- By Jacob Skokan, BA CADC1
When anger takes control...
A loud argument between a couple at the restaurant ruining a night out for others. The young “macho” who gets into physical fight on a weekly basis worrying his family and putting his safety at risk. The old friends who haven’t spoken to each other in years due to a long held resentment…. Anger and its consequences!
Bothered, Frustrated, Irritated, Upset, Enraged and Ticked off. These are several ways to describe different levels of anger. Anger is a normal part of the human condition yet for many people it becomes a destructive force in their lives. Though usually justifiable and appropriate response to a particular situation, we see examples every day in ourselves and those around us of how this emotion can get the better of us. Have you ever lashed out at someone and had to apologize afterwards?
Have you ever broke a personal belonging or kicked a piece of furniture in a fit of anger? Have you ever been afraid of your loss of self- control? The chances are that most of us have experienced this loss of rationality that can happen with anger.
Throughout different cultures we can recognize distinct languages, foods, customs and traditions. When discussing the role of anger in the Latino community it’s important to keep the context of culture in mind and how emotional expression is also different across cultures.
As Latinos are often characterized as being passionate, romantic, and lively, stereotypes with positive implications, the issue of anger can be particularly challenging when faced with adapting to a different culture with different norms in how emotions are expressed. Beyond these challenges, those with genuine anger issues often face extra difficulties in getting help and finding the self- control to manage anger and minimize the negative consequences in their lives.
So what are the problems that Latinos face when getting support and seeking help anger management?
Probably, one of the main problems is that there are not enough services or information available in Spanish to help those who are experiencing this situation. Also, many trained professionals may lack cultural competence and lack of understanding the context of anger in the Latino culture.
Though it is recommended to seek cultural competent and professional help for anger problems, below are some tips to help detect and manage issues with anger for yourself or a loved one.
Recognize the negative consequences of anger and why you need to change your response to anger.
- Have you hurt important relationships?
- Does your anger lead to other negative behaviors such as alcohol or drug use?
- Has your anger made it difficult to find stability at work, school, etc.?
Ask yourselves these questions and determine if anger has affected your life negatively.
Notice your anger warning signs.
Anger is a normal emotion that causes physiological changes in your body.
- Do you notice your heart rate increases?
- Do you notice your face gets hot?
- Do your muscles tighten or jaw clench?
- Is it hard to sit still?
Everybody has different responses but these little changes are clues that you are angry and need to react in a different way.
Change your response to anger.
As you become angry it becomes more difficult to think rationally, however we can teach ourselves to respond differently but communicating to other’s that we are angry in a way that is not hostile. We can also teach ourselves techniques to calm ourselves so that we avoid a harmful reaction to anger. Some examples include:
• Taking slow breaths
• Counting numbers or objects
• Drinking a glass of water
• Soothing or distracting ourselves by finding something that helps us to relax or take our mind away from the situation for the time being.
In learning to change old patterns it is important to be patient with ourselves and practice these new coping skills beforehand!