Just like all other emotions, anger is a feeling that all of us feel from time to time. It is a universal human phenomenon and is as basic as feeling tired, hungry, or lonely. Anger can even be a good emotion to release pain, make you feel safe, and it is a good motivator.
There are many reasons why we feel angry and in a lot of instances, anger is sometimes only the outward, direct emotion for issues that are much deeper and complex. Just feeling angry doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. Anger is a perfectly healthy emotion that needs to be acknowledged in order to be processed.
Some people confuse anger with aggression. But these two are completely different things. Aggression is a behavior, also known as aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior can cause physical, verbal, emotional harm and hurt to others. It usually comes as a direct response to feelings of anger, but unlike an angry emotion or feeling, aggression is a behavior that you choose and can control.
Aggression can be in the form of physical abuse, verbal or emotional abuse, or doing harm to another person’s property. Due to the harm or hurt that most aggressive behavior causes, it violates social boundaries and can further ruin or break relationships. Aggression is a rather unhealthy way of responding to your anger, and several factors can cause or lead to it.
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Causes of Aggression
When people exhibit aggressive behavior, they are usually feeling angry, restless, impulsive, and irritable. Aggressive behavior can likely be a direct response to negative experiences as well.
Apart from anger and negative experiences, aggression can also be caused by the following factors.
- Physical Health
- Mental Health Conditions
- Pressure from Work or School
- Nature of Family Dynamics / Relationships
- Socio-economic Factors
- Personal Experiences
Certain conditions to a person’s physical health can limit their ability to control aggression such as:
- Brain damage resulting from stroke
- Brain / head injury
- Specific infections / illnesses
Aggressive behavior is also more common amongst people with certain mental health disorders / conditions:
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Bipolar Disorder
- PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Some health conditions contribute to aggressive behavior due to the patient’s inability to process and respond normally. But aggression is still common amongst normal individuals who simply choose to act on their anger violently.
Signs of Anger and Aggressive Behavior
Anger is a normal and healthy emotion, but in instances where it becomes uncontrollable and the person chooses to inflict harm or violence to self or others, it can pose a great risk to both wellbeing and relationships.
Here are the signs to look out for if anger and aggression have been getting out of hand.
- Being physically violent when angry
- Threatening violence to other people and their property
- Inability to control one’s anger
- Becoming angry / violent after consuming alcohol
- Inability to compromise without getting angry
- Inability to express one’s emotions calmly / without getting angry
- A cycle of bad behavior that affects your relationships and social life
- Feeling that you have to hide or hold your anger inside
- A tendency to isolate and self-harm
- Staying away from situations because you’re worried about your outbursts
- Ignoring other people / refusing to speak with anyone
- Feeling compelled to be reckless because of uncontrollable emotions.
It’s important to deal with feelings of anger and to be able to hold it together to keep yourself from doing something hurtful to yourself or others, or damaging property in a fit of rage. These aren’t obviously the healthiest ways to deal with anger and aggression.
Being unable to healthily deal with anger and aggression can escalate to something much worse and unimaginable sooner or later, such as inflicting harm, causing violence, or committing a crime at the very worst. The sooner you suspect any problem, it’s important for you to seek medical or professional help while you can.
Anger and aggression rarely happen without any underlying reason or a deeper issue behind them. Identifying the reasons and causes may be the key to prevent it from causing you undue harm.
“The goal isn’t to never feel angry. The goal is to understand your anger and to choose healthy ways to respond to it.” – anonymous