getting so irritable and lashing out

for the past few weeks i’ve been so easily irritable by the people around me and i lash out a lot, i hope i’m not alone in this

Hi @sai , thanks for sharing the issue with us. I hear that you have been feeling easily irritable by people around you, and it seems that there are many emotions you are experiencing.

Here is what we can do:

  • First, we can identify the various primary emotions we are feeling beneath the anger. Anger is a secondary emotion because we tend to resort to anger to protect ourselves from being hurt or prevent vulnerable feelings from showing. A primary emotion is what we feel right before we feel anger. You can refer to this article for more information about primary and secondary anger (1). Take some time to reflect on the situation that got you to be angry and list down all primary emotions you feel before the anger or irritation comes up. You can use the Anger Iceberg worksheet to help you to do so (2).

  • After identifying all the emotions we are feeling, take steps to address them one by one. Remember, all emotions are valid, and emotions are data to help us understand what we need. If some of these emotions are harder to manage, I will encourage you to talk to your school therapist, who will be able to process these emotions with you.

  • Second, we can learn to be present with our emotions, reframe our thoughts, and find ways to cope with the situation better. Here are some guiding questions we can ask ourselves at the moment.

    • What am I feeling right now? (disappointed, confused, furious)
    • What happened to make me feel this way? (They brushed me off with no explanation.)
    • Does the situation have a different explanation that might make sense? (Maybe they’re stressed, sick, or dealing with something else they don’t feel comfortable explaining. They might plan to explain more when they can.)
    • What do I want to do about these feelings? (Scream, vent my frustration by throwing things, text back something rude.)
    • Is there a better way of coping with them that is aligned with my beliefs, values and purpose? (Ask if everything’s OK. Ask when they’re free next. Go for a walk or run.)
  • You can learn more about how you can cope with your emotions in these articles:

    • Healthline: How to control your emotions (3)
    • Healthhub: Care For Ourselves - Managing our Emotions (4)
  1. Psychology Tools: What is Anger? A Secondary Emotion |
  2. Anger Iceberg (Worksheet) | Therapist Aid
  3. How to Control Your Emotions: 11 Strategies to Try
  4. MindSG
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