Anger!


I was listening to a lecture for school the other day, and this man (a doctor) was speaking about how anger is the one emotion that isn't “acceptable”. When people act out of anger, we judge them. But, I believe, anger is an emotion we feel in response to other emotions. Sadness, shame, guilt, fear, hurt, worry, frustration, anxiety, and jealousy often lead to us acting in anger. I know that when I act out of anger, I am really acting out anger because I feel something else, but don’t know how to express it. When people act angry towards me, I try to remember this, knowing that they are probably feeling something else, but don’t know how to express it either. Or maybe they are afraid to express it. We often use anger as a defense mechanism. Maybe it’s instinctual because we feel fearful or other emotions, we use our anger to defend ourselves, to protect our egos.


"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

Anger is defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility”. It actually comes from an old Nordic word “Angr” which means “trouble” or “affliction”. Anger is a normal emotion, as long as you are aware of it. As long as you don’t allow it to turn its volume up, in a sense. Sometimes, we can use our anger to move forward, to make lasting change to things we feel are wrong, or to alleviate suffering. Anger can also teach us patience, and how to not let our anger get the best of us.


It is SO important for use to find healthy outlets for our anger. Suppressing our anger can allow it to leak out in ways we might later regret. I have definitely experienced this before. I suppressed my anger towards someone, leading to a HUGE buildup of anger and resentment over time, and then (you guessed it), I cracked. My anger turned to rage and aggression. I suffered the consequences, in more ways than one.


Anger is a “fight or flight” response related to the central nervous system, and it prepares us, instinctually, to fight. Not necessary with our fists though. Like I mentioned before, it can often motivate us to make necessary changes to “norms” or injustices by making changes to the law.


Now, according to Dr. Ephrem Fernandez, who is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, there are 6 dimensions of anger (how we express anger):

  1. Direction of Anger (internal vs external)

  2. The Locus of Anger (internalizing vs externalizing, or how much control we believe we have over our anger)

  3. The Anger Reaction (resistance vs retaliation)

  4. The Mode of Anger (verbal vs physical)

  5. Anger impulsivity (controlled or uncontrolled)

  6. The Objective of Anger (restorative or punitive (aka inflicting punishment))


I want to make it very clear that anger is an emotion, but aggression and violence are CHOICES. When you act aggressively or violently, you have chosen to respond to anger in that way.


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." -Buddha


There are 10 different types of anger. The reason I want to discuss them is so that you can be aware of how anger shows itself, because sometimes it is not as obvious.


Here are the 10 different types of anger:

  • Passive Aggressive Anger: this is avoidant; avoiding confrontation; suppression or avoidance or denial of any kind of feelings, really; usually expressed in the form of sarcasm, intentional silence, mockery, or even procrastination.

  • How to manage: be more upfront with your actual feelings. If you don't know your feelings, take time to understand them. Communication is KEY.


  • Volatile/sudden Anger: it just comes out of nowhere. You are very easily upset about “perceived” problems. It usually involved very impulsive behavior, but this can be extremely destructive. People feel like they have to walk on eggshells around you, which can really affect your long term relationships and whether you are able to actually connect with others.

  • How to manage: Understand your triggers, and figure out ways to relax.


  • Assertive/deliberate Anger: A very constructive type of anger. You are able to use your feelings of anger to make positive change. This is a positive way of communicating your anger without disrespecting others or crossing boundaries.


  • Behavioral Anger:This is usually physical and aggressive or even violent. It is usually backed with the intention of intimidat