When You Love an Angry Person
Author: Lynne Namka, Ed. D.
People from all over the world write to me, mostly women but sometimes it is a man, asking about what they can do to help their family member, loved one or partner “control” his or her anger. Or how they can help “diffuse” their partner’s anger. They say that their partner is “such a good guy” and his only flaw is his “anger problem.” Or they feel sorry for their out-of-control child or abusive parent. The intention to help is good but it is misplaced as it enables the angry person to stay as he is. This article is my response to the letters I’ve received where one person wants to take responsibility for another person’s problem of anger.
I use the pronoun “he” in this article as research shows that men are more angry than women. The research shows that men are angrier than women. Women have structural differences in their brain that work with emotions, so that women can more easily inhibit the anger response. The higher testosterone level revs up in men and sets the stage for more aggression. In addition, aggression is considered to be more acceptable in boys and men and is modeled for them by Hollywood through violent movies. Boys usually like the more violent computer games. Women typically take the peacekeeper role, although recently more and more women are acting in aggressively angry ways. Women are typically the care takers of the relationship. Most men are notorically lacking in relationship skills.
The theme of this article is that people will get away with whatever you let them get away with. Anger can be used as a destructive emotion that too many people get way with. When you allow bad behavior to go unchecked, it increases whether it comes from your child, partner or parent. You teach how to treat you and if you put up with abuse, then that is what you will get.
Most people do not know what to do with anger other than exploding it or stuffing it. Anger is the most complicated emotion, because it is so complex with many aspects. There are thirty-plus sub skills of anger and few people are even aware that they exist.
You may have grown up in a household where people were unkind to one another with their anger or one where the adults avoided conflict. Most of our parents did not know how to do anger well. You learned what your parents modeled in their actions towards each other and the children. Now you probably play out your parent’s patterns of submission or dominance and exploding anger in your own relationships.
Anger Patterns are Learned from our Parents
Children learn how to be in relationships from their parents through a process of social learning, and especially observational learning. They adapt the behaviors they see their parents do. The children in the family watch their parents and learn positive as well as dysfunctional coping styles in dealing with stress and threat. Research studies show that there are three social skills that create happy marriages: problem solving, emotional distress regulation and conflict management. Expression of positive words, maintaining a pleasant attitudes and the avoidance of conflict and negativity are other major skills in creating happy unions. People, who have poor coping skills in handling internal emotional distress, often become anxious or angry.
Aggression is learned behavior. Children raised in families with above average in rates of violence are at greater risk for being physically aggressive toward their romantic partner. Violence is passed down through the generations. Parental physical punishment of the adolescent has been associated with later dating violence. Increased risk for overall antisocial behavior in general in turn increases risk for aggression toward a romantic partner. Children, who aggressively fight with their siblings, can carry this destructive fighting pattern over to their adult years.
Parents who discipline their children by emphasizing positive interactions and inhibiting negative behaviors promote skills in conflict management. Parents who do not monitor their children’s behavior or give inconsistent discipline create children who do not have the social skills to succeed in happy relationships. Achieving emotional intimacy is a necessary developmental task of young adults. Close social ties promote personal well being. The failure to establish or maintain positive relationships sets up physical and emotional distress in the individual.
Anger is Catching and Causes all Kinds of Nasty Side Effects in the Family
The energy of self-indulgent anger is contagious just like a nasty virus. It can infect your family though one member and be passed on to the others. Each person is affected by the anger in their social system and acts it out in their own unique way, whether they cower in silence with resentment or act out their anger on others.
Anger is a major side effect of the chaos in the home and vice versa. The research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shows that the survivors of traumatic events are left with anger. The universal desire to survive during situations of threat are linked with high physiological arousal and anger. The hormones, increased muscle tension, and pounding heart are all activated to produce the resources to “fight or flight” to deal with the threat.
Children learn this survival mode of reactive stress and hyper alertness when they are traumatized. Anger can become an automatic response and a protective mechanism, which “revs” up the body to deal with threat or perceived threat. Even when there is no emergency, the person can go into full activation of anger and become ready to fight.
Children from angry families most often pick up anxiety, frustration and agitation that flavor how they see life. The research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shows that early trauma in life interferes with the ability to regulate emotion, which then leads to excessive anger, fear and rage. This inability to deal with frustration and anxiety can lead to extreme out busts of aggression. Or it can surface as icy cold hostility as a means of controlling other using looks of disgust to convey displeasure.
An insecure childhood is often a set up for needing to control others. The person who was traumatized as a child by family violence often feels anxious, keyed up, on edge, irritable and tense. He has trouble learning the tools to release pent-up emotions of distress. The child learns to vent his anger because one of their parents acted that way.
Some of the children in the family learn to identify with the aggressor because the parent who yells the loudest gets his way. Belligerence and hostility become a way of life. They can even justify their yelling or hitting saying, “I was raised with my dad’s yelling and using the belt, and it didn’t hurt me.” They cannot see that their current behavior, which seems normal to them is a direct result of being raised in an angry household.
A second pattern that happens in other abused children, (particularly girls) is freezing in response to loud voices and anger. This is a dissociative response where the person becomes numb and spaces out instead of fighting or fleeing. Dissociation can be a normal response to trauma to keep form experiencing the pain. This behavioral pattern, learned in childhood, then carries over to the adult life where the woman literally gives up her voice to keep the peace.
A third pattern in dealing with stress that is also more prevalent in girls and women is “tend and befriend.” Women are more likely to band together and try to keep the peace. Tend and befriend is connected to the female brain and maternal behavior associated caring for others is due to a hormone called oxytocin. This evolutionary adaptation of trying to soothe the waters and keep others happy backfires on women who live in abusive relationships.
Prolonged, excessive chaos in the child’s home lead to brain and hormonal changes resulting in withdrawal due to fear and acting out. Later in life the earlier stressors show up in eating disorders, promiscuity, codependency and alcohol and drug abuse. Anger becomes an unwelcome generational gift that is passed down in families.
Anger is a Normal Reaction to Loss, Threat or being Traumatized
Anger is a normal human response when our well being is threatened. We all have anger when we feel betrayed and are unable to express the pain that we feel. Anger is made up of feelings, thoughts and physiological reactions, which includes adrenalin and cortisol release to prepare for action. While the feelings and physiological reactions cannot always be controlled, the thoughts and the behaviors can be modified and expressed in more acceptable ways.
The research shows that anger is a normal response to betrayal and loss of basic trust in others. Anger also is a normal reaction to injustice, terror and feeling out of control. The innocence of the child is broken by acts of betrayal. What takes its place is fear and anger. The hurt child resolves not to trust again and creates barriers to further connection to others.
All anger is not bad. Sometimes anger is a legitimate response to an injustice, which is used to bring momentum, which allows the person to make, needed changes in their life. At times anger is justified given an unfair situation where the energy that anger provides is needed to leave a bad situation. Anger can be used to protect yourself when you are terrorized. We need the energy that anger brings to get us to act and do something differently when we are stuck in bad circumstances.
Other times, anger is just a bad habit to deal with the feelings of frustration because things are not going as the person wants. This article addresses the habitual type of destructive anger that harms family members and friends.
Twenty percent of people have an anger-prone personality. If you choose to be around someone who easily gets frustrated and express anger freely, the quality of your life will be affected. It is best to find out how a person expresses anger before you become emotionally involved, hop into bed of have a child with them. Your life will be drastically changed by living with a habitually angry person. During the honeymoon period of new relationship, people put on their best behavior. Later the person’s true coping mechanisms come out.
Check out a new partner’s coping patterns of dealing with conflict before things get serious between you. Observe his reactions to daily stressors to life, and how he does anger. See how he treats the significant others in his life when he is upset with them. If he treats others badly, chances are he will treat you badly when the bloom of new love fades. See how he acts when he is upset and threatened. Pick a fight if necessary to determine what type of fighter he is-mean or constructive. If the person drinks or uses drugs, see how he reacts when he is drunk-is he an angry drunk, a raging drunk, a melancholy drunk or a sleepy drunk?
Do not be foolish enough to think you can change another person’s anger patterns. After all, he has had many years to practice them before meeting you. Anger coping patterns lie deep within the psyche and do not change unless the person makes a strong commitment to become a better person. They need a structured program of anger management or therapy to learn how to break into their destructive behavior.
What Provokes Anger?
Anger is made up of increased physical arousal, emotions and accompanying behaviors that comes up when a person feels a threat or a loss or a perceived threat or loss. The threat may be to their self-esteem as they feel challenged or discounted by what happened. The person responds to the threat by producing adrenalin to “fight or flight.” How they respond is due to how they have been conditioned as a child or later in life if they are exposed to abuse. Everyone has triggers that set off anger. Here are the most common reasons people become angry:
- Their body or property is threatened
- Their values are being threatened (disagree with what someone is doing such as kicking a dog or not following the rules)
- Someone insists that they do something they don’t want to
- When someone hurts or betrays them and they feel a loss of trust
- They are guilty about something and they do not want to feel or admit their guilt
- They feel discounted and their sense of self esteem is lowered
- Their expectations are not met and they don’t get their way (their expectations may be unrealistic)
The Shoulds, Ought Tos, Musts and Have Tos
Most adult anger is about expectations and values not being met. We build up strong belief systems of how things should be or should not be and then expect others to behave in ways that we deem best. Expectations can be realistic (I expect you to be faithful to me in marriage) or unrealistic (I expect you to keep a perfect house all the time. I expect you to let me indulge in my addictions such as alcohol or shopping.) The shoulds are the irrational ways we make our self and others crazy by insisting that small, insubstantial things be our way.
Don’t believe everything you think! The mind can make wrong assumptions and make up things that are just not true. The shoulds are the rules that we make for our self and others that are based on our personal history and way of doing things. Anger is often the result of a person’s need to control someone else and tell them what to do based on his own view of how things should be in life.
Perfectionists usually have a big list of shoulds that they try to impose on their mates and children. Perfectionists are usually made so by their parents. People who had critical, perfectionistic parents learn to be judgmental themselves. They often become angry when their own needs are not met.
People who are critical and controlling of others usually have high anxiety and irritability within and try to keep their nervous feelings down by trying to control the environment and the people in it. They harbor irrational beliefs that certain people are stupid, evil, or do things wrong and it is their moral duty to correct them. They try to impose their standards on others in order to keep their nervous feelings at bay. For more information read my three articles; The Big Game, The Right Man and Right Woman Theory and Projection, Blaming, Grudge Holding Doomsday Thinking, Revenge Thoughts and Black and White Thinking.
Constant criticism is a bad habit that will sour any relationship. Virginia Satir called this habit the “Bony Finger of Blame.” Here are some examples of shoulds that are irrational to try to control another person. Note that each statement starts with the word “You” followed by an accusation and the insistence that the person is doing something wrong. They are all a form of “I get to tell you what to do.”
- You should not use so much butter on your toast.
- You should brown the hamburger the way I do.
- You should take the dishes out of the dishwasher my way.
- You should wear your hair long (or get your hair cut).
