Why Are You So Angry?

portrait of angry young man shouting using mobile over black bacHave you noticed?

Some people are very, very angry.

  • The angry driver who is furious because another driver dared to pass him on the Interstate.
  • The grandfather in his 60s who pounds the check-in desk with his hand, demanding that the clerk yield to his demands.
  • The young man and woman who stand beside their car in the afternoon screaming at one another.

James Houston, in a presentation called “Living the Mentored Life,” suggests that three kinds of anger are often seen in people.

1.  People who are angry with a controllable anger.  This anger can be like a spewing volcano.  These people are visibly angry.

2.  Pleasers who are angry.  These people suppress their own identity in order to placate others.

3.  Givers who are angry.  These people give to others but are often very angry as well.  Often these people are perfectionists as they relate to other people.

Houston says that these are actually faulty substitutes for emotions found in healthy relationships.

I’ve rarely, if ever, heard anyone refer to himself as an angry person.  However, I have heard numerous spouses speak of the angry people they married.  I have a good friend who speaks of the long legacy of angry people in his family.  In fact, his father/grandfather were both known for their rage.

Questions:

What has been helpful to you in dealing with your own anger?  What has been helpful in dealing with the anger of others?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Why Are You So Angry?

  1. Our spouses (and children, coworkers, etc…) will certainly correct the distorted perception we have of ourselves if we’ll have the ears to listen to them, which is always easier said than done.

    • Rex, you make a good point here. Well said, our spouses in particular, as well as others, will often help to correct any distorted perception we have of ourselves. However, we have to be willing to listen and sometimes pride, anger, etc. get in the way.

  2. I think it was Dr. Chapman who said that if you acknowledge your spouse’s anger, that is part of validating him/her. I realize this can be taken too far and can easily cross over into unhealthy territory, but I think he meant it to help defuse a potentially volatile situation. Rather than saying, “You shouldn’t be angry,” or, “Here we go again,” perhaps something like, “I see you are angry about this; tell me about it,” followed up with an, “I hear you and understand where you’re coming from.” That has been helpful to me because my tendency is to shut down in the face of anger – hers and mine. Of course, this doesn’t always work: it seems God tried it with Cain and with Jonah. Cain was full of rage. Don’t know Jonah’s outcome. I’d like to hear Houston’s healthy alternatives. Can that be a follow up to this? Thanks, Jim.

    • Darryl, great comment! Good points! What you are saying regarding anger in marriage is so true. Let me think about the alternatives. This was actually a small piece of a three hour lecture. Thanks so much.

  3. I grew up with an angry mother and was married to a pertually angry spouse. So my response to anger has been silence — and that has it’s own set of problems.

    I think angry people are really insecure. And they use anger to control and dominate. They smell blood in weakness, and it makes them angrier.

    • David, you make a number of great points in your comment. You are so right regarding anger and our response to another’s anger. Some are around angry people and seem to get into a fight (verbal or other). Still others are around angry people and learn to be be silent. As you say, that has its own problems.

      I like your point about “smelling blood in weakness.” Some people try to deal with angry people by trying to pacify them, mistakenly thinking that their attempt to pacify will make them happy. Not so. Often (as you suggest) they smell weakness and the anger intensifies.