Types of Anger

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

Anger doesn't just mean shouting, swearing, or even becoming violent. There are many different ways that people express their anger, which we will explore here today.

We all express anger in different ways, and we learn how to express anger from four main sources;

  1. Our family of origin

  2. Observing others e.g. parents and siblings

  3. Our peer group and wider culture

  4. Life experience and new learning

That last step is important, as it shows that although we may grow up expressing anger in one way, we can always learn a new way of expressing anger. Expressing anger isn't unhealthy in itself, but more often than not we have unhealthy ways of expressing anger.

Passive Anger

Passive anger is when we might block a conversation, discussion, or even argument by walking away from the other person. We might be stubborn, we might provoke the other person and come off as the innocent party in the relationship when the other shows anger through aggression.

We can also be passively angry without another person even present - we can seethe about something that someone has done, but to their face, we are all smiles and sunshine.

Aggressive Anger

Aggressive anger is just what it says on the tin. It is shouting, swearing, gesticulating, and even getting physical.

Someone who shows this kind of anger can come across as the malevolent party in the relationship but, as mentioned above, a passive person can provoke an aggressive person into showing their anger, therefore allowing people to see the passive person as a victim and the aggressive person as a horrible or scary person.

Healthy Anger

Anger is not always a bad thing. Anger can be a beacon to something that is unresolved or unhealed. Anger is a sign of an unmet need within us.

We can be angry in a way that lets us know what we need to heal. For example, we might find ourselves angry that our partner is watching TV after work. Why does that make us angry? Maybe we feel that our partner should be paying attention to us? Why does that make us angry? Maybe we feel that our partner doesn't value us? What do we need? To feel valued, appreciated, secure in our relationship.

The key is to use your anger, or any other emotion, as a sign rather than a trigger. What is it trying to tell you? Don't react straight away but do a bit of detective work to see where it is coming from. Maybe your anger is justified and your partner is watching TV when you had asked them to help you cook dinner - your anger would then be a sign that you felt unappreciated, ignored, taken advantage of?

If you feel that you would like some help learning to handle your anger or any other emotions, please contact me on amylaunder.counselling@gmail.com, or follow the links on the 'Appointments' page.

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