We live in an angry society. Society is divided and angry. Unhealthy ways of expressing emotion online, on social media and at rallies and events are becoming very common. Anger and uncontrolled rage is also manifesting in domestic terrorist acts and school and public shootings. The inability to control anger and rage is leading to multiple national tragedies and a continued unstable social environment for all of the United States.
This is not to say anger has not always existed and manifested in forms of rage in our society, but the particular modern climate is especially anger prone. Reflection is needed on how we treat each other, respect each other and deal with social strife. Anger inappropriately channeled is leading to tragedy after tragedy and to needless ruthless and cruel commentary between Americans.
One of the first aspects is the role of social media. Social media despite its numerous advantages has become to many, a personal diary. Instead of maintaining some sort of privacy, everyone feels the need to share one’s religious, political and social views. Individuals without hesitation will impose their views on a thread on Facebook or Twitter, expecting all to agree. Without the face to face social norms present, an individual is more likely to be rude or speak vulgarly inducing more angry interaction.
This lack of a mental filter has led to countless outbursts of anger throughout one’s day and in far worst cases can lead to bullying as well as extreme reactions. Everyone feels offended if their ideals are questioned and responds in ways social norms would reject. Many fume for days over social media debates. They allow it to alter their day and affect their interaction with individuals throughout the day.
A second element to the higher angry energy is politics. Present day politics is more divisive than any time in American history since the Civil War. Abortion, homosexual and transgender rights, gun control, immigration, healthcare, and Democrat vs Republican idealogies can destroy a friendship. The anger is so personal that other Americans demonize the other for being liberal or conservative. When confronted by an opposing idea, Americans react in the most angry ways. Whether at rallies or protests, Americans show the true division existing in the nation with the angry outbursts.
These political outbursts are also tied to social media, where everything is seen and instant reactions from any average Joe or Sue are shared with the viewing community. It is in such a dangerous political environment that fringe extremist groups have re-emerged. These unhinged groups, already exhibiting rage issues, utilize the political divide and role of social media to further propagate fear, hate and anger.
Individuals have become so attune to this type of social behavior that the loss of older values and social norms seems to be on the decline. Respect of others, decent language and boundaries of social behavior are all being strained and tested. Individuals feel justified in their anger and that their anger is righteous. In this demonization of the other view, right and left, liberal or conservative, feel they are fighting a noble crusade. They feel their anger and only their anger is justified. They feel their unbridled passion and raw emotion are justified against the evil they face in society.
So in most cases, the anger running rampant is both untamed and erroneously seen as justified. This is a very dangerous mix.
With such a chaotic environment, the unhinged and mentally unstable find refuge. Whether an extremist group, hate group, or individual mentally ill person, all can find a spot to share views and ideas on the chaos. This leads to more anger and violence. The reactions of the mentally ill are especially alarming. Shootings in public places have sky rocketed in the recent years. There are shootings at schools, movies, malls, and public events. Most of these shooters are mentally ill and have serious issues. They possess a rage against society and an anger that has never been properly cured. Instead they represent the outcasts of society and have turned their anger towards whatever perceived wrongs into manifestos. The inability to help the mentally ill and abused and to teach them how to deal with anger in a healthy way is a big challenge and current failure of today’s society.
Hence anger and rage is something that needs to be dealt with. It cannot be allowed to continue to go unbridled and without guard. The sources of the anger can be minimized but there will always be chaos in the world. There will always be something to be angry about. How one controls that anger and properly channels it is the key. The irritants must not be allowed to be completely blamed for society’s anger issue. Instead, one must look at how they handle angry situations.
First and foremost it is OK to be angry. It is how one handles anger and rage that is the key. One should not bottle it up in a introvert style way nor release it carelessly. Instead, one must learn despite the political divide, the mental instability, as well as the readiness of a social platform to learn to curb one’s emotion. One must learn to control how one reacts.
This involves not allowing emotion to overtake and instantly allowing emotion to dictate the response but in such a complicated political environment it takes more. It also after reflection demands a healthy and legal outlet for a justified anger. It involves reacting within the norms of law and social graces that respect others. It demands from politicians reasonable language that does not induce rage within his or her followers. It demands a return to class.
Anger Management skills can play a large role. Although Anger Management cannot help with mental illness and political divide, it can at least start helping the vast majority of the population in venting their anger in a healthy, productive and positive way. It involves not only how one processes social injustice and how one expresses it, but also importantly how one reacts to others. One must be able to process anger, express anger but also react to others who still exhibit immature or unhealthy angry behavior.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers a certification in Anger Management Consulting. This certification is meant to help train others in the process of teaching Anger Management. While Anger Management is critical to everyday life, it is especially critical in such a volatile social environment. Whether it is political, social or public, one can find oneself in a variety of anger situations merely at home, work or while traveling. It is key to attempt to control anger in all phases of life.
Anger is beneficial but it can also be dangerous if used improperly. As a natural reaction, it is important to properly utilize it for not only public and personal safety, but also over health and long life. If you interested in learning more about Anger Management Consulting then please review the program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.
Mark Moran, MA
Assistant Executive Director