Are They Mad At Me?

Have you ever felt afraid that someone close to you is angry with you?

You sense the harsh, cold vibe surrounding their actions and realize, without anyone having said anything, that they’re really upset with you. But what do you do about it? And what if you’re just overreacting?

Everyone deals with anger differently. Some will go dreadfully silent, others will send you belligerent messages, and many act passive-aggressively. Anger drives people to do things they would never normally do, like bully or trash-talk a friend. The only way to be rid of anger is to address the underlying feelings that fuel it.

[one_third]We say something cruel to level the playing field a bit, adding to our guilt but effectively covering our true pain.[/one_third]

In my opinion, people are never just angry. They’re also hurt, frustrated, jealous, scared, or dejected. Anger is a side effect of these feelings and results from being stuck in a tough and often unexpected situation. According to the Public Broadcasting Station’s “This Emotional Life” documentary—a TV series on improving one’s social relationships—when we feel threatened, cheated or trapped, anger is a common instinctive response. One of the most common feelings behind a raging anger is pain. The documentary describes anger as the body’s natural defense against emotional breakdown; the body releases adrenaline into the bloodstream, preparing for a quick fight or flight situation.

We’ve all experienced that moment when someone tells you something that leaves you feeling crushed or hopeless. Often times, as a means of self-defense, we allow a vengeful hate to develop inside of us. We say something cruel to level the playing field a bit, adding to our guilt but effectively covering our true pain. And that is how anger begins. Allowing it to fester and bubble below the surface often leads to aggressive or passive-aggressive behavior.

According to the Mayo Clinic, passive aggressive behaviors include hostility, intentional ignorance, and frequent complaining. The NYU Medical Center further defines passive aggressive behavior as actions that “may appear to comply or act appropriately, but actually behaves negatively and passively resists.” When we shove a problem aside and pretend our feelings don’t exist, we eventually grow a cynical and cruel attitude. Hiding behind a facade of complicity for too long can cause sudden, unchecked rage at the smallest trigger. However hard it is, dealing with a situation up front is almost always safer and more productive.

[one_third]However hard it is, dealing with a situation up front is almost always safer and more productive.[/one_third]

With anger as a natural and unavoidable part of our lives, the realistic question is not how to completely avoid it but how to deal with it. Reasonably and calmly communicating our frustration to others can be challenging but also constructive in clearing up issues. People can be oblivious to the effect of their actions on you. However, if you can’t change the situation or someone’s actions, change the way you look at it. Holding on to anger is unhealthy and can negatively affect important relationships in your life. Ultimately, you have control over how you feel and how you act. Letting go of negativity and animosity can only do you good.

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