Causes and cures of Anger
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Carol Finney BSc (HONS) CBT. Psychotherapist & EMDR Practioner
27th September, 20110 Comments
The Oxford Dictionary defines anger as “a feeling of great annoyance or antagonism as the result of some real or supposed grievance”
It is a primitive emotion that adds to our survival and an emotion we will all have experienced, either as a victim or the assailant.
Not excluding those who find their anger difficult to vent but also those who build up resentment to others in society People considered to have an anger problem often come for treatment at the request of a close friend/family member. For example, their partner threatens to leave if they cannot control their anger. Their boss threatens demotion or loss of their job if they do not manage their anger
Causes of Anger
Davies (2009) identifies three areas that lead to anger
Irritants - Initially we put up with these, noise, constant loud music, noisy neighbours but our coping devices may deteriorate or change through time depending on the situation
Imagine you are in the Doctor’s surgery. You are unwell, you have a throbbing headache making you sensitive to light and noise and you are very tired …Unfortunately the children’s corner is becoming increasingly noisy (or so it seems to you).
You find yourself shouting loudly “Please stop”. Your temporary physical fragility has lowered your usual appropriate coping devices and your response strategies may not help you manage that scenario.
This may be a financial cost, when someone steals your car radio and damages the car. Cost of time, you have to wait to get the car repaired and take it to the garage.
Loss of face, someone embarrasses you possibly by making you feel stupid in front of others.
Many of us will have “rules for living” and be unaware of them till they are broken. They are often contained in “should” statements.
“People should bin their litter, “He shouldn’t pull out into the road like that.”
Tiredness, pain, and alcohol, can lower our ability to cope, equally, we may over-react due to lack of sleep or pain. or
exhibit learned behaviour that inhibits us from expressing our anger
Regrettably people who have anger problems may believe there is nothing they can do to manage their anger or that they do not have a problem. This may because they have never had the opportunity or support to manage their problem
In “Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), if the person is motivated and willing to learn, therapy is brief, usually 8-12 sessions.
Initially it is helpful to educate the person on anger. How it is normal but it is the way we response that causes the problem.
It is really helpful to get an idea of when your anger occurs (triggers) and your thoughts at that time...To do this, the situation and people involved in the anger episode are recorded in a diary format and discussed during the session
Further information on what sense you made of the situation that led to your anger, and what form the anger took.
Through reviewing these recordings with your therapist and identifying patterns, you will learn more appropriate coping strategies.
Discussion on your “rules” and looking at possible alternatives will enable you become more flexible in your approach and start enjoying life, also considering how you appraised a situation and what form your anger took.
The person with anger is often tense and vigilant waiting for the next episode were they will have to defend their beliefs.
If you suffer from anger problems or know someone who does, there is help available.
Maybe you could start by reading about anger then talk to your g.p.
It is a problem that often the sufferer is ashamed of, but often it is not just them who is suffering .It is those they live with or care for.
If you need help check the counselling directory and see if there is an Accredited CBT therapist near you.
Related articles from our experts
Dr Kornilia Givissi, Counselling Psychologist (HCPC Reg, DCounsPsy)March 16th, 2017
Cate Campbell MA, MBACP (Accred), MCOSRT (Accred), MAFTMarch 23rd, 2017
Daljinder Bal (MBACP)March 22nd, 2017
Andrea Harrn Psychotherapist and Author of The Mood CardsMay 13th, 2011
Imi Lo: Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Supervisor (MMH,UKCP,HCPC,MBPsS)March 29th, 2015
Keeley Townsend BA (Hons), Ad.Dip.CP with Distinction, MNCS (Acc)December 14th, 2009
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.