Help with anger management

Anger Management -


Is your temper hijacking your life? These tips and techniques can help you get anger under control and express your feelings in healthier ways.

Understanding anger

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, neither good nor bad. Like any emotion, it conveys a message, telling you that a situation is upsetting, unjust, or threatening. If your knee-jerk reaction to anger is to explode, however, that message never has a chance to be conveyed. So, while it’s perfectly normal to feel angry when you’ve been mistreated or wronged, anger becomes a problem when you express it in a way that harms yourself or others.

You might think that venting your anger is healthy, that the people around you are too sensitive, that your anger is justified, or that you need to show your fury to get respect. But the truth is that anger is much more likely to have a negative impact on the way people see you, impair your judgment, and get in the way of success.

Effects of anger

Chronic anger that flares up all the time or spirals out of control can have serious consequences for your:

  • Physical health. Constantly operating at high levels of stress and anger makes you more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, a weakened immune system, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
  • Mental health. Chronic anger consumes huge amounts of mental energy, and clouds your thinking, making it harder to concentrate or enjoy life. It can also lead to stress, depression, and other mental health problems.
  • Career. Constructive criticism, creative differences, and heated debate can be healthy. But lashing out only alienates your colleagues, supervisors, or clients and erodes their respect.
  • Relationships. Anger can cause lasting scars in the people you love most and get in the way of friendships and work relationships. Explosive anger makes it hard for others to trust you, speak honestly, or feel comfortable—and is especially damaging to children.

If you have a hot temper, you may feel like it’s out of your hands and there’s little you can do to tame the beast. But you have more control over your anger than you think. With insight about the real reasons for your anger and these anger management tools, you can learn to express your emotions without hurting others and keep your temper from hijacking your life.

Myths and facts about anger
Myth: I shouldn't “hold in” my anger. It's healthy to vent and let it out.

Fact: While it's true that suppressing and ignoring anger is unhealthy, venting is no better. Anger is not something you have to “let out” in an aggressive way in order to avoid blowing up. In fact, outbursts and tirades only fuel the fire and reinforce your anger problem.

Myth: Anger, aggression, and intimidation help me earn respect and get what I want.

Fact: Respect doesn't come from bullying others. People may be afraid of you, but they won't respect you if you can't control yourself or handle opposing viewpoints. Others will be more willing to listen to you and accommodate your needs if you communicate in a respectful way.

Myth: I can't help myself. Anger isn't something you can control.

Fact: You can't always control the situation you're in or how it makes you feel, but you can control how you express your anger. And you can communicate your feelings without being verbally or physically abusive. Even if someone is pushing your buttons, you always have a choice about how to respond.

How anger management can help you

Many people think that anger management is about learning to suppress your anger. But never getting angry is not a healthy goal. Anger will come out regardless of how hard you try to tamp it down. The true goal of anger management isn’t to suppress feelings of anger, but rather to understand the message behind the emotion and express it in a healthy way without losing control. When you do, you’ll not only feel better, you’ll also be more likely to get your needs met, be better able to manage conflict in your life, and strengthen your relationships.

Mastering the art of anger management takes work, but the more you practice, the easier it will get. And the payoff is huge. Learning to control your anger and express it appropriately will help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a healthier, more satisfying life.

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Tip 1: Explore what's really behind your anger

Have you ever gotten into an argument over something silly? Big fights often happen over something small, like a dish left out or being ten minutes late. But there’s usually a bigger issue behind it. If you find your irritation and anger rapidly rising, ask yourself, “What am I really angry about?” Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your anger better, take constructive action, and work towards a resolution.

Is your anger masking other feelings such as embarrassment, insecurity, hurt, shame, or vulnerability? If your knee-jerk response in many situations is anger, it’s likely that your temper is covering up your true feelings. This is especially likely if you grew up in a family where expressing feelings was strongly discouraged. As an adult, you may have a hard time acknowledging feelings other than anger.

