Help, I live with someone who has anger issues!
We all know people who express their anger loudly and aggressively. They think that’s the best way to handle it and society as a whole has supported that notion. ‘Let it all hang out’ was the treatment of choice for angry feelings since the olden days and it seems we’ve been stuck there. Until now.
Recent research insists that a more regulated expression of anger is best. Dr. Jeffrey Lohr, a psychologist at the University of Arkansas explained this to an incredulous NPR reporter:
“The more you get angry, the angrier you get. And, so, researchers across the nation are now on a campaign to recast our view of anger expression. Sadly [!], even screaming is now out of vogue because arousal just increases your arousal. So no more screaming at your family.”
“Now, to be clear, Lohr isn't pro-repression. Repression, he says, can also be bad for you. The key is to speak out your anger without getting emotional about it. Basically, we're not supposed to yell at anyone anymore. In fact, Lohr claims the immediate sense of release we get after screaming or breaking plates is an illusion.”
Therefore you would think that asking your loved one to express their anger more reasonably is a good thing. But what if they don’t buy it and go on screaming anyway?
Whenever we have relationship problems we think: “If only he/she would do thus and such, everything would be great.” Not likely to happen. Our power to change anyone but ourselves is teeny-weeny. So we get frustrated, maybe even angry, and the stress and tension in the relationship gets even worse.
What we do have power over is how we respond to anger expression and how we understand it. So here we go…