- Children should not make noise. Children should be seen and not heard.
- You are dong the vacuuming wrong. You should do it like this.
- You should not be calling your friends so much.
Shoulds are those beliefs that are absolutes that make us crazy and keep us from achieving closeness with others. For information on how to break into the rigidity of the shoulds and make them preferences, see my book The Doormat Syndrome.
Mature Ways of Dealing with a High Level of Internal Frustration
Some people are easily provoked and have a hotheaded temperament, yet they take responsibility for their responses to irritation. They live with a high level of inner frustration but try to keep their aggravation under control. They accept their overly emotional temperament and take responsibility for dealing with it. They learn techniques to deal with the cues and triggers that bring up the inner arousal that will quickly turn to anger. They do stress management techniques regularly and use physical exercise to work off their strong emotions of irritation. They minimize venting their anger at others by recognizing the beginning signs of anger and take a time out to chill out,
Mature people seek better ways to deal with their anger in an argument. They make a contract with their partner that they can leave during a fight when they feel that they are getting out of control. They remove themselves to a private place for time out. In private they do damage control techniques to bring their anger level down and then return to deal with the problem.
So, how do they learn these ways of keeping their cool? They understand that they have an anger prone personality. They recognize that they must work an active program of anger management in order to live a happier life. They study and take parenting classes to seek more effective ways of disciplining their children. They take anger management classes and do couples counseling to learn better ways of being with the people they work and live with. Mature people with high degrees of frustration keep tabs on themselves and work at diffusing their anger responses.
There is a new breed of angry men and women who are motivated to change their inappropriate behavior. They choose to go to therapy and couples counseling to work through their excesses of anger. Some agree to get help due to their conscience telling them that their outbursts hurt others. Some come because their partner is threatening to leave them if they don’t get help. Some “macho” men recognize that they are doing their father’s anger and sending it down to their own kids. A few get help only after they lose their spouse and families. And sadly, some never do.
Courageous men and women choose to learn to be different from their own angry parents. They stop denying that their anger causes problems for others. They take responsibility for their unjust actions. They experience a significant boost in self-esteem when they admit their wrongdoing and seek other ways of dealing with their anger. Their spouses and children are extremely thankful to them for taking this important step of deciding to grow and learn anger management techniques. They learn and practice the following healthy ways to deal with their aggressive impulses. As they grow in maturity and loving kindness, they become role models for others in their family.
Healthy Approaches to Dealing with and Expressing Anger
- Using feelings of threat and distress to cue yourself that you are beginning to be angry
- Not sweating the small stuff and heading off anger before it escalates (This is no big deal)
- Using humor to defuse the tension in the situation
- Using movement or exercise to drain anger away
- Becoming more flexible and accepting of things others do
- Writing about the anger (Use size 24 print and a bold type on your computer, then delete it.)
- Drawing pictures about anger
- Looking for and admitting your part of the problem
- Sharing feelings and discussing the issue from an emotional level Gently confronting the irrational ideas of yourself and the other person
- Problem solving the issue using conflict negotiation
- Taking Time Out to cool off, and then come back to address the problem
- Breathing and calming to talk your anger down ( I can handle this. I’m cool. etc.)
- Observing your physical reactions, thoughts and feelings
- Finding the errors in your thinking that triggered anger
- Trying to see the issue from the other person’s point of view
- Take constructive action to make changes about the situation (MAD-Use your anger to make a difference
- Using relaxation techniques such as Eye Movement Desensitization, Thought Field Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, Tapas Acupressure Technique and Progressive Relaxation to release anger.
It is better if both partners in a relationship where there is anger are willing to acknowledge their own dysfunctional coping patterns and make the necessary changes in how they deal with conflict. Once learned, these skills are a positive investment that will serve the entire family. If your partner refuses to learn and grow, focus on yourself.
Some People Do Not Take Responsibility for their Aggressive Outbursts
A few decades ago there was a myth that it was healthy to blow up to keep it from being bottled up in the body and causing physical problems. Unfortunately, this erroneous idea sticks around today despite the evidence that blowing up does not solve the problem and creates trauma for others. Still some people feel justified in exploding and then forgetting about the incident while those around them are left devastated.
Some people who are typically angry believe they have the right to vent their frustrations on others or to break things. This self-indulgent attitude is entitlement and is a form of self-righteousness. Outbursts of anger do not solve the underlying feelings of threat, fear and sense of betrayal, which are hiding under the anger in the person. Angry people block vulnerable feelings such as hurt, sadness, guilt and vulnerability. The emotions have to go somewhere so they turn up as anger. Anger becomes the substitute emotion for the others that are not allowed.
The person who believes that he has the right to vent anger on others never quite grows up emotionally. He is stuck in a child-like reaction when he feels frustrated and responds with a temper tantrum. Tantrums increase the anger by revving the body up to a heightened arousal state.
Screaming does NOT purge the anger impulses. It may give a temporary relief but makes it worse overall. Name calling and swearing do not solve the problem. Continued yelling breaks down the inhibitions that most people have about not acting out their harmful impulses. Any habitual verbal thought pattern such as yelling creates a well-worn pathway in the brain making it easier for the pattern to happen again. Dealing with irritation with constant expression anger can be a harmful habit that takes over a person’s life.
Expression of hostility results in more hostility. Impulsive anger such as yelling, throwing things, cursing, and blaming the other person takes its toll on the person expressing it and harms those in its path. Frustration and anger may temporarily go away with the venting, but the rage remains within because it is not addressed directly. The anger remains there unchanged until the next time an expectation is not met or there is disappointment, threat, or stress.
People who cannot stand feeling helpless get angry instead. Anger and the adrenalin make them feel that they are more in control of the situation. Getting angry instead of feeling ashamed or anxious helps the person manage those emotions they do not want to feel.
Violence has a way of getting out of control. Rewarding a person’s verbally abusive behavior by allowing it, excusing it and returning to things as usual WILL increase their screaming behavior. When family members indulge the aggressive person, their violent tendencies remain. The person learns that there will not be consequences for inappropriate behavior so continue his tirades without fear of reprisal. Children in the family learn that when they are stressed, it is okay to blow up and hurt others and things.
Some angry people feel anxious and guilty about blowing up. They feel a decrease in their self-esteem with feelings of remorse and guilt. They talk about how bad they feel (some will even cry) to “hook” their partner feeling bad for them and allow them to return to grace. This is one dynamic in abusive relationships called the “fight and make up” syndrome.
Some people who get angry cannot talk about the problem the next day. Talking about the issue stresses them and they get angry all over again. This type of person emotionally distances to take care of his anxiety. while you need closure to deal with your own anxiety and need to talk. Emotional Distancing and Emotional Pursuing when anxious and upset are common ways to cope with conflict in most relationships. Read my article on the Angries Out web site on Repressors to understand the need to withdraw from conflict.
Harmful Behaviors of Expressing Anger that Hurt Others of Self
The negative ways of dealing with anger are harmful to life. Harmful anger negates others or your self.
- Self harm such as hitting or cutting
- Physically assaulting others
- Verbally abuse
- Raging and screaming
- Throwing and breaking things
- Cursing and name-calling
- Holding grudges and plotting revenge
- Using excessive addictions to calm down
- Displacing anger on weaker people or animals
- Criticizing others
- Criticizing and beating self up
- Blaming others instead of taking responsibility for one’s own actions
- Giving others the silent treatment and using pouting or cold rage to show disapproval and control others
- Using anger and raging to manipulate others to back down
- Using sarcasm and negative humor to put others down
- Denying anger and stuffing feelings, which may then turn into depression
- Shutting down and dissociating when threatened
- Running away and not addressing the problem
- Going into battle alert over small things
On Just Trying to “Control” Your Anger
It is a fallacy to think that you can just “control” your anger. The energy that anger generates has to go somewhere. Too often people think they are “controlling” their anger, but they are just stuffing it down and it comes out later with disastrous results. Anger cannot be controlled, but it can be expressed more appropriately and then released. Anger can be understood, analyzed and channeled into higher-level responses. Blasting it out, giving the cold shoulder or squelching anger are not realistic goals. The healthy goal regarding our anger can be to learn better ways of expressing it that do not harm others or ourselves.
One simple question to ask when angry is “Do my actions celebrate life or harm life?” Another good question is “What am I saying to myself to make myself angry today?” Here are some of the necessary skills for people who have frequent outbursts of anger:
Skills for Containing Excessive Anger:
- To learn to discriminate between big and little deals. (Don’t sweat the small stuff.)
- To realize and accept that you don’t always get what you want. (Break into entitlement)
- To identify irrational thoughts and statements that fuel anger.
- To break into self-angering thoughts and use cool down thoughts.
- To analyze and correct mistakes instead of beating self up.
- To address anger directly with the person you are angry with instead of displacing the anger on family members.
- To use Thought Stoppage to interrupt intrusive, negative thinking. Thought Stoppage techniques are anything you say or do to break into self-angering thoughts.
- To keep cool when others are trying to push your buttons.
- To take Time Out when overheated during an argument and return to problem solve.
- To break into tirades when correcting others. (Read The One Minute Father or The One Minute Mother by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.)
Skills for Learning to Feel Empathy and Respect Others
- To listen to others when they are upset and try to understand their point of view.
- To recognize and refrain from actions that are hurtful to others.
- To stop blaming others when you are stressed.
- To take responsibility for one’s own actions and wrong doings.
- To refrain from sarcasm, name calling, egg ons and put-downs.
- To see things from the other person’s perspective.
- To observe the effect of one’s actions upon others and express sorrow for hurting them.
- To treat others with respect and caring even when feeing upset and frustrated.
Utilize Damage Control During Your Partner’s Anger Attack
Making changes in your way of dealing with an angry person may bring about consequences both good and bad. Only you can decide if these ideas will work for you or not. Some angry people will cut you off if you try to confront them. The more rigid people might become estranged from you. Do not attempt these ideas if you think the angry person will hurt you.
Do a cost-benefit analysis of what the after effects of your changing the rules to increase respect for all involved. Be aware that challenging some angry people about their inappropriate anger may create an atmosphere that is hostile and distancing. Some people use anger to exit from a relationship. Think of several likely bad case scenarios that might happen and ask yourself, “Can I live with this?” If so, go ahead and rock the boat a little. Some boats need rocking.
When you interact with an angry person, watch your own level of anger when your partner is upset. Some people inadvertently “egg on” the angry person with derision or disgust. They use verbal and nonverbal language that encourages the other person to escalate their level of anger.
Some people nit pick at their partner which provokes them. Watch the type of complaints that you make that threaten his self-esteem such as statements of blame that start with “You always….” Criticism and sarcasm about another person’s behavior is not productive. Save your energy for problem solving. Make a list of his triggers and then observe how you set him off. Don’t be a button pusher on purpose. Do not feed the anger beast as it can turn and devour you!
Another form of setting up an angry response is to promise something and then not follow through. Agreeing to do something and then dropping the ball is passive aggressive behavior. This is related to fear of confrontation and the need to look good and agreeing up front, then doing what you want. The passive aggressive person is aggressive in their passivity. See my article on The Boomerang Relationship.
