What’s Your Anger Style?
Sixteen ways to manage your frustration, whether you have a quick temper or a biting sense of humor.
Anger Style: ExplosiveWhat it looks like: "If you leave your jacket on the floor one more time, I'm leaving you!" It may take a lot to push you over the edge, but when you get there, the earth shakes and people run for cover.
Why you might do it: If you were never taught how to deal with irritation, you may habitually swallow it until you can swallow no more. Eventually your top will blow. Some people are anger junkies, who get off on the adrenaline rush of an emotional explosion, not to mention the fact that the onslaught can mean they get their way―at least in the short term.
The damage: It is virtually impossible to feel empathy and anger simultaneously, so in the heat of the moment, you are more likely to say and do overly harsh things that you later regret.
How to Turn It Around
- Wait it out. "Research has shown that the neurological anger response lasts less than two seconds," says Ronald Potter-Efron, Ph.D., an anger-management specialist in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and a coauthor of Letting Go of Anger. Beyond that, it takes a commitment to stay angry. Mentally recite the Pledge of Allegiance or count to 10 and see if the urge to explode has diminished.
- Own your emotions. A simple rephrasing of your feelings can help you feel more in control. "I'm really upset by your behavior" is much more effective and empowering than %#*&@!.
Anger Style: Self-AbuseWhat it looks like: "It's my fault he doesn't help me. I'm a terrible wife." You find a way to make everything your fault, every single time.
Why you might do it: Somewhere along the line, your self-esteem took a beating and you decided that sometimes it's just safer and easier to be mad at yourself than at someone else.
The damage: Constantly turning angry feelings inward can set you up for continued disappointments and even depression.
How to Turn It Around
- Question yourself. Every time you feel the urge to assume blame, start by asking yourself, "Who told me I was responsible for this?" Then ask, "Do I really believe that?" Instead of accepting all responsibility, thank yourself for recognizing the pattern in the first place.
- Work on your self-worth. Make a list of your positive qualities. Developing a genuine sense of worthiness is a critical step in overcoming self-blame. Seek out a professional if you need more help in working around this issue.