Sometimes if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it may not be a duck. In the case of anger sometimes the appearance of aggression and hostility may not be anger. In fact, it may be a sign of profound grief and loss. In working with the angry I have noticed that a little investigation reveals that their anger is rooted in some trauma or loss of some kind. This feeling of loss promotes the following:
- A hypersensitivity that leads to misinterpreting the actions of others as disingenuous or hostile
- Fear of losing more in life which lead the individual to keep relationships superficial and reject the relationship at the first sign that they could be hurt.
- Isolation from others which may present as hostility or paranoia
- Overreaction (anger or aggression) to life events
- Overly critical and self-doubt
- Assigning blame for loss to self
- A general angry disposition that can be traced back to some major life loss or trauma
Chronic anger is almost always a mask for other emotions therefore it is very important that one recognizes that feelings of anger may be a sign of grief or loss. If this is the case, psychotherapy may be in order to address the grief issues which would likely over time resolve problems with anger.