Could Anger Be Hiding Your Depression?

You’ve spent the weekend away visiting your parents. The drive home was long and stressful because of all the crazy drivers on the road. It’s late, you’re tired and using your last bit of energy to unpack the car.

While you were away you purchased a new rug for the living room. Your partner goes off to set it up. You happen to walk in just as she’s pushing the sofa across the newly polished timber floors to make room for the rug. You see scratches on the floor……….and you lose it.

Emotion boils up from deep inside and you just lash out at your partner, telling her off and raging uncontrollably before storming out of the room.

You have a sleepless night, and while you apologise to your partner the next day you’re completely overcome with guilt. You feel ashamed and embarrassed for your outburst and know this is a huge setback for the relationship, especially as this is a pattern of behaviour that seems to be happening more and more frequently.

What’s going on here?

While anger is a normal human emotion, when it tips over into uncontrollable rage set off by small annoyances there is usually something more at play. In men, this type of anger can be an underlying symptom of depression and it follows a cycle that goes from irritation and frustration to angry outbursts, then a deep sense of guilt and remorse afterwards. It can lead to alienation from your loved ones making you feel even more depressed.

How to break the cycle

The first step is to recognise that you may be experiencing feelings you can’t talk about because they are so deeply buried. Anger can often mask a deep sense of shame based on early traumatic events or the failure to reach certain ideals. Start to notice the signs such as tension in your body, tightness of breath, even a headache. Picking up on the early signs is an important part of recognising what is going on.

The next step is to communicate with your partner. When you start to notice the state that you’re in it’s important to tell them what you are going through such as explaining your body symptoms and where you are holding tension. Keep with the physical sensations rather than focusing on the stuff that is beginning to annoy you.

Then, if possible try and do some intense physical exercise. A run, kickboxing or high interval training can be a way to cool the anger by discharging the intense energy that is building up inside you.

When you are in a more calm state begin writing down your thoughts. What is the inner dialogue going on inside your head? If you can start to get a handle on your thoughts then you can start to challenge them and change them. Also by getting to know your thoughts you will see how they affect your behaviour and mood.

Finally, consider talking to someone. This can be enormously helpful to gain some perspective on what is going on and explore some of the underlying issues related to your frustration.

Douglas Channing



Category : Blog & Communication & CoupleStuff & Depression & Men and Anger & Relationships

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