Frequently, when we talk about anger, we’re really talking about the emotional experience of an anger phenomenon. But with that, there are also certain action tendencies and behaviors that go along with it. Continue reading →
Anger management is important year round. I haven’t seen evidence that there has been more aggression or anger outbursts this year because of a harsh winter. But there are good reasons to suspect that could be the case as our nerves become frayed.
Hot temperatures are frequently thought of as putting us at risk for violence. But there is a great deal of scientific evidence that any environmental factor that makes us uncomfortable can lead to aggression. Certainly bitter cold temperatures can do just that.
Anger is often thought to precede aggression, and many times it does. But most of us do not realize that other emotions put us at risk for aggression too. There is ample scientific evidence that any negative emotion, e.g., anxiety, guilt, loneliness, etc. make the likelihood of aggression more likely. So a difficult winter that may lead to less social contact or make us more nervous because of driving conditions could certainly put us at risk for becoming aggressive.
Another predictor of aggression is frustration. In the social science literature frustration occurs when a goal is being blocked or a desired outcome is prevented from occurring. Big snowfalls can lead to just that. People are stuck in their homes or can’t get their cars out their driveways and are prevented from completing all kinds of goals. And it is easy to see how those situations can also lead to more and more negative emotions, putting us at greater risk of becoming aggressive.
Frequently, when we talk about anger, we’re really talking about the emotional experience of an anger phenomenon. But with that, there are also certain action tendencies and behaviors that go along with it. The most obvious, of course, are sorts of aggressive anger. And really aggression is the behavior that frequently accompanies anger. And it usually has an intention to harm another individual. So this could be very direct, in the form of physical assault, it could be in the form of property damage or something like that. There are also forms that are even more direct and might even be relational. Sometimes people talk about passive anger or passive aggression and things of that nature, where I might be spreading rumors about someone at work, or simply saying negative things about them behind their back. Again, I might expect that that’s going to eventually do them harm but it’s more passive or indirect and it’s not a specific physical threat.
Road rage erupts without anger management skills. John Berman of ABC News interviewed clinical psychologist, Dr. J. Ryan Fuller, about how anger and aggression can arise while driving and parking, and how the nervous system and evolutionary psychology may explain particular risk factors for road rage and other forms of violence.
New York City resident, Mr. Oscar Fuller, faces seven years in prison after punching a woman over a parking space. Typically violence related to automobiles is known as road rage and stems from driving behaviors.
This recent tragedy erupted after a woman was standing in a parking space and saving it for her boyfriend. This resulted in Oscar Fuller punching her and she is now in a coma.
Anger Management Therapy to Prevent Murder and Suicide
We may really be taking the concept of anger management too lightly—as merely a subject for movies or, at worst, a class that aggressive drivers are required to attend. But anger can have a really dark side, and data that have just been released by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention illustrate the consequences of anger, when it is not addressed. The main finding of this first systematic, in-depth study of murder and suicide in our society is that people’s personal conflicts make up the chief factor leading to these deaths. It’s not all about random acts of violence. What the CDC found was that interpersonal and relationship problems, especially between intimate partners or family members—usually complicated by mental heath conditions and or substance use problems—were behind many of the deaths. And the bad news is that these findings seem to reflect trends in our society.
Anger Management Skills as Violence Prevention
The study suggests that perhaps we should be putting a lot more effort into providing people the knowledge and skills to handle the personal conflicts in their lives, so that anger doesn’t continue to build and then finally explode into violence with horrific results.