Why do I get angry?

“My anger arises when I feel misunderstood or when a situation seems unjust. Since I was wrongly restrained by a nurse on a psychiatric ward, I have been afraid of my own anger. In my attempt to not show it, it usually goes inward and I get hurt. I have learned ways to release it – to let off steam in appropriate ways.”

You will have your own triggers for feeling angry. It may be when you are being threatened or assaulted, or being discriminated against or treated unfairly. It could be that you feel powerless or frustrated, or are just fed up with being stuck in traffic. You may also have to look back at what has happened in your past, to recognise what is triggering angry feelings you are experiencing now.

Past experiences

It is likely that the way you were brought up, and your cultural background, will influence how you feel about expressing anger. Many people are, as children, given messages about anger that may make it harder to manage as an adult.

You may have been brought up to believe that it is always okay to act out your anger, perhaps in an aggressive or violent manner, and not taught how to understand and manage it. This could mean you have angry outbursts any time you do not like the way someone is behaving or you are in a situation you do not like.

However, if you have witnessed your parents’ or other adults’ anger when it was out of control, you may have seen it as something destructive and terrifying.

Or you may have been brought up to believe that you should not complain but should instead put up with things, and may have been punished for expressing anger as a child.

Experiences like these can mean that you suppress your anger and it becomes a long-term problem, where you react inappropriately to new situations you are not comfortable with.

“I spent half of my life with uncontrollable anger. For me it was ‘bottle up then burst’ where so much hurt and fear was crushed into a corner in my mind for the sake of a so called ‘quiet life’.”

How does anger lead to violence?

Anger can give a large surge of energy that makes you react in ways that you normally would not. When it gets out of control it turns into rage that can have very negative consequences for you and those around you.

If you are experiencing powerful emotions, this can also trigger violent feelings. These emotions can be made worse, and are more likely to lead to violence, if you drink too much or abuse drugs.

The consequences of letting your anger turn into violence make it even more important for you to maintain control and get help with managing your feelings.


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