Timing is important when trying to settle problems. People are more irritable when they are tired or already frustrated. If either one of you is rushed or upset, anger will escalate. Try to find a time for problem solving when you both have the inner resources to deal with the issue. Schedule discussions ahead of time and ask that you both start thinking of compromises.
See if you can get an agreement to talk about ways the family is being stressed by anger. Try a bargaining approach. Without anger in your voice, try to negotiate for changes. Take responsibility for your own unhealthy way of reacting and ask your partner if he will work to change his outbursts. This concept is behavior exchange-“I’ll stop doing this if you will stop doing that.” Sometimes just agreeing not to use cuss words or name calling can make a difference in the stress in the home.
See if the proverb, ” A soft voice turneth away wrath.” works with your partner. The research shows that people who start a potential disagreement with a “soft, non-blaming startup” are more like to get the problem solved. Blaming and sarcastic remarks typically increase the anger output. .
Read my article on Fair Fighting and insist on practicing the steps to keep tempers down during arguments. Take notes on how to fight fair and review them to get agreement on what you will try to avoid. Post these notes between you and your partner when you try to resolve differences. Watch the process of anger eruption between the two of you. Learn all you can about how you and your partner set each other off and how you each back off to calm down.
Stick to one problem only. Do not bring in other examples of the problem, old history or past grudges. Think of what you want or ways to compromise. If the topic of conversation goes off in a different direction, bring it back by saying, “We were talking about ….” Label the issue at hand and put it on a piece of paper between you and keep bringing the topic of conversation back to what you are trying to resolve. Keep bringing the argument back to the issue you are trying to solve.
Develop an anti-venting policy for your home. Some people still believe that it is necessary to get their anger out by screaming and yelling. This is an old fashioned ideas that has not been proven by research. Venting only makes the person feel more justified in their anger and does not solve the problem being addressed. There are at least twelve other anger responses that can be made instead of yelling. Increase the behavior repertoire by practicing other ways to deal with anger.
Know that some arguments cannot be solved. People have strong value differences that they dig into and they cannot see the other person’s point of view. John Gottman’s research shows that 60% of arguments cannot be solved. Pick your battles wisely. Let the little things go. Stand up for what you really believe. Do your best to avoid silly arguments that can never find resolution such as “My childhood was better (or worse) than yours” and “I get to tell you how to run your life.”
Define your limits with unhealthy behavior such as, “I can’t allow you to yell at me. Yelling hurts me and it hurts you. I’m not willing to watch you scream and yell. I’ve got to go. We can talk about this later.” Be straight forward about this. Look the person in the eye and show a quiet strength as you set them straight. Role play saying the words with emphasis with a friend if necessary.
Of course, some people will deny they are yelling in a very loud voice. They may have been screamed at as a child and think the level of anger they are expressing is minimal. Some people are so accustomed to raising their voice in anger that they do not even know they are yelling. Call them on their bluff. Have a tape recorder nearby and record their voice. Say, “Since you don’t think you are yelling, let’s record it and play it back.”
If you are super sensitive about loud voices, do some exercises to deflect negative energy. Imagery can be used to shield against negativity while letting needed information come through. Sometimes even though the person is yelling, there may be a message you need to hear, despite their loud volume. See my book The Doormat Syndrome for more information about how to shield against negative energy.
Don’t try to reason with someone who is raging. They are too flooded with hormones to hear your point of view or to problem solve. Their hormones of adrenalin and cortisol are ruling them, not heir common sense. People who are flooded go for the jugular vein rather than try to resolve differences. Save your breath and energy. Wait until they are calmer and can agree to problem solved instead of yelling.
Some angry people have the strong need to be seen as a good guy or girl. They modify their behavior when others are present to present a nice face to others while they are cruel at home. If your partner’s public behavior is appropriate and his private behavior is angry, avoid bring up sensitive material when you are at home. Talk about volatile topics in a park or in a restaurant. Social convention says people usually keep their voices down in public and not air dirty linen. Of course, this will not work if your partner brings the problem up again with increased anger when you return home.
Don’t go it alone. Get a mediator who is neutral such as a therapist or an older neutral levelheaded friend or relative that you both respect. Continue to educate yourself on how to live healthy. Help is there for free or for low cost in all kind of forms if you want it.
Dealing with an Angry Person who has a Drinking/Drugging Problem
Anger that comes out when a partner is drinking or high on drugs can be extremely destructive. DO NOT TRY TO TALK, REASON OR ARGUE WITH SOMEONE WHO IS DRUNK. Inebriated people cannot hear information correctly through the haze of alcohol. They often lose their inhibitions when under the influence of alcohol and lose patience with their partner easily. Leave and talk to him only when he is sober. Make this a steadfast rule for yourself: You will not stay and be abused by someone who is out of control with alcohol or drugs.
If you do not have support at home from your partner, get it from friends and self help groups. Get yourself to Al Anon or Codependents of America Anonymous meetings to get some support. Learn from the experts-those people who have angry partners with addictions. People in the twelve step programs have been on the front line of your problem. These self-help groups offer your free education about the types of problems that you are facing. Warning! Not all self-help groups are created equal. I recommend checking out several groups and seeing how positive and supportive they are. Choose the one where you feel the most supported.
Some partners have gotten good results by videotaping drunken partners to show them how out of control their behavior gets. People often do not remember what they did when they were drunk. Seeing videotaped evidence of the stupidity of their actions can embarrass the person into seeking help. Of course, you should not try this if your partner might attack you.
Call The Person on His or Her Stuff
Relationships have their own subtle set of checks and balances built in to keep people from going too far out of control. In some relationships, however, one person is allowed to do what he wants, and others are taught to comply with his demands through hot anger or cold hostility.
Some caring partners accept the negative behaviors of others and do not give them sufficient reason for making changes. If you have felt helpless in your childhood with an angry parent, you may think that anger in the relationship is the way life is supposed to be. Living with constant anger may be familiar to you, but it is not the norm. Constant expression of anger over little things is not the way life is supposed to be.
Put “checks and balances” in the areas where your partner’s behavior gets out of control. This may work if your partner has some voice of reason within and a willingness for justice. A person whose behavior is continually disturbing to others can be told about it during a time when he is calmer. He needs feedback as to how he hurts others so he can evaluate the consequences of his actions. Calling a person on the consequences of their behavior helps maintain the moral order of the relationship. Loving firmness is the best way to talk to a person about his unacceptable behavior. Remind him that fair is fair, and you expect him to be reasonable with his anger.
NOTICE: Calling someone who is physically abusive on his misbehavior will probably cause him to become physically violent. Only you can decide whether the following information will be of help to your relationship. The following ideas may work for people who live with a reasonably sane, somewhat angry, partner, but do not try them with an out-of control abuser. Have a calm voice and be centered when you suggest the following ideas.
What is good for the goose is good for the gander and all the little ducklings. One way to maintain fairness is to insist on having a correction technique for all members of the household. Correction is a behavioral technique where the person who messes up the environment is required to clean it up as an offer of restitution. The correction procedure holds people responsible for their misbehavior by requiring them to undo, as much as possible, the damage they have done. Correction of what has been disturbed in the environment gives practical penalties for disturbing the home and the people who have been affected.
You have probably used the correction technique with young children. With correction, the person who throws things must pick them up and return them to their proper place. If he breaks things, he must pay for them and replace them. If he yells and screams, he must apologize to those he has disturbed.
Just like two year olds, grown up temper tantrums last longer when the person has an audience. You need not stay in the same room with a raging person. Warn him that you will leave when he is yelling and go take care of yourself. The take the children and leave quietly, saying that you are giving him some space to cool off and you hope that the next time he will take his own time out. Go to another room or get in the car and leave for a while. If he is fearful of left alone and gets angry, level with him to show that his actions will create his being left. You are not abandoning him but you are removing yourself form his anger.
Challenge the destructively angry person when he states that he can change all by himself when he has not been able to do so for a number of years. Keep your voice calm while you level with him.
- “Your angry behavior is no longer acceptable. I will not tolerate it any longer. You are in denial about your ability to stop getting mad and hurting others. You’ve tried to control it for many years and haven’t met with success. Your way of trying to deal with it has not worked. You do not have the right tools to stop your outbursts. You need some new skills to deal with your anger. You need a professionally trained person to help you. This means going to an anger management class or addressing the issue in counseling. Which plan is preferable to you? Classes or counseling? “
Keep coming back to his making better choices for his life. Have the phone numbers of resources available.
- ” You have a choice to deal with this or not. You can choose to walk away and calm yourself down or continue yelling which traumatizes your family. We expect you to make the best choice for your family. We can become a closer, loving family again if you take this step.”
Bring the issue up several times when he is calmer. Look him in the eye and tell him that his behavior was unacceptable. You and the children deserve better. Remind him that he is being unfair and his refusal to learn and grow affects both you and him. Tell him that you are changing the contract or the deal that you made when they two of you came together. He has changed the contract through repeated anger, and now you must change it for the mental health of all involved. He may not like your standing up for fairness and healthy interaction, but on a deep level, he knows that you are right.
We Get What We Put up with not What We Deserve: Finding Your Bottom Line
We get the relationships we are willing to put up with. We were not able to choose the family of our childhood ,and how they dealt with stressors. We can insist on open communication and treating everyone with respect in the family we have now.
Watch how you enable your partner’s bad behavior. Do you make excuses for him? Do you feel bad when he is upset? It is not your job to try to get your partner to “diffuse” or “control” his anger. It is the job of each angry person to take care of his anger and find appropriate ways to express it. An angry person may not have the motivation to do so. If you allow, excuse or forgive him repeatedly for his outbursts, why should he be expected to change?
Angry behavior that harms you or the children should not be allowed to continue and get worse. Limit setting is necessary for adults, just as it is for angry two year old who is yelling and flailing. Virginia Satir described people finding their Bottom Line and stating it emphatically. Your Bottom Line is those behaviors that you will NOT tolerate. Determine which behaviors will cause you to leave the relationship if your partner continues to do damaging behavior that creates chaos in the home.
Physical abuse and continual verbal abuse are common Bottom Lines for most people. One older woman cried as she said, “He hit the kids a lot, but when he started in on me, I left. Now I feel ashamed for allowing him to be violent with the children. I should have set my Bottom Line higher and then stuck to it.”
State your Bottom Line loud and clear to your partner. Then stick to it. Bottom Lines that define health and safety are one place where you are allowed to be stubborn. Know what you stand for and how you expect to be treated with respect. Here are some Bottom Lines that people have described to show their partner that there are limits to bad behavior:
- I can’t be with you if you provoke fights with others in public and endanger my life.
- I won’t take your lying and cheating on me. I refuse to live that way. Don’t step over that line.
- I won’t stay if you continue to swear and call me names. I do not deserve to be called ugly names just because you have an anger problem.
- I can’t take your screaming at the kids. Screaming insults at them is harmful. Don’t cross that line. Walk away when you feel your temper rising, and you want to yell.
