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Types of Anger and How it Can Affect Your Sobriety

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angry man

Anger can be a very difficult emotion for those in recovery. Unmanaged anger can strain relationships, cause unhappiness, and even lead to relapse. Some people with severe anger problems used substances to self-medicate, so in sobriety, new coping skills must be learned to manage anger in a healthy way. Meditation, exercise, and talk therapy are all extremely effective at managing anger. Even stopping to take deep breaths and removing yourself from a situation can make a huge difference. If you weren’t aware, there are many types of anger. Different types of anger will require different types of management strategies. Here are some different types of anger:

  1. Behavioral Anger

This is one of the most destructive types of anger. Behavioral anger is expressed physically and aggressively, often involving breaking objects or assaulting another person. Behavioral anger will make you feel so overwhelmed with emotion that you lash out in rage. It may result in legal or interpersonal consequences. Behavioral anger is likely to destroy relationships. The best way to avoid behavioral anger is to remove yourself from the situation and take deep breaths. Really try to think before making an impulsive decision. Consider the consequences of reacting physically.   

  1. Chronic Anger

Chronic anger is one of the most likely types of anger to lead to relapse. It is an ongoing, generalized resentment of other people, frustration with certain circumstances, and anger towards oneself. Left unmanaged, a person may begin to self-medicate. Chronic anger can lead to deep depression. In the book Alcoholic Anonymous, it says “Resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.” Practicing forgiveness and present moment awareness can help with managing this type of anger. Meditation and talk therapy can be most useful.

  1. Judgmental Anger

Judgmental anger is caused when one feels morally superior to others. It can alienate you from making friends and strain relationships. This type of anger is triggered by the perceived shortcomings of others. You might be quick to judge people and immediate label them as “bad” or “dumb.” To avoid this type of anger, try to look from the other person’s perspectives. Really try to examine a situation before coming to a conclusion. Judgmental anger can prevent you from being useful to others and having a rewarding recovery.

  1. Overwhelmed Anger

Overwhelmed anger usually occurs in stressful situations or when we have taken on too big of a workload. It usually occurs when we feel that a situation or circumstances are beyond our control, resulting in feelings of hopelessness and frustration. It can also occur when several unfortunate life events all happen at once. When experiencing overwhelmed anger, tell the people close to you and reach out for help, whether it be babysitting or running errands. Rather than bottling in the emotion, let others help alleviate your stress. Tell your employers, so they can help alleviate your workload.

angry woman

  1. Passive-Aggressive Anger

Passive-aggressive anger can severely strain relationships. It is characterized by the avoidance of confrontation and expressed through sarcasm or deceitful acts. It can also be characterized by procrastination at work or by mocking others. It can be hurtful, and often others do perceive your aggressive behavior even if you think it’s sneaky. To avoid passive-aggressive anger, learn assertive communication techniques. Try to articulate your frustration with others so that problems can be solved.  

  1. Retaliatory Anger

Retaliatory anger is one of the most common forms of anger. It is used to “get back” at someone who has done you wrong. We can often rationalize this type of anger but it still often hurts others and escalates situations. Instead of retaliating, try to learn the power of forgiveness. Take the high road rather than take an “eye for an eye.” Forgiveness can be much more rewarding than revenge. If a person has seriously hurt you, perhaps try to communicate this to them so that the situation can be made right. Your respectful response to them might change their attitude completely.

  1. Self-Abusive Anger

This is one of the most dangerous types of anger for those in sobriety. It results from feelings of helplessness, unworthiness, shame, or shame. It then manifests into negative self-talk, self-harm, substance abuse, or eating disorders. For this type of anger, meditation and talk therapy can be most useful. If you are having feelings of self-abusive anger, always reach out for help. This type of anger can be extremely destructive and can easily lead to relapse.

  1. Assertive Anger

Assertive Anger is the most constructive type of anger. It can be used as a way to cope with other types of anger. You use feelings of frustration or rage as a catalyst to positive change. Rather than avoiding confrontation, internalizing anger, or resorting to verbal insults and physical outbursts, you express your anger in ways that create change in the world around you. This is the best way to channel your feelings of anger without hurting yourself or others.

How Pinnacle Can Help

One of the most effective ways to beat addiction is to start recovery at an addiction treatment center. Pinnacle Treatment Center is a comprehensive program that addresses the root causes of addiction and how to overcome it. Pinnacle provides intensive therapy along with lectures and exercises for life skills and relapse prevention. Patients will be involved in group therapy sessions as well as 12-step groups like NA and AA. Pinnacle will even help manage aftercare planning to ensure their patients remain on the right path after treatment. A well-rounded program like this is the best way to start recovery today and take control of your life. Call us today at 1-866-301-0573.

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