Am I made to be angry? One of my parents was so angry all of the time, I don’t want to be like that. I’ve heard anger is genetic, doesn’t that mean I will be like that too? Will my kids be angry if I am angry? People who struggle to control their anger frequently ask, ‘Is anger genetic?’ The answer is, it’s complicated. Both genetics and learned behavior play a role in determining whether or not someone may struggle to manage their anger. Additional external factors could also influence an individual’s ability to manage their anger effectively.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghAugust 7, 2023 anger, anger counseling, anger issues, anger management, anger management counseling0 comments
Is Anger Genetic?
According to Denson and his colleagues (2014), individuals who are genetically predisposed towards aggression, try harder to control their anger. However, the study also stated that individuals who are genetically predisposed to anger, also struggle to control the part of their brain that is in charge of emotions. This means that although anger itself cannot be genetically linked to others, it does show that self-control may have more of a genetic basis. Individuals with low self-control may struggle to act appropriately in various settings/situations leading to arguments or violence.
Does this mean that people with a predisposition for anger can’t overcome their anger?
No, individuals can still develop healthy coping skills and seek professional help to manage their anger effectively. This process of developing healthy coping mechanisms can take time and practice for individuals to help improve their self-control in various settings.
Are certain personality traits more prone to anger issues?
Yes, in some cases personality traits such as low agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism can make certain individuals more susceptible to anger issues. This does not mean that people with these characteristics are more likely to be angry, but these characteristics do impact their ability to interact in situations.
Is Anger a Learned Behavior?
Although genetics play some role in the ability to self-control, there is also additional environmental factors. For example, in childhood if you witness angry behaviors within the family or within their house, you will observe them and begin to repeat them as you get older – because you don’t know better. Individuals who see anger and aggression at a young age struggle to know healthy and effective coping skills or de-escalation techniques – as they were not demonstrated in their childhood. Thus, not an option for an individual to learn and use later on in life.
How to Control Anger (regardless of genetics and learned behavior)
Anger is a normal emotion to feel, it does serve a purpose in helping individuals navigate the world they live in. However, some individuals struggle to control their anger and self-control. If you find yourself wanting to get more help and support, please look into anger management counseling.
Denson, T.F., Dobson-Stone, C., Ronay, R., von Hippel, W., & Schira, M.M. (2014). A functional polymorphism of the MAOA gene is associated with neural responses to induced anger control. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(7), 1418-1427.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJuly 23, 2023 anger, anger counseling, anger issues, anger management, anger management counseling, overcoming anger0 comments
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by anger that you cannot seem to shake it off? Overcoming anger is a universal emotional journey that everyone encounters. However, for some individuals, managing this intense emotion becomes a challenging task. At times, uncontrolled anger can lead to destructive and impulsive behaviors, causing personal and relational turmoil in your life. It’s essential to explore ways to overcome these anger issues and find inner peace and harmony.
What is Anger?
Anger is “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage” (American Psychological Association, 2022). It serves as a response that allows us to fight or defend ourselves when we feel attacked. In reasonable amounts, anger can be a crucial emotion for decision-making. However, unaddressed anger can lead to other problems.
What Causes Anger-Related Problems?
It is important to acknowledge that anger is a normal emotion. However, it becomes problematic when it feels uncontrollable and starts influencing your behaviors negatively. Anger can be triggered by various reasons, such as being denied something, facing past traumas, experiencing relationship or work issues, or encountering external events like traffic or canceled plans. If left untreated or ignored, anger can lead to erratic behaviors, violence, abuse, addiction, or even legal troubles.
Is There A Cure for Anger?
You might wonder if there’s a cure for your anger issues. While the technical answer is no, there are ways to manage its intensity and impact on your life.
You might wonder if there’s a cure for your anger issues. While the technical answer is no, there are ways to manage its intensity and impact on your life.
Tips for Overcoming Anger
- Acknowledge and Address: Ignoring anger won’t make it disappear. In fact, it can lead to emotional outbursts, anxiety, or depression. Avoiding the issue might also drive individuals to cope with anger in harmful ways.
