By Cathy Neville, LPC, and Aisha Simmons, on August 12, 2014
Do you really have your feelings under control?
A chronically angry person is like a roiling pot of mixed stew, randomly popping and snapping the hotter it becomes.
If the pot is too full, it soon bubbles over. Steam rises and the heated mix spills onto anything or anyone nearby.
What about you?
Are you overfilled, angrily spilling out, and messily scalding those in your way?
How can you tell if you really need help?
Consider the following 10 signs to help you identify whether your anger is reaching a boiling point too often:
1. Your anger is your sidekick. Are irritation and annoyance your go-to emotions when problems arise? For some people provocation isn’t really the issue. Perhaps you are highly defensive and always ready for battle. If so, anger may be overwhelming more subtle, painful emotions.
2. Your anger response is harsh, loud, and disrespectful. Do you verbally underscore angry feelings by yelling, swearing, or berating others? If you’ve been told you cross the line too often or regularly regret things said in an out-of-control discussion, communication will play a factor in reigning in negative feelings.
3. Your anger goes too far. Have you harmed another person during an angry exchange? Throwing things, shoving, slapping, punching, or worse is an unacceptable answer to anger and a definite red flag. Reach out to a counselor for safer alternatives for expressing your feelings.
4. Your anger holds you hostage. Does your blood still boil about a relationship that ended years ago? Continued outrage or bitterness about the past may be an indicator that you are emotionally stuck or unwilling to move forward.
5. Your anger is blamed on others. Is blame a game you frequently play? If it feels like people are always crossing you, criticizing you, or bad mouthing you, you may feel justified in your anger. Negative emotions might be skewing your perspective and hijacking your ability to resolve conflicts in a healthy manner.
6. Your anger leads to rebellion. Have you been accused of having “authority issues”? Anger problems can lead to resistance or attempts to control others. This makes it difficult to accept direction or correction. A run in with your boss or even a traffic officer can become contentious.
7. Your anger is turning people against you. Look around. Are you missing anyone? Your friends and family have had enough. Maybe you’ve been told that your anger is too much for them to handle. Perhaps they don’t call or include you in their plans, or invite you to social gatherings anymore.
8. Your anger makes you indirect. Are you the passive type? Look closely at how you manage anger. Passive anger results in punishing types of interaction, usually marked by heavy doses of sarcasm, prolonged responses, or cold silence, without getting confrontational.
9. Your anger is hiding. Who’s angry? Repressed anger can fool you into thinking that anger doesn’t exist. You spend a great deal of time stuffing, avoiding, and resisting an honest resolution to your resentment or rage.
10. Your anger is a lifestyle. Is your basic life mantra, “Life sucks, and it won’t get better?” Anger in this case, is general, and sometimes self-inflicting. It is always present, stewing, rather than boiling over. You are always down– maybe overeating, possibly drinking too much.
Don’t be afraid to call a counselor if you are more aggravated than you realize, more hurtful than you intend to be, or more retaliatory than is warranted.
Turn down the heat on your anger.
Take a step toward happiness.