Why might some people reap benefits from their anger?
Anger Payoffs: Our inner rewards for losing our temper:
Believe it or not…..some people can become addicted to Anger. There are Anger perks. Because of this, we can get so we rely on our anger to give us these benefits. These “Anger Payoffs” may prevent us from really trying to get our anger under control. Anger can become a friend that we rely on for relief just like some people use food, alcohol, smoking, drugs gambling, sex or shopping. When things give us relief, we are less likely to want really to give them up. Let’s look at some basic “anger payoffs“ and you can see if your anger gives you any of these advantages or others that may not be mentioned.
Anger can blow off steam:
Anger can relieve stress. Stress comes from all kinds of sources. Worry, frustration, unmet needs, relationship problems, financial worries, physical discomfort, work pressures, raising children, loss, deadlines are just some of the things that can give us worry. Stress creates tension. Tension can build and build until you feel like you are going to explode. Anger allows us to explode. This strong discharge of energy can release the tension. Consequently after a blowup, some people feel relaxed, like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. There is a dissipation of stress and tension. Even though blowing up is only a temporary fix, it reinforces our desire to relieve stress by blowing up in anger. It lets off steam.
The problem is it doesn’t fix whatever is stressing us out, and it may cause us additional problems depending on what you did when you blew up. People rarely blow up when alone. We often rage at someone else which has a negative impact on that relationship, or we destroy property which may be expensive or illegal. Anger does not work as a long-term stress reliever. Studies have shown that anger begets more anger, and we get into a habit of blowing up. If we indulge in raging to cope with stress, the desire to have an outburst becomes stronger and harder to control. Anger also has a boomerang effect on our relationships. The people you have gotten angry with in this manner become hurt and defensive. Most people will counterattack in some way and they will become less concerned with your needs and feelings and may even withdraw from you completely.
Anger as a form of Punishment or Revenge:
A second Anger payoff is that an emotional outburst can be used for punishment and revenge. For example, let’s say someone has let you down. A huge wave of rage envelops you. Your reaction is to punish them and teach them a lesson. Deep down, you want them to feel as much pain as you do. It feels good. Once again, there are side effects. Revenge often makes enemies of the people you love and need most. This process becomes a revolving door of bitter struggles, where old hurts and grudges pushed each of you to new excesses of rage and aggression.
Anger can scare others into doing your Bidding:
Another Anger payoff is it helps us control others. In dysfunctional families, we learn to use anger to intimidate others. We browbeat people/kids with our rage or the fear that we will blow-up. To keep the peace, we find that people will comply with our demands. Our short-term payoff is that people often give you what you want. The long-term effect is that this creates unhealthy relationships based on fear and frustration. It drives a bitter wedge between our ability to have close and happy connections with others.
Anger has Hidden Payoffs:
We have discussed three different Anger payoffs. There are much more, and you should try to identify the reasons why anger has become such a close companion in your life. Were you able to identify and relate to how your anger may be giving you some positive benefits? Understanding that anger can help relieve stress, control others, get people to listen, override other painful emotions, and get back at people who have let you down is the next step in controlling your anger. Once you notice the benefits but see the long- term destructiveness of your anger, you can make a conscious and healthy decision to correct these problems in more positive ways. Anger is often a Lifelong habit, but this information is the key to change your angry behaviors. Become empowered by making a conscious choice to change your anger habits.
If you want to change your negative anger habits but are having trouble doing this; a competent professional counselor can be helpful. An easy way to accomplish this is by booking a conversation with Vicki at www.supportivetalk.com or read the rest of my 15 part series on “How to learn Anger Management in 15 Easy Steps”.
If book-lovers would like to read books on this subject, check out “Beyond Anger” by Thomas J. Harbin or “Anger Management for Everyone” by Raymond Chip Tafrate and Howard Kassinove.