What To Do When You Have Anger Issues
By Sarah Fader
Updated May 09, 2019
Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
Anger problems can make you feel isolated from others, dissatisfied with life, and completely misunderstood. When you have a difficult time dealing with your anger, it can be hard to accomplish what you want to do or develop the relationships you would like to have. Yet, the person who has anger issues doesn't always recognize the source of their difficulty. They may think others are at fault for pushing their buttons or even feel that the universe is against them.
Yet, realizing that the problem lies in how you choose to deal with your anger can be very freeing. Knowing what is actually happening can help you feel more in tune with yourself. Understanding that you can take charge of your responses can help you deal with the uncomfortable emotions surrounding your anger. And, once you can honestly say the words "I have anger issues," you can begin the work of overcoming them.
Doesn't Everyone Have Anger Problems?
Anger is a natural emotion that everyone experiences. Life doesn't always go the way we want it to, and when it does, we may become angry. Even those who say they never feel anger usually do have it without realizing it. They just have a different way of experiencing it.
Although nearly everyone feels angry, not everyone has problem anger. After all, anger can be a strong motivator to succeed or to work toward a better life. A feeling of righteous anger has fueled many of our great world leaders who have spoken out against social injustices. Their passion for their cause was often rooted in anger over social attitudes or policies.
There's a huge difference between feeling anger and having anger issues. When you don't know how to control your anger, you can end up wrecking relationships, failing at your job or even ending up in jail. The first thing you have to do to resolve your anger problems is to see them clearly by recognizing the various symptoms of anger issues.
Symptoms and Signs of Anger Issues
Start by asking yourself "Do I have anger issues?" You may be very aware of problems in the way you deal with anger. However, it's also important to define the problem clearly. Singling out each of the signs of anger issues you experience can set you on a better path toward managing your anger appropriately.
Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Being easily irritated
- Calling others demeaning, rude or profane names
- Showing no patience for others
- Going rapidly from calm to furious
- Blaming others for all your life problems
- Isolating yourself when you feel angry
- Being sarcastic when it isn't funny
- Becoming enraged over insignificant things
- Criticizing others or trying to make them feel small
- Destroying your property or the property of others as a response to anger
- Noticing that people seem afraid of you often
- Physically abusing others
- Getting into physical fights often
- Threatening others
- Yelling to get your point across
- Racing thoughts
- A burst of energy
- A tingling sensation
- Chest tightness or heart palpitations when you feel angry
- Being forgetful
These symptoms cover the range from passive anger to explosive anger. If you notice any of these signs consistently, you probably need to reevaluate your responses and find better ways to deal with this emotion.
Self-Testing for Anger Problems
You may look at the list of symptoms above and feel no connection with any of the items. Sometimes, taking an anger issues quiz can help you get more in touch with how you perceive and respond to anger. You can find such quizzes online to take directly or to view in PDF form, print and fill out by hand. When you take them online, they are scored for you. The ones you view in PDF form have scoring charts so you can score them yourself.
Here is an anger issues test you can take online. This quiz describes a situation and asks how angry it would make you feel. Another anger test is available here, and its purpose is also to see how easily you are provoked to anger. While anger management can help you lessen overblown feelings of anger, it's also crucial to learn how to deal with anger when you feel it. This test for anger issues also has questions about how you behave when you're angry. The bottom line is that if you are concerned about your anger management issues, they are a problem for you whether any test reveals them or not.
Anger Management for Adults
Once you have a better understanding of the severity of your anger problem, the next step is to learn anger management techniques you can use to feel less angry and get better control of your feelings. To manage your anger better, you need to learn how to recognize that you're angry and how angry you are. You also need to identify your anger triggers and formulate new ways to respond to them. Finally, you need to learn better ways to react when your anger takes you by surprise.
You can learn all these things through individual counseling or in an anger management program. The benefit of going to a group therapy anger management session is that it gives you a chance to practice different responses to anger in a non-threatening environment. Individual therapy is extremely beneficial, too, especially if you find it hard to pinpoint your anger issues. You also have more time to deal with your unique anger management issue.
Do Children Ever Have Anger Disorders?
When someone reacts inappropriately to situations and people that make them angry, we may say they are childish. After all, children typically have limited experience in dealing with their anger. However, a child's anger can get so far out of control that it becomes a serious problem for everyone concerned.
One of the anger issues in child psychology terms is Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Children who have this condition become enraged when they have to comply with any authority. When a child has ODD, they may rebel, go against rules, blame others, and annoy the people around them.
The child's problem may not be with authorities, though. They could act out in anger toward another child or a pet. In these cases, the anger needs to be dealt with immediately to prevent the child from harming someone.
Solving Children's Anger Problems
Anger issues in children need to be addressed as early and as competently as possible. Parents whose children have anger management problems can seek therapy for their child as well as advice from a professional to teach them how to respond to their child's behaviors. Parents are too close to their child to be objective, and the consequences of not learning how to manage their anger can follow children for their entire lives. The best solution is to seek help in dealing with your child's anger issues.
Preventing Future Anger Issues
Whether you are facing your own anger issues or dealing with those of your child, the most critical part of the process is preventing anger problems in the future. You can learn from the past, but you can't relive it. A therapist can test you and make a clinical diagnosis if you have an anger disorder. They can identify your anger problems and label them clearly. They can help you understand anger better and teach you techniques for softening your angry emotions. They can teach you how to control anger issues with appropriate thoughts and behaviors. The more you learn, the better prepared you will be to prevent anger management problems in the future.
Do You Need Help Dealing with Your Anger?
Your uncontrolled rage can make you and those around you suffer needlessly. It can derail your chances of success in work and in relationships. It can make you feel like the world is a horrible place and that living is unpleasant. Even if anger is a problem for you now, you don't have to give in to a life of upset and failure.
Making the decision to learn how to deal with anger issues may be your most positive first step toward feeling more at peace, having better relationships and reaching your career goals. A professional therapist can help guide you through understanding your anger and on to making changes that positively impact your quality of life. They can offer you emotional support as you tackle what may be your life's greatest challenge - controlling your anger.
Licensed online therapists at BetterHelp.com can talk with you about your anger issues and assess their severity all in the comfort of your home or a safe space. They can help you identify specific problem areas and devise innovative ways to approach them. Additionally, they can work with you to decrease your feelings of anger at everyday occurrences. When you accomplish those goals, you can live a happier, more productive and connected life. For those who succeed in overcoming their anger issues, the effort is well worth the results.