In general, we may become angry or frustrated whenever we are not able to achieve a goal. Life is full of frustrations from minor irritations to something really big. When we use our frustration and anger to motivate us to change something in our life, anger and frustration end up being good and helpful. But for many people anger and frustration result in irritability, rage, wrath, stress, resentment, loss of confidence, depression and other negative behaviors. While anger and frustration are not the same, so many of the clients I have helped have so much combined frustration and anger that the distinctions between them are lost and meaningless.
Anger is an emotional response to a real, felt or imagined grievance. It may have its roots in a past or present experience, or it may be in anticipation of a future event. Anger is invariably based on the perception of threat or a perceived threat due to a conflict, injustice, negligence, humiliation and betrayal among others.
Anger can be an active or a passive emotion. In case of "active" emotion the angry person lashes out verbally or physically at an intended target. When anger is a passive emotion it characterized by silent sulking, passive-aggressive behavior, and hostility.
Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person or event (a traffic jam, a canceled event), or your anger could be caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.
Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion. When you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones,
When you are angry your rate of breathing increases and your body's muscles tense up.
People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. Expressing your angry feelings can be done in violent destructive ways or in an assertive, but non-aggressive, manner. Hopefully, the person who is angry has learned, or will learn, how to make clear what their needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others.
Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. The danger in this type of response is that if it isn't allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression. Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger.
Anger can make us blind to the truth and unable to accept what’s sensible and correct. When anger is the primary emotion being felt, we become less able to think and act rationally and in some cases, even our senses do not work properly because of extreme anger.
Anger is often followed by depression When we feel particularly irate, we tend to express ourselves verbally or physically. Afterwards, when we recognize such outburst as atypical of ourselves and we end up feeling depressed with the reality of what we have just done.
From a very early age, people learn to express anger by copying the angry behavior they see modeled around them, and by expressing angry behavior and seeing what they can get away with.
If you feel that your anger is really out of control, if it is having an impact on your relationships and on important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better. I, or antoher psychologist or other licensed mental health professional, can work with you in developing a range of techniques for changing your thinking and your behavior.
Remember, you cannot eliminate anger. In spite of all your efforts, things will happen that will cause you anger. Life is filled with frustration, pain, loss, and the unpredictable actions of others. You can't change that; but you can change the way you let such events affect you. Controlling your angry responses can keep you from making yourself even more unhappy in the long run.