Anger can also mask anxiety. When you perceive a threat, either real or imagined, your body activates the “fight or flight” response. In the case of the “fight” response, it can often manifest itself as anger or aggression. To change your response, you need to find out what’s causing you to feel anxious or scared.

Anger problems can stem from what you learned as a child. If you watched others in your family scream, hit each other, or throw things, you might think this is how anger is supposed to be expressed.

Anger can be a symptom of another underlying health problem, such as depression (especially in men), trauma, or chronic stress.

Clues that there's more to your anger than meets the eye

You have a hard time compromising. Is it hard for you to understand other people’s points of view, and even harder to concede a point? If you grew up in a family where anger was out of control, you may remember how the angry person got their way by being the loudest and most demanding. Compromising might bring up scary feelings of failure and vulnerability.

You view different opinions as a personal challenge. Do you believe that your way is always right and get angry when others disagree? If you have a strong need to be in control or a fragile ego, you may interpret other perspectives as a challenge to your authority, rather than simply a different way of looking at things.

You have trouble expressing emotions other than anger. Do you pride yourself on being tough and in control? Do you feel that emotions like fear, guilt, or shame don’t apply to you? Everyone has those emotions so you may be using anger as a cover for them. If you are uncomfortable with different emotions, disconnected, or stuck on an angry one-note response to situations, it’s important to get back in touch with your feelings. HelpGuide’s free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can help.

While you might feel that you just explode into anger without warning, there are in fact physical warning signs in your body. Becoming aware of your own personal signs that your temper is starting to boil allows you to take steps to manage your anger before it gets out of control.

Pay attention to the way anger feels in your body

  • Knots in your stomach
  • Clenching your hands or jaw
  • Feeling clammy or flushed
  • Breathing faster
  • Headaches
  • Pacing or needing to walk around
  • “Seeing red”
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Pounding heart
  • Tensing your shoulders

Tip 3: Identify your triggers

Stressful events don’t excuse anger, but understanding how these events affect you can help you take control of your environment and avoid unnecessary aggravation. Look at your regular routine and try to identify activities, times of day, people, places, or situations that trigger irritable or angry feelings.

Maybe you get into a fight every time you go out for drinks with a certain group of friends. Or maybe the traffic on your daily commute drives you crazy. When you identify your triggers, think about ways to either avoid them or view the situations differently so they don’t make your blood boil.

Negative thought patterns that can trigger anger

You may think that external factors—the insensitive actions of other people, for example, or frustrating situations—are causing your anger. But anger problems have less to do with what happens to you than how you interpret and think about what happened.

Common negative thinking patterns that trigger and fuel anger include:

  • Overgeneralizing. For example, “You ALWAYS interrupt me. You NEVER consider my needs. EVERYONE disrespects me. I NEVER get the credit I deserve.
  • Obsessing over “shoulds” and “musts.” Having a rigid view of the way a situation should or must go and getting angry when reality doesn’t line up with this vision.
  • Mind reading and jumping to conclusions. Assuming you “know” what someone else is thinking or feeling—that they intentionally upset you, ignored your wishes, or disrespected you.
  • Collecting straws. Looking for things to get upset about, usually while overlooking or blowing past anything positive. Letting these small irritations build and build until you reach the “final straw” and explode, often over something relatively minor.
  • Blaming. When anything bad happens or something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. You tell yourself, “life’s not fair,” or blame others for your problems rather than taking responsibility for your own life.

When you identify the thought patterns that fuel your anger, you can learn to reframe how you think about things. Ask yourself: What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true? Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at a situation? What would I say to a friend who was thinking these things?

Tip 4: Learn ways to cool down quickly

Once you know how to recognize the warning signs that your temper is rising and anticipate your triggers, you can act quickly to deal with your anger before it spins out of control. There are many techniques that can help you cool down and keep your anger in check.

Focus on the physical sensations of anger. While it may seem counterintuitive, tuning into the way your body feels when you’re angry often lessens the emotional intensity of your anger.

Take some deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counteract rising tension. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs.

Get moving. A brisk walk around the block is a great idea. Physical activity releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head.

