While everyone gets mad from time to time not everyone can keep a handle on their emotions. Experiencing uncontrolled anger is not the best feeling, especially when you have to deal with the ramifications.
The first step in effective anger management is to learn how to recognize when you are angry. Some angry people see their emotions as a black or white state—they are either raging mad or they are calm. In reality, anger is not black and white—anger occurs on a continuum between rage and calm.
If you’re wondering if you’re anger levels are normal, or venturing into the “unhealthy” zone, then check out these signs that you might have a problem.
- Being physically aggressive (e.g. shoving, hitting).
- Being verbally aggressive (e.g. teasing, name-calling, spreading rumours).
- Being oppositional (e.g. argumentative, excessively challenging, disruptive, uncooperative).
- Being passive-aggressive (i.e. appearing to comply with others’ requests but expressing your feelings of anger in passive ways like being stubborn, procrastinating, interfering with the progress of something, or being intentionally inefficient and “dragging your feet”).
- You have difficulty dealing with minor conflicts without becoming angry.
- You have anger-related health problems (e.g. hypertension, digestive problems).
- You avoid situations or people because of your anger.
- Your angry feelings are intense or prolonged or occur very frequently.
- You feel “out of control” when you get angry.
- You are often “on edge” or irritable.
- You use anger to dominate, control, and get your way.
This isn’t a complete list of signs that you have anger issues but it’s a good place to start. If you recognize yourself consider taking steps to learn how to change your typical angry response.
When anger lasts too long, it can be a sign of a problem. According to anger management specialist Dr. George F. Rhoades, on HealthyPlace.com, “We typically look at anger that is chronic, or that adversely affects our lives as being harmful. We also look at when anger becomes a problem, i.e. lasts too long, too intense, too frequent.”