Furious and Fuming | Your Relationship with Anger

angerFurious and Fuming | Your Relationship with Anger

Have you ever been really angry? The answer is probably yes – we all get angry. Anger is a normal human emotion that we all experience. The classic definition of anger is a strong feeling of being upset or annoyed because you see something as wrong.

The evolutionary reason for anger, at its core, is that anger can be a motivator that triggers energy to change a situation. When an event happens that results in us getting angry, our brain interprets a danger and we enter into a “fight or flight” response. In anger we are usually ready to fight.

It’s important to keep in mind that the emotion of anger is neither good or bad – it just is. And it’s a crucial part of being able to move on, even if we feel stuck. What we do with the anger is what becomes important.  There is a difference between anger the emotion and  anger that triggers aggression  behavior.

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How to Deal with Anger

There are three ways that people can deal with anger. I often use the metaphor of a balloon to illustrate the concept.  When events happen in our life that create an emotional reaction it is like blowing air into a balloon, and then…

frau bläst einen roten luftballon auf1) The people who stuff or suppress their anger, blow air into the balloon until it gets bigger and bigger and bigger – you know what happens then! Eventually the balloon pops, taking with it relationships,  if the air goes outwards, or our health if the air goes inwards.

Peng!2) Then there are people who let the air out of the balloon in an uncontrolled fashion – It flaps and goes all over the place. This is more like shrapnel where the pieces hit anyone in the path of the anger.

Bursted balloon on cord3)  Finally, there are people who are able to manage the release of air in a controlled fashion – emptying the air and leaving room for it to be refilled. These people logically manage their anger and it does not become destructive to those around them.

Based on the three examples above, how do you handle your anger? Are you in control of your emotions most of the time?

Remember that there is no right or wrong answer about the emotion of anger. However, assessing your anger, and how you react when you become angry, is the first step to finding a resolution to effectively dealing with anger.

We’ll discuss this further in my next blog on the emotional responses of anger.

Dr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well being, join her ecourses.

By |2017-10-16T17:45:26+00:00November 17th, 2014|Emotions, Life Tools, Personal Life, Relationships|25 Comments


  1. Carol Cassara November 17, 2014 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    This was more a problem in my youth than now. I wanted what I wanted and if I didn’t get it, I got angry. But age does bring mellowing.

  2. Jackie November 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    I’m definitely a #2. (Oh, that doesn’t sound good, does it? LOL!)

    I’ve been trying to get a grip on my anger for some time now. I was actually just thinking about how I react to situations just last night, so this post came at the right time for me.
    I am looking forward to the follow-up post, as I could use some tips to help me overcome what I think of as my “go-to” emotion.

  3. Lois Alter Mark November 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    I think I’m finally at #3 although it definitely took a while to get here. Some wisdom does thankfully come with age, and anger can be so destructive.

  4. Kimba November 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Really like the balloon metaphor – work to achieve #3, but often devolve to #2!!

  5. Cathy Chester November 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    I’m trying to manage my anger and disappointment as best as I can. Not only easy, but with age comes some wisdom. For most people…

  6. Ruth Curran November 17, 2014 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Love the balloon example! It is interesting to think about all those things that trigger fight or flight – makes us aware of what to watch for doesn’t it? Great insights Ines.

  7. Sheryl November 17, 2014 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Handling anger well takes practice, I think. I’m much better at it now than I was years ago. And that’s a good thing. I’ve mellowed a LOT.

  8. Elin Stebbins Waldal November 17, 2014 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Your post is so important. Years ago I was victimized by another persons uncontrolled anger. It was toxic and nearly cost me my life.
    It is so important for individuals to recognize that anger is normal, but how they manifest it effects, not just then, but the people that are around them.

  9. Carpool Goddess November 17, 2014 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    Anger is such a powerful emotion, and so important to know how to use it and manage it without hurting ourselves or others. Wonderful post!

  10. Estelle November 18, 2014 at 5:12 am - Reply

    When I was younger I had trouble controlling my anger. These days I’m much more self-contained.

  11. Shelley Zurek November 18, 2014 at 5:29 am - Reply

    What about the people who HIDE the balloon behind their back? Yeah, that happens to and the anger just eats them alive.

  12. Cheryl Nicholl November 18, 2014 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    # 3. Though I do occasionally have a blow-up, and then, batten down yer hatches matey.

  13. Tina November 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    I fit into all 3 categories, depending on the cause of the anger. It takes a lot to make me burst (I would say that is third), and I seldom flap around (that’s second but it does happen, usually in frustration). Your third scenario is the one I try to be most often. As I’m getting older, it a bit easier, too. I can hardly wait to read more about this!

  14. Gilly November 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    When I get angry, I try to express my feelings in a mature manner, but there are times it’s hard when people are not listening. Walking away feels better… I find it is difficult when I don’t go back to discussing the matter, this tends to eat away at my insides.

  15. Meryl Hershey Beck November 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    I work to stay in #3 the best I can. I think we all learn and develop wisdom and a higher level of understanding through age and life experiences.

  16. Roslyn Tanner Evans November 19, 2014 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Great analogy and visual. Ideally Im a 3 but it depends on who is poking at my balloon. I’ve developed strategies for self control I didnt have when I was youunger. I dont supporess cause that is not healthy but look for good ways to express. Ok my voices raises but…

  17. Nate November 19, 2014 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    I would have to agree most of the people here are going with #3. I would go with that as well. I think after awhile when you know yourself well, you can control it. Thanks for sharing as always.

  18. Heather Cameron November 20, 2014 at 2:50 am - Reply

    In all honest I fit into all 3 at times. Yes, i hope more the 3 but there are things can trigger each one.

  19. Lorii Abela November 20, 2014 at 6:07 am - Reply

    Thanks, Ines, for sharing this valuable article. We should always consider that there are many ways of managing anger.

  20. Barbara Keen November 20, 2014 at 10:57 am - Reply

    I believe I am a #3. I get angry and I vent to my husband and son if it’s about someone else. I try to say what I need to with out exploding. I find if I am angry I will keep myself extra busy this helps me to release some of the anger I am feeling. Thanks for the super analogy and graphic!

  21. MamaRed November 20, 2014 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Anger is one of the toughest emotions I’ve dealt with, am dealing with. I’ve been each of the 3 you list…getting more and more in the #3 category is my goal. I’ve had the #1 and #2 definitions a majority of my life and can’t say I believe they’re the healthy choice! Nor, in my opinion, is stuffing it down for years on end (like I had been doing), the wise choice for my own health. So getting more and more of the #3 category seems wisest!

    Thanks for the great article…and lovely wisdom.


  22. Pat Moon November 21, 2014 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Most of the time I am a #3 but there have been instances of #1 and #2. I’ve gotten better with maturity and the realization that #1 and #2 often leave me with regrets. The balloon is a great illustration of 3 different ways to handle anger. I am not good at just holding it in… I usually want to at least talk about it and express my feelings.

  23. Sharon G. Cobb November 24, 2014 at 3:57 am - Reply

    I like the analogy you give to anger and how people release (or do not release) the anger … I look forward to your upcoming blog!

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