Why You May Be Misdirecting Your Anger Toward Loved Ones

The people who care about you the most are usually the ones who stick around when life gets hard. Whether you are stressed, anxious, or simply running on a short fuse, there is a good chance that your closest friends and family members have noticed; they may have even taken the brunt of your anger at times. Interestingly, when you're not acting like the nicest person to be around, it's likely not the fault of those who love you.

Therapist Lisa Marie Bobby explains to Self that anger isn't a bad emotion to have. Despite being demonized by our society, specifically when seen in women, it can actually motivate you to make necessary changes. Bobby describes anger as the "fuel" that helps you create a healthy life.

Things become complicated when you don't know where the anger you have is coming from or how to manage it. This usually occurs when you're disconnected emotionally. When it's hard to understand mentally why you're feeling a certain way, your irritation, frustration, and even fury come out in irrational ways. Therefore, learning how to look inward can help you pinpoint the source of your anger and find healthy ways to release it.

Analyze what aspects of your life are unhealthy

Anger is often an internal side effect of external factors in your life. While it's a healthy emotion, it can actually cause serious harm if it's not released. Even TikTok star Dixie D'Amelio opened up about her struggles with anger. According to Everyday Health, anger that builds up not only weakens your immune system and causes side effects like anxiety, but it puts you at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and depression.

Therefore, learning about the source of this feeling is the first step in managing it in a healthy way. This can be done through counseling, therapy, or even self-care. While exercise and meditation are extremely useful tools, seeking the guidance of a professional may be the support you need. As you start to analyze the various relationships in your life, you may notice that certain people or situations trigger your anger.

This could be due to an unhealthy dynamic that needs addressing. According to Mind, consistently being around people who make you feel unsafe, unworthy, or disrespected could cause anger to continuously build within you. This is why recognizing toxic behavior and taking steps to set boundaries or cut ties are so important. Otherwise, you may find yourself randomly exploding, and directing that anger on undeserving loved ones.

Recognize your triggers and learn to deescalate

The American Psychological Association explains how anger can cause multiple reactions in your body at once: an emotional reaction and a physiological one. Therefore, managing your anger has a lot to do with recognizing the symptoms as they start and working to control them.

Anger management psychologist Jerry Deffenbacher explains that certain people can be more prone to angry outbursts, while others may hide their anger but consistently have a rude or snappy demeanor. Both of these are likely because the threshold for handling small inconveniences is quite low, causing frustration to build easily. Of course, anger is a normal emotion that shouldn't be forbidden or shamed. There are many cases where it can be justified and expressed in a healthy way. 

However, those who anger easily and let their emotions escalate quickly often need to have tools in place that help them manage this. When your muscles get tense and your heart starts racing faster, implementing strategies that help you relax and regulate is essential. This could be taking deep breaths, visualizing a calming scene, or repeating certain words. At first, you may question if listening to mantras can really help calm you down. While these techniques may take time, allowing your body to return to a more peaceful state will help you understand and control your anger, instead of misdirecting it toward loved ones.