Anger, Pain and Relationships
By Linda Ruehlman
Living with chronic pain can be very frustrating. Not surprisingly, people with chronic pain tend to report greater levels of anger than those without pain. Expressions of anger differ, with some people being more likely to suppress and hide it, turning it inward on themselves, and others turning it outward, letting it explode. Still others struggle to be someplace in-between – hoping for “healthy expression” of anger that allows the angry person to express his/her feelings without being aggressive.
How you express your anger can make a difference – the in-between approach may be best over the long-run. I have written before about anger management. Today I want to talk a bit about the consequences of anger and how to prevent anger from starting in the first place. In general, high levels of anger have been found to increase both acute and chronic pain, reason enough to try to prevent it! Besides making pain worse, anger can also take a toll on your relationships, especially with family. For example, recently, a reader wrote to me:
“Sometimes when I have a migraine, I lose my temper and treat my husband badly. I realize that this has hurt our relationship. How can I undo the damage and prevent myself from snapping at him in the future?”
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