Use your senses. You can use sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to quickly relieve stress and cool down. You might try listening to a favorite piece of music, looking at a treasured photo, savoring a cup of tea, or stroking a pet.

Stretch or massage areas of tension. Roll your shoulders if you are tensing them, for example, or gently massage your neck and scalp.

Slowly count to ten. Focus on the counting to let your rational mind catch up with your feelings. If you still feel out of control by the time you reach ten, start counting again.

Give yourself a reality check

When you start getting upset about something, take a moment to think about the situation. Ask yourself:

  • How important is it in the grand scheme of things?
  • Is it really worth getting angry about it?
  • Is it worth ruining the rest of my day?
  • Is my response appropriate to the situation?
  • Is there anything I can do about it?
  • Is taking action worth my time?

Tip 5: Find healthier ways to express your anger

If you’ve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. Learning how to resolve conflict in a positive way will help you strengthen your relationships rather than damaging them.

Always fight fair. It’s okay to be upset at someone, but if you don’t fight fair, the relationship will quickly break down. Fighting fair allows you to express your own needs while still respecting others.

Make the relationship your priority. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Respect the other person and their viewpoint.

Focus on the present. Once you are in the heat of arguing, it’s easy to start throwing past grievances into the mix. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.

Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.

Take five if things get too heated. If your anger starts to spiral out of control, remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes or for as long as it takes you to cool down.

Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.

Tip 6: Stay calm by taking care of yourself

Taking care of your overall mental and physical well-being can help ease tension and diffuse anger problems.

Manage stress. If your stress levels are through the roof, you’re more likely to struggle controlling your temper. Try practicing relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or deep breathing. You’ll feel calmer and more in control of your emotions.

Talk to someone you trust. Nothing eases stress more effectively than chatting face-to-face with a friend or loved one. The person doesn’t have to provide answers, they just need to be a good listener. But talking about your feelings and seeking a different perspective on a situation is not the same as venting. Simply venting your anger at someone will only fuel your temper and reinforce your anger problem.

Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can exacerbate negative thoughts and leave you feeling agitated and short-tempered. Try to get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep.

Exercise regularly. It’s an effective way to burn-off tension and ease stress, and it can leave you feeling more relaxed and positive throughout the day. Aim for at least 30 minutes on most days, broken up into shorter periods if that’s easier. 

Be smart about alcohol and drugs. They lower your inhibitions and can make it even harder to control your anger. Even consuming too much caffeine can make you more irritable and prone to anger.

Tip 7: Use humor to relieve tension

When things get tense, humor and playfulness can help you lighten the mood, smooth over differences, reframe problems, and keep things in perspective. When you feel yourself getting angry in a situation, try using a little lighthearted humor. It can allow you to get your point across without getting the other person’s defenses up or hurting their feelings. 

However, it’s important that you laugh with the other person, not at them. Avoid sarcasm, mean-spirited humor. If in doubt, start by using self-deprecating humor. We all love people who are able to gently poke fun at their own failings. After all, we’re all flawed and we all make mistakes.

So, if you’ve made a mistake at work or you’ve just spilled coffee over yourself, instead of getting angry or picking a fight, try making a joke about it. Even if the joke falls flat or comes out wrong, the only person you risk offending is yourself.

When humor and play are used to reduce tension and anger, a potential conflict can even become an opportunity for greater connection and intimacy.

Tip 8: Recognize if you need professional help

If, despite putting these previous anger management techniques into practice, your anger is still spiraling out of control, or if you’re getting into trouble with the law or hurting others, you need more help.

Anger management classes allow you to meet others coping with the same struggles and learn tips and techniques for managing your anger.

Therapy, either group or individual, can be a great way to explore the reasons behind your anger and identify triggers. Therapy can also provide a safe place to practice new skills for expressing anger.

Anger isn’t the real problem in an abusive relationship

Despite what many believe, domestic violence and abuse does not happen due to the abuser’s loss of control over their temper. Rather, it’s a deliberate choice to control another person. If you are abusive towards your spouse or partner, know that you need specialized treatment, not regular anger management classes.

