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Opinion editorial

By: Irene Hilsendager
June 15, 2018
Why is everyone so angry?

Anger seems to take the number one stage of our country. It is seen in schools, grocery stores and even in medical offices. Anger is an emotion, but why can’t it be kept in check? Anger is something we feel and can result from an experience we find ourselves in, just as we feel happy or sad at times. Feelings don’t hurt others, but behaviors do.

Our angry feelings belong to us so we should be able to detect the anger within us before we exhibit bad behavior. Surely we are not angry all of the time, but sometimes we can recover from the unhealthy, angry behaviors we express. And too often, we find ourselves within situations we cannot control.

Babies and younger children often have an excuse; they get frustrated with siblings, toys and even parents, but it seems in the last few years, more and more adults show their anger and the behavior is often hurtful. In shifting the point of our anger from emotional to behavioral, we should begin to see how the issue isn’t about emotional anger, but more so that it was acted out in anger in a distasteful way. Much of this may lead to abuse while angry. Your anger will come and it will soon pass, but the abusive behaviors you show will leave a much more lasting impression on the other person than your internal emotions. 

Do you feel angry on a regular basis? Are you short-tempered and snap at everyone around you? Do you feel as if you are on the edge? Where does all of this anger come from and what does it mean? There may be many causes. Do you have weak boundaries? Did you say yes when you really wanted to say no? Do you sometimes feel that you do things for others but after, you wish you would have said “no, I can’t help you with that?” Do you feel that you are drained and depleted at all times? Do you feel people are taking advantage of you but realize that you had a part in the same situation? Are you getting enough sleep and you feel everybody is against you or your coping skills are not what they could be?

Depression comes to mind but remember depression is not just crying all of the time or staying in bed, but increased irritability is one common symptom. Often individuals are overwhelmed and a short fuse is set off. Do you ever see individuals and couples who are so angry with each other? They become angry with spouses, kids, parents and friends, but do you think they are angry because they feel they are invisible or that no one cares? 

Anger comes many times from wanting to control what is around us. Many people might not feel angry at all but some have anger issues because they can’t express their anger. Remember angry feelings are not the same as violent behavior. Anger is a valuable emotion but we must understand the difference between anger we can control and anger that leads to violent behavior.

Angry feelings are influenced by our view of the world and what is going on around us. Anger can become uncontrollable and harmful and can even lead to violence. Have you seen the “road rage?” Someone is being cut off on the freeway. You see the arm, hand and digit come out of the open window and yes, you feel anger and want to do something to get even. Will that help or can you manage that and say “just another rude person on the road” and go your merry way? Threatening feelings seem to result from both external and internal events. Examples of external triggers are a co-worker’s rude remark, feelings of not being good enough, feeling like your voice is not being heard or having fearful thoughts. Can you defy or argue about a principle that we consider important and not lose it? If you are in a rage, you need to resolve this behavior because of the hostility it can cause your relationship or friendship. Some individuals often deny they even have a problem, they will justify their actions no matter who gets hurts.

We have what some will call “silent stuffers.” They will never admit they are angry and even have a harder time expressing it. Does it stem from childhood where anger was never allowed? Some people always have a need to feel safe and have the approval of others. Others will have the explosive anger. More times than not, they will yell. Will it lead to outbursts and end up hitting the other person? This usually is a mindset that it is everyone else’s fault. This many times leads to health problems and stress such as headaches, ulcers and even heart disease. Some people display their anger in passive ways like a sense of revenge. This is called passive-aggressive types. 

Anger increases blood sugar levels, heart rate and stimulates our nervous system. Meanwhile our thoughts are also racing and giving us information as to what we are doing is right or wrong. Sometimes it causes us to act impulsively without thinking the situation through. Long term anger can increase anxiety, depression and often self-harm. Pensive continuous anger is known to aggravate chronic pain disorders, leading to sleep disorders or digestive problems. As mentioned before anger comes in all forms; such as money problems, dysfunctional families, elections, or always blaming others. 

How do we deal with anger issues? Breathe and slow down, think before reacting even if you have to count to 10 and try to avoid the issue itself. Try to hit your “pause” button and hold off talking for a few minutes. Collect your thoughts and re-think the situation. Remind yourself that anger is not the answer and often makes things worse. Don’t let anger and negative feelings push out the positive ones. Don’t let bitterness and a sense of injustice surround you; forgive the other person and move on. Sometimes humor can lighten up the situation but don’t use sarcasm as it will hurt the other person’s feelings and that will make matters worse. If your anger seems out of control and you often regret your outbursts, seek help. There are many places to go to help manage the anger.

This is my own personal opinion about the many ways I see people handle their frustrations!