Don't let your inner rage monster RUIN your life.
Female aggression common, despite the way society portrays things most of the time. For centuries, social conditioning has made it acceptable for men to express their anger and unacceptable for women to express theirs.
As a result of this, resources and support services for women with anger issues is comparatively scarce today in 2015, despite the high numbers of women who are violent, aggressive and struggling with their anger.
When you think anger management classes, images of seemingly soft and sweet women don't automatically come to mind, do they?
That's because you're stereotyping what you think the typical aggressive person looks like, and I bet most of you are not picturing a woman.
But women have committed many heinous crimes in a fit of rage.
Numerous accounts of women across the world have cut off their lover's penis or testicles for example, including the recent case in China where a woman cut off her cheating lover's penis NOT ONCE, BUT TWICE! Once when she discovered he'd had an affair, and then again in the hospital bed where he was lying after surgeons had reattached it again, before throwing it out the window for a dog to eat. (Not kidding.)
As women, we're taught not to express anger from a very young age. So the moment we see a woman kicking or punching a hole in something, swearing at the top of her lungs or hurling a coffee mug across the table at someone's head, we immediately think, That girl's got serious problems. She needs to learn how to be happy.
It seems society is saying, "B*tching is perfectly fine, but outward physical expression of anger is better left to the men."
What IS Anger?
Anger is a human emotion which ranges in intensity from slight irritation to fury and heated rage. When we feel anger, it results in a rise in our heart rate, our blood pressure begins to increase, and our body releases stress hormones, which results in physical reactions such as shaking, feeling physically hot and sweaty, and a sense of losing control.
When we feel anger, we tend to act out in angry ways like raising our voice, using a sarcastic and curt tone of voice, saying critical or nasty things (being "bitchy"), swearing, yelling, etc..
The thing about anger is that when it's not properly managed and controlled, it can very often escalate to violence.
When we act out in violent or abusive ways (whether physically or psychologically), we're trying to punish the other person to regain that sense of power and control we feel we've lost as a result of experiencing this intense anger.
Sometimes we might also feel that, by expressing our anger to the other person, we will be teaching them a lesson so they don't make the same error a second time.
Why Do We Get Angry?
Most commonly, anger is directly linked to frustration. We feel frustrated that things aren't happening in exactly the way we want them to and that people in our lives that we come into contact with on some level whether it be family, work, social or online don't act in the way we believe they should be.
What is important for you to understand here is that anger is almost always attached to other negative feelings, or is a response to negative feelings we are having. You might be feeling emotions like: afraid, sad, ashamed, disappointed, in pain, worried or annoyed, but actually express these emotions as anger.
Anger is also the result of poor interpersonal communication.
Anger Can Be A GOOD Thing
When it's managed appropriately, anger is not problematic at all. There's no shame in experiencing anger — it's how we use that anger and channel it that is the thing we need to look at.
Channeling our anger into creative expression, fitness or work is highly productive and will allow us to figuratively move mountains with that energy source. In fact, a mild dose of anger will actually be able to help us express the powerful emotions we're feeling.
Men And Women Express Anger Differently
Men may experience anger as a primary emotion because social conditioning has taught us that anger is appropriate for men to express in contexts, while it's quite often more difficult for difficult for men to communicate their emotions that lie beneath their anger, such as feeling sad, hurt, lonely or afraid.
Commonly us women experience the opposite, and express anger by crying about something that has "upset" or "hurt" us, when what we really are feeling underneath all that soft and fluffy girly emotive expression, is d*mn pissed off.
Anger Is A REAL Problem When:
- Your anger involves being verbally/emotionally/physically/psychologically abusive.
- Your anger outbursts occur frequently and don't go away easily.
- Those closest to you have concerns and or fears about your anger.
- Your anger is creating problems in your home/work/social life.
- You believe you need to become angry (either passively or aggressively) in order to get your way.
- Your temper is getting worse and you're done with acting this way.
- You drink, do drugs, have sex or binge eat to try to escape or deal with your feelings of anger.
- You find yourself taking your anger out on people you love the most and people you see as less powerful. (As opposed to managing your anger directly with the person or context that initially triggered your anger.)
So what do you need to do to fix your anger? Here are six ways to control your inner she-hulk:
1. Identify Your Triggers
Get to know exactly what situations trigger your anger and recognize all of the different ways your body gives your warning signals that you're angry. Write it all down, and make sure your list includes all of the little things, too.
If you know well beforehand what is going to make you feel anger, you are in a better position to either handle things or change your behavior when these situations arise in the future.
It's also important to recognize what happens to your body when start feeling anger: a pounding heart, flushed cheeks, tense jaw, chest tightened, teeth gritting, sweating, etc..
The quicker you can identify these warning signs in your body, the better equipped you will be to make yourself feel calm and relaxed before your anger escalates out of control.
2. Control Your Thoughts
When we replace our irrational thoughts with positive and rational ones, we'll feel better.
Replace those negative thoughts with something like, I'm completely furious with what's going on right now and it's totally reasonable for me to upset but what is happening, but it will all work out in the end.
Create a list of possible things that you will be able to say to yourself before, during and after possible situations that are likely to make you snap. This will help you to focus on how you're dealing with what's making you angry (as opposed to what someone else should or shouldn't be doing).
3. Have A Time Out
When feeling angry beyond control, step away from that specific environment or setting where the argument is taking place — leave the room or go for a run or go and do something else.
Before exiting that situation, though, it's important to actually schedule a specific time afterward to discuss what has occurred, when all involved have settled down.
How are you going to remain calm when you do return and address the issues with the people who frustrated you?
4. Distract Yourself
A brilliant way of managing your anger is to distract yourself from whatever it is that is making you feel anger. The mind is a very powerful tool and when you control your thoughts and choose what thoughts you will (or will not) entertain. As a result, you can control how you feel.
When you notice negative or angry thoughts formulating, stop them before they continue by switching to a new thought or a completely different activity to distract your mind from the anger.
Some experts suggest counting to 10, 50 or 100. Others recommend playing relaxation music, calling a loved one or investing your energy into work or study or exercise. Choose what works for you.
5. Just Relax
Do stretching, breathing, yoga, dancing and body movement to allow your physical body to release all that muscle tension and get your breathing back to its natural and relaxed rhythm.
6. Make Yourself Laugh
Use laughter as a tool to counteract any anger you're feeling. Laughter is the best medicine.
It sends lovely chemicals into your body to counteract the bad stress hormones and will have you'll feel better in no time!