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

      • References

        Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders. (2013). In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association.

        Williams, Riccardo. “Anger as a Basic Emotion and Its Role in Personality Building and Pathological Growth: The Neuroscientific, Developmental and Clinical Perspectives.” Frontiers in Psychology 8 (November 7, 2017): 1950.

        Staicu, ML, and M Cuţov. “Anger and Health Risk Behaviors.” Journal of Medicine and Life 3, no. 4 (November 15, 2010): 372–75.

        Ba, Al Ubaidi, and Al Ubaidi Ba. “Control Excessive Anger before It Controls Your Life.” Accessed November 17, 2021.

        Zarshenas, Ladan, Mehdi Baneshi, Farkhondeh Sharif, and Ebrahim Moghimi Sarani. “Anger Management in Substance Abuse Based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: An Interventional Study.” BMC Psychiatry 17, no. 1 (November 23, 2017): 375.

        Nasir, Rohany, and Norisham Abd Ghani. “Behavioral and Emotional Effects of Anger Expression and Anger Management among Adolescents.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd World Conference on Psychology and Sociology, PSYSOC 2013, 27-29 November 2013, Brussels, Belgium, 140 (August 22, 2014): 565–69.

        Bodenmann, Guy, Nathalie Meuwly, Thomas N. Bradbury, Simone Gmelch, and Thomas Ledermann. “Stress, Anger, and Verbal Aggression in Intimate Relationships: Moderating Effects of Individual and Dyadic Coping.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 27, no. 3 (May 1, 2010): 408–24.

        Fehr, Beverley, Mark Baldwin, Lois Collins, Suzanne Patterson, and Riva Benditt. “Anger in Close Relationships: An Interpersonal Script Analysis.” 25, no. 3 (March 1, 1999): 299–312.

        Candelaria, Ashley M., Alicia L. Fedewa, and Soyeon Ahn. “The Effects of Anger Management on Children’s Social and Emotional Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis.” School Psychology International 33, no. 6 (December 1, 2012): 596–614.

        Okuda, Mayumi, Julia Picazo, Mark Olfson, Deborah S. Hasin, Shang-Min Liu, Silvia Bernardi, and Carlos Blanco. “Prevalence and Correlates of Anger in the Community: Results from a National Survey.” CNS Spectrums 20, no. 2 (April 2015): 130–39.

        Saghir, Zahid, Javeria N. Syeda, Adnan S. Muhammad, and Tareg H. Balla Abdalla. “The Amygdala, Sleep Debt, Sleep Deprivation, and the Emotion of Anger: A Possible Connection?” Cureus 10, no. 7 (July 2, 2018): e2912.

      Controlling Anger Before it Controls You – Origins of excessive anger, tips on coping, and when to seek more help. (American Psychological Association)

      What Your Anger May Be Hiding – Reasons behind excessive anger. (Psychology Today)

      Anger and Trauma – How anger should be treated when it's a symptom of PTSD. (National Center for PTSD)

      When You Love an Angry Person – Tips on fighting fair, ways to approach a loved one, and when to seek more help. (Get Your Angries Out)

      Last updated: December 5, 2022

      Seven anger management tips - Mayo Clinic Health System

      Speaking of Health

      Topics in this Post

      • Behavioral Health

      Do you fume when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure rocket when your child refuses to cooperate? Do you lash out quickly and later regret so doing? If so, you're not alone. Everyone experiences anger from time to time.

      Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion. Like all emotions, it gives us insight into how we just perceived an event. But it's important to deal with it in a positive way. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on your health and relationships.

      If you're often feeling angry, or if those feeling are causing problems at home or at work, here are seven tips to help you regain control:

      1. Think before you speak.

      One of the best tactics is to take a pause before reacting. If your heart is pounding and you feel like yelling at your friend, family member or the guy who just pulled in front of you in traffic, stop. Take a breath. Count to 10. Do whatever it takes to avoid lashing out and saying or doing something you'll regret.

