More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

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Anger management: What are you so angry about?
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Jun 26, 2007

Anger is natural, but it can be destructive when expressed inappropriately. Gauge your anger level and identify your unhealthy expressions of anger.
Do you slam down the phone when faced with endless computerized voice prompts? Have you gotten into a shouting match with a stranger over a parking space at the mall? Ever put your fist through the wall after an argument with your spouse?

This is not anger management at its finest. Although anger is a natural emotion, it may be getting the best of you. Instead of expressing your anger in a healthy and assertive way, you may be expressing it in a hostile, aggressive manner — a manner that could lead to violence and a slew of personal and professional consequences.

Here are some points to consider when assessing whether you express your anger in a healthy or unhealthy manner, and how to get a better grasp of anger management.

Understand your anger
Anger itself isn't bad. Expressed appropriately, anger can be healthy. It can help protect you from dangerous situations, energize you to resolve problems or lead to sociocultural reforms, for instance.

Sure, everyday frustrations, impatience and resentment can all cause your temper to flare. For many people, these are fleeting moments. They're able to take these situations in stride and quickly return to a sense of calm without exploding.

But if your blood boils after minor irritations — such as losing that coveted parking space — or if you're constantly seething, you may need to improve your anger management skills. Anger that's out of control can be destructive, leading to problems in your relationships, at work, in your general enjoyment of life and with your health. You could even be arrested or face other legal problems.

Determine your anger level
So, just how angry are you? This chart is a barometer of sorts. Although it doesn't score your anger, you can use it as a tool to raise your self-awareness about your level of anger.

To use the chart, see if the words on the left describe your behavior or thoughts over the past week. Check the ones that apply to your anger.

Gauge your anger
[pre]Words Check if it applies

Ready to fight
Disappointed [/pre]
If you have several check marks, your anger level is on the high side. Try anger management tips for several weeks to see if you can keep your anger under control. You may also want to consult an anger management professional to help you learn to handle anger in a healthier way and to understand more about what's behind your anger. Talk to your health care provider about resources, such as counseling or anger management classes.

You can repeat this exercise over time to see if your anger management skills are improving.

Examine your anger patterns
Why do you tend to fly off the handle more than others seem to? Anger responses can become habitual. That is, you may respond automatically to a situation that makes you angry, with little pause to think about your reactions. The intensity of your anger may even catch you by surprise.

How do you express your anger? Consider these questions to assess your anger responses:

  • Do you express anger in a way that overwhelms you and others?
  • Do you get angry more often than most people you know?
  • Do you get angrier than is necessary?
  • Do you use threatening language or gestures?
  • Do you get angry enough to hit, throw or kick things, people or animals?
  • Do you seethe for hours?
  • Do you hide angry feelings from others or try to suppress your feelings?
  • Do you use alcohol or drugs to calm your rage?
  • Do you experience physical reactions such as muscle tension or a racing heart when you get angry?
  • Does expressing your anger usually leave you feeling better about yourself and the person who angered you?
Identify the ways you express anger to help you determine if you need to change how you respond to upsetting situations. You may react too aggressively or even too passively. In either case, you can learn new methods to replace old, unhealthy habits. If your level of anger is high or you tend to express anger in an unhealthy way, make plans to deal with your anger.

Aim for constructive expressions of your anger
Anger management is not about stopping you from expressing your anger entirely. It's OK to feel angry. In fact, trying to suppress or deny your anger can lead to a host of physical complaints, such as headaches, depression, stress, and sleeping or eating difficulties. It can also lead you to erupt into violent behavior if your anger has been simmering without an outlet.

The key, though, is to express your anger in an assertive, controlled way. Managing anger effectively can benefit you and those around you. Your health may improve, you'll feel better about yourself, and strained relationships may heal. So get your anger under control, before it controls you.


Clinician is a term used generically to describe a wide range of medical professionals. A clinician can also be anyone who runs some sort of clinic specializing in some sort of area be it art, architecture, or music.

Does that mean that you are a clinician stargazer? :heart: Mari


I've been thinking about this further. Part of my hostility was the simple resentment over the fact that any of this stuff was even happening, when I'd wanted to be able to focus fully on my job. I kept getting the feeling that, not only were they surprised that I am working, but that they didn't know how to deal with someone who has a job, and responsiblities, and who doesn't feel that he can just drop everything and do whatever they think ought to be top priority for him.

