Anger: Everything You Need to Know

One of the fundamental human emotions, along with pleasure, sorrow, worry, and disgust, is anger. These feelings have evolved throughout human history and are essential to fundamental existence.

Anger is connected to the sympathetic nervous system’s “fight, flight, or freeze” reaction and prepares people to battle. Fighting, however, is not always associated with punching. Communities may be inspired to fight injustice by imposing new laws or standards.

The Experience of Anger

Everyone has experienced it. It’s that fury that flares up when a motorist gets cut off on the highway, or a worker is treated disrespectfully by his employer. Anger and other unpleasant emotions are difficult for people to control. The catharsis individuals seek is not produced when anger is let go; rather, it tends to feed on itself. The best course of action could be to develop the capacity to control anger by understanding its causes, catalysts, and effects.

What causes anger?

It’s intriguing to consider why some people ignore irritations while others lash out in wrath. Jerry Deffenbacher, a psychologist, proposed a model of anger in which the combination of the trigger event, the person’s characteristics, and the person’s assessment of the circumstance lead to anger.

The incident that sets off the rage, such as getting cut off in traffic or being screamed at by a parent, is known as the trigger. The characteristics of the person also include the pre-anger condition, such as levels of worry or tiredness, as well as personality traits like narcissism, competitiveness, and a low threshold for frustration. The most significant factor is probably cognitive appraisal—classifying a situation as blameworthy, unfair, punitive, etc. These factors work together to influence if and why individuals get angry.

Which personality traits are linked to anger?

Research shows high neuroticism and low agreeableness are connected with a propensity to become furious. A few behaviors and attitudes could be connected to rage outside the Big Five personality characteristics. Among them are:

  • Entitlement (having the mindset that one’s advantages and rights are superior to those of others);
  • Concentrating on external factors (such as a partner’s actions)
  • External regulation of emotions (attempting to manage one’s surroundings to control emotions);
  • External sphere of influence (believing sources outside of oneself control well-being)
  • Refusal to consider other viewpoints (viewing different perspectives as threats)
  • A fragile ego; little tolerance for pain; low tolerance for ambiguity; hyperfocus on blaming


Are there different types of anger?

A fundamental emotion, anger, may take several forms depending on where it comes from. Moral anger against the injustices in the world, such as the violation of human rights or an abusive relationship, is what is known as justified fury. Justified rage may drive change in the near term because of how intense it can be.

The many everyday inconveniences that might cause annoyance and fury can happen. Aggressive rage is utilized when one person tries to exert dominance, intimidation, manipulation, or control over another. Temper tantrums are out-of-control outbursts of rage that occur when an individual’s demands and wants are not met, regardless of how absurd and improper they may be.

Do men and women experience anger differently?

The connection between gender, anger, and violence is more nuanced than most people think. A detailed review of the findings often disproves popular notions (such as that males are angrier than women).

However, the link between violence, rage, and masculinity is not as difficult. Studies have shown that rage and masculinity go hand in hand. Men get angrier in response to threats to their masculinity. Similar results are seen when testosterone levels in males are challenged. And when guys drink, a lot of their supposedly buried masculinity typically emerges.

Why does anger sometimes feel good?

Moral indignation, as opposed to the fury resulting from interpersonal conflict—a transgression or betrayal—focuses more on enhancing one’s sense of self than exposing another person’s wrongful conduct. This kind of anger, also known as virtue signaling or moral grandstanding, may highlight one’s virtues by highlighting others’ vices. In essence, one elevates herself by unintentionally demeaning others.

From an evolutionary standpoint, people sought to establish and preserve high social status inside compact groups. The act of expressing anger at the actions of others may serve to enhance one’s standing, which may help to explain why feeling outraged often makes one feel good.

Why do people have revenge fantasies?

Embitterment, a feeling of being let down or wronged, and a desire to retaliate are all components of revenge. Inability to act results in thoughts of retaliation or violence.

To safeguard oneself from diminished self-worth and self-efficacy, soothe anger, humiliation, and insult by settling the score between the victim’s suffering and the perpetrator’s acts, and provide a way to restore control and stability, vengeful thoughts may surface.

