What are the signs of anger issues?
Everyone experiences anger differently, meaning that the symptoms of anger issues vary for each person. More generally, the signs of anger issues are recognised to range from physical, emotional, and behavioural symptoms. Here is a breakdown of each:
• Feeling hot
• Feeling dizzy
• Tension in your muscles
• Clenching your fists
• Clenching your teeth
• Sweating more
• A faster heartbeat
• A tightness in your chest
• A tingling sensation in your hands, feet, and/or face
• Feeling irritated
• Feeling nervous or anxious
• Feeling stressed or overwhelmed
• Feeling a sense of rage
• Feeling like you are unable to relax
• Feeling resentful towards other people
• Shouting at other people
• Picking fights with other people
• Ignoring other people
• Breaking things
You might also be experiencing issues with anger if you feel like your anger is out of control or is hurting others around you. You might notice that your anger is starting to affect your relationships, or that your anger is causing you to say or do things that you regret later on.
It’s also important to remember that not everyone who feels angry will act out in an aggressive manner. Similarly, people who display aggressive behaviour may be doing so out of fear rather than anger.
We all feel angry on occasion, but if you experience these symptoms often or the symptoms feel particularly severe then it’s important to seek help and support.
If you’re unsure about your symptoms, the NHS offers a free online mood assessment for over-16s that can help you to better understand how you have been feeling recently.
What causes anger issues?
Anger is often linked to how we interpret or react to particular situations. This could be when we feel attacked, frustrated, misunderstood, disrespected, or unfairly treated.
Everyone will interpret or react to situations differently, and what makes you angry might not bring out the same emotional response in someone else. How you interpret or react to a situation can be influenced by many factors such as your past experiences, current circumstances, or how you were brought up.
It’s important to remember that even if you interpret a situation differently from someone else, it doesn’t mean you are automatically wrong to feel angry if others aren’t.
Whether your interpretation or reaction is influenced by the past, the present, or your upbringing, it’s important to be able to acknowledge the cause of your anger and develop positive strategies to stop anger getting out of hand.
Here are further examples of some causes of anger issues that may help you to identify the root of your own feelings:
If you haven’t been allowed to safely express or acknowledge anger in the past, this can lead to difficulties in the present. This past anger may be the result of an experience like bullying, abuse, or other trauma.
You might find certain situations particularly difficult because of these past experiences, or you may be more likely to become angry when faced with similar situations in the present. You might also be holding onto anger from the past that has been suppressed for a long period and then suddenly comes to the surface.
Anger can arise if you are currently experiencing a particularly difficult life challenge or lots of smaller problems that are beginning to pile up. This could be stress at work, grieving a loved one, a relationship breakdown, financial issues, or something else significant.
You might find yourself feeling more angry than usual or becoming angry at unrelated issues. If you feel unable to find a resolution to a difficult situation or unable to express your anger fully, then your anger may boil over at other times.
Your anger could also be a symptom of another mental health difficulty, such as addiction or a personality disorder.
Childhood and Upbringing
Many of us learn how to cope with emotions like anger at a young age, with these lessons largely influenced by the circumstances of our upbringing. However, you might have been given mixed messages about how to handle anger as a child which have now led to issues with anger in the present.
You may have been taught to not “make a fuss” or complain as a child, being punished for expressing anger. This can result in anger being bottled up or suppressed for a long time, leaving you unable to release anger in a healthy manner later on.
You might have witnessed your parents or other adults expressing uncontrolled anger, thus teaching you to associate anger with fear or violence. This could lead to you struggling to express anger as an adult out of fear of your own emotional response.
Some of us may have also been taught that violent or aggressive outbursts of anger are acceptable from an early age, meaning that you are unable to healthily express anger as an adult. This could result in you unleashing explosive anger when triggered by specific situations, resulting in difficulties maintaining relationships or employment.