Is anger normal? Absolutely! Everyone feels angry. It’s what we do with the feeling of anger that matters. Per George Anderson, LCSW, anger is a normal human emotion. In fact, anger is one of the first indications that a person may feel emotionally injured. It is important to note that anger is a secondary emotion that exists to protect people from feeling the more vulnerable emotions such as hurt, loss, grief, fear, offended, attacked, frightened, lonely or sad. This is not an uncommon response, often initiated by our psyche during times of stress in response to the more sensitive feelings.
Aside from emotional protection, anger can instill motivation and energy that often produce positive outcomes. Some examples of the positive uses of anger were observed during Martin Luther King’s struggles to end discrimination in America, and Nelson Mandela whose struggle against South Africa mobilized most of the world against his adversaries, and Rosa Parks whose anger was the source of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Another example of a positive outcome as a result of anger is that of Mahatma Gandhi, whose anger and resulting passive resistance stance against England occurred in direct response to Britain’s domination of India.
However, anger also has very negative connotations, and when out of control is often associated with unhealthy and abusive aspects of the human condition. Anger maybe considered a problem when it is too intense, occurs too frequently, is harmful to self or others, lasts too long or leads to aggression. Unfortunately, as the economy continues to struggle and the cost of living remains sky high; incidents of unhealthy anger and aggression have increased ten fold worldwide. This increase is visible across all sectors of our society including government, politics, professional sports, business, education, and medicine.
If you or someone you love is experiencing unhealthy levels of anger or aggression, their emotional intelligence may no longer be effectively managed at the individual or family level, and may require voluntary and mandated training in stress management, anger management, communication and impulse control.
For more information about managing stressful emotions, please visit our website at www.nvamc.com, or call us at 1-888-992-6479.