Anger Styles written by Rachel Falbo, LPC, LMFT-A
Anger is inevitable. We all get angry. In fact, anger is a healthy emotion. How we express that anger can either be healthy or unhealthy. This month, I am going to discuss 6 anger styles. The first 5 are unhealthy ways that you may be expressing your anger. The last style, problem solvers, express their anger in healthy ways.
These people bury their anger. They bury it so deep, you probably won’t ever know that they are angry. Anger will normally manifest itself in other ways (tension headaches, muscle tension, gastrointestinal problems, depression, etc.).
These people express their anger in subtle, indirect, passive-aggressive ways. You will probably know that they are angry, but they won’t ever tell you directly that they’re angry, or what they’re angry about. These people may verbally tell you, “I’m not talking to you”, may slam doors, let grades slip in school, etc.
These people express their anger by blaming other people for their problems, and their anger. They may often name call or put other people down. These people don’t ever take responsibility for their problems, or their feelings of anger. It is always someone else’s fault.
These people express their anger by bringing in a third party to the argument/conflict. These people don’t express their anger directly to the person they are angry with, and instead bring in a third party person to get angry at the first person for them. This is often times seen during a divorce, in having the child get angry with the other parent, when the parents are really arguing about something that has nothing to do with the child.
These people express their anger aggressively, and sometimes violently. These people stuff their feelings, and bottle them up until one day they explode, due to suppressed feelings of resentment. This doesn’t help to solve the problem, but usually creates more tension and distance.
These people express their anger in a healthy way. These people look at what feeling is actually causing the anger (fear, sadness, rejection, etc.). They put thoughts between their feelings and behaviors. They express what is bothering them, when it is bothering them, rather than stuffing it down, and possibly exploding later. Anger can be expressed through talking it out. However, if that is not an option, other healthy coping skills are used (deep breathing, physical exercise, etc.).
In a previous blog, I talked about “I” statements, when discussing assertive communication. This technique is also a great skill to use when expressing your anger, especially with a partner or parent. Remember, anger is a healthy emotion. It is how we express that anger, that determines whether or not the behavior itself is healthy.