted
greatly in what makes them angry. Perceptions of whether an event
is threatening is based on the your personal history and prior
negative emotional associations built around the event or one
with a similar meaning. How the event is interpreted depends on
old triggers, buttons being pushed, and red flag words that have
been associated with being hurt or rejected in the past.
who flare up at the slightest incidents have been hurt deeply
and hold on to beliefs of injustice. They make rigid judgments
around situations of how things should be which contribute to
their angry thoughts. They hold rigid patterns of thinking with
"shoulds," "ought tos" and "musts" for others. If things don't
go their way, they justify getting angry.
and the resulting anger can happen to the individual in one
or more of five areas:
to the body
to personal property
to the self esteem such as name calling or being criticized.
to the values and beliefs (where the sense of what is fair
and right has been violated).
to not getting what you wanted.
Event---> How the Event Is Interpreted ---> Body
When the meaning
of the event is interpreted to be negative, your body can go into
an instantaneous hormonal and neuromuscular reaction. This primitive
caveman response of expecting a fight or flight prepares the body
to move fast.
body responses to threat include:
of breath (Often the first reaction to threat is to hold the
of skin and changes of temperature
and anxiety in the hands, shoulders, stomach
of the muscles
have automatic thoughts of a negative nature that increase the
perception of harm. Self talk statements are made which heat up
the situation. The way that the stressful situation is interpreted
comes from past with being hurt. You may dwell on the concept
of fairness and exaggerate the injustice of the current situation.
You can self anger yourself by holding self-righteous beliefs
and a desire for vengeance. Angry people often see threat in situations
that are ambiguous.
common kind of self-angering thoughts that increase conflict
calling which is giving the person a negative label. "You
dummy." "You are stupid."
judgments and "should" statements that lead to a sense of
injustice. "You should not act that way."
revenge and getting even statements. "I'd like to wring his
neck. I want to kill him."
that the other person deliberately wanted to harm you. "She
did it on purpose."
mountains out of mole hills--catastrophizing and exaggerating
the importance of small events.
rigid judgments that wimps and weaklings need to be punished.
of "I have the right to hurt others because I am better than
hold similar negative thoughts based on their beliefs about
not fair. He's mean.
dare he do that to me?
- He did
that on purpose to hurt me.
doesn't care about me.
- He can't
get away with that.
get him back. He deserves to be punished.