by Marty Brenner
Anger is a natural and normal response to pain. Anger, when used properly, is a momentary and explosive reaction to mortal danger. Poorly utilized, anger is toxic to your system, causing a myriad of complications, including emotional trauma and negative thought patterns. Unresolved and chronic anger leads to substance abuse, physical aggression, problems in your relationships, attempted suicide and suicide.
Anger gives you the emotional and physical strength to overcome your enemy and protect yourself from danger during mortal combat. Scientists sometimes describe anger as a sword and shield, used both offensively and defensively during battle. The anger shield deflects your opponent’s blows while you gore him with your anger sword. Your anger shield may be too protective – it also holds your emotions in. The sword is a dangerous weapon. When you point the sword outward, and can swing it with power and accuracy, you can inflict catastrophic damage onto your enemy. Poorly managed, your anger sword can injure innocent bystanders. Pointed inward, your anger sword can kill you.
Society programs us to believe anger is bad. Angry men are predatory and angry women are bitchy. You were taught to repress your anger when you were a child – your expression of anger was called a temper tantrum when you were in your “terrible twos” or a “hormonal outburst” as a teenager. Expressing your anger is taboo and, when your frustration does eventually bubble out, you may feel an overwhelming sense of shame or guilt. This is especially true if your emotional eruption was in public or turned violent. In this sense, guilt and shame are a complication of anger.
Angry thoughts replace productive thoughts. Anger complicates and disrupts reasonable thought patterns. For example, a woman is so angry with her babysitter that she can hardly think straight. The mother stews about the issue while driving home and blasts through a red light, narrowly avoiding an accident. Your anger shield prevented you from releasing your emotions, and you find your thoughts “trapped in the moment.” You cannot get around your own shield to move on with your day. Anger diminishes your cognitive abilities and complicates your daily living.
Anger destroys relationships. A wife grows afraid of her irate husband, a hostile boss decreases work productivity and a child’s performance in school suffers at the hand of a schoolyard bully. Waves from a pebble of anger ripple outwards in calm waters; the hostile boss frustrates the employee who then abuses his wife in front of his child who learns that bullying other kids is okay. This ripple effect is especially true in intimate relationships, where close quarters magnify emotional outbursts. Anger complicates your work, family and social relationships.
Anger is especially dangerous to relationships when anger turns violent. There is probably no better way to betray trust in a relationship than committing a violent act of anger. You betray the trust of friends, lovers, co-workers and family members when you hurt then in a violent rage. Anger puts the fight in the fight-or-flight response; anger causes a cascade of chemical reactions that give your muscles brief, explosive power. When you are furious, your body is compelled to take physical action to move you from a place of danger to a safe place. Anger makes you want to hit things and hurt people as a way to protect yourself. Physical attacks are one of the most devastating complications of anger.
Alcohol and drug abuse blur the lines between reason and hostility – when anger turns violent, drugs and alcohol prevent your ability to contain the physical punishment you inflict upon your target. You may self-medicate by taking drugs or alcohol to dull the pain. Despite your best efforts to blunt your misery, you awaken from your stupor to learn you have inflicted You end up hurting them much more than you had intended; you might even hurt more people than you wanted to because drugs and alcohol clouded your reason. You are surprised when you wake up the next morning to find everyone angry with you. Substance abuse exacerbates your problems with other people – drugs and booze never clarify things.
Anger takes a physical toll. Anger raises your pulse and blood pressure, and tenses your muscles to prepare your body for battle. Nature intended you to use anger only a few times in your life – when you are in mortal danger. The human body is not equipped to attain this high level of alert daily, nor can your body deal with a steady diet of anger. Research has shown angry people suffer twice the risk of coronary artery disease and three times as many heart attacks as non-angry people. Furthermore, angry people tend to suffer hypertension and migraine headaches more frequently. Scientists note that anger depresses your immune system, leaving you susceptible to viral infections and other medical illnesses.
Chronic anger changes your healthy eating and exercise patterns – you lose your appetite when you are angry. Additionally, anger causes you to lose patience in small but important tasks like cooking balanced meals and going to the gym. Angry people tend to overeat and gain weight. Ironically, proper nutrition and physical activity can break the cycle of chronic and habitual anger. Anger makes you avoid those things that reduce anger.
Anger may destroy your sense of well-being by filling you with regret and ill-will against those whom you love the most. It is difficult to judge just how powerful your sword is- you might just kill someone you love or die from a self-inflicted wound when you lose control of the poison tip of your sword. You may plunge the anger-sword into your own heart and commit suicide. Anger is a reaction to pain; chronic and overwhelming pain can be fatal. You may contemplate killing yourself to relieve the pain, especially if you feel shame and guilt for the acts you committed while enraged.
Marty has been providing guidance and counseling for the last 20 years to a wide and diverse range of people.
Individuals challenged with various addictions including but not limited to – substance abuse, alcohol, and anger.
Marty is a certified chemical dependency counselor and anger management facilitator.
Affectionately known as “Marty”, he has positively influenced and helped reshape the lives of many people in recovery, ranging from ex-cons to his high profile clients in the Delray Beach, Florida.
Marty is an excellent resource with in-depth knowledge of all of the current trends in the substance abuse and mental health treatment fields, as well as individual options for successful recovery outcomes.
Today, residential facilities simply aren’t an option for many clients with busy work schedules and travel conflicts, which is why Marty tailors programs to meet the needs of these clients, whether it be in his office or a location of their choosing.
His approach is casual and non-threatening. Marty is very kind and caring.
As you know, it is difficult to convince clients that anger management or substance abuse treatment is critical. Career commitments, privacy, reputation and other concerns may conflict in making treatment the priority it should be.
It is Marty’s primary goal to help people rebuild lives using tried and true techniques.
- Anger and Relationships General Overview and Differences
- Anger Complications
- Anger in the Workplace
- Anger Styles