Many people experience anger after going through a crisis. Although everyone has different triggers that make them angry, in a crisis, intense stress and a loss of control can make feelings of anger worse. Anger is a response to feelings of intense frustration or powerlessness.
Your reaction to a crisis situation may depend on your childhood and past experiences. Instead of suppressing angry emotions, it is more helpful to try to understand the why behind your anger.
Step One: Understand Why You Are Angry
A crisis can be triggering if you have experienced something traumatic in the past. When trying to understand what makes you angry, think about factors such as your childhood, upbringing, and traumatic events in the past. Or maybe you have been brought up by parents or caregivers who displayed similar outbursts of anger when feeling frustrated.
Sometimes outbursts of anger are due to the suppression of negative emotions. You may have been brought up to consider negative emotions as harmful or you may have been punished for expressing anger. The more you suppress anger, the easier it will become a long-term mental health problem.
People who have suffered from abuse or neglect in their childhood may have suppressed their reactions toward trauma. When situations become challenging or stressful, they are more likely to become angry, as if the suppressed anger finally finds an outlet.
Step Two: Assess Your Current Circumstances
A crisis always brings a sense of deep loss. When people are grieving a loss, they go through several stages, and one of these stages is anger. This strong emotion shows up because people feel powerless. It is important to acknowledge the need for being angry when you are grieving. Unresolved grief may also give way to anxiety and depression.
Maybe this crisis has left you with distrust towards people. You are less interested in putting on your best behavior in front of others. Anger is an expression of distancing and self-protection. Maybe you feel so disoriented that nothing feels anchored anymore. It is always a healthy practice to set aside some time for yourself so that you feel connected with the strong power within you.
Step Three: Identify Early Signs of Outbursts of Anger
Anger does not happen within a second. It follows a gradual trajectory. Even outbursts of anger have early signs. If you catch yourself in the early stage of brewing anger, maybe you can find ways to stop yourself in the middle of an outburst.
Some early signs include escalating feelings of frustration and powerlessness, irritation at people around you, feeling a fastening heartbeat, and sweating in your palms. When these early signs show up next time, take a few deep breaths, or try to remove yourself from others, and allow a few moments of solitude and calmness.
Step Four: Acknowledge How You Are Feeling, but Do Not Take It Out on Others
It is important to acknowledge the legitimacy of anger. If you have gone through a terrible crisis, you will feel overwhelmed and stressed. Do not let your angry reaction to the crisis add to the emotional pain. A crisis leaves a long shadow. Allow yourself to feel this way because it takes time for your emotions to be expressed and processed.
Meanwhile, you need to be aware of other people’s needs. If your family has gone through the same crisis as you, they are also under stress. Taking your anger out on others is harmful to their health. This is a moment of interdependence and for the sake of your family, you need to improve your anger management skills.
Step Five: Work With Health Professionals on Emotional Recovery
You need to realize that the past crisis has impacted your emotional well-being. If anger remains a problem, you then need to actively seek help from mental health professionals. They will first conduct an assessment of you. Maybe you have other mental health issues, such as insomnia and memory problems.
Mental health professionals also need to explore your personal and family history in order to identify any unresolved trauma from the past. They want to find out whether you are at a higher risk for stress. Your behaviors during acute stress may have roots in the past. Much of these reactions can be explained. For example, it is a healthy and natural response to worry about your own safety and that of your loved ones.
Step Six: Practice Self-Care in a Proactive Way
A crisis can be overwhelming to your senses. Even when the crisis is over, your emotional and physical reactions may need more time to go back to normal. Self-care is extremely important to help manage your lingering emotions. While you work with mental health professionals to get your feelings out, you need to eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, dedicate time to physical exercise, and avoid self-criticism.
Mental health professionals will coach you in developing new coping skills. You should let go of the guilt and resentment. Although you cannot change the past, your self-care practices can certainly shape a better future. This loss can be transformed into a new opportunity for personal growth and resilience.
Anger is a common emotion after experiencing a crisis. Instead of allowing anger to dominate your life, you can choose a healthy route to process and release it. You need support from a trauma-informed team of mental health experts. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention can help you. The professional intervention and crisis stabilization we offer can help people learn to manage symptoms in a healthy and productive way. If you or someone you love struggles to recognize the signs of a mental health disorder, we can help. Our team diagnoses and treats a wide range of issues using evidence-based methods and compassionate care. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (866) 986-1481.