Everyone experiences feelings of anger at some time. It can be anything from mild annoyance to full-blown rage. When a person's anger becomes too intense or too frequent, or is expressed in hurtful or overly aggressive ways, anger has become a problem. For some service members and Family members, the stresses associated with military life, such as the emotional toll of repeated deployments, can make anger more of a problem in their lives. Anger is more likely to result when problems aren't properly addressed and stress piles up. Honest self-inspection can help determine whether you or your Soldier are holding onto and building up angry feelings and how these feelings are eventually released.
Reasons for out-of-control anger may include one having trouble expressing him or herself or being exposed to traumatic events or high levels of stress.
For help finding anger management programs in your local community, contact the Army Community Service (ACS), Soldier and Family Assistance Center (SFAC), or call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.
It's easy to find books, articles and websites devoted to tips and techniques for managing anger. Some common anger management techniques include:
Anger management courses and groups can help you learn and practice anger management skills with others who have similar stories to tell. They also provide the opportunity to get feedback from an anger management specialist. These anger management classes are often open to Soldiers as well as Family Members and are widely available on military installations and in civilian communities. For help identifying an anger management class, contact the Army Community Service (ACS) or the Soldier and Family Assistance Centers (SFAC). You can also call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647 for help finding anger management programs in your local community.
Soldiers can find help managing their anger through their Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) Cadre, nurse case manager or social worker, as well as their unit chaplain. Family members may also contact the WTU for guidance or consider contacting their local Military Treatment Facility (MTF) on ways to obtain non-medical counseling. Non-medical counseling may help you learn more about the reasons behind your or your Soldier’s anger, as well as provide helpful techniques in preventing and managing anger. It is designed to address short-term issues such as improving relationships at home and work, stress management, adjustment issues (like, returning from a deployment), marital problems, parenting, and grief or loss issues. You can receive confidential non-medical counseling through Military OneSource (up to 12 no-cost sessions in person, telephonically or online). For additional information, contact Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.
For additional information on anger management, including understanding and finding ways to control your anger, the following resources can provide additional information:
Are there any healthy ways to express anger?
What are some warning signs that my Soldier or I have an anger problem?
I find that my Soldier is very defensive. Is this a sign that he/she has issues with anger?
At times I feel like I cannot control my anger. What are some anger management techniques?
Yes, the healthiest way to express anger is in a calmly assertive, non-aggressive manner. To be able to do this, you have to know how to describe your feelings to yourself and others and how to make clear what you need from others without being hostile or demanding.
Sometimes it’s not easy to know if you have a problem with anger or to recognize in others if they have an anger problem; however, the following signs may indicate that anger is becoming a problem for you or your service member:
Yes, this can be a possible sign of anger issues. People who have not learned how to constructively deal with their anger may develop rigid psychological defenses that allow them to express it without acknowledging it, thus avoiding direct confrontation. Passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people in indirect ways while denying anger) is a classic example. Expressing anger indirectly often causes people to come across as cynical, sarcastic, bitter or hyper-critical.
There are a number of outlets that can help you deal with anger or your Soldier’s anger as mentioned above. Anger management skills may take some time and practice, but the rewards will be worth it. You'll find that you're better able to get your needs met, achieve your goals and have a more satisfying life.