Also, I guess I'll have to confess that I'm not used to the level of stress the job demands. I don't know how to maximize time during my breaks, and I get uptight when I feel like I'm going to be late, and so forth. If I take unresolved issues to the next work-hour, they mess with my head, and I lose focus. I don't know how to deal with the sensory overload.

But today was much worse than usual. And even though it was bad (in my head) my boss told me on the ride home that I'm doing much better than I was even three weeks ago. And tomorrow I will have finished the 8th week. This is the longest I have held a job since that gradeschool fired me in 2004, when I was having the Manic Episode.

All that said, I am still confused what to do.

Does that mean that you are a clinician stargazer? :heart: Mari

I could be a clinician, for all I know. I have no clue. The guy said he would call me tomorrow to set up an appointment, and if it starts my day off on the wrong foot (like today was), I'll be pretty seriously upset. I get the feeling these guys are messing with my head.

Also, I didn't run this morning. That made things harder for me, physically as well as mentally. There wasn't enough time. I had a scheduled phone call with my old priest (on a different subject), then my therapist called. (From the other County.) I'm really feeling resistant to the idea of changing therapists. I like her a lot -- I like everybody there. But I can't move back, just because it's one of the only times I've gotten a doctor and a therapist with whom I clicked.

I am quite stressed out. Not sure I will be able to sleep tonight. Oh, taking the good with the bad: my daughter called today and invited me over to her house for Thanksgiving. My stepdaughter will be there, too -- who hasn't talked to me for three years. This will be the first Thanksgiving I've spent with family since 2002, before my Mom died.
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Regarding anger and society to day :

I have found it’s not uncommon for many professionals to refer to anger as some type of reaction to emotions within.

I personally find this selective and almost contradictory to make such observations.

Firstly, anger is an emotion like other emotions except other emotions give rise to anger emotions, therefore anger is also an emotion, it is an emotion which is a result of or accumulation of other emotions or stimuli. I have always drawn a parallel to the PAC perspective toward such emotions, not identical but following a similar path. Anger to many is when the individual finds they are confronted with situations that at that time they are unable to find appropriate strategies to deal with. I say at that time, as levels of energy and moods, and other factors significantly effect an individual situation. But often the same situation can arise at a different time and the response may possibly be noticeably different with regard to tolerance of something. As many will agree in it’s self anger is part of being a sentient being it’s normal and human to feel and express such feelings.

The problem arises when the stigma attached to the term anger implies something or someone is out of control. Anger is a word we have linguistically allocated to someone who has lost ( all be it temporarily) the ability to deal with something rationally. They have exhausted their personal ability to resolve a situation they may find themselves in. Then this PAC aspect takes over or the child in this models case rains supreme.

As many of the strategies indicate, if possible, the individual should attempt to encourage the adult aspect of their personality to participate or take control of any such situations. A further problem arises when we consider one or two of the mechanisms associated with the seeds of anger. Stress, stress over something we have bad memories of or something within our past which is painful to us. If we make connections with a situation to something like these things, it naturally invokes high levels of stress with us. As we know stress impairs cognitive abilities, thus hindering our ability to employ rational adult thinking. If this aspect is impaired we rapidly find ourselves unable to find an exist path or answer to a situation. We effectively become stuck and unable to retreat or move forward with the situation. This further exacerbates the stress, and further increases cognitive ability lock the end result is clear a rapidly descending downward spiral to uncontrollability which we call temper.

Working on this PAC model temper is = to child and thus out of control as they have completely lost their ability to navigate a stressful situation. So we ends up with what I call emotional brute force and ignorance in an attempt to win or remove ourselves from it.

Anger is a complex subject and as we all know numerous books and takes have made their appearance in attempting to answer and explain it, and deal with it. Therefore I will not continue in any real depth on this area for fear of saying what has been said a billion times before.

Society, It does not take prisoners!

