We don’t talk about anger enough. How to deal with it in healthy ways. How to work on it. “Anger management” is just like a shameful thing? But why? Learning to manage anger is such a good thing. Learning how to express anger in a healthy way is such an important skill.
Here’s what the anger styles look like:
Aggressive: When you’re angry, everyone knows it. You might yell or throw things. There is a need to control the situation.
Passive: You keep your anger to yourself and shove it down to avoid it. It wears away at you from the inside out.
Passive-Aggressive: You express your anger indirectly. You may say one thing and then do another.
Projective Aggressive: You give your anger to others to deal with, or you get others angry first so you aren’t the bad guy. This may look like confiding in someone you know will get angry on your behalf and then do something about it. Or pushing the person you’re angry at to get angry at you first.
Assertive: You openly express your anger and then try to work it out with the other person and move forward.
My anger style used to be 100% aggressive.
I had no emotion regulation and at that point in my life, all of my emotions were felt at max capacity. I’d kick things, punch things, yell, become verbally and emotionally abusive. I remember one time I just started kicking my coffee table to the point where my leg was bleeding. I just did not know what to do with anger other than to act out from it.
When I started working on myself I thought that anger was BAD. I didn’t want to feel it. I didn’t want to deal with it. I thought if I could ignore it then all my anger problems would be solved. Buuuuut it doesn’t work like that.
Then I moved onto projective aggressive which sometimes involves getting other people to fight your battles for you. It also looks like getting mad at your partner and instead of confronting that, asking *them* why they are mad at *you*. You’re trying to bring out their anger first so that you can find an outlet but they’re the “bad guy”.
Now I’d say I’m 80% assertive, 10% passive-aggressive, and 10% passive. None of us are going to get it right 100% of the time. When you have anxiety, depression, trauma responses, etc it’s even harder to find healthier ways to talk about being angry but it’s also important that we make the conscious choice to work through it.
What worked for me: Therapy, mainly DBT, specifically Emotion Regulation Skills.