Why do I get angry?

Have you ever considered the role of anger? Anger is often seen as a secondary emotion because we use anger to cover-up or shield us from  vulnerable feelings such as shame, fear or feelings of powerlessness. I have seen this anger erupt in an attempt to conceal immense fear.

Yet, Stephen A. Diamond, Ph.D. sees anger as a productive emotion which, when used correctly, can help us move forward. He states that anger can be “an appropriate, natural, and healthy response to frustration, injury, insult, and anything that threatens one’s survival or psychological integrity. We need to be able to get angry at such obstacles, challenges and assaults. Anger can bestow strength and tenacity in the face of adversity.”

Diamond continues: “Bad behavior when angry is another matter, and must be confronted. Evil deeds and destructiveness toward self or others cannot be condoned. These are neurotic forms of acting out, and function as a defense mechanism against fully experiencing that which underlies the anger or toward whom (or what) the anger is truly directed. Still, it is through acknowledging, confronting, articulating and accepting the anger that [a person] can become more conscious of what lies behind it, what drives and triggers it.”

I agree that we must be willing to step back and analyze why we “got angry”, asking our inner wisdom what preceded the anger. As we become still and seek for real understanding, protected vulnerable feelings may be brought to light, or perhaps we will realize it was a healthy response to injury or threat. Understanding the cause, we can then decide how to respond appropriately and responsibly. Either way, as we take action to address the underlying reason, we can release the anger and seek for deeper healing.


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