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Anger and Rage

What is Anger?

Anger is critical for survival and a useful sensation to pay close attention to when it shows up. Anger is vital in assisting us to navigating our way through life, to avoid what may be dangerous and prepare us to fight in the face of adversity.

Shaped by cultural expectations and there are common myths about anger that many of us prescribe to. Including that it is not okay to feel angry, that anger should be repressed and is somehow shameful.

There have been discussions about “mummy rage” and many objections to such a term. There is no such thing as “mummy rage” this is simply the media’s attempt to sensationalise and obtain interest be it positive or negative. Anger is often considered to be more socially acceptable in men than in women. This simply means we generally see more repression and passive aggression behaviour in women. That said, passive aggression and difficulty expressing anger can be extremely challenging for men, as well as, women.

Repression of anger

Repression of anger may result in an eventual explosion… where the response seems “larger” than expected based on the events leading up to it.

Rage can happen to all of us AND it can be an appropriate reaction.
The difference is whether the expression of anger or rage is harmful to either oneself or other around us. That is about our behaviour when challenging emotions are present. In general people don’t set out to be abusive with their anger. Many are terrified of their own angry responses and the possibility of losing control.

Intense anger or rage can be a call to action.

Anger as another emotion

Anger can be simply anger. And it can be a bit slippery… sometimes it shows up when it is actually a response to a deeply felt emotion likely out of our awareness. Pain, distress and deeply felt sadness can trigger anger and rage. Think about how injured animals often respond to those trying to help them. Pretty much any uncomfortable feeling can be expressed as anger.

This protective anger may make it much harder for those that love us to help (as in the case of the injured animal). Repairing relationships when emotions are expressed as anger can be monumentally difficult.

 

Anger in other people

Some people can be finely attuned to feelings of annoyance and irritation in other people. Presumably this is an instinct designed to keep us safe. Those of us who have experienced abuse may be extremely attentive or vigilant when it comes to detecting signs of anger in those around them.

The upshot is that it may be worthwhile becoming curious and interested in what happens when anger shows up… both in yourself and those you love. Our psychologists are available to support you work through this difficult and oftentimes confusing emotion.

 

A professional can help support you in making more sense of your anger when it has you in its grip. To look at triggers, your meaning making and fixed patterns of behaviour. To get in touch with what may be underneath your anger and learn to be more compassionate towards yourself.

 

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