- Your drinking is damaging your job, our marriage and the children. I refuse to live with an alcoholic.
- I’m physically ill and can’t handle your constant criticisms of me. If you want to live with me, you have to stop judging me and making nasty comments.
Some people have a high Bottom Line-“I can’t stay because you don’t hold me when I’m upset. I can’t be with you because you are not romantic.” Others have an almost nonexistent Bottom Line-“So he hits me and sends me to the hospital every other week. That’s not a reason to leave a man.” You have to decide what you will allow and will not allow. You have your own conscience and sense of self-respect to live with.
If you find yourself allowing the Bottom Line behavior to happen without your doing anything about it, your line is slipping lower and lower. Your partner will lose respect for you and continue to act out. And your self-respect will slip also. If you can’t set limits and boundaries (and many people cannot) get into counseling yourself to learn how to be more assertive.” Assertiveness behavior is a set of skills that you can learn with some coaching.
Talk with your friends and get ideas about how they expect to be treated by their partners. Do something different than you have done before when you are bombarded by someone else’s anger. Don’t just hope that the situation will change by itself. Why should it? Angry people get to stay in charge and threaten others by their explosiveness. Set your Bottom Line and stick to it.
You are Only as Oppressed as You Allow Yourself to Be
If there is abuse in your situation, you need more help than this article can give. Find a professional to help you who is trained in abuse. Get into anger management classes, take an assertiveness training course or go to counseling. Go get help before your stress, anger and depression increase. Couples counseling is NOT recommended when there is physical abuse in the relationship. You need individual help to learn how to strengthen yourself if you live with an abusive partner. Read my article, Violence in Families.
You get the life you choose. Keep studying about anger and how it affects you and your loved ones. It is important you keep learning and growing and increasing the options in your life. Your life is yours alone. And you only get one life. Only you can make it happier. You can choose to keep studying and learning about anger and about living more harmoniously. Expect more for yourself. You do not have to live with the misery of constant anger.
(Disclaimer: If you are living in an abusive relationship, you need more help than this article can give you. Get professional help immediately. This article is not meant to provide all the help that you need to deal with an abusive partner, but gives you information about options. If you cannot see these ideas about creating equality working in your relationship, then you may need to get professional help.)
Also note, the ideas in this article reflect my opinion which is based on my clinical experience, the research literature and my understanding of how best to have a happy life. My opinion comes from my philosophy that people should take responsibility for their actions. I recommend a tough approach with confronting others about their inappropriate behavior. This strict approach may not be correct for everyone.
Resources for Change:
Hassan, Steven. Combating Mind Control.
Hassan, Steven, Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Thrive for Themselves. Freedom of Mind Press, 2000.
Lerner, Harriet, The Dance of Anger. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1985.
Namka, Lynne. How to Let Go of Your Mad Baggage. Talk, Trust and Feel Press, 1996.
Namka, Lynne, The Mad Family Gets Their Mads Out. Talk, Trust and Feel Press, 1997. Just found out that my book is on the list of the 100 best sellers on domestic violence and abuse. My book was number 23 out of one hundred! See the entire list.
For more information on mind control, go to the Freedom of the Mind Resource Center.
If you give yourself away in relationship, read my article pertaining to Why People Stay in Relationships with Angry People.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is the voice for victims and survivors.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a national data base and is staffed 24 hours a day by trained counselors who can provide crisis assistance and information about shelters, legal advocacy, health care centers, and counseling. 1-800-799-7233.
The State Coalition phone numbers for domestic violence can be reached by following the link.
Dr. Irene’s Verbal Abuse Advice Site has many articles on personality dynamics and abuse.
Anger metaphors in the English language
Orazgozel Esenova (firstname.lastname@example.org), Scientific Advisor to the Publishing House CA&CC Press® AB (Sweden)
This paper is written within the framework of cognitive semantics and examines a group of anger metaphors which have largely been ignored by cognitive linguists. These metaphors map the source domains of animal, container, plant and child onto the target domain of anger. The metaphorical expressions analyzed in this study have been taken from various dictionaries, the BNC and the Internet. The data elicited from dictionaries and the BNC have been collected by using the source-domain-oriented approach. Initially, a group of lexical items related to the above source domains are selected. The dictionary and corpus entries for these items are then investigated. Next, metaphorical anger expressions containing the search items are retrieved and clustered under their conceptual metaphors.
The source-domain-oriented method works well when applied to corpus and dictionary data. However, it works less well when applied to linguistic data on the Internet. When the Internet is searched for a particular source domain word or expression, the search engine may give many irrelevant hits. Usually, the problem is remedied by adding more keywords to the existing query. However, to do this it is necessary to know which words and expressions are more likely to co-occur with the lexical item under examination. An analogy-based method of predicting possible collocational patterns of the source domain vocabulary has been developed and applied so as to circumvent this problem. The Internet was searched for the predicted collocations and the metaphorical anger expressions associated with them were retrieved and analyzed under their conceptual metaphors. The study shows that the word collocations elicited by this method allow relevant linguistic metaphors to be found on the Internet without difficulty.
This paper is written within the framework of cognitive semantics and examines a group of anger metaphors which have largely been ignored by cognitive linguists. These metaphors map the source domains of animal, container, plant and child onto the target domain of anger. Within the animal source domain, two subdomains are chosen: the horse and the snake domains. In the majority of the container metaphors analyzed in this study, voice is conceived of as an emotion container. This distinguishes them from the previously investigated container metaphors for emotions where the container corresponds to the body. This study has three main objectives: a) to identify and describe the conceptual mappings from the above source domains onto the target domain of anger; b) to find out whether these source domains are specific to the concept of anger or whether they have an application outside the anger domain; c) to find out whether the analyzed anger metaphors have counterparts in other languages.
The article consists of the following parts: Part 1 is introduction; part 2 presents a brief overview of the Conceptual Metaphor Theory which provides a theoretical background for the current research; part 3 presents the methods and approaches selected and illustrates their application by example; part 4 considers the anger metaphors identified by this research and gives an account of the findings obtained from the analysis; part 5 deals with the issue of the scope of metaphor and intends to find out whether the source domains of the anger metaphors analyzed have an application that extends beyond the concept of anger; part 6 attempts to elucidate whether the anger metaphors identified in this study have their counterparts in other languages. In other words, it deals with the aspect of universality of anger metaphors. Finally, part 7 presents the study conclusions.
2. Theoretical background
The Conceptual Metaphor Theory discriminates between two levels of metaphor: the conceptual level and the linguistic level. The former is represented by conceptual metaphors, that is, a set of systematic correspondences or mappings between a source domain and a target domain. The source domain is predominantly associated with some tangible physical experiences and therefore it is more concrete than the target domain. For instance, the source domain of journey is more concrete and less complex than the target domain of love in the love is a journey metaphor. It is a conceptual domain that we utilize in order to understand the target. The target domain is more abstract than the source domain and it is primarily associated with such intangible, abstract experiences as emotions, ideas, thoughts, etc. The target domain is comprehended and structured in terms of the source domain. Furthermore, in cognitive linguistics, a conceptual domain is understood to be any coherent organization of experience. The linguistic level of metaphor is represented by linguistic metaphors (metaphorical expressions) and they are verbal manifestations of conceptual metaphors. For example, the following metaphorical expressions are the surface manifestations of the metaphor argument is war (see Lakoff & Johnson 1980:4).
|(1)||Your claims are indefensible.|
|(2)||He attacked every weak point in my argument.|
|(3)||His criticisms were right on target.|
|(4)||I demolished his argument.|
|(5)||I've never won an argument with him.|
The hallmark of the Conceptual Metaphor Theory is that it contemplates metaphor as a matter of thought and cognition as opposed to language. For instance, G. Lakoff and M. Johnson (1980:153) emphasize that "Metaphors are primarily a matter of thought and action and only derivatively a matter of language". Due to the fact that metaphorical expressions are linked to metaphorical concepts in an organized manner, such expressions are regarded to be the main evidence for the existence of conceptual metaphors. As G. Lakoff and M. Johnson (1980:7) put it:
Since metaphorical expressions in our language are tied to metaphorical concepts in a systematic way, we can use metaphorical linguistic expressions to study the nature of metaphorical concepts and to gain an understanding of the metaphorical nature of our activities.
The principle of unidirectionality declares that the metaphorical process typically goes from the more concrete and less intricate to the more abstract and more intricate and not the other way around. Therefore, more abstract concepts are understood in terms of more concrete ones. For instance, in the love is a journey metaphor, the abstract concept of love is understood in terms of a more concrete concept of journey. However, it is uncommon to think of a journey in terms of love.
Moreover, metaphor highlights some aspects of the target concept and hides some other aspects of the same concept. For instance, the argument is war metaphor highlights the battling aspect of a verbal argument. At the same time, it hides the co-operative aspect of arguing that is inconsistent with it. As G. Lakoff and M. Johnson (1980:10) explain it:
... in the midst of a heated argument, when we are intent on attacking our opponent's position and defending our own, we may lose sight of the cooperative aspects of arguing. ...
3.1 The choice of source domains and data sources
The source domains chosen for analysis, namely, the domains of animal, plant, container and child are rooted in the most fundamental human experiences such as farming, child rearing and containment. Humans have a centuries-long experience of raising children, agriculture, interacting with animals and of containment. Therefore, there is a potential possibility that people may use their knowledge in these fields in order to make sense of a vast range of abstract target concepts, so it was decided to investigate the conceptual mappings from the above source domains onto the target domain of anger. A variety of anger metaphors with the aforementioned source domains are presented in this study. The metaphorical expressions analyzed are mainly retrieved from the BNC corpus, the Internet, The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary (CALD), and The Online Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus (ODET). The linguistic data have been gathered by using two methods of metaphor identification: a) the source-domain-oriented approach; b) the analogy-based pattern prediction method.
3.2 Source-domain-oriented approach
The general description of the source-domain-oriented method and of the ways in which it is applied to corpus texts is given by A. Stefanowitsch (2006a). The method was initially developed for corpus texts by A. Deignan (1999). In the present study, the application scope of the method is extended: it is applied both to corpus and dictionary texts. One apparent advantage of this approach is that all metaphorical expressions contain lexical items from their source domains, hence by looking for the dictionary and corpus entries for the lexical items related to particular source domains, one may arrive at the metaphorical expressions of which they are a part.
Thus, in this approach, the researcher first selects individual lexical items associated with the source domains that he/she wants to investigate. Then he/she searches for the selected lexical items in dictionaries and/or corpora. In the following step, the researcher retrieves the metaphorical expressions from the dictionary and corpus entries for the selected source domain lexical items and classifies them under their conceptual metaphors. The word lists related to each chosen source domain are given in the appendix. Let's illustrate the method by example.
