- Is Anger an emotion or a reaction?
- Is it true that men get angry more often than women? (or do they express anger differently?)
All people have the impulse to get angry, yet some people seem to be more sensitive to triggers than others. Especially anger in relationship can cause much damage to the relationship.
Anger is a built-in reaction to feeling powerless. Feeling as if there is nothing you can do or say that would make the situation work, the way you know it should. At this point, anger is still an internal trigger.
Anger is often followed by the (implied) threat of aggressive behaviour - also known as 'getting angry'.
Anger and irritability may cause similar behaviours but they are caused differently.
Being angry is the coercive behaviours that born from a feeling of powerlessness.
While various people experience anger in a very similar way, they express their anger differently.
(Their weapons of choice can be very different)
When we're faced with a situation that seems to have run out of no options for solutions, or when our brain simply runs out of short-term capacity, our amygdala tells our brain to go into survival mode.
This is known as a "limbic hijack".
The limbic hijack is caused by a physiological process, triggered from a psychological realization that you've run out of potential solutions - this realization is akin to feeling in danger.
Regardless whether the danger is real or perceived, our brain responds as if it's real danger we have to respond to and hijacks part of cognitive functioning. This hijack can and often does override reasoning and consequence.
Approaching anger from an evolutionary psychology angle is, in my opinion, the most effective way to deal with anger effectively and permanently.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or willpower are unlikely to result in permanent change. I have better success with clients who are willing to go a little deeper - and learn their basic responses of at a limbic-brain level to rein-in their anger.
In my experience, attempting to override anger with willpower is likely to result in more frustration and force, and NOT in overcoming the anger problems at the core. Focusing on the root causes of anger is all you really need to drive results and become effective in your life.
Healing anger is possible with the right approach.