Anger takes many forms

Now that we’ve considered the benefits of anger (its “good-ness”), it would behoove us to reflect on the types of anger (or the different ways anger is expressed) so that we can identify it in all its shapes and sizes.  Anger can take so many forms that we don’t always recognize it at times, whether it’s our anger or someone else’s.  At times, we can even get the sense that “something just isn’t quite right” but we can’t always put our finger on just what is causing us discomfort.

It can be helpful to distinguish between two types of anger: the anger that is typically more observable and obvious, and the anger that is typically more covert and harder to identify.The first type of anger could be best understood by considering a bull.  A bull is strong, explosive, and sometimes violent.  Bulls can cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time (e.g. punching holes in walls or driving aggressively).  At it’s core, the bull’s explosiveness is an attempt at self-protection.

The second type of anger, while it can be just as dangerous, appears less threatening.  It could be best described as a pill bug (or a “Roly Poly” bug).  Pill bugs have a relatively hard armor and at the first sign of danger they roll up into a pill to protect themselves.  Unlike the bull, the pill bug usually does not cause any external damage (at least at first glance), but rather takes passive-aggressive measures like withdrawing or deflecting with humor.  As a child, I used to love trying to open these little bugs up (perhaps that says something about why I chose the profession I did).

Odds are all of us have traits of both, even if we gravitate toward one type of anger over the other.  Here is a list of ways that anger can rear its head.  You may be surprised by some of these.

Bull (aggressive): Yelling, Violence, Cursing, Name-calling / Put-downs, Breaking the law, Coercion

Pill Bug (passive-aggressive): Silent treatment, Stone-walling, Cursing, Gossip, Sarcasm, Revenge-seeking behaviors

This list is not exhaustive and you are probably able to think of more.  As you saw in David’s most recent blog post, anger has benefits (it protects us, brings vibrancy to our lives, signifies passion, etc).  However, by looking at the above list it is easy to see how our expressions of anger can cause us problems.  If you noticed any of these forms of anger emerging in your life and would like to make some changes, counselors at CarePoint are available to help.  Thanks for reading!

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