One source domain word selected for analysis is unbridled and it is related to the domain of horse. The following metaphorical anger expression was found in the ODET by searching for the word unbridled.
|(6)||Unbridled anger (ODET).|
In this expression, anger is described in terms of a horse. Therefore, it is classified under its conceptual metaphor anger is a horse. The following linguistic metaphor was found in the BNC in the entry for the word rein.
|(7)||Burun was unable to rein in his temper (BNC).|
This metaphorical expression also features anger as a horse. Therefore, it was placed under the same conceptual metaphor. Other metaphorical expressions classified under the same conceptual metaphor have been retrieved by using the following source domain lexical items: bridle, curb and harness (see section 4.2.1).
3.3 Analogy-based prediction method
Some linguistic metaphors analyzed are taken from the Internet. The choice of this strategy is determined due to the following reason. The source-domain-oriented approach works well when applied to dictionary and corpus texts, however it works less well when applied to the Internet texts due to the large amount of irrelevant hits that the search engines provide. The problem is usually remedied by adding more words or phrases to the chosen search word.
However, this requires knowledge about which vocabulary is likely to occur in the linguistic metaphors that are searched for. So as to circumvent the problem an analogy-based method for the prediction of the collocation patterns of the source vocabulary was developed. Thus, the collocation patterns of the chosen source domain vocabulary in the metaphorical expressions used about the target concepts other than anger were studied initially. Then the found patterns were used as a model for predicting analogical patterns in the possible metaphorical anger expressions. Let's illustrate the method by example.
The word germinate is associated with the source domain of plant. If you search for this word in the Internet with the help of Google, the search engine will retrieve a tremendous amount of irrelevant information. It is possible to reduce the amount of search results by adding additional words and phrases to germinate. However, in order to be able to do this, you need to know which words are likely to combine with germinate in the metaphorical expressions you are looking for. The difficulty is that we do not have such a priori knowledge about the collocation patterns of germinate.
Nevertheless, such patterns can be predicted. To do this, I first studied the collocation patterns of germinate in the metaphorical expressions used about the target concepts other than anger. To mention two examples:
|(8)||I felt an idea germinating in my head/mind (CALD).|
|(9)||An idea germinated in his mind (ODET).|
These linguistic metaphors have been found in the ODET and CALD in the word entry for germinate (the dictionary entries for germinate in the ODET and CALD do not contain any metaphorical anger expressions). In both linguistic metaphors, germinate occurs together with the word idea that refers directly to the target concept of idea. Thus the collocation pattern found here is idea germinate (-s, -ed, -ing). Here an analogy-based prediction can be made: if germinate were to occur in a metaphorical anger expression, it would combine with the target domain word anger or its near-synonyms. Hence, the predicted pattern for the possible anger expressions would be anger germinate (-s, -ing, -ed). Therefore, the Internet was searched for this pattern and the metaphorical expressions containing such a pattern were elicited without difficulty. Presented below is one linguistic metaphor elicited from the Internet by using the above method. I used the inflected form of germinate when retrieving this metaphor.
|(10)||This is where much of the anger and frustration germinates (Internet, http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/09/14/the_wisdom_of_exporting_democracy.php).|
As is evident, anger and germinate do not occur in each other's immediate neighborhood in the above example. However, both of them are present in this anger metaphor. Furthermore, the metaphor describes anger in terms of a plant. Therefore, it was placed under its conceptual metaphor anger is a plant. A more detailed description of the method is given in the appendix. The metaphorical expressions retrieved with the help of this method contain words and expressions both from their source and the target domains.
3.4 Other methods
It should be mentioned that metaphors can be retrieved from data sources by employing the target-domain-oriented approach because some (but not all) linguistic metaphors contain vocabulary from their metaphorical target domains. This method was developed by A. Stefanowitsch (2006b) and allows the exhaustive description of the metaphorical mappings associated with particular target domain items in a data source. One target domain examined by A. Stefanowitsch was the anger domain and most metaphorical mappings associated with the target domain lexical items like anger have been identified by the author. Therefore, it was decided not to use the target-domain-oriented methodology. In addition, the method is not readily adaptable to dictionary texts since it is limited to a restricted amount of the target domain lexical items like anger and fury. Dictionaries contain few linguistic metaphors under the entries for the nouns like anger and fury. Furthermore, a set of other methods for metaphor identification have been developed and applied by researchers (Pragglejaz Group 2007, Steen 2002, Stefanowitsch 2006a). Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Summing up, among the existing metaphor identification methods the source-oriented approach has proven to be more useful for the purposes of the current study. Previously, the method was used entirely in corpus-based investigations; in the current study its scope of application has been extended to include dictionary texts. Together with its advantages, the method also has its limits: it is not straightforwardly applicable to Internet texts. The problem has been solved by combining it with the analogy-based pattern prediction approach. The combined method has proved effective: many metaphorical mappings associated with the target concept of anger have been identified and accounted for.
4. Metaphors of anger
4.1 A brief summary of anger metaphors identified in previous research
A thorough study of anger metaphors has been carried out by Z. Kövecses (1986, 2000, 1990), G. Lakoff (1987) and R. Gibbs (1994). A summary of the conceptual metaphors associated with anger has been given by Z. Kövecses (2000). They are the following:
|(11)||anger is a hot fluid in a container: She is boiling with anger.|
|(12)||anger is fire: He's doing a slow burn. His anger is smoldering.|
|(13)||anger is insanity: The man was insane with rage.|
|(14)||anger is an opponent in a struggle: I was struggling with my anger.|
|(15)||anger is a captive animal: He unleashed his anger.|
|(16)||anger is a burden: He carries his anger around with him.|
|(17)||angry behavior is aggressive animal behavior: Don't snarl at me!|
|(18)||the cause of anger is trespassing: Here I draw the line.|
|(19)||the cause of anger is physical annoyance: He's a pain in the neck.|
|(20)||anger is a natural force: It was a stormy meeting.|
|(21)||an angry person is a functioning machine: That really got him going.|
|(22)||anger is a social superior: His actions were completely governed by anger.|
Apart from this, G. Lakoff (1987:392-395) and Z. Kövecses (1986:23-25) have analyzed the anger is a dangerous animal metaphor. It is beyond doubt that previous cognitive linguistic investigations into anger metaphors contributed a great deal to our understanding of the ways in which people conceptualize anger. However, as will be evident from the results of the present study the existing list of anger metaphors is far from exhaustive. Unfortunately, many crucial metaphorical patterns of anger conceptualization have been overlooked in previous research. The present study aims to fill this gap.
4.2 Anger metaphors identified by this study
4.2.1 Animal metaphors for anger
The animal metaphors for anger identified by the current study are the subcategories of the general metaphor anger is a dangerous animal mentioned above. Therefore, it would be reasonable to give a brief characterization of this general metaphor before introducing the new metaphors. Thus, the anger is a dangerous animal metaphor describes anger as a sleeping animal that is dangerous to awaken, something that needs to be restrained and something with insatiable appetite. The following correspondences can be distinguished in this metaphor (see Lakoff 1987:393).
|Source: dangerous animal||Target: anger|
|The dangerous animal||anger|
|The animal's getting loose||loss of control of anger|
|The owner of the dangerous animal||the angry person|
|The sleeping animal||anger near the zero level|
|Being awake for the animal||anger near the limit|
The animal metaphors identified by this study map the source domains of horse and snake onto the target domain of anger. They are presented below.
Anger metaphors with the horse source domain
In the metaphor described below the emotion of anger is characterized in terms of a horse.
|anger is a horse|
|(23)||His common sense is a bridle to his quick temper (ODET).|
|(24)||I usually manage to curb my anger when I'm at home, but at work I often don't succeed (BNC).|
|(25)||However, it will pay you to curb your famous temper (BNC).|
|(26)||Unbridled anger (ODET).|
|(27)||You must try to put a curb on your bad temper (CALD).|
|(28)||Scipio bridled his indignation (OED).|
|(29)||Unbridled rage (ODET).|
|(30)||Burun was unable to rein in his temper (BNC).|
|(31)||This article gives you some ideas as to how to harness your anger so that it does not harm you or the people around you (Internet, http://www.ifsconline.ie/news/specialist.html).|
The anger is a horse metaphor describes anger as a horse that is dangerous if it is not restrained. The harm that the horse may cause can be avoided if it is held under strict control. The following correspondences can be identified in the anger is a horse metaphor.
|Source: horse||Target: anger|
|Being bridled for the horse||anger being under control|
|Being unbridled for the horse||anger being out of control|
|The owner of the horse||the angry person|
The horse domain is a suitable source domain for anger conceptualization for the following reasons. We know from our experience that an uncurbed horse is hazardous to ride. Such a horse may run at a dangerously high speed and it may throw off the rider or trample over him/her, etc. It may also trample over gardens and destroy things in its surroundings. Regardless of how much we like horses, we may not want to ride an uncurbed horse. The message conveyed by the anger is a horse metaphor is that in the same way as an unbridled horse may cause harm to the horse owner and to others, anger may cause harm to the angry person and to others if it is not controlled. Apart from being a dangerous animal, a horse also has some other characteristics: it is a strong, powerful and energetic animal and it shows intense reactions. Due to these reasons, the horse domain gets mapped onto such an intensive emotional state as anger.
The conceptualization of anger as a horse is not a new phenomenon. This is a deeply entrenched way of thinking about anger in Western culture. For instance, in Henry VIII written by Shakespeare, we find the following lines:
Anger is like
A full-hot horse, who being allow'd his way,
Self-mettle tires him.
Moreover, the tendency to conceptualize anger in terms of a horse existed in Western culture long before the Shakespearean period. For instance, in the excerpt presented below (quoted from Annas 2000:10), the Greek physician and philosopher Galen born in AD 129, describes the emotion of anger experienced by Medea, the protagonist in Euripides' play Medea, in terms of a horse. In Euripides' play, Medea kills her two children in order to hurt her husband Jason, who abandoned her.
She knew that she was performing an impious and terrible deed ... But then again anger like a disobedient horse which has got the better of the charioteer dragged her by force towards the children ... and back again reason pulled her ... And then again anger ... and then again reason.
Furthermore, another Greek philosopher, Plato, describes passions in general in terms of an ugly horse in his Chariot Allegory in the Phaedrus. He speaks of the human soul in terms of a charioteer with two horses. One of the horses has an aesthetically pleasing appearance and noble qualities: it is white and long-necked, well-mannered and moves without being prodded. The white horse symbolizes rational and moral dispositions. The second horse has an ugly appearance and ignoble qualities: it is black, short-necked, with bloodshot eyes and it is ill-mannered and cannot run without being goaded. The black horse embodies passions and appetites. Here passions and appetites are understood to be irrational forces by Plato. Finally, the charioteer symbolizes reason. In Plato's view, the human soul works in harmony when rational and moral dispositions, as well as passions and appetites, are guided by reason. Plato describes the two horses in the following manner:
... The right-hand horse is upright and cleanly made; he has a lofty neck and an aquiline nose; his colour is white, and his eyes dark; he is a lover of honour and modesty and temperance, and the follower of true glory; he needs no touch of the whip, but is guided by word and admonition only. The other is a crooked lumbering animal, put together anyhow; he has a short thick neck; he is flat-faced and of a dark colour, with grey eyes and blood-red complexion (Or with grey and blood-shot eyes.); the mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared and deaf, hardly yielding to whip and spur.
