It’s pretty clear that someone who smashes things and puts his fist through walls has an anger issue. But what about less obvious anger signs? How do you know when that anger is a problem?
Anger is a normal, natural response in human nature. That is actually part of the fight or flight response. What are the normal teenage responses to anger?
- Lashing out
These responses are really normal in human nature as long as they do not increase into rage or violence. However, if you regularly experience red flag anger issues, they may need to be addressed.
So what are these red flags anger issues? Let’s have a look at it
- Bullying others
- Verbal threats
- Destroying property
- Excessive arguing
- Getting into fights with others
- Getting irritated so fast
- Being cruel to people who can’t defend themselves
- Racing thoughts
- Assault on animals or people
If your anger goes beyond the normal reaction to outside stressors and if you exhibit the above anger issues, the logical next step is to seek help.
On the other hand, what about the not so obvious anger issues? If your anger issues are subtle, the symptoms also could be not so clear. So what are these not so clear signs?
We completed a study including 10 teens between the ages of 14-19. We discussed with them and observed them thoroughly when they experienced anger and noted down each one of their responses. Most of them are very clear and natural, but some of them are not so clear regarding their angry experiences.
Let’s take five simple examples and have a look at how and what kind of subtle feelings they had at the moment.
Jason (19) – Insulting comments
He makes regular comments about his girlfriend having another boyfriend. She doesn’t and he knows it. But he still jabs her with suggestions that she does have one. We believe that this condition does not help him with his anger management. Comments like this are a sign of subtle anger issues.
Sarah (15) – Withdrawal
“I usually withdraw” that’s what Sarah shared with us. According to her withdrawal is better than a fight-or-flight response. When we get hurt emotionally, our natural reaction is to flee or lash out. If we fight, our anger can be easily seen and if we withdraw the reason is usually hidden even if it’s there nonetheless.
Damon (14) – Want to get even
For Damon, revenge is another symptom of anger. Usually, if you are being hurt by someone, you may want that person to also feel the same source of the pain you feel. Wanting to feel similar pain is normal in human nature. However, Damon desires something more than that. He wants to take it up a notch or two and make it more like revenge and to get even.
Sandy (18) – Want to body slam her 7-year-old stepsister
We all fight, struggle and have problems with our siblings. We might physically fight, argue or even curse each other. That’s what siblings do. But for Sandy, it’s different. Sandy has a 7-year-old stepsister who is 11-years younger than her. Sandy easily gets irritated with her sister. She said she doesn’t have any specific reason and further, mentioned that her parents love her sister more than they love Sandy and Sandy has to share her stuff with her sister. She said when that happens she gets really angry at her and she wishes she could bodyslam her sister. On the other hand, we believe Sandy’s this feeling and anger comes from the slight jealousy she has towards her sister.
Hailey (16) – Can’t let it go
“I replay in my mind how I was wronged” What Hailey shared with us was different from other stories. She usually can’t easily let it go. She’s obsessing, reflecting and replaying in her mind how she was wronged and what she wishes she could do about it. Further, she stated that however, this behaviour affects her health in some negative ways. Such as, she has sleeping problems, she feels anxiety whenever she is angry, getting distracted and can’t focus on her school work and adding it to the list of wrongs she had in her mind and continuously blaming herself.
As you can see, the way of expressing anger is different from one to another. Even if it is obvious anger issues or not so obvious anger issues. How do you react when you feel angry? Are your responses fight-or-flight? Or subtle? Some of the warning signs might start when you are only a little irritated and others might start when you are furious. We suggest you take a few minutes and realize how you can cope with the anger you have.