Why Do We Get Angry?

Do you know someone who struggles with anger? You probably don't have to look any further than your own mirror. I've written about what anger is, and now I'm asking the question, why do we get angry?

We get angry based on our reaction to a variety of things, people, circumstances, memories, or personal problems, just to name a few. It can also be a response to a single event, or a reaction to numerous events. What makes you angry? Here are some reasons people have sent me:

Shawnee wrote: What makes me angry? Being ignored.

Ali wrote: Fake people and liars.

Jake wrote: Trying hard at something and failing.

Ashley wrote: I hate it when people criticize me and have no idea what I go through.

Michael wrote: Being nice to people, only to have them be mean to me.

Jane wrote: Not being able to control my emotions.

When you feel anger, it's easy to want to lash out to get back at whatever, or whoever, has hurt you. Unfortunately, we all know that anger can get out of control and become destructive, causing a ton of problems.

So why do we get angry?

1. We get angry when our expectations are not met. When something doesn't go the way we think it should, we try to take control over the out of control situation with anger.  Chells wrote: Usually I don't get angry much, however, being accused of things will set me off big time.

2. We also get angry when we feel we're being threatened. And it may or may not be a real situation. We've all seen a person get angry about something that isn't a real threat at all. For example, the guy at a bar who gets in a fight with another guy because, He looked at me funny, when the other guy didn't even know he was there. People carry a lot of emotional baggage into certain situations, making them feel more threatened than they need to feel.

  1. Additionally, some angry people carry their resentments and rage around with them at all times, creating an environment that makes other people be more aggressive toward them, just enhancing the whole anger cycle. These are the kinds of people who have a very short fuse, and any number of things will set them off.

Here are some other reasons why people might get angry. Maybe you have experienced some of these, too:

  • Grief - losing a loved one.
  • Rudeness
  • Tiredness
  • Hunger
  • Pain
  • Withdrawal from drugs or some medications
  • Some physical conditions, such as PMS
  • Physical illness
  • Mental illness
  • Alcohol, some drugs, alcohol abuse, drug abuse
  • Injustice
  • Being teased or bullied
  • Humiliation
  • Embarrassment
  • Deadlines
  • Traffic jams
  • Disappointment
  • Sloppy service
  • Failure
  • Infidelity
  • Burglary
  • Financial problems
  • Being told you have a serious illness

The fact is, just about anything can trigger an angry reaction. Monica said, I get angry very often. And quite frankly I don't know how to deal with my anger. I bottle it up inside and every so often it all comes out.

Remember, even though anger will most likely be a part of the rest of your life, you don't have to let it control you. In my next blog let's talk about ways to manage your anger.

Your friend,

Forgiving people who have angered you, even if they don't deserve it can free you from the toxic emotions which trap you.  To understand how to forgive and why it’s so important for you to forgive, download TheHopeLine’s free eBook.

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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40 comments on “Why Do We Get Angry?”

  1. Thank you for describing the emotion.

    Identification of a particular emotions (Any emotion for that matter), right at the time of "arousal of associated feelings" is the only way to understand and manage it. Mostly there is a time gap. Meditation helps in reducing this ''time gap'' and bring it down to zero(Saints).

  2. I'm constantly struggling with my own head. Sometimes things, places or conversations will trigger something negative from my past and I go from great mood to instantly irritated and not wanting to deal with anyone and just end my day Especially if the person that I am with was the negative experience I just shut down and want to lash out because I'm still not OK with what happen back then. I try to catch my self and not let it take complete control of me but then it's just me pretending to be happy when all I can think about is that negative past situation. Other times so I don't rage I will just shut down and want to be alone till I get over it again. I don't know what to do. I try and try to let things go and remember it's the past and move on but I can't it still causes pain and anger to the point that I'm a asking my self what is wrong with me and why can't I just let it go!

    1. Sorry you are going through this. It's good you are talking about your anger. Perhaps you're struggling with some anxiety or PTSD that is causing you to lash out and be angry when your past triggers you. We have a couple of eBooks that may help you. One is on PTSD and one is on Anxiety. They are free to everyone. Try reading them and see if they help. https://www.thehopeline.com/ebook/anxiety-social-anxiety

    2. I kind of thought so myself. I even thought maybe depression. My whole life my family has said that I had anger issues well since I was in middle school. But they don't know what happen to me and I never intend on telling. As I became an adult I thought I had a good handle on my emotions I suppose you can say I learned how to lock things away quite well..but then in my relationships they started saying the same thing again. I'd leave the first sign of trouble I'd find excuses to leave and getting upset about dumb things was my way out. Getting hurt was never an option it was never sadness it instantly became anger. Then being in the military only made it worse. You learn to suck things up and deal with the worst. So my life became suck it up and move on I lost my compassion and sympathy for everyone and everything and believed emotions other then my anger were weaknesses. Needless to say it's been a long haul for me. I'm now 31 and working on my masters in psychology-social work and I am still struggling with believing in anxiety, depression, PTSD and everything else as an illness/problem. Because I honestly believed there is no such thing, it's an excuse but now I'm starting to see how this stuff buried has actually effected my life.

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