      2. Once you're calm, state what upset you.

      What is the more correct feeling in response to what happened? Identify the deeper feeling. Maybe you feel unimportant because your spouse didn't help clean up the kitchen after you made dinner. Or you feel used because your son borrowed your car and returned it with a nearly empty gas tank — again. Address the circumstance and person clearly and directly, using an "I" statement. For example, say, "I'm upset that you left me without enough gas to get to work" or "I resent it when I work to prepare a meal and you don't help clean up afterward."

      3. Use humor to release tension.

      Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what's making you angry. Laugh at yourself for unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Laugh at yourself but avoid sarcasm. It often aims to hurt others to make a point about how you are feeling. Don't be passive-aggressive either.

      4. Take a timeout.

      Timeouts aren't just for kids. Being self-aware about your energy level is helpful so you can take care of your needs and be the best you can be. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what's ahead without getting irritated or angry.

      5. Get exercise.

      Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. Exercise is often prescribed to improve mood. The endorphins produced from physical exertion are natural pick-me-ups and stress reducers. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.

      6. Practice relaxation skills.

      Using any, or all, of your six senses to provide relaxing input can improve calmness. Practice deep-breathing exercises, get a warm drink, smell some pleasant scents, go outside and feel the crisp air, stretch your muscles, imagine a relaxing scene, listen to calming music or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as "Take it easy." Yoga and meditation also are good tools to use to help you stay calm. When you're taking care of yourself, it's easier to deal with the challenges life throws your way.

      7. Don't hold a grudge.

      Forgiveness is a powerful tool. Holding on to the offenses of others and hoping they will feel your pain or repay you for their error only affects you. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who hurt you (i.e., write the debt owed you to zero) you release the weight and are no longer bogged down and hoping for "pay-back."

      Learning to control anger is a challenge at times for everyone. If changes like these aren't enough to help you control your anger, reach out to a mental health specialist for support. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.

      Rich Oswald is a psychotherapist in Psychiatry and Psychology in Eau Claire and Menomonie, Wisconsin.

      For the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a non-patient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

      Topics in this Post

      • Behavioral Health

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      5 techniques for managing anger

      There are no good or bad emotions and feelings, have you ever thought about it? As soon as we stop dividing everything into “good-bad, remove-leave”, it will become easier for us to manage our states.

      In the management of emotions, one can be guided by the “principle of consequences”. Think about what actions follow emotions? How do your emotional outbursts end? What do you and the people around you gain from the manifestation of emotions, and what do you lose?

      Are you satisfied with the consequences of emotions and feelings that are vividly manifested at important moments in your life? Do I need to change something in their manifestation in order to get different, more environmentally friendly results?

      Any of our emotions can have both positive and negative results. So joy can be too big and devastating to make important decisions. And sadness is “bright”, motivating us, for example, to take timely actions.

      Anger is most often destructive, because we do not know how to control its energy and use it for good. Such a blessing can be obtaining the results we need.

      Remember what kind of power turns on inside when we experience anger? Just a wave that almost instantly pours out on those around you, who may not have anything to do with your emotions. We can do things that we will later regret for a long time.

      What if we notice and realize in time that we are starting to get angry? And to direct the energy that appears to useful actions, you can get positive consequences from your anger. So, five ideas and techniques for managing anger.

      1. Asking questions to become aware

      In the moment of an outburst of anger, it is important to be aware of what exactly is happening to you. To do this, learn to ask yourself questions, to conduct a kind of internal dialogue.

      • Ask yourself what information does this emotion convey?
      • What does your anger say?
      • What actually happens in this situation?
      • What exactly "turns you on" in another person's behavior?

      Yes, it's not easy, when you get into an emotional wave, slow down and remember the questions. The method that we are taught from childhood - "count to 10" can help here. As soon as you start to emotionally turn on, count, and then ask yourself a question.

      2. Understand to control

      Examine your anger, and it is best when you are not feeling it. This will help you understand that there is a reason for everything and that almost everything can be changed.