Moreover, in some metaphorical expressions an angry person's behavior is spoken about in terms of an aggressive horse behavior. For instance, people perceive a horse's bridling behavior as a sign of aggression. When a horse bridles, it throws its head up. Among other things, the horse may bridle when reined in while attempting to escape from displeasure. Thus, in English, angry human behavior is understood in terms of the bridling behavior of a horse. This yields the following metaphor.
|angry behavior is aggressive horse behavior|
|(32)||She bridled at the suggestion that she had been dishonest (CALD).|
|(33)||She bridled at his tone, irritated hugely by his assumption that she'd simply drop everything to dance to his bidding (BNC).|
|(34)||This often provokes a negative reaction from the other person who bridles at the explicit disagreement and therefore fails to listen to the reasons ... (BNC).|
The above metaphor is a subcategory of the general metaphor angry behavior is aggressive animal behavior mentioned in section 4.1.
Anger metaphors with the snake source domain
The metaphors discussed in this section map the source domain of snake onto the target domain of anger. In the metaphor presented below, angry speech behavior is understood in terms of an aggressive snake behavior. This yields the metaphor angry speech behavior is aggressive snake behavior. It can be classified as a subclass of the metaphor angry behavior is aggressive animal behavior.
In the above metaphorical expressions, a person's angry speech behavior is understood in terms of the hissing behavior of a snake and the deadly venomous attack of a snake. These snake behaviors are extremely dangerous; before striking its prey, a snake emits a hissing sound. Then it attacks the prey, and kills it. Since in the folk belief angry behavior is understood to be a violent, dangerous behavior it is conceptualized in terms of an aggressive snake behavior.
In the following metaphor, an angry gesture is understood in terms of a snake behavior.
|an angry gesture is snake behavior|
|(37)||She bit her lip, writhing in suppressed fury as he continued driving (BNC).|
|(38)||Lord Beddington wondered what was next on the menu, Samuel squirmed with suppressed rage and this obvious sign of the Prince of Wales's inclinations (BNC).|
|(39)||The Assistant Chief Constable had squirmed in his seat with irritation but, like the good golfer he was, he kept his head quite still (BNC).|
|(40)||Keeping bent double, Hoomey wriggled in a frenzy back out of the door (BNC).|
It is doubtful whether this metaphor can be classified as a subcategory of the general metaphor angry behavior is aggressive animal behavior. This is because some other human emotional gestures that are characteristic of embarrassment and fear are also thought of in terms of a twisting snake behavior. As we know, embarrassment and fear are not associated with aggressiveness. For instance, such metaphorical expressions as (41)She is writhing with embarrassment; (42)He squirmed nervously are commonly used in English. It seems to be the case that the metaphors that conceptualize an emotional gesture in terms of a twisting snake movement are motivated by a perceived similarity between the twisting emotional gestures of a person and a snake's wriggling movement. The emotional gestures that are understood in terms of a snake movement are very intense gestures.
Furthermore, the English language conceptualizes anger as an old, necrotic, cast off snake skin. This yields the metaphor anger is an old snake skin. The metaphor characterizes anger as an undesirable emotion.
|anger is an old snake skin|
|(43)||He who sheds anger just as a snake its slough, is a real hero (Internet, http://www.chowk.com/interacts/5681.)|
|(44)||But when he was finally released, Mandela sloughed off bitterness and resentment, embraced his former tormentors and became the visionary leader of South Africa's first democratically elected government in 1994 (Internet, http://openaccess.dialog.com/gov/samples/NewsUSSoutheast.html.)|
The following correspondences can be identified in the metaphor anger is an old snake skin.
|Source: old snake skin||Target: anger|
|The old snake skin||anger|
|The snake||the angry person|
|Carrying of the old snake skin||experiencing anger|
|Casting off the old snake skin||getting rid of anger|
|The new snake skin||the new positive emotion/trait|
|The skin renewal in the snake||the emotional/mental renewal in the angry person|
The metaphor anger is an old snake skin is motivated by the biological process of skin shedding in snakes, which is labeled as ecdysis. When a snake grows, its skin does not lengthen to cover its enlarged body. Therefore, snakes grow a new skin underneath the old one and when an appropriate time comes, they shed their old skin to replace it by the new one. Snakes shed several times a year. The above metaphor describes anger in terms of an old, outworn, necrotic snake skin that needs to be gotten rid of. The inability to shed their skin is harmful for snakes: if a snake does not shed it may not grow. This may lead to the death of the snake. Poor shedding in snakes is believed to be a sign of bad health or another imbalance in its organism. In a parallel fashion, the retention of anger is understood to be harmful for the mental well-being of the angry person in the metaphor above. Therefore, the message conveyed here is the following: in the same way as a snake sheds its old necrotic skin and grows a new one, we should get rid of anger and allow new positive emotions to take place.
It is important to emphasize that the image of an old snake skin has historically been used in metaphorical expressions in order to make sense of some abstract concepts that were considered undesirable. For instance, in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (Act 2, Scene 5) we find the following line (45)Cast thy humble slough and appear fresh which in this particular context can be interpreted as "get rid of your lowly manners and behave in a new way". Thus, the old snake skin metaphors are deeply embedded in the conceptual system of English. Moreover, in Act 3, Scene 2 of the same play, we find another snake-related image. In this scene, Sir Toby addresses Sir Andrew as (46)dear venom because of his angry temper. The latter example shows clearly that the conceptual link between the snake source domain and the target domain of anger has existed historically.
Generally speaking, in Western culture there are both positive and negative associations attached to snakes. For instance, in the Biblical tradition, the serpent embodies Satan who is the arch adversary of humankind. According to this tradition, snakes are associated with fraudulence. For instance, Genesis 3:1-6 says that the serpent beguiled Eve to eat the prohibited fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, deceiving her into transgression against God's law. Furthermore, snakes have a forked tongue: it is divided into two different parts at the tip. The forked tongue symbolizes double-mindedness in English culture. Thus, the English expression (47)to speak with a forked tongue means "to speak fraudulently". Moreover, the Bowl of Hygieia - a jar with a snake wrapped around it - is an international pharmacological symbol. In this context the snake symbolizes healing. In addition, snake shedding is commonly associated with renewal and reincarnation in Western culture.
4.2.2 Container metaphors for anger
The role of the container image schema in emotion conceptualization
Generally speaking, container metaphors are motivated by the container image schema. Therefore, it would be appropriate to start this section by discussing the concept of the container image schema and give some examples of the previously identified emotion metaphors motivated by this schema. In cognitive linguistics, an image schema is defined as "a recurring, dynamic pattern of our perceptual interactions and motor programs that gives coherence and structure to our experience" (Johnson 1987:xiv). The container image schema is one of the most fundamental schemas used in abstract reasoning. Many conceptual metaphors that we use both in our everyday reasoning and academic conversation are motivated by the container image schema. Great significance is attached to the role of this schema in metaphorical conceptualization by such scholars as G. Lakoff (1987:272-273) and Z. Kövecses (2000:155-156).
The container image schema has three different structural elements: an interior, an exterior and a boundary. The schema is a gestalt structure where parts are comprehended within the framework of a larger whole. For instance, you cannot have one of the structural elements of the container image schema without the other: an interior does not exist without an exterior and boundary, an exterior does not exist without an interior and boundary and a boundary does not exist without an interior and exterior. Furthermore, our recurring, kinesthetic experiences of bodily containment give rise to the container image schema.
It has been established in previous cognitive linguistic studies that many emotion metaphors that we use are motivated by the container image schema. Such metaphors view the body and the body parts as containers and the emotions as fluids and substances held in those containers. The major container metaphor of emotion is reckoned to be the body is a container for emotions. This is a conventional metaphor, where the body is conceived of as a container for emotions, such that the emotions occupy a certain level, can overflow, and can be gotten rid of (Loos et al. 1999). Some metaphorical expressions manifesting this metaphor are presented below.
|(48)||He is overflowing with anger.|
|(49)||She is brimming with pride.|
|(50)||Sally couldn't contain her glee.|
Furthermore, it was found that emotions can also be understood in terms of a hot fluid kept in a container. A case in point is the metaphor anger is the heat of a fluid in a container (Kövecses 1986:14):
|anger is the heat of a fluid in a container|
|(51)||You make my blood boil.|
|(53)||He is seething with rage.|
It is common knowledge that the container metaphor focuses on two different aspects of emotions: the intensity aspect and the control aspect. There is a correlation between the intensity of emotion and the amount of the fluid kept in the container. When the intensity of emotion increases the level of the fluid in the container rises. When there is too much fluid in the container and the internal pressure is too high the fluid overflows the container or the container explodes. The explosion of the container occurs with very intense emotions like anger. For example:
|(54)||He exploded with rage.|
Two metaphorical expressions which describe fear as a fluid held in a container are presented below. In (55) the quantity of the fluid is too large and the container is overflowing; in (56) the container does not hold any amount of liquid.
|(55)||He was overflowing with fear.|
|(56)||I don't have a drop of fear in me.|
The quantity of the fluid held in each container correlates with the intensity of fear. In (55) the large amount of the fluid held in the container corresponds to the high level of the intensity of fear. In (56), the absence of the fluid correlates with the zero level of the fear intensity.
Clearly, the above linguistic metaphors capture the intensity aspect of fear. Simultaneously, they also capture the control aspect of this emotion. When the fluid overflows the container, fear is out of control. However, when the fluid is kept inside the container, fear is under control. In the case of anger, the emotion is out of control when the container explodes.
What is more, emotions may also be conceptualized as substances in the body-container. For example:
|(57)||There was a tinge of fear in his eyes.|
Identified container metaphors for anger
The metaphorical expressions collected for the current study show that the body or the body parts are not the only containers for emotions. For instance, in the metaphors that will be discussed below, voice is conceptualized as an emotion container and emotions are imagined to be fluids and substances held in that container. Despite the fact that the voice-container metaphors are commonly used in English to make sense of emotions they have largely been ignored by cognitive linguists.
The above metaphor can be classified as an instantiation of the general metaphor voice is a container for the emotions in this particular case. The following metaphorical expressions are the linguistic manifestations of the metaphor anger is a fluid in a container. This metaphor too derives from the general metaphor voice is a container for the emotions in this particular case.
|(61)||'Listen to me, Barnett,' said Minter, anger seeping into his voice (BNC).|
|(62)||In a booming voice infused with all the wrath of the Old Testament deity the pastor gave the answer:, So that such terrible things never happen again!' (BNC).|
|(63)||In a voice brimming with anger and fear, she demands to know what is going on (Internet, http://h2g2.com/entry/A137938533).|
|(64)||"I don't know and I don't care," replies the man, his voice brimming with irritation (Internet, http://www.admin-ezine.com/purpose_at_work.htm[http://www.globalinx.ca/careers-employment/Get-Beyond-Your-Tasks_7664/index.html]).|
|(65)||Sam asked, his tone, as opposed to that of the Cleric's, was palpably overflowing with anger (Internet, http://boards.theforce.net/non_star_wars_role_playing/b10755/27998071/p1/).|
It should further be emphasized that anger can also be thought of as a hot fluid held in the voice.
