Anger is an emotion we are all acquainted with and our experience with it began as early as infancy. Anger is a pervasive social response that may be useful and normal or destructive and abnormal. Since feeling angry is unavoidable, how do you know when your anger is useful or destructive and what can you do about it if you decide it is a problem?
What does useful or healthy anger look like?
- It is used as a signal that there are problems that need to be addressed.
- Action is taken when necessary, but only after thinking it through carefully.
- It is expressed in moderation, without losing control.
- It is used to solve a problem and not to get even or just "get it out."
- The anger is stated clearly, in ways another person can understand what is being asked for.
When is anger a problem?
- When you become angry do you feel out of control?
- Do you often have trouble concentrating on work or school because of angry feelings?
- Has your anger ever resulted in the loss of a relationship or a job?
- When angry, have you ever grabbed, shoved, slapped or hit someone?
- When angry have you ever injured yourself or damaged property?
- Do you use alcohol or drugs to try to reduce your angry feelings?
- Have you been arrested or had legal problems because of your anger?
If you answered yes to one of these questions then you may have a problem managing your anger. If you answered yes to more than one of these questions then you need to make changes in how you handle anger.
How can I get help to use my anger more constructively?
Self Help Resources There is much literature on dealing with anger, both web-based and in print. If your problems with anger are mild to moderate you may find it helpful to do some reading. (Self help resources are below.)
Professional help is also available. If your anger is creating serious problems for you or you have tried some self-help material without much change you may want to consider professional help. Counselors at the Engle Center are trained to help with anger management problems, as well as any other issues which might contribute to your anger.
Mental Help Net
A self-help anger management assessment
Controlling Anger before it Controls You.
General information from the American Psychological Association about anger and how to deal with it constructively.
Four Proven Techniques for Anger Management
General information about anger, an anger self assessment as well as specific techniques for controlling anger.
Overcoming Anger and Aggression
CSU Long Beach
General information about dealing with intense emotions including anger.
Anger Self Help
General information about anger management.
The Anger Control Workbook
Matthew McKay, Ph.D. and Peter Rogers, Ph.D.
New Harbinger Publications, Inc
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
David D. Burns, M.D.
When Anger Hurts
Matthew McKay, Ph.D., Peter D. Rogers, Ph.D., Judith McKay, R.N.
New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
Dance of Anger: A woman’s guide to changing the patterns of intimate
Harriet G. Lerner, Ph.D
New York: Harper Paperbacks
Beyond Anger: a guide for men
Thomas J. Harbin, Ph.D.
Marlow & Co.