In my last post, I introduced the work of Beverly Engel who has researched and categorized styles of anger communication. We have been looking at categorizes of anger communication that are unhealthy in impact. Last time, we discussed the passive anger communicator. Today, the category turns to aggressive anger.
Anger communication styles: aggressive anger
Someone who communicates anger aggressively expresses anger in an unhealthy way. We refer to types of aggressive anger in several ways.
Blamer: He or she perceives him- or herself to be perfect and self-blames whenever something goes wrong because he or she should have known better than to make a silly mistake that caused another problem.
Abuser: He or she behaves as though always in the right to dictate every action, and if he or she is questioned, thinks nothing of acting physically and forcefully against the questioner. Even when the questioner apologizes immediately, he or she seems to enjoy humiliating the person and may continue antagonistic actions.
Erupter: He or she never knows when the next blow up will be. Whenever he or she is pressed to be patient, or must wait on someone else, especially if something seems to go wrong, an explosion occurs. He or she does not understand why, after the explosion, others seem to walk on eggshells.
Controller: He or she rages when others do differently than instructed. He or she is quick to retract promises, enjoyment, favors or kindnesses as a punishment for not appreciating his or her authority or that he or she is always “right.”
Rager: After being teased about a “common human mistake” in front of others, he or she waits until alone with the other person and begins to scream and verbally abuse that person for extended periods of time.
A frightening and potentially violent relationship
It can be very scary and difficult to be in a relationship with someone who communicates anger aggressively. It is easy for such aggressive anger to become emotionally abusive or even violent.
But this form of anger communication damages both the individual who is aggressive and those who are victimized by such behavior. As the aggressor displays aggressiveness, distrust and fear can characterize their relationships to the point that the relationships that mean the most to the aggressor are permanently damaged or destroyed. It can be devastating to realize that one’s anger has destroyed a loved one.
Therefore, it is important that we direct such an individual toward professional help, someone who would assist the angry individual to discover why his or her patterns are not only aggressive but destructive to those who are in close relationship.
Very often this style of communicating anger has been learned from an individual who had power and influence in the aggressor’s early life. The aggressor is re-enacting the same behavior that hurt him or her, repeating the legacy.
If you know someone who is this aggressive, please ask him or her when calm, to get help. It will be the best advice and support you can give.
More to come on ways to communicate anger.
Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network
Information taken from Preventing Violence through Anger Management, 2006, Diane Wagenhals. Licensed Materials. All rights reserved.