Retaliation-related thoughts are more common among those who have experienced trauma and victimization at the hands of others. They are more common in those with PTSD diagnoses.

Why do people hold grudges?

Although well-intentioned, the adage “forgive and forget” may be difficult to embrace. Even if they don’t want to, many individuals harbor bitterness. Due to the identity that grudges carry, this may happen. People who still hold a grudge are aware that they were harmed. This identity has a certain rightness and toughness.

However, grudges seldom help individuals feel better or resolve their misery or rage. People may incorporate the experience into their narrative and let go of their resentment by turning their attention away from the offender and onto the incident and its effects.

What are the consequences of continual anger?

An energy spike is produced by anger. Chemicals like adrenaline enter the bloodstream as a result. The muscles tighten up, and the heart rate and blood flow rise. When continued, this may impair the cardiovascular and immunological systems, which may potentially limit longevity.

Excessive and uncontrolled rage may strain crucial relationships, present difficulties at work, and result in legal and financial issues. The capacity to think rationally may be hijacked by anger, resulting in poor judgment and decision-making. It’s often the cause of abuse, domestic violence, and other illnesses, including drug use disorder.

How to Manage Anger

Like other emotions, anger has to be controlled over with self-awareness. Doing so may stop it from escalating into angry, violent conduct against oneself or others.

People may learn to understand their anger, recognize its causes, and build coping mechanisms by attending support groups for anger management. The cognitive restructuring may guide patients to reframe unhelpful, inflammatory thinking in group and individual settings.

People may learn to control their anger without the aid of a therapist by using methods such as deep breathing, labeling their emotions, and adopting a problem-solving approach.

How can I manage my anger?

Understanding the patterns that set you off might be useful if you often lose control when angry. To cope with rage successfully, you may step in at several stages along the route.

  1. Sleep: Regular, healthy sleep helps shield you from getting provoked since sleep deficiency makes it difficult to manage furious emotions.
  2. Consider other meanings and assess the supporting documentation for your interpretation. Think about diverse viewpoints.
  3. Take deep breaths: Breath deeply and slowly, utilizing your diaphragm rather than your chest.
  4. Avoid the notion of catharsis: Anger is not often adequately released by expressing it, behaving aggressively, or watching aggressive material.
  5. Recognize that it’s OK to be furious: If you’ve been mistreated, treated unjustly, or provoked, you should be upset. However, you should show your anger assertively rather than violently.


How can I manage the anger that’s warranted?

You may wish to use a different set of anger management techniques in situations when your anger is justified, such as when a colleague consistently fails to contribute to team initiatives. In such circumstances:

  1. Remove yourself from the upsetting circumstance. You may use this to avoid dwelling on the past and create a plan for the future.
  2. Set aside time to consider how to address the underlying issue so it doesn’t happen again.
  3. Rather than being aggressive, express your displeasure assertively and focus on finding solutions.


How can I reframe situations to stop getting mad?

We often interpret other people’s behaviors and give them our meanings, which leads to anger. For instance, a person with rage issues can yell, “He cut me off on purpose! He intended to harm me! or “She was in front of me, screaming at me while flailing her finger. She deserved to be struck! These ideas feed a vicious cycle of fury, forcing the “victim” to respond if the “perpetrator” struck with malice and on purpose.

However, rage may be controlled by taking different viewpoints into account and controlling emotions. You may think, “They may not have noticed me, or maybe they had a horrible day,” rather than jumping to the worst-case scenario. Nothing about it is related to me personally.

How can I handle angry people?

Intense individuals who are verbally aggressive, disrespectful, or even threatening may be dealt with in various ways depending on how they show their anger.

  1. Consider if your anger is appropriate. You may be able to take action to assist the situation to become better.
  1. Remain composed. To avoid aggravating the issue, refrain from screaming, cursing, or raising your voice. Maintain a calm, gentle voice while speaking directly and gently.
  2. Avoid attacking characters. A heated argument is not the moment to bring up bigger issues.
  3. Recognize when to give up. If reaching a consensus is improbable, you may wish to cut the talk short or leave.
  4. Be careful. Not everyone angry will become violent. However, leave the area immediately if you feel you are in danger.


What do people learn in anger management?

