It is important to understand that anger is neither a positive nor a negative emotion. Anger is simply a response that tells us something is wrong with a situation – e.g., an injustice has been done, someone has caused harm to us, or invaded our boundaries. Thus, anger tends to push us towards actions that we feel will right the wrongs perpetrated against us.
However, how we act in the face of such anger can be a problem.
When does anger become a problem?
When you perceive a wrong against yourself, it is normal to feel anger. However, when you feel angry about every little wrong that has been done to you, or if you react violently in anger, you may have an anger management problem.
Such anger management problems will end up in crises, where relationships or even careers are destroyed. In order to prevent that from happening, you need to first recognise the signs that you have anger management issues.
Warning Signs of Anger Management Problems
These patterns tend to arise in people with anger management problems:
- Turning extremely aggressive when drunk
- Rigidity in negotiations and becoming angry when things don’t go their way
- Finding it difficult to express emotions in a calm and healthy manner
- Cutting communications with people they are unhappy with
- Isolating thoughts and self-harming behaviour
- Aggressive behaviour, such as violence and raising of voice
- Substance abuse or addiction to compulsive behaviour
- Alternating between bad and good behaviour which affects relationships
If you have anger management problems, you may perceive constructive criticism as challenges, causing confrontations between the parties involved. You will tend to:
- Obsess about how things should go your way
- Assume others’ intents (even though you have no way of knowing)
- Focusing on past faults
- Failing to take responsibility
Once you recognise these toxic patterns of thinking, you can perform the following exercises to help cool your temper.
Helpful Anger Management Exercises
Anger is both a physiological and psychological response to adverse external events. A combination of physiological and psychological approaches will contribute towards reducing your anger, such as:
Being aware of your triggers – avoid them if possible
Keeping a log to track your triggers and responses
Walking away from whatever is triggering your anger.
How can Anger Management Therapy Help?
Anger management issues can manifest in many forms. A person with anger management problems may turn to an addiction. However, this fails to recognise the cause of their anger management issues, which may be emotional hurt or abuse suffered in the past.
A professional clinician, psychiatrist, psychologist or counsellor will be able to help you come to terms with the underlying cause of your anger – which is the key to effectively addressing the anger management issue.
It can be tremendously helpful to take a holistic approach to dealing with anger. Other than consulting an anger management therapist, you can make use of wellness coaching to your advantage. The latest clinician to join our team, Dr Ivan Lau, has garnered extensive experience from his time in Shanghai serving executives and their families.
Does My Loved One Have Anger Problems?
Frequent outbursts of anger are usually attributed to one’s character traits. However, these outbursts commonly stem from emotional sources. If your loved one shows outbursts but does not take responsibility for their part in events, they may have an anger management problem. It is prudent to recognise that many of these problems are rooted in past abuse, trauma or hurt during childhood – we can best help our loved ones avoid a crisis by drawing firm boundaries.
Our Anger Management Team includes (but not limited to):
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