Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why Are You So Angry?

Not long ago, I wrote a blog post about some of the social taboos attached to the expression of anger and I am not going to review them here. But I would like to talk about why people get angry or, rather, why some people are inclined to be angrier than others.

Angry people seem to have a combination of low levels of tolerance mixed with high levels of expectation. That is why temper tantrums are so common around the age of two: the terrible two-year old has zero tolerance and infinite energy. It is one frustration after another! The combination is similar for kids with ADHD. They usually have lightning-quick minds and feel thwarted by the slowness of the uncooperative world, beginning with themselves and their own limitations.

Angry people also tend to be idealistic and set their sights on outcomes that may be unreasonable. This leads to chronic anxiety. They stew, fretting over minor glitches that your average person dismisses without so much as a second thought. They may pace and cogitate, sit and cry, or wring their hands. Either way, they are pretty ineffectual problem-solvers and they know it.

Finally, angry people tend to be emotionally immature or naïve. They may fail to realistically anticipate the unfolding of a situation or their own reactions to it because they get overwhelmed by feelings that short-circuit logic. They seem not to know how to prevent a bad situation from getting worse or be able to walk away from a fight, even when it's a losing battle.

Angry people don't get a lot of sympathy from their friends and families. They possibly get the least amount of sympathy from their lovers who feel terrorized by their outbursts and may end up tip-toeing around their partners for fear of tripping a mine. But angry people are not mean people.

Hug an angry person today.

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