There seems to be a great deal of free-floating anger and outrage in the air. Perhaps this has always been so, but it feels like there is more because it's one of the things social media thrives on. It's something I have thought about for a long time and I have some ideas about it.

Anger is an emotion that everyone has experienced. For some, it comes and goes, for others it becomes a way of life.

I have come to believe that anger mainly occurs when our expectations are not met. We expect one thing and get something else. We get angry instead of looking at the situation and asking ourselves if our expectations are realistic. Anger often involves our assumption that someone or something is deliberately trying to hurt us or thwart us. Sometimes this is true; much of the time it is not.

An interesting thing about anger is how differently people express it! Some people get very loud - they rage and yell. Some people get very quiet - they fume and sulk. Some people get physical - they throw things around or break things. Some people “don’t get mad - they get even” and look for ways to retaliate.

In some families it is understood that things said in anger aren’t to be taken seriously. In my family it was quite the opposite - you were responsible for the things you said and did, angry or not. There is a wide range of behavior choices associated with anger, but each person seems to stick with the one(s) they know best.

When I am feeling very angry and rageful, I have learned to take this as a big STOP sign, it is my cue that I am missing an important piece of information. When I finally get this information, I feel ashamed for overreacting and sorry for the time I have spent in anger. Now when I begin to feel angry, I remind myself that there is probably more to the situation than I am aware of. I reserve the right to be angry - very angry - whenever I choose, but not until I have collected as much information as I can and find the situation warrants it.

In daily life I choose to assume that people mean well and there is more going on behind the scenes than I can know. For example, in traffic I don’t expect other drivers to be attentive and thoughtful at all times, just as I am sometimes distracted and inattentive. I don’t intentionally cause inconvenience to others, just as I assume they don’t intend to inconvenience me. The alternative is to become angry while I am driving, and I don’t do my best driving then!

Sometimes I’m wrong. Perhaps the other person does mean to cause harm. Perhaps then I will choose to be angry, but wait! Before I make that choice, let’s look at the situation a little more. Is there a lesson here that I might be overlooking? Is their behavior a reflection of my own? Do I see in their actions a part of myself that I prefer not to admit or accept? The angrier I am, the more likely this is to be true.

The more aware we are of our inner selves, our inner motivations, the less likely it is that we will project our anger onto the world outside of us. If we are being impatient or thoughtless with ourselves or those around us, and then someone is impatient or thoughtless with us, we could be angry, or we could choose to look first at our own behavior.

Another part of this is to remember that there does not have to be a direct cause-and-effect link between how someone treats us and how we respond. They choose their behaviors, and we choose ours. If someone is rude to us, we can be rude right back, but this only escalates the situation into more unpleasantness. We can stand our ground and defend our boundaries without anger. We then have so many more options available to us, rather than simply reacting without thought.

Anger is a valuable emotion. It can be cleansing and healing. It can stir us and energize us to make needed changes in our lives. We shouldn’t waste it on petty annoyances, but reserve it for the things that really matter.


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I think it takes some level of emotional maturity to see anger, or any emotion as a choice. There are many people who never gain this level and live out their lives ruled by emotion. I suppose that could be a whole topic in itself.
I use to really avoid anger in myself as well as others. Then I heard somewhere that anger is just another expression of hurt. It can be hard to do at times, but if I remember to look at it like that and try to find the source of the hurt feelings it helps a lot.

Yes, and isn't it interesting that people who live by their emotions seem to think it's perfectly fine to do that. They are the same people who believe that other people can 'make' them feel a certain way. And are likely to be people who enjoy the 'drama and trauma' in their lives. Which goes back to the whole emotional maturity thing.

I remember talking to a friend, complaining about someone and at some point she must have gotten tired of hearing it. She looked at me and said, "Get over it." I was shocked! My first thought was hey, I'm looking for a little sympathy here! Second thought was, wait, I can do that? Just get over it and move on? That one simple comment from years ago has helped me so much!

I believe too that anger is the quick response to hiding hurt. Easier to be angry than step back and look inside.

Really good insights, thank you!

