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As a psychologist, my interest in anger in women grew when I noticed resentful behaviour patterns, self-defeating behaviours and tied up blocked emotions. Touching upon anger issues further reflected and highlighted the dynamics of unhealthy behaviours and relationships.
Anger is often just the cover, shielding a pain inside.
Anger in women has never really been appreciated and mostly been frowned upon. Anecdotal evidence recorded by social psychologists also suggests that angry, arrogant men are considered strong and forceful; however an angry woman is often dismissed as being paranoid.
Trying to suppress irritation and anger; young girls internalise a whole bunch of feelings, and as grown women, get entangled in a sea of emotions.
The shrill wife, the crazy-always-annoyed girlfriend, the arrogant lady boss, the tensed mother, the displeased singleton – Today we have these stereotypical images of women who seem angry and irritated almost always. Although, now a part of a more liberal society, we still manage to neglect our feelings, letting them simmer, hence exploding unduly. Resentment, constant cribbing, being hostile and loathing, women show anger on a low boil. Being hurtful towards others, women resort to criticising others, being sarcastic and being emotionally cold towards others which are also expressions of being very angry, just on the inside.
Many psychologists describe depression in women as ‘anger turned inwards’. The inability to understand, deal and express themselves can be frustrating. Anger is often a facade covering various emotions – the ‘surface’ emotion. It is a means for protecting the personality, like an easy defence mechanism. Its easier to get angry, resentful and then shout; other than unclogging feelings.
Its like self medication! Un-kept promises, unfulfilled expectations, feelings of hurt and pain – they make us vulnerable. Hence it’s easier and empowering to get angry!
But there is something we forget!
Anger is natural. And it is potent. Men or women; everyone gets angry. We get angry with situations, we disagree with. These situations have a tendency to fume emotional misbalances and are difficult to cope up with. We have expectations from people who might not be able to fulfil them, making us angry. It is a way of expressing ourselves; a vent out our frustration. Anger stems from a feeling of injustice. When we don’t get what we deserve – that’s when anger starts to build up.
Truth be told: It is the expression of anger that is a matter of concern.
Dysfunctional anger which is expressed inappropriately, affects women physically and mentally. Physical anger is said to affect heart rate, blood pressure, causing excessive amounts of stress in the body. It can take aggressive and violent forms. Anger and irritability can be seen in the form of frequent loss of temper over small issues; frequent bickering, fighting with friends, acquaintances and family members – it affects people around us and mostly our relationships. Bouts of anger and displeasure are met with a lot of resistance. And most importantly it affects one’s quality of life.
Buddha says “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”. It takes away the peace of mind, leaving us dissatisfied and often lonely.
Anger is not a conscious act. It is a reaction! We react to things, people, situations, unfulfilled desires. It is natural, yet very harmful! What do we do in such situations?
More often than not, anger is the outburst when one is unable to put a lid on all the things stirring inside. Acknowledge that in some situation, that it is perfectly all right to get angry. You don’t have to fight or avoid; but need to know that it is a state of our mind.
Acknowledge it, express it, understand it, resolve it!
When in a tight spot – take time off. You have the right to excuse yourself, get a hold of your emotions, take a few deep breaths and calm down.
Once calm – COMMUNICATE! It is key to resolve why you got angry. Talk about how you felt and why you felt it. Talking always helps! Communication is speaking, listening and most importantly understanding! Understand yourself and others too.
Keeping a check on ourselves, our feelings on a daily basis helps in keeping a tab on the stress levels. Also, what I find helpful on regular basis is exercising and healthy eating – keeping the anxieties worked out. Exercise lifts up your mood by releasing the ‘happy hormones’. Good food keeps the system going. I often see women dieting and starving, making them feel ‘hangry’ (angry because you are hungry).
Be patient, be mindful and take it easy!
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