      • Think about what provokes your anger. What factors trigger anger most often?
      • What needs are not met and you get emotionally turned on?
      • What fears are behind your anger? Are they real? If yes, how to deal with them?


      Reduce the emotional degree

      Imagine a scale on which our emotional states are located. Anger is its extreme manifestation, and what stands before it? Irritation, indignation, annoyance, anger?

      Learn to notice your emotional temperature when it has not yet jumped to the "anger" mark. Feel annoyance - do not suppress, but show it. Outraged - say so! Someone's actions cause annoyance - react.

      It is very correct to verbalize your state, then your interlocutor will be aware of what is happening:

      • “I am starting to get annoyed, therefore…”
      • "Such words revolt me, come on..."

      Most likely, the conflict will be avoided, as well as your outburst of anger.

      4. Give vent to anger without suppressing it

      Express your emotions in a safe way.

      • Speak up. Retreat and tell yourself everything you think about the situation or the people who caused the anger. Record your words on the recorder, when you listen to the recording in a calm state, you will find a lot of useful things.
      • Run, dance or jump. Release energy through the body - this is one of the best ways to release anger.
      • Beat a pillow, or better a punching bag. The accumulated blows have not interfered with anyone in life.

      5. Exercise resilience

      Anger can be habituated, reacted to or dealt with. And if you reduce your sensitivity to them? What can help with this?

      • Diary of emotions. Constantly keep a record of what makes you angry (anger, annoyance). Knowing the main triggers and pain points makes it easier to work with your reactions.
      • Rest and mode of life. A burnt out and exhausted person "turns on" to any little thing. Learn to relax, put things in order in your life with the help of planning. And you will become more resistant to the stresses that accompany us all.
      • Work with the body. For emotional and psychological stability, it is necessary to have energy reserves. Nutrition, physical activity, breathing exercises, massage - all this will help to accumulate and properly spend energy.

      Managing your anger, like any other emotion, is difficult. But if you want and make an effort, anything is possible!


      Anger management: how to turn anger to your advantage recommendations on how to direct the seething emotions into a productive channel instead of a destructive one.

      Ilse Sand

      Psychotherapist, author of the book Compass of Emotions: How to Understand Your Feelings.

      We all have moments when we get angry at other people. And there seems to be a reason for anger. Someone pushed you and didn't apologize. Someone was late for an important meeting, forcing them to shift plans. Someone climbs with their tenderness and stupid SMS when there is a blockage at work! You give vent to objective, at first glance, indignation, chastise the “offender” - and as a result you get a conflict, a spoiled mood, strained relationships with others and other delights of splashed anger.

      At such moments, many are comforted by the thought: "He started first, I just answered. " But it's not. Rarely is anger just anger. Much more often, we are angry with other people through no fault of theirs - the reasons for rage are hidden in ourselves. Anger is a typical secondary feeling that only arises as a response to other, deeper emotions that we experience in connection with a situation.

      These emotions, which become the trigger for rage, are in most cases based on one of four causes.

      1. Someone, by word or deed, deliberately or accidentally wounded your self-esteem, humiliated you, demonstrated your insignificance. This is one of the most common causes of anger. Vanity is the sore point of all mankind.
      2. Someone offers you attention, closeness, care that you are not ready to accept now. The resulting irritation is self-protection, it works almost automatically.
      3. Someone does things that are totally against your values ​​and ideals.
      4. Someone interferes with your plans and makes it difficult to achieve your goals.

      If you determine which of these reasons caused anger, it will be easier to deal with anger. Let's take a closer look at these four groups.

      1. Managing anger when self-esteem is hurt

      Anger that arises in response to criticism or humiliation is called narcissistic by psychologists. The majority of people react to it in a predictable way: people turn into children who push the offender away and shout to him: “He’s like that!” The more restrained and rational have another desire - to try to explain themselves, to point out to the counterpart that he was mistaken in his criticism, to get him to change his mind.

