Anger is a normal emotion. It is a very powerful emotion and when used constructively can have a very positive impact. It is a primary emotion and its purpose is to protect us against perceived threat in that something or somebody who can harm us or take something   away from us. It can be seen as a barometer that tells us something does not feel right for us such as an injustice, an abuse of power, manipulation etc. and that we need to do something about it.  Anger can range from feelings of mild irritation to intense feelings of rage. It is the physiological symptoms that can intensify the feeling as the anger sends a signal to the body to prepare itself to defend or render the perceived threat ineffective.

Anger can become a problem when a person does not understand the reason for their anger and they continuously act out of the feeling. They find themselves regularly feeling angry, agitated, impatient, sarcastic, nasty, and/or resentful to name a few of the expressions of this anger. They can also be passive aggressive (unable to express their anger with a person but they will get you back) abusive and even aggressive. The impact that this can have on the person is that they may be preoccupied with angry thoughts, not feeling happy or content with themselves, they can experience problems with relationships and may feel isolated or alone.

So what is going on when a person is easily angered and displays the above symptoms? On a subconscious level no matter how bad the behaviour is the person has to get something out of it even though they think and feel that they are not. When this anger is unravelled, at its core are feelings of worthlessness, disrespect, not feeling valued, unimportance, rejection, not feeling good enough, feeling ignored, unloved, or powerless. So, when a person experiences any of these feelings, anger jumps in almost like a reflex action and its purpose is to protect the person from experiencing the core feeling.  The impact of this is that the person feels better about themselves because the anger eases or sooths the core feeling. This can then be rationalised by blaming someone else, it is their partner’s fault, the boss or the person in the supermarket or the driver that pulls out in front of them. It is always somebody else’s fault. When a person gets caught in this cycle it is often difficult for them to be aware that there is a problem and it needs to be addressed.

Whilst learning to step back when confronted with angry situations, deep breathing, mindfulness, exercise, etc are helpful but it does not get to the root cause of the anger, it merely distracts, it has a band aid effect and helps to manage the immediate situation.

If a person wants to get to the root cause of their anger, understand and effectively learn to manage their anger, therapy is where you can explore this, and it is a safe place to do this.  With awareness and insight it helps to get to the root cause. This in turn helps the person to recognise situations where these feelings can trigger the anger and it in turn gives real choice and control in how to act and react in certain situations. Otherwise when this anger is carried throughout a person’s life it does not allow a person to open their hearts to others or to truly give and to receive love and acceptance from others.