Dealing With Anger


Examine your behaviour patterns

Become familiar with your own pattern of behaviour and consider your past with regard to how anger was dealt with when growing up. What was your family like when you were growing up? Who got angry, and what happened when they did? If no-one was openly angry, what happened to resentments and difference in opinions or needs? Did such feelings tend to get supressed and never discussed openly?

What were the unspoken messages you received about anger? Perhaps they were similar to these:

“Only men get angry, but nice girls don't. They grow up to be martyrs and victims.”

“It's no good getting angry about anything, because they never take any notice of people like us, and it only gets you into trouble.”

“People often lose their tempers and break things, but there's nothing we can do about it. It'll all blow over soon.”

“Unless you shout and get angry, people won't listen to you or understand how important what you're saying is.”

Consider the kind of messages about anger you have been led to believe are the correct ways of dealing with it. How has this affected your life? Do you still believe them? What do you think is possible for you now? Do you tend to bottle things up and get depressed, or do you tend to explode and be aggressive? How do you feel about your current pattern of behaviour with regard to your expression of anger? Find someone to talk to about your feelings, whether it is an understanding friend or professional counsellor.


Acknowledge past hurts

It is important to acknowledge angry feelings that remain from the past, especially your childhood. Nothing can change what happened to you but you can change your attitude towards it. Past losses and injustices, however big or small, can frustrate you for years. Painful experiences may include parental neglect, bitter sibling rivalry, the death of someone close, or growing up in relative social isolation.

You may believe you’ve forgotten about such experiences, and that it's pointless to think about the past. But if something suddenly happens to you in the present and your response to it is totally over the top, it may become clear that these feelings are not as dormant as you had thought! While you remain unaware of them, remnant feelings from the past can cause unnecessary problems. But if you come to know and review unresolved issues from the past, you will have a chance of dealing more constructively with present situations.

For example, Sharon attends a parents' meeting at her children's new school. She finds herself increasingly irritated by the person chairing the parent-teacher association (PTA), who behaves in a very domineering way, and as a result, Sharon comes away feeling depressed.

The school has requested volunteers to help organise a fundraising event. It is just the kind of thing she usually enjoys, but now Sharon feels that she wants nothing to do with the social side of the school. Then she realises why she didn't like the Chair of the meeting. He reminds her of a bullying teacher, with whom she had some very bad experiences at school. Memories come flooding back of how hurt, angry and powerless she felt at that time in her life.

Sharon talks about this with her friends, and they remind her that she is no longer powerless or friendless, but that this is an opportunity for her to create a different experience of school. Some of her friends have children at the same school, and share her concerns about the style and presence of the PTA Chair. By separating her past experiences with the bullying teacher from her current challenge as a parent, Sharon has the power to constructively engage with the dominant PTA Chair. As a result, she feels able to join in the fundraising event, as well as meet with her friends and other parents in considering how they might change the way the PTA is run.


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The Have I Got A Problem website is a free online resource to help people better understand any issues or concerns they may have about mental health or addiction. The website includes resources specifically focused to; general Mental Health, Depression, Stress, Anxiety, Insecurities, Self-harm Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Anger Management, Eating Disorders, Coping, general Addiction, Alcohol, Smoking, Gambling, Drugs, Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana (Cannabis) Ecstasy, PCP, Mephedrone, Ketamine & Crystal Meth.

The site was created to give the public information to help them understand mental health and addiction issues and to assist people in making better informed decisions about their life and personal choices. was created and is run by 'Advising Communities’, which is a UK registered charity (Charity No. 1061055)


"Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. But managing anger can be a problem for many people who find it difficult to keep their anger under control."

Isabel Clarke

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