Psychology behind breaking things when angry

Psychology behind breaking things when angry


Anger is one of many strong emotions. It involves hostility towards something or someone who has injured you. However, anger is not always wrong. For instance, it may help you develop a way of expressing your negative feelings or cause you to think about solutions.

However, too much anger can be problematic. It can cause Physiological responses in the body that are associated with anger, such as increased heart rate and reduced cognitive functioning, thus impairing clear thinking.

There are numerous ways in which an individual might express their anger. Breaking things is one example of harmful habits that can result from feelings of anger for some people. This article takes a thoughtful look at why people sometimes let their anger get the best of them and break things; let’s delve into what’s driving such behaviour inside a person, see how it affects their loved ones, and offer hopeful ideas for keeping their temper in check. 

The Psychology of Anger

Anger is a healthy, typical human emotion that may be used for various things, including self-defence, action motivation, and expression of dissatisfaction. Several factors, such as personality traits, cognitive assessments, Learned behaviours, and societal norms, can also impact anger. Anger can also indicate a mental health disorder that has to be treated by a mental health professional. It is a complex emotion that can vary in intensity and duration. When individuals become angry, their bodies undergo physiological changes, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and the release of stress hormones like cortisol. These changes prepare the body for a fight-or-flight response. The fight or flight response is a physiological response to a perceived threat, where a person either tries to flee or fight the situation. 

The Impact of Anger on Behavior

When a person gets angry, it usually happens in three stages: Escalation, Explosion and Post Explosion. This is known as the anger cycle a person goes through when they feel angry. The escalation phase involves cues that indicate anger is building, which can be physical, behavioural, emotional, or cognitive. during this event, a special red flag event happens that, when left unchecked, leads to the explosion phase; consider the red flag event as the one instance or one issue or thing that makes the person lose control over their anger. The explosion phase occurs after this, marked by an uncontrollable display of anger, often leading to negative consequences. Breaking things in anger is one possible reaction in the explosion phase. The final stage of the aggression cycle is the post-explosion phase. It consists of the negative consequences of the verbal or physical aggression displayed during the explosion phase. And that’s how we know anger is an emotion affecting people’s cognition and behaviour. 

The Reasons Behind Breaking Things When Angry

People may break things when they’re angry for a number of reasons. It is important to note that these are not the only reasons, and they may differ from person to person. Typical causes include the following:

1. Releasing tension and venting frustration:

For some people, breaking things when angry serves as a way to release any tension or frustration that has built up in their body. They feel quite relieved after they have broken something right after an angry outburst. This happens when people don’t have healthy coping mechanisms and lack anger management skills, so breaking things becomes a maladaptive coping strategy for them not to feel anger anymore. 

2. Communicating Dissatisfaction:

When people feel that they have no words to describe how they are feeling or feel that they are being unheard by people, they tend to lean more towards action and these actions can include breaking things just so people actually see how dissatisfied they are. 

3. Breaking things due to anger disorders and other mental health conditions:

In certain situations, breaking things may indicate a mental health condition known as intermittent explosive disorder (IED). This anger disorder is characterised by impulsive, aggressive, or even violent behaviour that occurs repeatedly and unannounced, including angry verbal outbursts. People with IEDs struggle to regulate their emotions and impulses, frequently reacting excessively to the situation. Even people with disorders like Schizophrenia, Mania and other mood disorders also tend to show very aggressive tendencies, resulting in them throwing and breaking things. 

4. The Influence of Learned Behavior and Social Norms:

Breaking objects might be a result of learnt behaviour or social norms. Some people may have grown up when breaking items was a frequent or accepted means of expressing rage. This learned tendency may be the result of parental or cultural factors. In addition, external influences such as media depictions or peer pressure can change people’s beliefs, normalising the act of breaking items while furious. 

The Impact of Breaking Things When Angry

While breaking things may temporarily release anger, it can have negative consequences for the individual and their surroundings. Some potential impacts include:

Hurting Yourself and Othe­rs:

Breaking things can be dangerous. Some­times, objects might be sharp or he­avy. When these things bre­ak, they can cause harm. People­ may not think about how dangerous broken glass or flying things can be. Injurie­s could be small like cuts or big like de­ep wounds. Either way, it hurts. Sometime­s, others can get hurt too.

Breaking Things Costs Mone­y:

When you break things, it can damage a lot of prope­rty. This might be your stuff or others’ belongings. Fixing or re­placing these items costs mone­y. This can lead to a lot of financial stress. Also, if you break some­one else’s stuff, you might have­ to pay them back. You might even face­ legal trouble.

