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Thinking About Anger

1327383_64930133Depending on who’s doing the thinking, people (including “experts”) have differing, even openly conflicting, viewpoints on anger. Here are some:

Anger, and the expression of anger, is healthy, natural. It’s only a problem when it is out-of-control or hurts someone.

Anger is only a problem if it is repressed. It is good to get your anger out (as long as you don’t harm anyone).

Some anger is justified. 

Anger is never justified.

Some people have naturally bad tempers.

One should overcome or work on his or her bad temper, not give in to it.

Anger can’t be controlled, it has to come out.

Anger should be managed or controlled. Count to 10.

Anger is an authentic emotion/feeling and cannot be changed.

Through self-awareness and constructive talk or self-talk, anger can be transformed into (relatively-speaking) objective passion or even concern.


Observation 1: Anger by any other name….People mislabel their own feelings of anger. For example, two of the most common mistaken labels are guilt and sadness.

Some people say they “feel guilty” or “sad” when they are really angry. It can be uncomfortable, even frightening, for these people to admit they are angry. Usually this mislabeling occurs when the anger is at someone one is enmeshed with in an unhealthy way, sometimes a parent, sometimes a significant other.

Once an authentic feeling or emotion is identified, it can be explored and transformed. Living with chronic anger, or permanently angry at someone or something, is harmful to self. Don’t hold a grudge, it might bite you.

Observation 2: Anger shuts down options. It also is a barrier to understanding. You may disagree with someone, something; a person, a political movement; a way of life, a concept or idea. You may feel real pain about personal disagreements. But anger distorts your view.

Observation 3: All anger is personal. If you are angry at problems in the world, your country, your town, your family, take a closer look. Yes, it is true. There is injustice. It is not right to be complacent about injustice. But experience has led us to believe that generally speaking, when someone is seriously angry at injustice, personal buttons have been pushed. What are they?

Are we angry on behalf of someone else or for the greater good? Or,are we shattered that our personal, dearly held-beliefs are not respected by others?

Are we having a thoughtful response to a serious problem? Or are we having a knee-jerk emotional response based on our own personal experiences? Or, are we having a knee-jerk emotional response based on the way we’ve been inculcated to have a set of reflexive beliefs, so reflexive, we are unable to stand back and questions in any way, that perhaps we might be wrong, or that there is another point of view.

Other Anger Posts:

When we post on anger, there is often overlap. The reason? Anger is so important to think about. Sometimes, we have to tell ourselves to slow down, and think about what is going on. Sometimes, we have to tell ourselves the same thing more than once.

Who Are YOU Angry With? Take our poll!

10 Beliefs About Anger a post which discusses beliefs you, your therapist, and the guy next door may share about anger.

When 2 Wrongs Make A Right a post which asks (and tries to answer) the question, “Is it okay to give in for the sake of peace? Is this cowardly? Manipulative? Practical? Loving? We believe that: Even some of the most fractured relationships can improve when only one person is doing the initial peace-work.

10 Ways Anger Masks Itself







Thinking About Anger

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2013). Thinking About Anger. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 25, 2018, from


Last updated: 17 May 2013
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 May 2013
Published on All rights reserved.