Anger management entails understanding one’s anger and acquiring coping mechanisms; it may be taught in individual or group sessions. This approach includes determining what causes anger, developing preventative and mitigating methods, and developing communication and problem-solving skills.

The goal of anger management should not be to make someone feel less angry. An emotion of protection is anger. However, it often shields a frail ego, which could include guilt, humiliation, and worry. Making rage unnecessary through improving self-worth and supporting personal ideals is a method of reducing anger.

How do therapists treat patients with severe anger problems?

Therapy may be difficult for patients who abuse or do violent acts out of extreme rage. Acknowledging a patient’s most delicate emotions is frequently necessary to help them overcome their anger, which runs counter to the emotionally impassive, goal-oriented character they may have developed to protect themselves. They may use force to intimidate the therapist and ensure they are kept at a distance to feel in control and escape their misery.

The therapist might try to be persistent, forgiving, and circumspect. With enough time, the patient may feel secure enough to open up and disclose weaknesses that may have contributed to abusive and angry behavior patterns.

Mental Health Conditions And Anger

At some time or another, everyone becomes angry. However, it becomes an issue when the frequency or intensity of anger affects one’s ability to maintain relationships, perform well at the job, maintain one’s legal standing, or maintain one’s mental health.

Although there is no recognized “anger condition,” intermittent explosive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and borderline personality disorder may all be characterized by dysfunctional anger and aggressiveness. Additionally, it could contribute to manic episodes, ADHD, and narcissism.

Anger may be disruptive without a formal diagnosis, and it might still benefit from support in managing it.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

The impulse control illness known as intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is characterized by recurrent furious outbursts that show an inability to restrain violent urges. These outbursts may be aggressive verbally or physically, and they can cause harm to people or property. Additionally, these responses are grossly disproportionate to the incident that initiated the episode.

Perhaps IED best captures the increasing bursts of violence today, such as mass shootings, among the myriad illnesses associated with rage. It could start as early as infancy when there is a failure to notice and deliberately deal with anger when it first appears before it develops into a pathological and harmful emotion.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

A disruptive behavior condition called oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is characterized by a pattern of angry and irritated emotions and rebellious or vengeful acts. The oppositional defiant disorder may cause people to lose their temper, act impulsively, harbor resentment, quarrel with authority figures, defy orders, and purposefully irritate and blame others.

A hyperactive amygdala and an underactive prefrontal cortex—the area that aids in impulse control and inhibits aggressiveness—are two brain areas linked to this reactive aggression. Medication and counseling, especially a recent strategy known as Collaborative and Proactive Solutions, may lessen disobedience and rage and teach good coping mechanisms.

Conduct Disorder

Conduct Disorder (CD) is a disruptive conduct disorder characterized by a pattern of transgressing social norms, laws, and other people’s fundamental rights. People with conduct disorders could physically harm, intimidate, or threaten others. They could abuse animals, tell lies, steal, or damage property.

Conduct Disorder often results in proactive, deliberate antisocial behaviors, as opposed to Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which includes reactive, explosive aggressiveness. Some sufferers will later get a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder

It is a borderline personality disorder (BPD), characterized by instability, impulsivity, and violent outbursts. People with BPD cling to those closest to them out of fear of rejection, want approval and reinforcement, and get very disturbed by even the smallest changes. Anger outbursts, extreme mood swings, feelings of despair, paranoia, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts may be a part of this turmoil.

The exaggerated wrath typical of borderline individuals may result from trust issues, such as learning not to trust parents or caregivers due to their unreliability, neglect, or criticism. Anger might serve as a barrier against worries about potential rejection and abandonment.


Consistently low mood and emotions of sorrow, emptiness, or despair are characteristics of depression. As well as other difficulties, enjoyment and pleasure are reduced. Additionally, disturbances in sleep and food start to appear.

Depression and fury have been linked, according to both science and clinical observation. Anger is often a response to and diversion from internal pain, including emotions like melancholy, helplessness, humiliation, fear, inadequacy, and loneliness. Anger may both develop from and serve as a useful diversion from the excruciating anguish of underlying depression. Similar to this, many individuals who seek treatment for depression learn how their internalized anger—such as harsh self-blame, discontent, and self-criticism—contributes to their despair.

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