A video has been doing the rounds on the Internet recently, one that depicts a women going into total meltdown when she can’t get her Chicken McNuggets (click here). A warning though, if you do click on the link, whilst the video is hysterical, it’s also shocking and contains more than its fair share of foul language. Although perfect car crash TV (and leaving aside the possibility that the woman in it might be on PCP or crack), it’s also a perfect display of someone with anger management issues.
We live in a stressful world; most of us hold down stressful jobs and are living stressful lives. More and more people are finding it hard to hold in their rage and are at a loss to understand why.
However, feeling angry is part of being human. Anger is all about rules and rule breaking. We all have personal unwritten rules: rules about how we like to be treated, rules about where we like to be at an given point in our lives, rules about how we like to do things, rules about personal space and clearly, even rules about fast food delivery.
When those rules are broken, we feel under threat. And, when that happens, our hackles naturally begin to rise.
Anger then, is a natural response to being thwarted, frustrated, lied to, attacked, treated badly and so on. So, anger is not the problem. However, it’s how you deal with it that is.
Anger then, can either be in or out of proportion to the to the rule that is broken.
There are healthy ways of dealing with life’s frustrations and unhealthy ways. The woman in the above video is clearly dealing with the breaking of her unwritten rule (I must have Chicken McNuggets now!) in an unhealthy way.
When someone is unhealthily angry, they often see themselves as absolutely right and the other person as absolutely wrong, they are unable to see the other person’s point of view, and so go on the attack, either physically, verbally or passively-aggressively.
When someone is healthily angry (or just plain frustrated), they do not see themselves as absolutely right (or the other person as absolutely wrong) and can therefore see both sides of an argument. As a result, the healthily angry person is under control and has more choices available to them. They can let it go (realising it’s just not that important), or they can communicate their frustrations more effectively instead of going on the attack. The healthily angry can assert themselves without resorting to foul language, threats or abuse, thereby affecting a more rational solution to the issue.
After all, there is a world of difference between saying: “oh dear, you don’t serve Chicken McNuggets yet? How disappointing, I don’t suppose, kind sir, that there is any leeway on that?” and screaming, “I will kill you, I will rip your face off, do not make me assume my ultimate form!”
I do not know what Nugget Woman’s ultimate form is: fighting robot maybe, mutant lizard possibly, who knows? But, what I do know is that her foul-mouthed tirade did not end well for either party. Anger never does. And anger can rear its ugly head anywhere: at work, in the home, on the street, on tube trains and buses and, clearly, at drive-through counters.
I’ve helped many people with their anger management problems. CBT and hypnotherapy are both excellent tools at helping you change how you react in the face of life’s frustrations. Which is better for you, even better for your health and so much nicer for the staff at a McDonalds.
Tops tips for dealing with anger:
- Learn your triggers – keep a diary of the situations in which you lose it
- Look out for warning signs – physical symptoms such as that adrenaline rush, or clenching fists, that you know are the heralds of your anger
- Try some calming techniques – such as slow, deep breathing or counting to 10
- Learn to be assertive – it makes communication easier and keeps frustrations under control
- Take some exercise – it’s amazing how much a bout of intense physical exercise can help calm you down
- Seek solutions – don’t focus on what you are getting angry about, focus on a solution to the problem
- Seek out the services of a professional – someone who can help you deal with life’s frustrations in a more effective manner