The truth is society as a whole tends to be very intolerant and inflexible within everyday life. It does not take prisoners or suffer fools gladly, it’s hypercritical, contradictory and more often than not unfair, and unreasonable. Contrary to what some may attempt to sell you, trust me, this is generally the norm. I would also argue society is becoming rapidly more fickle and conflicting thus more difficult to survive within it. The evidence is there if we are honest with ourselves just read and watch daily events. There is no rime or reason for getting or not getting that job, after all you by far had the most experience and qualifications to secure it, but no, some other idiot got it due to nepotism possibly. It’s fact generally people fit the jobs the jobs don’t always fit the person. Democracy is a farce along with corrupt politicians, who seem to only be interested in filling their own pockets, the global banking system is corrupt beyond description, the police have predominantly turned into unquestioning thugs who appear to have power issues. We do tend to live within a very shaky world today that is a fact of life, and it’s not getting any better. Considering these facets, appealing to others reasonable side in dealing with life’s stresses is not always adequate, we all need to be consummate psychologists to attempt to manipulate situations for our own ends and advances. But many have their own morals and principles which they feel they cannot prostitute or sell out, it’s what makes us better than the rest of the animal kingdom. If we let these go we are no better than that which we hate. The problem then occurs, if we do not, or are not willing to do this, we become marginalised sent to Coventry, manipulated out of that job, or social circle. Therefore we become isolated frowned upon we become the social leper. This creates stress and this as mentioned above potential anger and intolerance for many aspects within society, which only serves to marginalise us even further, even to the point in some cases of being arrested or sectioned within some hospital because they are unwilling to play the corrupt game of life, where almost everything is stacked against you fro day one. The truth is, we cannot reason, negotiate, or manipulate systems today, at those systems which can make any real difference to our lives. In conclusion I could go on and on about any umber of aspects relating to life, stress, and anger, but to my own mind it’s no wonder anger issues are on the increase today, it’s a natural result of the ever sickening, corrupt society we find our selves in.


I lost my job through no fault of my own and, a few weeks later, coincidentally, a well known acquaintance and prominent member of my town's community contacted me via FaceBook. He was away on a business trip. He's happily married (at least according to his wife who I know well and the rest of the town) but he'll send me messages every now and then from the road. Nothing big, just "hey, how're you?" and that will be that.

But this time it was different. He asked how I was doing and I started crying and sent him this explanation of what had just happened. He asked if he could help as he knows just about everyone in this job saturated town and asked if I'd like to meet for coffee to discuss work/resumes/cover letters, etc. I gratefully said yes.

I went to coffee and right away he was nervous, that kind of nervous when you know a guy likes you. I'm quite empathetic and so I tried to put him at his ease. This, it turns out, was the wrong decision. Instead of talking about work, we winded up talking about personal stuff like relationships (I got divorced a couple years ago) and how his marriage was essentially sexless. I felt bad for him, but did not want to lead him on. However, I was very sympathetic, having been in the same boat before. He then asked me where I lived and stupidly I said it was a 5 minute walk. He asked if we could go back to my place. I said no and changed the topic.

Over the course of the next 3.5 weeks he asked me to sleep with him 6 times. I turned him down 6 times. I explained at length, and obviously with far too much kindness, why this could never happen. I should have just not responded but I got a little bit of a thrill that someone liked me. I have an active dating life, but I tend to invite chaos into my life. Eventually he asked me to go away with him for a "business trip" and I said no again. Then he got weird.

He started letting me know when he was going to be coming near my house (he saw my address on my resume), and then he started googling my family and telling me things he found out on the internet about them. I told him this was really freaking me out and to stop it immediately.

Suddenly I just realised that he was just using me to scratch an itch. No matter how stressed I am with the job loss, the lack of sleep from stress, the interviews, the work, the dwindling health insurance and money, the fact the I'm an immigrant and have no direct family or support here, he didn't care. He just wanted one thing. So I stopped replying. He messaged again and again. I blocked him.

Ironically his wife invited me to a closed feminist society on FaceBook. I feel like a traitor and I am completely enraged by his answer to my final no with "I'm still going to have to flirt with you because you're too sweet to forget." He couldn't even do a simple decent thing like take the first no for an answer. He turned into a stalker.

I feel so used, my stress and vulnerability were used against me. I'm seeing a therapist and she recommends I take no action, but what do I do with all of this anger? I just cry. I want to smash things. I want revenge. I want him to feel as bad as I feel when I see his wife sending me messages.

I've documented everything in case he manages to fine another way to see me so I can file a harassment complaint with the police. But for his sake, he'd be better off staying far away as I will not be able to control my anger if I do see him. It's a small town. I'll be bumping into him sooner or later. But for now, I have to be silent, and seethe.


Account Closed
Sounds like he is already sexually harassing you. Might be a good idea to get very firm with him and inform him to stop and that you find his behavior harassing. Police is always an option if he continues or if you don't feel safe to contact him. That's my opinion. All the best.
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