It’s true that some people are angrier than others, stuck in an emotional gear that negatively impacts so many areas of life. At the farthest end of the angry spectrum, picture someone like the character Jack Nicholson plays in ‘The Shining.’ Let’s all agree that this was one angry man! I have to wonder how much therapy would someone that angry need? In a word, tons.
While the vast majority of men and women don’t reach that ridiculous level of anger, scores of them still deal with a powerful angry streak that colors their experiences every single day. Most of all, it’s one’s work and romantic life which suffer the most when one suffers from chronic anger. However, the person’s anger can be seen in every aspect of his or her life. Take a look at the behaviors below and ask yourself if you show any of the warning signs.
You drive like an angry person.
Because I live in Los Angeles and most Angelenos drive by necessity, I see angry drivers every day (Confession # 1: Once in a while, when I am stressed, I become one of those drivers, too). The angry person acts like she’s the most important person on the road and the only one who knows the “right” way to drive; he cuts people off or frequently honks his horn; and she gives other drivers the middle finger or rolls down the window to issue a profanity. If you feel like you frequently get angry at other drivers, you may have become a really angry person.
You have at least one argument per day with someone.
In my clinical work, I’ve found that some people simply like to have a good fight, even looking to start little tiffs or arguments because they feel stimulated by the emotional drama. Sometimes a person who can’t handle their anger is looking for an easy outlet or release of all that negative energy, and they selfishly take it out on you. (Confession # 2: I may have dated someone like this in the past.) A really angry person will often get incredibly agitated, blow up about the pettiest issue, and then feel silly the next day about having gotten so upset. They will often think, “Why did it I get so angry? It doesn’t seem like such a big deal now.” If you regularly get into arguments with people – people you know well or even perfect strangers – you have probably become an angry person.
You curse more than most people.
If you’re a comedian like Chelsea Handler, you curse like it’s your birth right. For Chelsea, her cursing goes along with a vodka-soaked, in-your-face brand she endorses. But when everyday people find themselves cursing more than usual, it’s often a sign that they have become angry people. Most people get turned off from hearing others curse frequently, and cursing regularly in front of others who don’t curse is actually aggressive, hostile behavior.
You’ve lost faith in friends, telling yourself that everyone eventually lets you down.
If you have become an angry person, you will have a hard time having smooth relationships with friends. You may feel like people betray you or you may tell yourself that “People are idiots,” but what you need to do is take a hard, cold look at how your own anger may be negatively impacting your friendships.
Your primary sense of humor is sarcasm, even with people you hardly know.
Watch your humor because sarcastic humor is often masked hostility and anger, and people can spot this angry trait miles away. What angry men and women might say is a joke may be perceived by their audience as an aggressive comment or dig. Consider the following perspective: You probably can’t be that angry without having everyone else in the room know that you have an anger problem.
Effective ways to get out of an angry, destructive rut…
The good news is that you can get out of an angry rut if you work hard enough. Therapy or anger management classes are the most effective ways to learn how to manage your anger and move past that emotion that has trapped you. At the same time, there are other ways to deal with your anger besides seeing a therapist or counselor. If you practice a religion, you can ask for help from a minister, priest, or other similar figure. You can also ask for help from a friend. With friends, you must choose someone who will be patient with you and really listen, and you must ask your friend for suggestions about how to move past your anger. Finally, keep doing what you’re doing right now: reading on the subject. The more educated you become about your problem, the faster you will solve it.
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve