Anger Management Strategies and Their Importance for Marginalized Groups
Updated: Feb 24, 2020
People who live at the edge of society are often hit with bias, stigma, bigotry, and racism. In spite of a lot of improvement that has been achieved over the past few decades, people of different genders, races, ethnicities, disabilities, religions, and sexual orientations are still the targets of prejudices, discrimination, and day-to-day microaggressions.
A lot of strategies focus on the people or groups committing these microaggressions, but no one focuses on the impact to the people receiving them.
Members on the margins of their families, social circles, or society as a whole, feel constantly rejected and tend to be viewed as different and deviant. This causes an individual to withdraw and isolate from social interactions.
Different studies show that social rejection affects a person’s health, emotional state, and behavior. Research shows that rejected people tend to display aggressiveness, detachment, and emotional numbness.
However, you don’t have to isolate, bottle up your struggles, and suffer alone. Anger management applied through anger therapy can benefit you when faced with these challenges.
The Feelings Hiding Behind Anger
Whether constant comments about their appearance from strangers or constant questions about their mental health from the boss, microaggressions can wear a person down. Many people in marginalized populations have to deal with the feelings of hurt, anger, and resentment every day.
It is normal to experience these feelings if you have constantly been exposed to stigma, stereotypes, and prejudices. You may experience anger to cover vulnerability or to mask other emotions that are too disturbing. Anger often arouses as a response to emotions such as fear, hurt, or shame.
At the core, anger is a normal and useful emotion. Nevertheless, instead of visibly expressing anger, you may suppress your feelings, withdraw from others, become depressed or passive-aggressive. Suppressed anger can lead to anxiety, depression or other mental health problems, so these feelings and behaviors can damage your health, well-being, and your relationships.
Anger Management Strategies
Anger management is not about learning to suppress your anger, but rather to understand the feelings behind it and express anger without losing control. Anger management can help you learn how to communicate verbally when angry and take a time-out when getting upset. You can also learn positive anger management skills, become free of explosive episodes, or learn how to express anger without causing damage to objects or hurt to yourself and others.
Identify What Triggers Your Anger
Stressful events, situations, comments, and people can trigger angry feelings. However, your negative thought patterns such as overgeneralizing, jumping to conclusions, and mind-reading can provoke anger as well.
When you identify the outside factors and thought patterns that trigger your anger, you can learn strategies to view the situation differently or reframe how you think about things.
Find Constructive Ways to Express Anger
Learning how to express anger in a healthier way will help maintain good mental health and keep up positive relationships. It is okay to feel upset and show how you feel. However, if you feel that your anger is getting out of control, remove yourself from the situation until you calm down.
Learn Ways to Calm Down Quickly
Regular exercise, Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques are some of the strategies that can help you cool down and keep your anger under control.
Choose to Forgive
Finally, to move on and heal, you need to forgive. If you decide to ignore the hurt or suppress it, forgiveness can never happen, and you will remain stuck with your anger. Forgiveness doesn’t equal forgetting though. If you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean microaggressions and hurt they caused are undone. It means that you have let go of the anger and make peace with the pain in order to move on.