John's Blog

The Blog of John Gibson, PhD


Anger gets a bad rapt. We do not like it when someone is angry with us, and often as not we do not like being angry ourselves because it makes us feel out-of-control.

And yet without anger we would never assert ourselves. We feel angry when we believe some kind of violation has occurred. Someone did something they should not have done, or vice versa, they did not do something they should have done. Either way, a standard or rule has been broken. Anger is the emotion that prompts us to assert our rights. Do not tread on us, our anger wants us to say. You may not hurt me, abuse me, or take advantage of me. These are all good things, no?

Then again, why do we fear anger so much?

The obvious answer is that not everyone expresses their anger well. It's one thing to be so angry at your boss you throw a brick through her car's windshield. It's another thing to walk down to her office after a cooling off period and calmly express your grievance. Both scenarios have anger at their base. But the latter is vastly more adaptive.

If anger is to be expressed well, if must be governed by some measure of thought. Emotion prompts action; thought governs it. We can be angry without being aggressive or violent. We can be angry without raising our voice, making threatening gestures, or using profane language. We can be angry without making empty threats.

Anger is there to help you watch out for yourself. Where would you be be without it?

Anger Management

The American Psychological Association has posted a good article on anger. You can find it here.