The Three Faces of Unrefined Anger (#2)

Second of a three-part series.

In his book, “The Anger Trap: Free Yourself From the Frustrations That Sabotage Your Life,” Dr. Carter identifies three categories of behavior from adults trapped in their unproductive use of anger: suppression of anger, openly aggressive anger, and passive-aggressive anger. In part two of this series we’ll look at openly aggressive anger (OAA).

OAA is a tactic common to both young children and adults who haven’t learned appropriate methods for self-preservation and conflict resolution. These individuals lack self-control and ignore the needs of others in their efforts to right a wrong. The difference is children are excused for their shortsightedness; adults should know better.

Adults who tend toward impulsive outbursts do so because this was the behavior modeled to them by parents, siblings and peers. People who aggressively communicate their anger are often motivated by the belief that others cannot willingly digest their message. OAA is a method that force-feeds their ideas and diminishes the possibility they might not be heard.

As noted in The Anger Trap, OAA can show up in many ways:

  • Loud and forceful communication that allows little room for separate ideas
  • Being blunt and opinionated
  • Becoming involved in bickering and snippy communication
  • Complaining and griping
  • Using curse words and insulting speech
  • Physical expression of intimidation, such as pushing, hitting, or throwing things
  • Blaming and accusing others
  • Interrupting others in conversation, refusing to listen
  • Repeating oneself to emphasize a point; insisting on having the last word
  • Being critical or generally pessimistic
  • Giving advice that others do not want
  • Reacting to others’ thoughts defensively, or rebutting them

Aggressive adults perpetuate their own inadequate anger managements skills by assuming issues are resolved once they’ve vented and met their need for self-preservation. In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The use of abrasive and demeaning techniques only makes it harder for others to receive, or understand, the message; plus, any response or defense from others is met with greater force to make their point. Ultimately, aggressive adults often produce compliance from others, but not without a building of bitterness and resentment.

Does this sound like anybody you know?

Now’s the time to evaluate your anger management habits and make some healthy choices and changes to help you deal with your anger, rather than letting it deal with you.