Violence from Suppressed Anger

Anger and alcohol are a dangerous mix

Violence and excessive drinking are often thought to go hand-in-hand. A new study shows that a person’s tendency to become violent while drunk is more likely when the person makes a habit of suppressing their anger.

“Only a tiny fraction of all drinking events involve violence and whether intoxicated aggression is likely to occur seems to depend on the drinker’s propensity to withhold angry feelings when sober,” said the study’s authors. The study was published in the journal Addiction.

The study found that, among people most likely to suppress their anger, a 10 percent increase in drunkenness was associated with a 5 percent increase in violence. This same association did not appear in people who released or expressed their feelings of anger.

Ways to Release Anger

If you are someone who tends to keep your angry feelings bottled in, you may do so at the risk of harm to others or yourself, especially if you have been drinking. Learning to let go of your anger and deal with it in healthy ways can help to reduce the risk of you engaging in violence. Here are some things you can do to release your anger:

Learn Calming Techniques. Many times, anger is about reacting in the moment. If you take time to calm down and take some deep breaths, your feelings of anger may pass through you and allow you to look at the situation with a different perspective. Find ways to calm yourself in a moment of anger. Take deep breaths, meditate, count to 10 or visualize something soothing.
Redirect Your Anger. Instead of taking out your anger in an aggressive or violent way, channel your anger into something productive. If you find yourself worked up, go for a jog, do jumping jacks, cook some food or start singing a song. Doing something else will either tire you out or distract you enough that you don’t feel like being angry anymore.

Talk About It. The best way to work through any emotion is to talk it out. Discuss whatever is making you angry with the person who is causing it. If you can’t verbalize what you need to say, write a letter and give it to the person. If it is a situation rather than a person that is angering you, talk to people you trust who can help you address the situation and find ways to remedy what it is making you angry. Talking about things can give you difference perspectives, make you feel calmer and give you needed support.

Just Let It Go. There are some things (and people) you’ll never be able to change, no matter how much they make you angry. Rather than constantly getting upset, learn to let it go and accept these situations and people for what they are. This will free you up to concentrate on more positive emotions.

If anger has taken over and you can’t seem to control it, you should consider an anger management class or group that can help you learn more effective ways to manage your anger. Our staff at The Landing is trained in helping men who are struggling with addiction and also have issues acting out while angry.