27th September, 2021
by Nandini Hemnani
Anger: A Substitute Emotion
The Psychology of Anger:
People who are angry most often believe that their anger is legitimate. Others, on the other hand, are not always in agreement. The person feeling angry suffers genuine consequences because of the societal judgement towards his or her anger.
Anger is an unpleasant feeling defined by hostility toward someone or something you believe has wronged you on purpose. Anger is linked to the sympathetic nervous system's "fight, flight, or freeze" response, which prepares humans to fight.
Types of Anger:
There are three types of anger which help shape how we react in a situation that makes us angry.
These are: Passive Aggression, Open Aggression, and Assertive Anger.
- Passive: Many people avoid admitting they are angry because they are afraid of confrontation - this is known as “passive aggression.” This manifests itself in behaviors such as remaining silent when furious, sulking, procrastinating (putting off tasks that must be completed) and pretending "everything is okay."
- Open: Many people, on the other hand, tend to lash out in rage, becoming physically or verbally aggressive and hurting themselves or others. This is referred to as “open aggression." Fighting, bullying, blackmailing, accusing, yelling, bickering, sarcasm, and criticism are all examples of this.
- Assertive: Being in control and confident, communicating and listening, and being receptive to help in dealing with the problem are all effective ways to deal with anger. It includes thinking before speaking, being confident in your speech, but remaining open and flexible to the 'other side.' It entails being patient, not raising your voice, sharing your emotional state, and truly attempting to comprehend what others are going through. You display maturity and caring for your relationships and yourself when you deal with anger assertively.
Anger as a Substitute Emotion:
- Anger can sometimes serve as a substitute emotion. This means that people make themselves angry to avoid having to feel pain. People convert their suffering into rage because being angry feels easier than being in pain. Pain can be transformed into anger consciously or unconsciously.
- Being angry rather than simply in pain has a variety of advantages, the most important of which is a distraction. People who are in pain tend to think about it, on the other hand, people who are angry might think of ways to overcome the distress by verbal expressions like lashing out or physical expressions like exercising.
- Thus, anger spares people from having to identify and deal with their painful real sentiments for a brief time; instead, you may focus on getting back at the people you are upset at. Making yourself furious can help you hide the fact that you are afraid of a scenario or that you are feeling vulnerable.
- It is not necessarily a negative to be angry; it may also give you a sense of justice, strength, and moral superiority that you do not get when you are just in pain. When you are angry, you are angry for a reason.
Dealing with Anger:
- Take some deep breaths and once you’ve regained your composure, express your rage in a calmer manner.
- Express your frustration in an assertive yet non-confrontational manner as soon as you are thinking clearly. Without hurting people or attempting to manipulate them, express your worries and needs clearly and openly.
- Make an effort to exercise. Physical activity can contribute to the reduction of stress, which can lead to anger. Go for a quick walk or run or spend some time doing other physical activities if you feel your anger is rising.
- Make a list of workable solutions, rather than focusing on what made you angry, focused on resolving the current problem. Is your child's strewn-about room driving you insane? Close the door behind you. Remind yourself that anger is not going to solve anything and may even make things worse.
- Use "I" phrases to describe the situation instead of criticizing or blaming, which will just add to the stress. Respectful and specific communication is essential. Instead of saying, "You never do any housework," say, "I'm disappointed that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes."
- Forgiveness is a great tool, therefore do not keep a grudge. Allowing anger and other unpleasant emotions to overpower happy emotions might lead to you being swept up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. However, if you can forgive someone who has offended you, you may be able to learn from the event while also strengthening your friendship/relationship.
- Put your relaxation abilities to use when your temper rises. Deep breathing exercises, visualizing a soothing landscape, or repeating a calming word or phrase, such as "Take it easy," can all help you relax. You can also relax by listening to music, writing in a journal, or doing a few yoga positions – whatever it takes.
- Recognize when it is time to seek support, learning to control one's anger can be difficult for anyone at times. Seek help if you are having trouble controlling your emotions. If your anger is out of control, causing you to do things you later regret, or causing harm to those around you, seek help.