- Communicate: Suppressing anger without proper communication can intensify the emotion, leading to hostility and impatience. Share your feelings with trusted individuals or consider therapy to understand and express your emotions effectively.
- Identify Triggers: Figure out what specifically triggers your anger. Identifying recurring triggers without resolution can hinder your ability to remain calm and composed in various situations.
- Practice Positive Coping Skills: Engage in activities that help deescalate anger positively. Some individuals benefit from attending anger management counseling courses to develop additional coping skills.
In conclusion, understanding and overcoming anger issues is a vital step towards improving our emotional well-being and enhancing our relationships with others. While anger is a normal emotion that can serve a purpose, uncontrolled and untreated anger can lead to harmful consequences for both ourselves and those around us. The key to managing anger lies in acknowledging its presence, identifying triggers, and developing positive coping mechanisms.
Remember that there is no quick fix or cure for anger issues. Instead, it is a continuous journey of self-awareness and personal growth. By communicating our feelings effectively and seeking appropriate support, such as therapy or anger management courses, we can work towards managing the intensity of anger and its impact on our lives.
Overcoming anger is not about eliminating the emotion entirely, but rather learning to respond to it in healthier and more constructive ways. Through patience, practice, and perseverance, we can develop the skills needed to navigate through anger and find greater inner peace and emotional balance.
Ultimately, taking the initiative to address and manage our anger can lead to a more fulfilling and harmonious life, allowing us to build stronger connections with others and make sound decisions even in challenging situations. Let us embrace the journey of overcoming anger and strive for a more positive and empowered emotional state. (American Psychological Association, 2022).
Seeking Help for Overcoming Anger?
If anger is taking a toll on your life and relationships, know that support is available. Whether you need guidance in anger management, coping strategies, or understanding the underlying causes, we’re here to assist you.
Take the first step towards a healthier emotional state by reaching out to us at 412-856-WELL or filling out the form below. Our team is dedicated to helping you find effective ways to manage anger and regain control over your well-being. You don’t have to face this alone – let us be your ally on your journey towards a more balanced and fulfilling life.
American Psychological Association. (2022). Control anger before it controls you. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghFebruary 28, 2021 anger, anger management, anger management counseling0 comments
Do you remember the last time you felt angry? Perhaps you were peeved that your kid left a sliver of milk in the jug and didn’t add it to the grocery list. Maybe a truck cut you off at the freeway entrance, and you muttered obscenities. Or maybe it’s hard to look back at the last time, because you punched a hole in the wall.
We All Get Angry
Though sometimes unpleasant, anger comprises a natural part of the human emotional experience. However, chronic and intense anger may take a toll on your body, mind, and relationships. Depending on the seriousness, this could range from a stress headache to a cardiac event.
Anger tends to surface in our relationships where we spend the most time. You may lash out at loved ones and feel regret. If this becomes a pattern, it can wound long-term relationships.
Unchecked anger that becomes physical aggression may evoke larger social, legal, and even criminal consequences.
If you find yourself struggling with this emotion, remember that eliminating anger from life is not an option. But you can learn to reduce persistent, intense anger.
Abundant Anger Management
Square one: anger management resources are widely available in this day and age. Think you don’t have the time or money? Positive effects have been noted from just a handful of interventions.
Common techniques include mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and non-violent communication. Some help diffuse intense feelings when they arise. Others equip you to work around or through situations that anger you.
Most interventions teach life skills that are simply good to have. Keep reading to learn what you have to gain.
Mindfulness: the Power of the Present
Mindfulness and relaxation techniques teach calm observation, which can help you self-soothe when tense. This can be useful whether you’re tolerating an annoying coworker or coaching yourself through airplane turbulence.
On top of anger reduction, mindfulness enhances enjoyment of day to day life. When you feel anchored in the present, it opens the door to deeper connection with yourself and others.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Flip Your Perspective
Cognitive reframing offers another multi-tool for life. To reframe, take a step back and examine your reaction to situations that provoke strong emotion.