A conclusion that can be drawn from the above discussion is that the anger is a fluid in a container metaphor and the anger is a substance in a container metaphor instantiate not one but two general metaphors: the body is a container for emotions and voice is a container for emotions.
It should be pointed out that there are considerable differences between the container presented in the source domain of the metaphor the body is a container for emotions and that presented in the source domain of the metaphor voice is a container for emotions. The container conveyed by the former is the body. As is known, we conceive of our bodies as three-dimensional containers, into which we put things like food, air, water, etc. and out of which the bodily wastes emerge. In other words, our bodies have an inside, an outside and a bounded surface. However, the voice-container existing in the source domain of the latter does not have such visible elements as an interior, an exterior and a boundary. We cannot put physical entities inside the voice and things do not emerge out of the voice. Moreover, there are no visible boundaries that would separate the voice from the things in the outside the world. Nevertheless, we conceive of our voice as a three-dimensional container into which we can put fluids and substances and out of which things can emerge. The question is how can this be explained? The answer is that there is a human tendency to impose a boundary on various things or phenomena even when they do not have any visible physical boundaries. The concept of territoriality seems to be of great importance for humans. In their book Metaphors We Live By, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson explain this tendency in the following manner (1980:29-30).
But even when there is no natural physical boundary that can be viewed as defining a container, we impose boundaries - marking off territory so that it has an inside and a bounding surface - whether a wall, a fence, or an abstract line or plane. There are few human instincts more basic than territoriality. And such defining of a territory, putting a boundary around it, is an act of quantification. Bounded objects, whether human beings, rocks, or land areas, have sizes. This allows them to be quantified in terms of the amount of substance they contain.
Thus, when we impose an imaginary boundary on voice and view it as a container for the emotions, we conceive of emotions as measurable substances or fluids. When we say (68)His voice is full of anger or (69)His voice is devoid of anger, our purpose is to measure the intensity of anger. We think and speak of intensity in terms of the quantity of a physical substance or fluid held in a container.
However, there is also another important reason for why voice is conceptualized as a container for emotions. Voice conveys emotion and we make judgments about other people's emotional states from the sound of their voice. That is why it is natural that voice is imagined to be a container for the emotions. Researchers have clearly and convincingly shown that there exists an obvious link between a person's emotional state and the acoustic quality of his/her voice. For instance, I.R. Murray and J.L. Arnott (1996) emphasize that disparate emotional states will result in different acoustical changes in a person's voice. Furthermore, they claim that emotion influences the pitch, timing and voice quality of utterances. Therefore a conclusion can be drawn that the changes in voice accompanying emotions are determined by the physiological processes taking place in the body. Hence, the voice is a container for the emotions metaphor is motivated by human physiology.
Furthermore, one issue which is often neglected in cognitive linguistic literature is that not all the container metaphors for anger are motivated by physiological changes that take place in the body when a particular emotion is experienced. For instance, in the metaphorical expressions placed below the body is imagined to be soil. This yields the general metaphor the body is soil. One subcase of this metaphor is hidden anger is an object buried in soil:
|(70)||Some people keep their anger buried deep inside (Internet, http://www.essexconnexions.co.uk/health/mind/anger).|
|(71)||Last night's fiasco hadn't helped, but even without it she wondered if she'd have been able to cope with her deeply buried resentment towards Romano de Sciorto (BNC).|
It should be mentioned that the body is soil metaphor is motivated by the religious belief that the human body has been created by God from soil. For instance, in Genesis 2:7 it is said that Adam was made by God out of the dust of the earth.
4.2.3 Some other metaphors of anger
Child-rearing is one of the most powerful, fundamental human experiences. The metaphor that is presented below is motivated by this experience. It maps the source domain of child onto the target domain of anger.
|anger is a child|
|(72)||... those who are worthy to have and to wear the dignity of this name, neither conceive anger nor indulge a grudge (Internet, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf06.xii.iii.i.xxiii.html).|
|(73)||Say, shall we nurse the rage ... ? (OED).|
|(74)||Instead, he decided to nurse his anger (BNC).|
|(75)||He nurtured that anger for a decade (Internet, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12129-006-1040-6).|
|(76)||Fostering anger over a long enough time can lead to violence (Internet, http://www.awesomelibrary.org/Counter-Terrorism.html).|
|(77)||Should a man nourish anger against his fellows and expect healing from the LORD? (Internet, http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/sirach/sirach28.htm).|
|(78)||But we were not alone in nourishing wrath after the Revolution (Internet, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9B07E2DF1139E333A25752C2A9649D946297D6CF&legacy=true ).|
|(79)||Favouritivism breeds resentment (CALD).|
|(80)||Do not judge or humiliate anyone, for this gives birth to anger (Internet, http://www.orthodox.net/gleanings/anger.html).|
|(81)||Anger begets anger, which leads to conflict (Internet, https://www.thebalance.com/anger-management-524882).|
The below conceptual correspondences have been found in the anger is a child metaphor.
|Source: child||Target: anger|
|The parent||the angry person or the source of anger|
|The conceiving of the child in the body||the creating of anger in the mind|
|Giving birth to the child||giving rise to anger|
|The nursing of the child||maintaining of anger|
As is obvious, the anger is a child metaphor describes anger in terms of a child and an angry person in terms of the parent of that child. By doing so, the metaphor keeps us responsible for our anger. Furthermore, the source of anger is also conceptualized as a parent. In human society parents are responsible for their children's lives. The message conveyed by the metaphor is that in the same way as a human child may not survive without its parents' protection and nourishment, anger may not exist if we do not maintain it.
Another basic human experience is that of agriculture. Plants we grow provide our basic needs for shelter, food, medicines, clothing, etc. Therefore, the English language often conceptualizes anger as a plant. This yields the metaphor anger is a plant.
|anger is a plant|
|(82)||And the small seed of anger against him knotted itself inside her into a hard little core of resentment (BNC).|
|(83)||And this, I think, is where much of the anger germinates (Internet, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/august05/islam6.html).|
|(84)||After this, depression sets in and deep seated anger can take root (BNC).|
|(85)||The feeling of rejection had quickly blossomed into anger (Internet, http://www.freewebs.com/wolfsbride/dbz/ten.html).|
|(86)||Dr. D is obviously suffering from deeply rooted anger and in need of intense counseling (Internet, http://patterico.com/2006/07/28/strange-comments-from-eugene-oregon/).|
|(87)||Anger is rooted in our survival instincts and has a legitimate and vital function in human behavior (Internet, http://www.angermgmt.com/book_anger.asp[http://www.centerstresscontrol.com/en/pratical-learning-guides/coping-with-anger/]).|
|(88)||Divorce is too often the bitter fruit of anger (Internet, http://www.heraldextra.com/news/eyring-to-serve-in-first-presidency/article_95780972-8123-541e-9d2d-60db12d22a04.html).|
|(89)||Hearing him, Tweety's anger withered away (Internet, http://www.123orissa.com/kids/story5.asp).|
The following correspondences can be found in this metaphor.
|Source: plant||Target: anger|
|The stages of growth and fruition of the plant||the stages of anger development|
|The growth of the bud into the flower||the transition of another emotion into anger|
|The size of the plant||the intensity of anger|
|The root of the plant||cause of anger|
The following stages of plant growth are mapped onto various stages of anger development in the above metaphor: seed, germination, root, bloom, fruition and withering. The seed image characterizes the initial stage of plant growth. This stage in the source domain correlates with the initial stage of anger development in the target. At this stage, anger comes into existence. Furthermore, the images like a germinating plant and a plant taking root, are also associated with early stages of plant growth. These stages in the source correspond to the early stages of anger development in the target. Moreover, humans view bloom as the best stage of plant growth. This is explained by the fact that people have positive associations with flowers because flowers induce the feeling of happiness in them. Therefore, the blooming stage of the plant's growth correlates with the best stage of anger development. Anger is a well-developed, full-fledged emotion at this stage. The fruition stage in the plant growth corresponds to the stage of anger development when the emotion leads to a concrete result. Finally, at the withering stage, the plant stops growing and it dies. This is the final stage of the plant life. Hence, the withering stage of the plant growth correlates to the final stage of anger development when anger ceases to exist.
It is important to mention that (88), which maps the fruition stage of plant growth onto anger, conveys the image of a bitter fruit. This image is used in order to symbolize the negative consequence of anger and such a conceptualization is motivated by our taste experiences. We have positive taste associations with sweet fruits and negative taste associations with bitter fruits. Therefore, we are more likely to conceptualize bad consequences of our emotions and deeds in terms of bitter tasting fruits and we tend to conceive of good consequences of our emotions and deeds in terms of sweet fruits.
Furthermore, in the anger is a plant metaphor, the size of the plant at different stages of its growth corresponds to the intensity of anger at disparate stages of its development. At the initial stages of growth, the size of the plant is not big. Therefore, the small-size plant images like the seed, the germinating plant and the root-taking plant are used in order to symbolize low intensity anger. The images like the deeply rooted plant and the blooming plant characterize large plants in later stages of their development. Such plant images symbolize high-intensity anger. The intensity of anger is equal to zero at the withering stage when the plant dies.
Moreover, the root of the plant correlates to the cause of anger in (87). In (85), the growth of the bud into the flower symbolizes the development of another emotion into anger (emotional transformation). Here the feeling of rejection is conceived of in terms of the bud and anger in terms of the flower. The two images conveyed - the bud and the flower - differ in size. The size of the flower is bigger than that of the bud. Here, anger symbolized by the flower is a more intense emotion than the feeling of rejection symbolized by the bud.
As we know, the size of the plant correlates with the intensity of anger in the anger is a plant metaphor. Furthermore, the less intense emotion (the feeling of rejection) is also understood in terms of an earlier stage of plant growth.
It should further be mentioned that the anger is a plant metaphor is grounded on the perceived similarity between plant growth and emotion development. As we know, a plant comes into existence, develops and withers away. Thereupon it is replaced by new plants that undergo the same life cycle. In a parallel fashion, an emotion comes into existence at a particular time, and then it develops and fades away. When this "emotional cycle" is over, we experience other emotions that develop in the same manner.
Moreover, the plant source domain is a domain where a great change takes place. A seed barely visible to the human eye grows into something very big. In a similar fashion, anger may be experienced with different degrees of intensity. Something that begins as mild annoyance may escalate into dramatic fury. These changes are often accompanied by bodily changes. In addition, other emotions may evolve into anger. Due to these reasons the plant source domain becomes a perfect source domain for the conceptualization of anger.