      Unfortunately, these tactics often do not work. If you flare up, the case will escalate into a conflict in which your offender is unlikely to recognize your innocence. If you start to explain yourself, you will most likely be considered a bore and are unlikely to be listened to.

      How it looks in real life

      Let’s imagine a husband and father (let’s say, Kolya) who returns home after a day’s work, sees wallpapers painted by children, tired wife Nastya, and, in addition, finds a mountain of dirty dishes in the kitchen. “You’ve been sitting at home all day, couldn’t you have at least washed the dishes?!” he flashes.

      Nastya is predictably effervescent in response. She wants to shout: “No! Try to “sit at home” yourself, I’ll see how you cope with two children, run shopping with them, feed everyone, read a book with them, hang laundry!” Nastya is ready in the heat of the moment to list to Kolya all the homework that she does, but he does not notice.

      And, at first glance, Nastya is right. But if she gives vent to her indignation, this will only aggravate the conflict.

      What to do

      Understand that anger in this case is a secondary feeling. Most likely, Nastya's indignation hides not anger at her husband at all, but two other feelings.

      1. Sadness

      Sadness due to the fact that a close person sees Nastya not the way she would like to look in his eyes. Not a wife who puts a lot of effort into creating a “reliable rear” for her husband, to be a good mother for common children, but a lazy and slovenly one.

      If so, the best way out is to voice your true emotion. Tell Kolya: "I'm very upset that you scold me." Most likely, he will answer: “And what do you think I'm wrong about ?!” And only now the moment comes when Nastya makes sense to indulge in explanations, because Kolya expressed his readiness to listen to her.

      2. Fear

      This feeling is also often hidden behind narcissistic anger. Nastya is worried: if Kolya really considers her a slut, what if he doesn’t want to live with her anymore? What if he starts looking for another woman?

      If Nastya is really afraid of parting, she needs to voice her feelings again. For example, ask: “You say so ... Does this mean you love me less?”

      Kolya can answer this: “I love you, but I'm so tired after work. I just want to come to a clean house where they greet me with dinner. From the aggressor in the eyes of Nastya, Kolya will turn into who he is - into a tired man who nevertheless loves her and the children. Fear will dissipate, and anger will go with it. And the problem of life can be solved without raising their voices at each other.

      Holding on to feelings is not always helpful - it can lead to other problems. However, it's good to know that you still have a choice in how you react.

      Ilse Sand

      2. Anger management when we are defensive

      This is also a common situation: there are times when we need to be alone. This happens when internal resources are depleted, and a person needs a break to gather strength again. Offers of care or help at such moments are not always welcome. Unconsciously defending ourselves from the “invasion”, we push away loved ones.

      What it looks like in real life

      For the past three months, Nina has been desperately working hard at work, hoping for a promotion. But for some reason, the authorities made a choice in favor of another employee. Nina returns home. She feels exhausted and devastated, not quite understanding what to do next.

      Nina's husband, Sergei, also comes home. He smiles, brings food into the kitchen, but Nina has neither the desire nor the strength to communicate with him. She silently begins to prepare dinner.

      At this moment, Sergei tries to hug her playfully and Nina feels irritation flare up in her. She abruptly shakes off his hand and wants to say, “Don't touch me! Go ahead and peel your potatoes!"

      Most likely, these words will offend Sergey with all the ensuing consequences for family relations. In the morning, Nina will wake up with the dreary thought that she is neither appreciated at work nor understood at home.

      What to do

      Again, understand that the anger that Nina feels in response to touch is secondary. Her irritation is not caused by Sergey: it is connected with a completely normal desire to be alone for a while.

      And the wisest thing to do would be to say it out loud. For example, like this: “I don’t feel like talking right now, let me be alone.” Or in other words: “Sorry, you have nothing to do with it. I need to think a little, okay? When he lets go, I'll tell you about it."

      Yes, in such cases it can be difficult to pull yourself together and formulate your feelings in such a way as not to offend a loved one. If you notice that you are not coping with your anger and are alienating loved ones who you still need help, you should discuss this situation with a psychotherapist.

