Humans are very emotional animals, With our moments of positive and negative emotions, necessary to adapt to the world around us.
Sadness, joy, anger, disgust and other emotions and feelings are necessary to be able to adapt to the demands of our social environment and cope with everyday life.
Anger is as necessary an emotion as any, but sometimes when it arises uncontrollably and all too often it is when the need to seek help and think about the consequences in our immediate environment needs to be raised.
Here we will discuss what anger attacks are., What are their common causes and we will explain some useful techniques to master them.
What are temper tantrums?
These are episodes of anger in which the person reacts suddenly and violently to something that bothered them, Like an injustice, a personal offense or a situation that bothers you. The difference to normal and adaptive anger is that the person can lose control of themselves, throwing things, yelling and hitting both furniture and people.
Considering the severity and violence exhibited by the person possessed by the attack, this behavior is clearly socially undesirable behavior. Outraged, the environment itself can provide feedbackAs the people who are nearby can contribute to more stress and can even be infected with the temper tantrum.
Behind domestic incidents, household brawls and other tense situations, it is common to find that the fuse was ignited by an angry attack from one of the people involved, prompting others to behave just as violently.
In addition to family life and relationships with friends, people who frequently suffer from temper tantrums they can see their professional life ruined when they experience one of these episodes in the workplace. Problems can also arise with the authorities, in the event of a fight with a police officer or when trying to assault someone in the street.
A common characteristic of people with temper tantrums is that after going through one of these episodes, they deeply regret what they did, but the harm has already been caused.
The causes that can produce an anger attack are very varied. Some situations that can produce these episodes are when you are at the end of your patience with gross negligence or a personal offense that cannot be abandoned.
It can also happen when life with loved ones such as parents, siblings and partner is not given properly, does not do household chores, has overprotection and undue control over members’ lives. family, among other things that can cause stress and start an incident at home.
Special mention should be made of certain disorders in which temper tantrums can occur: bipolar disorder, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, alcoholism… in addition to illnesses that may seem unrelated to emotional instability, such as diabetes mellitus, cirrhosis, hepatitis, epilepsy, abuse of benzodiazepines, hormones, steroids, anabolics and cholesterol lowering drugs.
Substance abuse needs to be addressed as it is common in all episodes of excessive anger as it directly affects brain chemistry.
Techniques to control our anger
Here are some helpful techniques to ward off anger attacks and prevent their damaging effects on our lives, relationships, and health.
1. Learn to express yourself emotionally
One key to preventing anger from taking over us is to try to name what is happening to us. We may have experienced a situation that we find unpleasant, however we didn’t say how it made us feel.
It is very important to talk to the person who is involved in the bad thing that has happened to us, whether they are the cause of the illness or someone who may have been with us with the problematic situation.
Speaking out helps us understand the problem more deeply, because it forces us to think about it. Plus, it encourages the listener to empathize with us and be more understanding with our feelings.
This way, potential anger attack turns into self-reflection, In understanding what is happening to us, in empathy and possibly in a better knowledge of oneself which will give us joy and satisfaction.
2. Change emotional language
Many times at the start of what will later be an outburst of anger the angry person says things like “you always tell me bad things”, “treat me like garbage”, “never listen to me” …
Instead of saying it with these words, and using a hostile tone, we try to translate it into a more positive language.
By lowering the tone and trying to avoid increasing the tension, we can express the same ideas like, “I think the way you treat me makes me feel in a way that I don’t want”, angry because I feel like you never listen to me, or at least not like I would ”…
These sentences say, in essence, the same as the first, only that the tone in them changes in a way that makes them softer, In addition to detailing what we feel without resorting to bad words or generating tension.
3. Be empathetic
This maxim, which may seem obvious, is in practice very little used. Being empathetic is putting yourself in the other’s shoes and try to understand why he said something to us that bothered us.
The person may be having a bad time and found it necessary to say something a little unpleasant to release some of their emotional discomfort. We must try to make the effort to understand what is going on.
If you can, ask the other person how they are feeling, if they need help, and if they would rather you put the topic you are discussing aside to resolve their problem. like that, in addition to easing the situation, you will encourage positive feelings to flow.
4. It’s not a battle
Whether it’s your partner, your friend, your boss, or anyone else, just because they feel and think differently from you and perceive the situation differently doesn’t mean that they attack you.
We humans are very diverse and we hardly ever agreed on the same thing. There are as many opinions as there are people in the world, and it is for this reason that we must make an effort to prevent a misunderstanding from turning into a real erected war.
Sharing your thoughts and thoughts can turn into something really positive as it helps us have a richer view of the world around us.
5. Improves active listening
How many times have we ever talked to someone and what was going in one ear came out in the other? When this happens to us it is a very frustrating thing because we feel despised and that we are not taken seriously.
It is very important that in case someone tells us about their problems, we actively listen to them, that is, trying to understand and remember what they are telling us, asking them how he feels and, if possible, explaining to him little of our lives that are linked to what you share with us.
If we listen to her, she will also when we share our feelings. Many conflicts are the result of people inability to speak or listen to each other, which leads to terrible misunderstandings.
6. Be aware of the consequences
Stop dry before you say something mean. Breathe. Think about the way all of which could escalate. You have already experienced it, what happened? How did it end? Are you happy with the situation right now?
It is very important to be aware of how the escalation of tension will develop.. If you have experienced this before and therefore have had temper tantrums before, it is very important to think about how it all ended.
It might seem obvious, but remembering what happened in the previous anger attack can be a useful technique in stopping the current impending attack. We therefore avoid going any further.
- Damasio, A. (2014). In Search of Spinoza: Neurobiology of Emotion and Feelings. Barcelona: Booket.
- Salmurri, F. (2015). Reason and Emotion: Resources for Learning and Teaching Reflection. Barcelona: RBA.