Understanding anger – Anger Management and Control

November 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Health, Relationships

Understanding Anger

Anger is the natural emotion created in a fight-or-flight situation by the physiology of your mind and body.  When you sense a threat  your mind generates fear and anger. Understanding anger is a process. The fear you generate is part of a flight response from your physiology. Anger is the emotional energy you generate for the fight against that perceived threat.  What can be confusing is that your mind creates fear and anger even when the threat is just imagined.

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Emotions like anger are natural and real. The difficulties associated with understanding anger are many fold. Even if the threat is imagined the anger you create is just as real and powerful. However, the reasons you generate anger aren’t always real. If you aren’t aware of how your mind is imagining scenarios of hurt your anger will appear irrational.

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Understanding Anger – Effects on Relationships

For children the effects of their anger on relationships can be devastating.  It is vital for them to get on well with others and anger can destroy relationships.

Research has shown that children who lack emotional controls when they are very young can have difficulty in forming relationships as they get older, and can be at greater risk of developing delinquent or anti-social behaviour. This, of course, has implications for society as a whole.

On the other hand, just letting your anger go in an uncontrolled fashion can lead to a move from verbal aggression to physical abuse – don’t forget, the other person is probably feeling angry with you too.

But there is a flip side to anger. Because of the surge of energy it creates, it can be pleasurable. This feeling is reinforced if becoming angry allows the release of feelings of frustration, or if a person’s response to your anger gives you a sense of power. This is why understanding anger is so important.

It’s important to acknowledge and keep an eye on this side of the problem – it can have an almost addictive element.

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Understanding Anger Styles

There are four basic ways in which people respond to anger:


Anger is externalized, “turned loose”


outwardly agreeable, but showing the anger

through indirect actions or sabotage


Anger is internalized, “locked up”


Anger is appropriately managed and communicated if necessary

Some people have particular anger style that they mostly use, but it is not uncommon for

people to shift their response to anger depending on the setting and circumstances.

Often people who express their anger in passive or passive/aggressive ways are in situations

where the overt expression of anger might have harmful consequences.

To See which one you fall into


Understanding Anger – Taking Control

No. 1: Take a timeout

Counting to 10 isn’t just for kids. Before reacting to a tense situation, take a few moments to breathe deeply and count to 10. Slowing down can help defuse your temper. If necessary, take a break from the person or situation until your frustration subsides a bit.

No. 2: Once you’re calm, express your anger

As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.

No. 3: Get some exercise

Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you’re about to erupt. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other favourite physical activities. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out.

No. 4: Think before you speak

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.

No. 5: Identify possible solutions

Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child’s messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything, and might only make it worse.

 For the top 10

Understanding Anger – A Review.

First, it’s important that you confront the problem and not the person. State the nature of the problem and how it makes you feel. Be clear that it’s the problem – not the person – that makes you feel like this. This way you’ll develop a joint definition and ownership of what’s going on.

Next, it’s important to understand each other’s view of the situation. It may help to agree that each person should be able to say what they think about the problem without being interrupted by the other. After this, identify areas where you disagree. Don’t discuss the disagreements yet, just agree that you disagree. This is how you define the problem.

Finally, you have to agree on a solution. This is probably the most delicate part of the whole process. It’s important that you both make concessions and acknowledge those that the other person has made. It’s also important not to have unrealistic expectations – it’s likely that the final solution won’t be ideal for either of you, but the resulting compromise will probably be better than the problems the anger generated.


If you follow these steps then you will be well on the way to understanding anger and more importantly taking control of that anger.

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