The Hot Head is very dramatic. Victor never hit anyone when he was angry, but he massacred inanimate objects. He threw things, broke things and, before there were cordless phones, he tried to pull the family phone out of the wall in his blind rages. Victor’s wife recounted a tantrum when Victor was so furious that he looked around the living room for something to hurl, but when he realized that he had broken all the ornaments and ashtrays, he raced to the kitchen, took a few packages of frozen hamburger from the freezer and hurled them out the front door!
The Potty Mouth lets fly with words. These people freely cuss and insult the objects of their rage. Frank was embarrassed when his wife Barbara would say what she felt even when it wasn’t appropriate. She thought nothing of insulting or demeaning anyone who got in her way.
A variation of this verbal troublemaker is The Comedian. Comedians may have a great sense of humor, but they often joke at someone else’s expense. Put downs and ridicule come naturally to them.
Instead of ridiculing, The Blamer avoids being responsible for his or her angry feelings or actions by blaming others. “See how you are,” or “You made me do that” are the ways that Blamers rationalize their behavior. However, not all angry people act out or verbalize their negative feelings toward others.
The Addict suppresses his or her anger and turns it inward in ways that can cause physical harm. As a psychotherapist specializing in treating people with compulsive behaviors I have learned that most binges are temper tantrums! Although overdoing substances or activities can be destructive, each binge can also show you the way to become conscious of the amount of anger you are carrying around.
When clients share that they lost control over food, spending, drinking, drug using, etc I don’t ask how much they ate, spent, drank, used, I inquire how strong their urge to comfort themselves was. How intense was the “gotta have it?” When Joe or Jane rates a binge on a scale of #1-10 and says #9, I ask: “What in your life at that time was a #9?” The person then pinpoints the distress. Most of the time it has to do with anger or resentment.
Somatizers are people who suppress anger in other ways that stress their bodies. These people get a variety of aches and pains, like headaches, stomachaches, asthma attacks or more serious conditions. Accident-prone folks may experience sprains, strains or broken bones.
One of my clients had to cancel when severe excruciating sciatica laid her low. The pain radiated from her hip down her thigh and leg. When I saw her again she explained that she was in the midst of a lawsuit with someone who was a “pain in the ass!” Her body was obviously reflecting her feelings.