Interesting post. My family was a very reserved family. Hold your anger in don't embarrass or say something you will regret. As a result my mom in particular has some very tightly held, long term grudges. My wife's family is very emotional and says what they feel. Resulting in many fights. Most that are followed up by hugs and apologies. But some hurtful things are said. In my own life, I get angry about many situations before they play out but when I challenge myself to enter the situation with an open mind and friendly demeanor, often times I am pleasantly surprised. Thoughtful post as always @donna-metcalfe

Thank you!
That's what I've observed, that the people around you teach you how to deal with the various emotions and you think that's the way until you meet people who do the opposite, or at least differently, than how you learned. I'm always shocked by the idea that people would break dishes to show anger! Who is going to clean up the glass? How long until you run out of dishes? But apparently people do that.

One friend told me that she knew her boyfriend could tell she was really mad at him. I asked her how was that? She said, "I stamped my foot!" I laughed so hard! Told her he might need more clues than that!

I know what you mean about giving things time to play out. Hard to do but as you say, with an open mind and friendly demeanor, it often turns out it was a simple misunderstanding, or miscommunication and nothing to be mad about after all!

anger mainly occurs when our expectations are not met.

Totally agree😉 my mother always nagging at her children whenever she gets angry because we didn't listen to her words or command. So when I feel that I'm angry.. I'd nagged and spanking at anything that made me so😅 until I realised that it would drained my energy.

So whenever I get angry about anything, I hold it and then find a note book and write it down, anything that make me angry and analyse the situation on how to ho handle that. The highest state of angryness that I showed to others by ignoring and keep in silent mode for 3 days 😂

A notebook - what a great idea!

I also am silent when I am angry. I need time to think and calm down. Speaking when angry has never made a situation better for me!

For a short while I worked as a substitute teacher at a grade school. I learned that if a child acted defiant it pushed my buttons and I'd get immediately angry. Hmm, could it be that was a reflection of me? That I am the president of the "You Can't Make Me" club? So it was okay for me to be that way but not anyone else? I learned a lot from that job!

I am a moody person, stupid accident can easily raise my anger, but lucky me I am surrounded by nice and full of understanding people 😂 they said .. don't do anything stupid unless you want to get scold and spanked by cici😂 they learnt that when I expressed my anger through harsh words is better than I ignore them.

And I think teaching is a good experience on controlling emotion too. I mentoring some new announcers when I was working at the radio station, a perfect timing and right words to say were the most important things while broadcasting a program, the newbies sometimes got nervous just seeing my expression (I stared with almost pop out eyes😂).
I still couldn't manage my loud voice when I face the naughty children but trying so hard to tell myself... I was like them too and why would I mad at children?

Silent but mad is more dangerous than spanking in my opinion but, controlling the anger is easier than fixing a broken heart because of the harsh words driven by emotional tenses.

the newbies sometimes got nervous just seeing my expression
LOL! We call that look a "stink-eye" or with eyelids down a little "squinty-eyed" and yes, if someone sees that look it is a good warning for them to stop what they are doing and act right!

Why would you be mad at children? =-o
I suppose feeling compassion for their stupid acts would be better, but I have met children who need more than a stink-eye to correct their behavior! But I also agree
controlling the anger is easier than fixing a broken heart because of the harsh words driven by emotional tenses.
There is a saying, "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me." I never understood that because words can hurt very much and that pain can last longer than a broken bone.

So we do the best we can and try to learn as we go!

So we do the best we can and try to learn as we go!

✋ high five, I must learn a lot from now on to control the anger😊 I have 12 nieces and nephew and more than 30 grandchildren from my hubby side😅 I don't want they call me "granny witch" behind my back 😂

Thank you so much @donna-metcalfe, stink eyes 😬 that's how I look like😂

That's sure a lot of children to practice on!

I don't have children or even many children around me. Most of what I know comes from having been a child! And observing parents with their children. So I'm not full of advice there. But I know a lot about anger and learning to control it has taken a lifetime! For me what works is noticing the anger building and taking that as a sign to stop and step back. Is this worth being angry over? Is there a different way to react than stabbing that person? ;-)

I had a little therapy about anger and one idea I liked was to go to a quiet place (my bedroom) and yell and pound on the bed or a pillow and let it out. A safe place to release tension. Maybe spend a few minutes feeling sorry for myself. Then get up and get on with the day!

A good stink eye is a skill worth having!