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Lack of anger management has adverse affects on women’s health. A look at why anger management is essential for Indian women today.
By Maitreyee Chowdhury
A scene from the movie ‘Jab We Met, showcases the female lead advising her friend, who is sad and angry at a girl dumping him. In a strange way, the central character Geet advises her friend to burn his ex-girlfriend’s picture and flush it down the toilet; symbolically, ending all the pent up anger and frustration that he has for her. A rather unusual and dramatic move I thought, but in many ways perhaps very effective in handling anger, especially the way many modern Indian women see it today.
Haven’t we all wished a thousand times that we could flush out the anger that brews within us at certain situations or certain people? Perhaps the aforesaid solution is a rather simplistic way of treating pent up anger. But that’s not important, what is important is that one feels good after this pent up anger is washed out of the system and one hasn’t hurt anyone else in the process either.
The lack of better anger management can actually have disastrous results and affect not only one’s mental health but also hamper relations both personal and professional.
A recent report in the Huffington post revealed the incident of a woman (Faribah Maradiaga) enrolled for an anger management class, venting her anger on a fellow participant (Luna Oraivej) and almost injuring her. The report elaborates on how Faribah unable to control her anger over a minor argument, physically abused Luna. While all cases might not be as extreme, anger management and its control are a must for all of us, if we are to live happily and perform better in private and professional lives.
Incidentally, the inability to control one’s anger could also lead to related disorders that might manifest themselves with deeper issues.
Rehana D’Souza* who is a freelance writer and a highly creative person, is going through a divorce and fighting a battle in court for the custody of her child. Rehana’s husband wants to divorce her on the grounds that she is a patient of BPD (Border Personality Disorder). While this is actually not true, to her own amazement, Rehana found that her behaviour had drastically changed over a period of 6 years, without her even knowing it. The pressure of a creative job, managing home and a child, were finally showing on her. And while she was lucky to have the doctors certify that she was not a BPD case, she certainly had problems with anger management she was told.
…the inability to control one’s anger could also lead to related disorders that might manifest themselves with deeper issues.
In times like this, one is reminded of the Hindu Goddess Durga. The lady with the ten hands seems to be the modern incarnate of the woman of today who manages several responsibilities all at the same time, while trying to be a perfectionist in each. Quite frequently, we take our responsibilities too dearly, too seriously, because that’s how women are built. Whether you like it or not, women start multi-tasking from very young. In India, the girl child from a tender age is often taught to bear with the tempers of the men of the house, look after the other children too and help the mother in the kitchen. All this while the personal wishes and emotions of the girl are suppressed. In certain cases this accumulated anger may find some vent in later life.
While this may have reduced in the urban scene today, women usually go through their lives, looking out for the interests of their family. Most women also juggle careers that include job pressure, work place politics and gender related issues too. Even if a woman does have outside help, much of the responsibility that she takes on has an effect on her psyche as a person. Under the circumstances, many women buckle down and are unable to manage this stress, leading to unpleasant situations.
Quite frequently, we take our responsibilities too dearly, too seriously…
There are some safe and easily practicable anger management techniques that you could try for sustained mental and physical wellness:
– Stop trying to do everything yourself. Learn to delegate and share responsibilities. As soon as children are old enough, make them responsible for their own work. Indian women have a habit of pampering kids and mothering them for far too long! Stop that, you are making your life hard and the child a dependent.
– If you have had a traumatic past, try sharing that with someone you can confide in. Don’t keep it to yourself. Sharing is good for our mental health. It will make you feel much lighter.
– Cultivate a hobby, give yourself some ‘Me’ time and do the things you like doing. Stop depriving yourself of little pleasures. Taking off some time for yourself is not going to hamper your family; in fact it will make them more independent and look out for themselves.
– If possible, switch jobs to something that is less stressful. It is always better to enjoy what you do, that keeps you and others happy too.
– While this may sound clichéd, be happy, have a positive outlook towards life, take care of your health.
Anger management can develop into a serious problem if it is not heeded in time. Do not fight shy of visiting a counsellor or talking to friends and family you trust about your problem. Your anger OR your wellness is in your hands, help yourself and help others.
*Name changed on request
Photo credit: Dario J Lagana (Used under a Creative Commons license)
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Uncontrolled anger is also self-defeating. A hot temper, for instance, can even cost him a fortune, as former world heavy weight boxing champion, Mike Tyson, discovered. Not satisfied with hitting Evander Holyfield in the ring, he bit his opponent’s ear. His spur-of-the-moment anger cost Tyson a few million dollars and more bad publicity.
Fortune is not the only object of desire one stand to lose every time he charges at someone. He could lose a precious relationship too. In the West and now increasingly in India, a heated word or two between husband and wife is the common cause why marriage counselors are working overtime. From the counselor’s office, the road to the court has never been far off. Similarly, business enterprises have evaporated overnight because one partner abused the other. A hastily-spoken swear word is hard to retract. In effect, what it means is that, if a person does not have something nice to say then does not say anything.
Kinship and relationships apart, uncontrolled anger takes it severest toll on mind and body. In the fraction of a second that he is enlarged, something snaps within. That something is the umbilical cord that connects him with God. He does not need help to contemplate the divine name, through prayer, a humble but sure way to calm the troubled mind.
Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, perhaps, has the solution to our mental malady: “Anybody can become angry; that’s easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – this is not within everybody’s power, nor is it easy.” Maybe not, but one can at least try.
Very well written. u know in my office they have these squeeze balls, yellow in colour with a face etc. They have given one to all. I toh play football with it sometimes during breaks with my friends. Anger is a strange thing no. Doesn’t take any effort to express, unlike most other emotions.
Well researched and well written article that should help women who need help in managing their anger! Good work Maitreyee!-
Anger is one of the most destructive and corrosive sensation of all human beings. Women who keep bottled up, usually tend to have bigger explosions which result in ugly display and self destructive situation. As you say female in particular does take all things more seriously and so anxiety is a common feeling to get layered up and anger is a form of transformation of such negative feelings. I agree with you, anger needs to be addressed, but again it is easier said than done. Nicely put together Maitreyee
Great article. And about Rehana D’Souza, what kind of a husband maliciously implies that she has BPD? It is such a dangerous and terrible thing, that people can always accuse you of being crazy, by reading too much into things like anger and stress. I hope she wins the battle, my prayers are with her.
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