      We should not waste our lives suffering from the fact that we push away those we need so much.

      Ilse Sand

      3. Anger management when someone denies our values ​​

      We are all different, and it is not surprising that our habits, behavior, ideas of "right" and "wrong" are different. Sometimes the differences are so great that they cause anger.

      What it looks like in real life

      Masha loves her job, but does not like her colleague Inna Pavlovna, who catches her in the corridor and begins to talk for a long, long time about the fact that Masha is completely uninteresting: about the dacha, seedlings, grandson Kesha and chickenpox.

      Sometimes Masha is ready to flare up: “Inna Pavlovna, why are you pestering me! I also have a lot of problems, I don’t dump them on you! I value your personal space, so you will learn to value mine!”

      But this is a destructive option: it will at least spoil the relationship. And as a maximum, Inna Pavlovna will remember that she is the chief accountant here, and this will not end with anything good for Masha, who occupies a position below.

      What to do

      Realize that Inna Pavlovna's entire fault lies in the fact that she behaves in a way that Masha would never have behaved. And there are two options here.

      First, you can try to persuade the “offender” to change his behavior so that it no longer contradicts Masha's life principles. This can be done by referring, for example, to the abundance of work. “Sorry, Inna Pavlovna, I’m very, very busy right now, the report is burning!” and repeat this mantra at every meeting.

      Secondly, you can think about your own principles and perhaps revise some of them. That's why Masha tries not to tell anyone about her problems? Maybe she's afraid to strain those around them? Or considers them small and of no interest to anyone? But this is a manifestation of complexes! It may well be that colleagues, if Masha learns to share her experiences with them, will be able to give good advice. Allowing others and yourself to talk about what “hurts” is a good solution.

      If you make too high demands on yourself, you often get irritated with those who allow themselves to relax.

      Ilse Sand

      True, when it comes to values ​​and ideas, we have to take a different approach. If, let's say, you care about the environment, then you will probably get angry when you see how someone pollutes it. And in this case, your indignation will be justified. Standing up for your values ​​will make you feel much better. Well, to feel more confident, it makes sense to join an organization in which the value system is similar to yours.

      4. Managing anger when someone interferes with our plans

      In these situations we don't get what we want, nor do they fit into any of the other three categories. Here are some examples.

      1. It seems to you that someone is preventing you from reaching your goal (putting spokes in your wheels).
      2. You are not getting what you want (feeling disappointed).
      3. Others violate your boundaries: touching your things or dancing with your partner, hugging him too closely. The latter provokes anger, similar to the anger of animals, when a stranger invades their territory.

      What it looks like in real life

      Suppose your neighbor has parked right in front of your garage. You can leave, but you will have to spend more time and effort on it than usual, and you are already late! The first desire is to kick the offender's car on the wheel, and when he gets out, tell him everything that you think about him.

      Throwing out anger in this case seems like a good solution. But, unfortunately, it will not lead to anything good. Most likely, you will hear from a neighbor something like: “I left the car for two minutes, and you threw a tantrum here!” or “Who gave you the right to talk to me in that tone?!” As a result, you will have more per ill-wisher.

      When you get angry, you have an unfulfilled wish. If you are aware of exactly what you want and convey it to your opponent instead of anger, you will eventually achieve much better results.

      Ilse Sand

      What to do

      If you understand that anger is connected with the fact that someone violates your plans, try to express emotions not in the form of a reproach, but in the form of a wish. You can say to a neighbor, for example, the following: “If it’s not difficult for you, please drive the car literally a couple of meters to the left. Then it will be easier for me to leave.”

      Most likely, such a polite request will be fulfilled and will not turn into a smoldering conflict. Instead of an opponent, you will get a person who has already cooperated with you once - and with a high probability will cooperate further.

      These tips are just a few of the secrets of anger management. In The Compass of Emotions: How to Understand Your Feelings, Ilse Sand explains how to recognize your true feelings and tactfully but clearly explain them to others.

      Learn more