Legal Consequences:

Breaking objects that belong to someone else or public property can lead to legal trouble. Individuals may face fines, lawsuits, or criminal charges for their destructive behaviour. The legal implications can have long-lasting effects on personal and professional life, tarnishing reputations and limiting future opportunities.

Strained Relationships:

Aggressive behaviour, such as breaking things, can strain relationships with family, friends, partners, or coworkers. Loved ones may feel hurt, scared, or betrayed by the display of anger and aggression. Trust and emotional bonds can be damaged, leading to strained connections and potential relationship breakdowns.

Emotional Distress:

The aftermath of breaking things often brings about emotional distress. Feelings of guilt, shame, regret, anxiety, and even depression may arise as individuals reflect on the consequences of their actions. These negative emotions can have a profound impact on mental well-being, further exacerbating the challenges faced in managing anger and finding healthier coping mechanisms.

Reinforcing the Cycle of Anger and Aggression:

Engaging in destructive behavior when angry reinforces the cycle of anger and aggression, making it increasingly challenging to manage emotions in the long run. By resorting to breaking things as a means of coping, individuals may find themselves trapped in a pattern where destructive behaviour becomes their default response to anger. This perpetuates a harmful cycle, hindering personal growth and emotional stability.

Strategies for Anger Management

Managing anger healthily and constructively is important for a person’s overall well-being. Here are some strategies that can help individuals cope with anger and reduce the likelihood of breaking things:

First and foremost, a person should be able to recognise what their triggers are and what the things or situations they think make them very angry; once that has been recognised, a person can use some strategies to cope up with their anger reactions in a heathy manner. 

PAUSE: The Self De-Escalation Tool is like your personal tool for dealing with difficult situations and emotions, especially anger.. It helps you regain control and respond in a calm and collected way. Here, you can see the P.A.U.S.E. approach:

 P – Stop and breathe: When you find yourself in a difficult or stressful situation, take a moment to stop. Stop what you are doing and take a deep breath. This simple process helps break the feedback cycle and allows you to regain your composure.

 A – assess the situation: When you pause, assess the situation carefully. Step back and examine what is happening without getting caught up in the heat of the moment. Consider the factors involved, the emotions involved, and the possible consequences of your actions. 

U – understand your feelings: Pay attention to your feelings and actions. Take some time to understand what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. Are you angry, frustrated, or worried? Recognising and acknowledging your emotions helps you gain insight into your triggers and better manage your reactions. 

S – Seek perspective: Consider other perspectives that affect the situation. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their point of view. This helps to build empathy and can lead to constructive and respectful communication. 

E – Look for alternatives: Consider possible ways to improve the situation. Consider methods or strategies that may yield positive results. Consider long-term outcomes and choose a strategy that aligns with your values ​​and goals.

Developing healthy coping strategies:

Coping strategies are your secret weapons for dealing with life’s challenges. They help you navigate tough situations and keep your cool…Coping strategies can vary from person to person, so it’s important to explore different techniques and find what works best for you. Some people find comfort in exercise, deep breathing, or journaling. Others may prefer talking to a trusted friend or seeking professional help. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so be open to trying different methods. Developing coping strategies is a process, so don’t expect to have it all figured out overnight. Start with small steps and gradually build upon them. For example, if exercise helps you cope, start by taking short walks and gradually increase your activity level. Small changes can make a big difference over time. Self-care is a vital part of coping. Take time to nurture yourself and recharge. This could mean getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, or engaging in enjoyable activities. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish—it’s necessary for your overall well-being. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you need it. Talk to friends, family, or a therapist who can provide guidance and a listening ear. Having someone to lean on can make a difference when facing tough times. 

Practice Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques: Deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga, can help calm the mind and body during anger. Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful technique that can help you manage your anger and find inner calm during challenging situations. I want you to know that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and that deep breathing can be a valuable tool to bring you back to a place of balance. Take a moment to pause, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Breathe in deeply through your nose, allowing the air to fill your lungs, and exhale slowly through your mouth, releasing any tension or stress. Feel the calming rhythm of your breath and let it anchor you to the present moment.

Seek Professional Help: If anger becomes unmanageable or starts to interfere with daily life, seeking help from a mental health professional can provide valuable guidance and support.

Know that feeling every emotion is important, you don’t have to repress any emotions because that might lead to greater bad. But feeling everything in an heathy manner is important. 

Breaking things when angry is a behavior that can have various underlying psychological reasons. Understanding the psychology behind this behavior is crucial for developing effective anger management strategies. By recognizing triggers, seeking professional help, and adopting healthy coping mechanisms, individuals can learn to manage their anger in healthier ways. Remember, anger is a natural emotion, but how we choose to express and manage it can greatly impact our well-being and relationships.

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