Anger and Fear
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Steve Earlam. MSc. Dip HE. MNCS (Accd). MFDAP
31st January, 2011
Anger and fear seem to share the same psychological characteristics, both emotions seem to share the same central nervous system arousal. Our problem is that we have to distinguish between and interpret the arousal to determine whether it is anger or fear we are feeling, and getting it right sometimes proves difficult and of course can lead to dealing with consequential action.
Although everyone, (loosely stated), experiences anger in some form it is generally short lived. No one is born with an ‘anger problem’, we learn the behaviour.
There are many ways that people learn behaviour, children growing up may have been subjected to, or witness to, aggression and anger. They may have seen a parent apparently getting what they wanted by behaving angrily, as they grow and witness more of the same behaviour, it becomes rooted in their belief system and ultimately they come to accept the behaviour as a means of ‘getting what they want’.
Anger is both a physiological (body) and a psychological (mind) process and can therefore have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health, hence the relationship between anger and heart disease.
Deciding to change your life with the intention of reducing or eradicating anger can be life changing, research indicates that most people do not consider change; this is known as pre-contemplation, Prochaska J. Diclemente C. (1982), in the classic model for change, until something ‘big’ affects their life. This tends to instil a sense of reality in some people and can be the catalyst for future work on their behaviour. Angry people tend not to recognise or accept their angry behaviour and it usually takes the experience of suffering extremely negative consequences of their behaviour before realisation becomes apparent. Once accepted that change is necessary, the angry person then has difficulty in attending anger classes or counselling and is in not uncommon to find a high drop out rate. It usually takes further attempts resulting from continued poor performance to get the angry person to a point in their ‘change’ life when realisation becomes stronger than non-acceptance.
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