Anger is a normal human reaction to hurt, embarrassment, shame or betrayal. However, anger becomes a problem when it is continual, irrational and/or out of control. Here are some of the main ways people develop anger problems:
- Witnessing your parents. When children see their parents yelling, screaming, berating, hitting or shoving, they copy that behavior because they think losing one's temper is an acceptable and normal reaction. They tend to identify with the perpetrator instead of the victim because they witness how anger gives the perpetrator power.
- Stress. Human beings can only handle so much. When you've got more things on your plate than you can fit in your day, angry feelings well up.
- Fear. Ever seen a cat backed up against a wall, arching his spine, hissing, and preparing to pull out his claws? Although he may seem angry, he's actually scared out of his mind. When something is too hurtful, overwhelming or terrifying, many people turn to anger as a self-defense mechanism. Guys especially don't want to admit it when they are hurt, sad, lonely, or grieving because it makes them look weak.
- Lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep is a sure recipe for feeling edgy and irritable because your brain can't chemically or physiologically cope with it.
- Medication. Being over-medicated or taking the wrong kind of medication can make you angry.
*Tip: The next time you are about to do or say something out of anger, ask yourself, "Would I behave this way towards a nun or police officer?" Most likely, your answer will be "no."