To sum up, the source-domain-oriented approach and the analogy-based method of identifying linguistic metaphors employed in this study have proven to be effective. They allowed the identification of a set of metaphorical expressions that have been classified under the following conceptual metaphors. These metaphors have largely been ignored in cognitive linguistic literature.
anger is a horse
angry behavior is aggressive horse behavior
angry speech behavior is aggressive snake behavior
an angry gesture is snake behavior
anger is an old snake skin
hidden anger is an object buried in soil
anger is a child
anger is a plant
In addition, it was established that the English language frequently conceptualizes emotions as substances and fluids held in the voice. Hence, it is claimed that the anger is a substance in a container and anger is a fluid in a container metaphors instantiate two conceptual metaphors: the body is a container for emotions and voice is a container for emotions. The latter metaphor has not been given any attention in cognitive linguistic literature.
5. Application of the source domains of anger metaphors onto other target concepts
5.1 The issue of metaphor scope
The question that will be addressed in the present section is whether the source domains of the anger metaphors analyzed in this study are specific to anger or whether they have an application outside the domain of anger. The answer to this question will shed light on whether we conceive of anger in an unprecedented way, that is, by virtue of source domains that are unique to anger, or whether we conceive of it by means of source domains that also apply to other emotions and non-emotional abstract concepts. In cognitive linguistics, this issue is termed the scope of metaphor. Thus, the scope of metaphor is a range of target domains to which a given source domain applies (see Kövecses 2002:108). The issue of the scope of metaphor has been developed by Z. Kövecses (2002:108-109, 2000:35-50). This is an important issue to address because it helps us understand how our conceptual system is organized. What is so far known about the issue is that most metaphorical source domains are not specific to the conceptualization of particular target domains. For instance, based on the investigation of the source domains of emotion metaphors, the author claims the following (2000:49):
Indeed, we have found that most of the source domains of emotion concepts have a scope of application that extends beyond the domain of emotion. These nonspecific source domains are parts of very general metaphorical mappings whose range of application covers large portions of our conceptual system.
In what follows it will be tested whether the abovementioned claim holds true for the source domains of the anger metaphors analyzed in this study. It should be mentioned, however, that within the framework of a single article it is impossible to present all the non-anger metaphors in which the source domains under discussion are encountered. Therefore my analysis will be limited to the metaphors used to make sense of some emotion concepts outside the domain of anger. Furthermore, from the list of non-emotional concepts onto which the source domains under consideration apply I have chosen the concept of idea. Due to lack of space, only the metaphors with the following source domains will be analyzed: horse, snake, container and plant.
5.2 Application of the analyzed source domains onto other target concepts within the domain of emotion
5.2.1 The horse source domain
The source domain of horse applies to a variety of target concepts with the domain of emotion. In the emotion metaphors that will be analyzed in this section it gets mapped onto the concepts of fear, sadness, pride/arrogance and love.
|fear is a horse|
|(90)||It is a novel of pure and unbridled fear, a truly scary book (Internet, http://charnelhouse.tripod.com/salemslot.html).|
|(91)||There was no unbridled panic - only a general sense of awe (Internet, http://www.jonathonwise.com/ldotd.htm).|
|(92)||We need to harness fear and put it in service to our best selves (Internet, https://www.amazon.com/Fear-Other-Uninvited-Guests-Tackling/dp/0060723122).|
|(93)||Army psychologists are attempting to curb fear among troops, used to life in the cities along Australia's eastern seaboard, of the vast, still space they encounter during operations in the Outback (BNC).|
|(94)||Fortunately, there are ways to rein in those fears (Internet, http://www.efaq.com.au/?Page=8265).|
|sadness is a horse|
|(95)||It helps curb the sadness and reminds these kids of the life they had outside of hospitals and doctors' offices (Internet, http://www.newmorningtv.tv/todaysshow_062806.jsp).|
|(96)||However, I have met other prisoners in Wakefield whom I know to be innocent, and I have listened to their stories of great pathos and unbridled sadness. (Internet, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1510281/Billie-Jo-was-lying-in-a-pool-of-blood-her-skull-cracked-open.-From-that-moment-my-life-changed-irreversibly.html).|
|(97)||Unbridled despair (Internet, http://www.louvre.fr).|
|(98)||And yet, as month followed month, we watched Craig and his incredible family do the unimaginable, and find ways to harness sorrow, to begin to heal (Internet, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/14245113/#.WCx-M3rqU-Y).|
|pride is a horse|
|(99)||Sarkozy referred to God "who does not enslave man, but liberates him, God who is the rampart against unbridled pride and the folly of men" (Internet, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/16/world/europe/16iht-france.4.9273533.html).|
|(100)||This so angered Henry II that he ordered his other sons to curb Richard's pride (BNC).|
|(101)||Whatever conflicted feelings he no doubt has, he expressed no bitterness and harnessed his pride (Internet, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/28/AR2006092802042_pf.html).|
|(102)||He shows a good way to bridle pride (Internet, href="http://gsb.biblecommenter.com/1_corinthians/4.htm [http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-corinthians-4.html]).|
A specific type of pride is arrogance. In the following metaphorical expression, arrogance is characterized in terms of a horse:
|(103)||Unable or unwilling to curb her arrogance while her star was in the ascendency, the Empress had alienated nearly all those who had abandoned the King (BNC).|
At this stage, the question that inevitably arises is this: What makes the source domain of horse applicable both to anger and a variety of other emotion concepts? As mentioned before, the main focus of the horse source domain is the intensity and control aspects of an emotion. Thus, not only anger but many different emotion concepts have aspects of intensity and control. This makes the horse source domain applicable both to anger and other emotion concepts. Most emotion concepts have an intensity aspect because of the fact that emotions are experienced by people as highly intense states. This is not surprising given that emotions have a tendency to be accompanied by some strong bodily reactions. For instance, an increase in skin temperature and pulse rate occurs when we are angry; sweating may take place when we are in a state of fear, etc. Moreover, it was mentioned that in the folk belief emotions are viewed to be dangerous, things that need to be kept under control. Hence, emotions have a control aspect. In order to make sense of the two abovementioned emotion aspects the source domain of horse is mapped onto different emotion concepts.
As will be evident from the below linguistic metaphor, even the emotion of love which is predominantly described as a positive emotion is viewed as something that is in need of control. Therefore, love is understood in terms of a horse in this metaphorical expression.
|(104)||The call, it emerges, is to unbridled love, something that this sedate day-time society was not willing to permit (BNC).|
The type of love described here as "unbridled" is very intense love, when one is head over heels in love. While not everybody would consider unbridled love as something negative, it is not uncommon in human society that such love is perceived as "irrational". For instance, some intense forms of romantic love are viewed to be fantasy-based by some people. It is believed that the person experiencing romantic love is in love with the conjured up, idealistic image of the beloved and not with a real person. Hence, love is understood to be something that needs to be kept under strict control.
5.2.2 The snake source domain
The source domain of snake also applies to several target concepts within the general domain of emotion. In the following metaphors, it gets mapped onto the target domains of sadness, shame and fear.
|sadness is an old snake skin|
|(105)||But she handled the mini-crisis well, quickly shedding despair and looking for a way to fix the mess she had made (Internet, http://gethealed.blogspot.com/2007/11/when-unpleasantly-surprised-stay-calm.html).|
|(106)||Some were looking around frantically, while others took the more roll-with-the-punches approach, and just sloughed off any worries by laughing (Internet, http://students.ou.edu/G/Kirbey.A.Goodnight-1/page1.html).|
|shame is an old snake skin|
|(107)||I was doing a children's book on self-esteem, and I really felt like I wanted to shed the shame I'd been feeling - and maybe make it easier for women my age who had probably felt bad about themselves (Internet, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jamie_lee_curtis.html).|
|(108)||"Shame that was once thought natural is now considered something to be sloughed off, even to be made fun of," he complains (Internet, http://www.salon.com/1997/12/24/23review_2/).|
|fear is an old snake skin|
|(109)||When you shed your fear of the authorities and do what you think is right you feel a degree of liberation you hadn't known before (Internet, http://www.43things.com/things/view/14650/get-arrested-for-a-cause).|
Evidently, the old snake skin source domain occurs with such emotions that are viewed to be undesirable in the folk belief. Since the folk view considers several emotions as undesirable, this makes the old snake skin source domain applicable to all of them. Furthermore, the emotion metaphors with the old snake skin source domain analyzed in this study can be classified under the general metaphor an undesirable emotion is an old snake skin. The main focus of this metaphor is the undesirability of an emotion.
5.2.3 The container source domain
In the metaphors presented below, the container source domain applies to a wide range of emotion concepts such as pride, hatred, sadness and fear. In these metaphors the abovementioned emotion concepts are conceived of as fluids and substances held in the voice-container.
|pride is a substance in a container|
|(110)||He sometimes mentioned, with a tinge of pride in his voice, that he had been self-supporting from the age of thirteen (Internet, http://books.google.com/books?id=v0oLAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA241).|
|(111)||There was a touch of pride in his voice (Internet, http://novels.mobi/create/out_mobi/pg/1/7/7/4/17745/17745/14.php).|
|hatred is a substance in a container|
|(112)||The bitter hatred in her voice stunned me (Internet, http://bafl.com/2003/01/24/baltic-pride-russian-tears-by-nina-chugunova/).|
|(113)||Thorn said, a touch of hatred in his voice (Internet, http://www.netraptor.org/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=225).|
|sadness is a substance in a container|
|(114)||'We thought of that, sir,' said the inspector, a touch of melancholy in his voice (BNC).|
|(115)||'That's what I'm trying to tell you,' Arty said, with a touch of desperation in his voice (BNC).|
|(116)||There was also a tinge of sadness in Gerry Britton's voice when he was asked about his old club (BNC).|
|fear is a substance in a container|
|(117)||There was a touch of fear in her voice (Internet, https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4456456/1/My_Guardian_Dear).|
|(118)||There was a tinge of fear in his voice (Internet, http://michaelhall.ca/column20030725.html).|
The above metaphors are the subcategories of the general metaphor emotions are substances in a container. In the following metaphors, pride, hatred, sadness and fear are conceptualized in terms of the fluids held in the voice.
|pride is a fluid in a container|
|(119)||"I practiced the violin for six hours a day, and I could play Bach's concerto," she says, her voice brimming with pride (Internet, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-06/16/content_339870.htm).|
|(120)||His eyes are bright, and his voice filled with pride (Internet, http://www.moon-palace.de/tricky/filter03.html).|
|(121)||His voice bursting with pride, Tom, a retired banker noted that his sons' love for numbers was probably inspired by his own former career (Internet, http://www.newsday.co.tt/features/0,70055.html).|
|hatred is a fluid in a container|
|(122)||... Krystal said, hatred seeping into her face and voice (Internet, http://community.livejournal.com/draygns_lair/9245.html - link no longer available ).|
|(123)||"And I don't like Beck either," she said, her voice filled with hatred (Internet, http://www.twilightarchives.com/viewstory.php?sid=683&chapter=6).|
|sadness is a fluid in a container|
|(124)||"Everything is wrong," he said, his voice overflowing with sadness (Internet, http://www.hybschmann.net/armsfrag.html - link no longer available).|
|(125)||It was a voice overwhelmed with despair (Internet, http://www.johnaugustswanson.com/default.cfm/PID=1.2.19).|