“Why Am I So Angry?” Part I

Written by: Stephen Walters, M.Div., M.A.
“Why Am I So Angry?” Part I

Have you ever gotten angry and you didn’t really know why? You know, the car in front of you is only going 5 mph OVER the speed limit and you are ready to start a fight. Or, the cashier at the checkout line has not completed your transaction of 50 items in under 30 seconds. Thus, you feel like you should shout how terrible this service is. Or, maybe your kids are only asking you to explain something, but you told them to leave you alone and now you’re yelling at them for just being kids. Has this ever happened to you? Maybe it’s just me.

Or, maybe it’s not. Most of us (all probably, but we’ll just stick with most) experience anger. Sometimes there is a very understandable anger. Someone is mean to my child. Someone insults me. I notice some sort of injustice that makes me mad. This can cause understandable reactions like protecting my child, standing up for myself, or working to make a change in the life of someone or in society. However, most of us (again, I’ll stick with that term) have moments that maybe should not bother us that much and cause pretty overblown reactions like yelling at a driver, yelling at a store worker, or yelling at our child when it is not necessary. Why do we do that?

Normally, when we get angry it is the result of when the realization of a situation does not meet the expectation we had for it. My child’s grades do not reflect their potential. A co-worker does not meet the expectations they should be meeting. A spouse does not notice how great we look in a new outfit. In many of these situations we respond in a way we can feel comfortable with. We point of the difference between expectation and reality. We work to make an improvement, so it does not happen again. Or, we talk ourselves out of being angry.

However, sometimes we get so mad that we react in ways that make us feel embarrassed or ashamed. Maybe we hurt a relationship with someone we love. Maybe we hurt the connection we have with a co-worker. Maybe we do something we just regret.

If you’ve ever experienced the last section, I’d like to offer help. Over the next few blogs, I’ll be offering two more posts about some emotions behind our anger responses, especially those responses that lead to guilt or shame. Then, we’ll look at some more productive ways of managing our anger and the emotions behind our anger.

If you are struggling with anger, and you don’t want to wait for more blogs, I invite you to reach out to me and we’ll see what we can do to help in the meantime. Otherwise, I look forward to a journey of anger resolution with you!