Anger and Being in the Military
Being in the military brings many benefits: respect and admiration from whom they protect, self-respect and the self-confidence needed to succeed in life and even a possible lifelong career. Many credit their decision to go into a branch of the military as a turning point in their lives, the one that got them off a path to self-destruction.
But life in the military can exact a price as well, one that can lead to overwhelming anger, for a variety of reasons.
There are many reasons why soldiers returning from a military tour may experience anger issues. After coming home, what they once knew as “normal” is most likely no longer the norm. A husband may once have been in charge of the finances and other family affairs, but returns to find that his role has changed. His family has had to adapt to his absence, and he may feel he is no longer needed as much as he once was.
Some are angry that while they were on the front lines of a life-threatening war, those “back home,” did not really seem to appreciate the nature of the situation. They just went on living their lives without having to worry that they might face danger at every turn, or having to live far away from friends and family members for an extended period of time.
And the stress of being under the constant threat of attack by an enemy or actually experiencing battle on the front lines can be cumulative. It can make someone quick to react to seemingly minor situations once back at home. The stress of being far from friends and family members for extended periods of time can also put a strain on all sides of the equation, making people overreact to each other and causing unrest for everyone.
How to Deal with It
There are many outlets for anger management that can be used to cope with military anger. Therapy is often the approach that brings one’s desired results the fastest, often because depression can be contributing to one’s anger issues. But if someone is not ready for that type of introspection, there are ways to manage your stress, and thus anger, on your own.
- Try deep breathing when a situation sparks your anger. Continue deep breathing, while telling yourself to try to relax, until your anger subsides.
- Talk to others about what is making you angry. It’s not healthy to suppress anger. Learning how to communicate frustrations instead of having unexpected outbursts can result in less stress being put on important relationships and in preserving one’s own self-respect.
- Learn how to see the humor in otherwise provoking situations, and how to laugh at yourself. In this way, you can diffuse your own anger before it bubbles to the surface.
- Use logic to keep from becoming irrational. Recognize that you are going through a rough patch in your life, and with time it will pass. Try to acknowledge that others are not out to undo your life as you would like it to be. Remind yourself of these things when you feel provoked.
- Focus on avoiding using language that may alienate other people, people who may have been trying to help you. Telling someone that they “never” do something you would like, or that they “always” do something that incites you, serves no positive purpose. People may think that you have become self-centered and only concerned about your own interests, and they could begin to avoid you instead of reaching out to help.
Practicing being able to recognize what triggers your anger and then teaching yourself how to diffuse those situations is the essence of military anger management, even when there may be an explainable, or even justifiable reason for your rage.