Anger

Anger is an emotion related to one's psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to react through retaliation. Shiela Videbeck[1] describes anger as a normal emotion that involves a strong uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation. Raymond Novaco of UC Irvine, who since 1975 has published a plethora of literature on the subject, stratified anger into three modalities: cognitive (appraisals), somatic-affective (tension and agitations) and behavioral (withdrawal and antagonism).[2] William DeFoore, an anger-management writer, described anger as a pressure cooker: we can only apply pressure against our anger for a certain amount of time until it explodes.[3] Anger may have physical correlates such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline.[4] Some view anger as part of the fight or flight brain response to the perceived threat of harm.[5] Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically when a person makes the conscious choice to take action to immediately stop the threatening behavior of another outside force.[6] The English term originally comes from the term anger of Old Norse language.[7] Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. The external expression of anger can be found in facial expressions, body language, physiological responses, and at times in public acts of aggression.[8] Humans and animals for example make loud sounds, attempt to look physically larger, bare their teeth, and stare.[9] The behaviors associated with anger are designed to warn aggressors to stop their threatening behavior. Rarely does a physical altercation occur without the prior expression of anger by at least one of the participants.[9] While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them," psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability.[10] Modern psychologists view anger as a primary, natural, and mature emotion experienced by virtually all humans at times, and as something that has functional value for survival. Anger can mobilize psychological resources for corrective action. Uncontrolled anger can, however, negatively affect personal or social well-being.[10][11] While many philosophers and writers have warned against the spontaneous and uncontrolled fits of anger, there has been disagreement over the intrinsic value of anger.[12] The issue of dealing with anger has been written about since the times of the earliest philosophers, but modern psychologists, in contrast to earlier writers, have also pointed out the possible harmful effects of suppressing anger.[12] Displays of anger can be used as a manipulation strategy for social influence Three types of anger are recognized by psychologists: The first form of anger, named "hasty and sudden anger" by Joseph Butler, an 18th century English bishop, is connected to the impulse for self-preservation. It is shared between humans and non-human animals and occurs when tormented or trapped. The second type of anger is named "settled and deliberate" anger and is a reaction to perceived deliberate harm or unfair treatment by others. These two forms of anger are episodic. The third type of anger is called dispositional and is related more to character traits than to instincts or cognitions. Irritability, sullenness and churlishness are examples of the last form of anger.[15] Anger can potentially mobilize psychological resources and boost determination toward correction of wrong behaviors, promotion of social justice, communication of negative sentiment and redress of grievances. It can also facilitate patience. On the other hand, anger can be destructive when it does not find its appropriate outlet in expression. Anger, in its strong form, impairs one's ability to process information and to exert cognitive control over their behavior. An angry person may lose his/her objectivity, empathy, prudence or thoughtfulness and may cause harm to others.[10] There is a sharp distinction between anger and aggression (verbal or physical, direct or indirect) even though they mutually influence each other. While anger can activate aggression or increase its probability or intensity, it is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for aggression The words annoyance and rage are often imagined to be at opposite ends of an emotional continuum: mild irritation and annoyance at the low end and fury or murderous rage at the high end. The two are inextricably linked in the English language with one referring to the other in most dictionary definitions. Recently, Sue Parker Hall has challenged this idea; she conceptualizes anger as a positive, pure and constructive emotion, that is always respectful of others; it is only ever used to protect the self on physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual dimensions in relationships.[16] She argues that anger originates at age 18 months to 3 years to provide the motivation and energy for the individuation developmental stage whereby a child begins to separate from their carers and assert their differences. Anger emerges at the same time as thinking is developing therefore it is always possible to access cognitive abilities and feel anger at the same time. Parker Hall proposes that it is not anger that is problematic but rage,[17] a different phenomenon entirely; rage is conceptualized as a pre-verbal, pre-cognition, psychological defense mechanism which originates in earliest infancy as a response to the trauma experienced when the infant's environment fails to meet their needs. Rage is construed as an attempt to summon help by an infant who experiences terror and whose very survival feels under threat. The infant cannot manage the overwhelming emotions that are activated and need a caring other to attune to them, to accurately assess what their needs are, to comfort and soothe them. If they receive sufficient support in this way, infants eventually learn to process their own emotions. Rage problems are conceptualized as "the inability to process emotions or life's experiences"[16] either because the capacity to regulate emotion (Schore, 1994)[18] has never been sufficiently developed or because it has been temporarily lost due to more recent trauma. Rage is understood as "a whole load of different feelings trying to get out at once" (Harvey, 2004)[19] or as raw, undifferentiated emotions, that spill out when another life event that cannot be processed, no matter how trivial, puts more stress on the organism than it can bear. Framing rage in this way has implications for working therapeutically with individuals with such difficulties. If rage is accepted as a pre-verbal, pre-cognitive phenomenon (and sufferers describe it colloquially as "losing the plot") then it follows that cognitive strategies, eliciting commitments to behave differently or educational programs (the most common forms of interventions in the UK presently) are contra-indicated. Parker Hall proposes an empathic therapeutic relationship to support clients to develop or recover their organismic capacity (Rogers, 1951)[20] to process their often multitude of traumas (unprocessed life events). This approach is a critique of the dominant anger and rage interventions in the UK including probation, prison and psychology models, which she argues does not address rage at a deep enough level.