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Where do angry people come from?

by Roy Chambers (follow)
life (68)      Mind (33)      stress (12)      control (11)     
I have met people who become angry over just about anything. They see someone with a tattoo: instant anger; mention refugees, and they will fly off into an angry rant; discuss a topic and make a small factual mistake and they will pounce on it. Some people just seem to be naturally angry.

Attribution: Flickr - Tambako The Jaguar

It is amazing what people get angry about. I have seen people become angry when their colleague works hard and does a good job, and other people go crazy if the waiter spends too long at another table. I even know someone who becomes angry when people wear purple coloured clothes.

The question really is, where does all this anger come from? The holy Buddha argued that it was our material and physical desires that caused all the hate, suffering and anger in the world, but maybe there is more to it than that.

Let's look at some of the causes of anger and how to overcome anger.

Being threatened

The most basic source of anger is feeling threatened. When angry we retaliate instead of flee and is a basic survival response. Discussing why we feel threatened is a whole new article. The simple fact is that if we are becoming threatened by activities that are essentially harmless it says more about our general anxiety than anything else.

Attribution: Flickr - Omer Unlu

Not meeting expectations

One of the interesting observations from Social Psychology is that people become angry when the result doesn't meet their expectations. This is why social change can be very destructive because change is usually slower than the promise of change.

Attribution: Flickr - Guyon Morée

Loss of control

There is a huge psychological factor to feeling in control and losing a sense of control will result in anger. Often lashing out in an angry manner is an attempt to reassert control. Of course shouting at your phone because it doesn't have reception is as effective as picking a fight with a bouncer in a night club.

Attribution: Flickr - Melinda Seckington

Taking control of the situation

When people are angry they actually tend to have a much more positive outlook on life. It doesn't mean people who anger easily are more positive it is just that the actual feeling of anger skews our outlook on things. We believe that we are more likely to succeed, less likely to suffer negative consequences and we also believe we are more likely to be correct.

Anger management strategies

Anger has long been the subject of both philosophy and religion, and more recently psychology. While modern research has demonstrated the value of anger as short-term strategy that achieves results, often the problem is that it has long-term negative consequences.

While anger is often seen as being caused by something external, the real long-term solutions lie within ourselves. For Buddhism it is a matter of banishing all physical desires. We can't become angry if we don't want or need anything.

We don't have to go to such extremes. If we often find ourselves becoming angry then we need to realise that there is something both in the situation and ourselves than need to be addressed. We can do this in 3 steps

Attribution: Flickr - Yumi Kimura

Accept what we can't change. Don't be upset if the boss's son is promoted unfairly, you can't change that.

Change ourselves. As I teach customer service skills, it is easy to see how basic communication techniques can make both the customer and service provider much calmer. Seek to build abilities and skills to solve the problems that are making us angry, especially people skills.

Change the situation in the long-term. Anger is a short-term strategy to change a situation. If we are becoming angry very often it is likely that we need to make a deeper change. Bosses who become angry with staff who aren't doing their job properly might need to invest in resources or training or simply manage the work better so that it has a greater chance of success.

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Top Answers
Anger can be very impacting on your life when constantly directed at you. I liken it to bullying at the extreme. It's hard to ignore or should I say detach.
I find that many people these days "go off their tree". In fact many times I've been in these people's company minding my own business or haven't utter much other than the niceties in life when boom off a person goes and gives you a tirade of abuse that goes on forever. Personally I don't participate in the arguing as its really not worth wasting my breath and prefer to by pass them in the future with very limited or no contact. It's not me but them. However it sure does impact on you for a very long time after even tho its not on your mind all the time but something triggers it off. I'm easy prey me thinks but I try to detach from their screaming rants. It's better for ones health.
BTW. Wonderful cat emotions shown in the photos. Thank you Roy for sharing. :)
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