For example, what thoughts fill your mind when you feel angry at your spouse for not emptying the dishwasher? “They don’t value my time. I do all the chores…” What if your spouse didn’t empty the dishwasher, because they were busy cooking dinner for you? Do you feel different about that full dishwasher now?
It’s natural to see that reframing could serve many emotions and circumstances, not just anger. You may find yourself reframing all sorts of assumptions that once weighed you down.
Non-Violent Communication: Get to the Root
Remember that anger may be telling you an important message about your needs. The hidden need might be personal (“I need more time to recharge”), but it could also draw you to a larger cause. Anger-fueled protests that call for justice are a classic example.
Whatever the message, non-violent communication teaches you to focus on the need beneath the emotion. Suddenly, you may find anger isn’t a roadblock anymore. Instead of choosing aggression and rumination, you energetically solve problems.
Take the First Step
With these benefits in mind, can you visualize yourself getting a handle on your anger?
Professional counseling can make a huge difference in the speed and health of your recovery. Reach out to find a therapist who’s a good fit. Get the support you need on the journey to freedom from chronic anger. If not now, when?
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMay 27, 2020 anger management counseling, greensburg counseling0 comments
Managing Displaced Anger During Difficult Times
It has been said that anger is a secondary emotion, triggered by preceding fear, rejection, hurt feelings, humiliation, and sadness. With the current pandemic, restrictions on our daily activities, the uncertainties of our futures and our medical and financial wellbeing, it is no wonder people have been on edge. This disruption has been significant and abrupt. Suddenly, we no longer have the same level of stability in our lives and the need for structure, safety, and predictability has been jeopardized. Everyone has experienced some form of loss, and many are grieving.
Lately, while watching morning news, we hear the retellings of incidents involving explosive anger where someone has violated another physically or verbally. Often, we are seeing these acts in public arenas, on display for anyone to witness, which is telling that we are not coping well as a society. So, what is happening? Has the world gone crazy? Are these the preludes to a hostile, post-apocalyptic dystopia? Likely, no. It’s more probable that people are misplacing or “displacing” their frustrations. Displaced anger or aggression occurs when one is unable to express anger towards the source of provocation so instead, the individual acts out towards others. Often, we are not able to direct our anger toward the actual cause of our fears and frustrations. For example, it would be of no use to air our grievances to the virus itself and we are also unlikely to get our desired response from people who have direct influence over our day to day struggles. So, then many of us are left fearful, anxious, grieving, and frustrated with no say or control over what happens next.
While it’s easy to focus our attention on our lack of control, doing so will only increase these feelings of frustration and helplessness. Despite current limitations, there is still much we have influence on in our lives today. We can choose what type of activities we engage in throughout the day, our diet, exercise, and our sleep hygiene regimen. We have influence over our thoughts and mindset, whether we focus on the negative or we see the positive in situations. We can control what we are watching on television and social media or listening to on the radio or podcasts, all of which impact our outlook and perspective. Those choices effect how we feel and in turn how we cope with our stress.
Even the most Zen of us will displace our anger onto innocent bystanders from time to time. After all, we are human. In these moments, when you feel yourself becoming easily agitated or triggered, take a second, breathe, and identify the real cause of your anger by asking yourself, “What’s really bothering me? Does this make sense?” and even, “Does my emotional reaction match the situation?” Note that if it is something you cannot change, there are still things about the situation or in your life that you do have influence over. Exercise positive self-care practices such as physical activity, being outdoors, reading, listening to music, eating a healthy diet, guided meditations, deep breathing and other stress reducing techniques. These can be thought of as preventative activities to increase your threshold for stress and strengthen emotional resiliency. Be mindful of when you have reached your limit and need to seek additional help or support. Lastly, always remember to T.H.I.N.K. before you speak. Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Choose to be kind.
Andrea Kellman, MS, LPC who provides therapy, marriage, and family counseling services in our Greensburg counseling center.Learn More