Disclaimer: I have OCD so might be obsessed with the idea of developing anger problems, so please bear with me on my comments.
I have different concerns about my anger and I do not know how normal or valid they are:
1. Sometimes I feel more angry in my mind about something than I physically or verbally act, i.e. consider stubbing your toe in church. REALLY ****** off and hurt and want to scream, but hold it in. This concerns me because I wonder if I am one day going to lash out the same way as I feel and if I will turn into a violent or uncontrollable angry person because of it.
2. In #1, I think anger is a feeling and with that feeling does not necessarily come a physical reaction. So if you weren’t in church and stubbed your toe, would you scream, punch a wall, punch a person, etc.? If you hold in the frustration, all you know is you were mad, but not how mad. I get concerned I will lose controllability of anger and start doing those bad physical things. How does anyone know they won’t do that?
3. Sometimes when my girlfriend gets involved in my frustrated moment, I feel even angrier than had she not gotten involved at all. I.E., recently I messed up dinner and it really bothered me. I was thinking “if she asks why or how I screwed it up, whether out of curiosity or consideration, it’s going to really irk me more.” Almost like her getting involved on any level just prolongs the anger, when in reality I just wanted to let it pass on my own and move on.
4. In item #2, I feel like it’s weird that although in that situation my girlfriend didn’t say anything, I still thought before she had the opportunity to say something that “I hope she doesn’t say anything or that’s really going to **** me off.” It seems like the more normal reaction would be for someone to be angry about messing up the food UNTIL someone gets involved and THEN the other person’s involvement potentially makes them angrier.
Do those things seem normal or not? Maybe I am just obsessing, but anytime I get even a little frustrated with anything, I start immediately feeling guilty or worried that my anger is out of control, even if I don’t physically do anything to show that. Thanks for any help.
PS, I saw a psychiatrist recently about OCD. I briefly explained #1/#2 to him and he thought my worries were OCD related and did not seem concerned by them. But then a few weeks later I got frustrated by something and got concerned all over again and thought this might be a good place to post the question. It’s almost like I fear the anger, but could that be a more underlying problem with anger management issues?
1. This is completely normal. The church example is a good one, a quite extreme one, since I'd say 99% of the population would react in exactly the same way as you described. Especially in a church, but also, as people in a society, we're conditioned / brought up to hold in a lot of the emotions that are viewed as negative...if you were to express normal anger in most "polite" societal situations, such as while in church, you'd be looked down upon as having an anger problem.
So holding in emotions to an EXTENT is fine. It's when you CONSISTENTLY hold them in that it starts to cause problems...and the anger will begin to express itself in other, perhaps somewhat destructive, ways.
Also, it depends on WHY you're angry. Obviously stubbing your toe is quite quick, intense anger but it fades quickly because there's nothing really to be angry AT. You know once the pain subsides and everything's fine, the incident will be forgotten. Because the cause of the anger will disappear. It's different to being angry at a situation or a person...
2. If you weren't in a church, you could react more openly to the anger...if you chose to. But the reason most people show those sorts of reactions usually only in their own homes is cause the reactions are considered self indulgent...because it's destructive.
How do most people know they won't lose control in public (or private) and lash out? They just choose not to. Many people WANT to express themselves angrily and lash out to "get it out", but they just...don't. It's not always easy, but it is a choice and they make it.
The fact you may have slightly less confidence in your own ability to control these emotions could be due to the OCD. Loss of control...you know what I mean?
3. This is also understandable. If the anger is such like you described before, like a flash of anger brought on by physical pain or similar sudden and short-lived cause, it's most likely you'd still be annoyed by the time your partner tries to help or interact with you in some way about it.
And if the anger is caused by something you perceive to be your own inability to do something successfully (the dinner thing you mentioned), the increased anger you feel by her interacting with you immediately after the event could be because you feel embarrassed or inadequate in your own abilities and worth as a person...and you may get defensive because of that...
4...I'm not sure about this. I do think that you are over-thinking the anger thing though. You may be placing more stress on yourself whenever you start to feel what is normal anger...and you worry it might get out of control...and you worry it may be too strong for how it should feel...
I'd say it'd make things a lot easier for you if you just let the feelings come...feel them as they do arise in you...don't judge them...just let them wash over you...
Try and see it as...there are no bad emotions. Ever. Nobody can help how they feel. They CAN control how they react and behave to those feelings though. And choosing to treat people well and in a respectful manner is a good thing to do...and it sounds as if you already do that.
So try not to be so hard on yourself...just feel. It's good for the soul. lol