The Problem With Anger

A man who ordered a sandwich at a fast-food restaurant became enraged when he thought it took too long for his meal to come. He entered the restaurant, threatened an employee, shoved him up against a counter, and slapped him. The angry man then grabbed his sandwich and walked out of the restaurant.

ALL of us get angry from time to time. After all, anger is as much a part of our emotional makeup as love, hope, anxiety, sadness, and fear. Anger that is controlled can be expressed in a proper way and can serve a useful purpose. For example, anger can be productive if it boosts one’s determination to overcome certain obstacles or problems.

As illustrated by the account above, anger also has a dark side. Some people experience anger more quickly, more frequently, and more intensely than others. When provoked, they may lash out with verbal or physical attacks. Their anger, in effect, controls them, when it should be the other way around. Such unrestrained anger is dangerous, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “problem anger.” *

Those with anger problems bring grief not only to themselves but also to everyone around them. For someone with anger issues, even seemingly trivial matters can spark a violent outburst that brings tragic consequences. Consider the following examples:

A man walking with a group of friends was shot in the neck after the sports bag of one of his friends brushed against another man on a busy street.

A 19-year-old male beat his fiancée’s 11-month-old baby to death. The man had been playing a violent video game and lost his temper when the baby touched the game’s control panel and thus caused the man to forfeit the game.

Similar reports from around the world indicate that an increasing number of people have anger problems. Why is anger on the rise?

[Footnote]

^ par. 4 The brochure Boiling Point​—Problem Anger and What We Can Do About It describes “problem anger” as “any dysfunctional way of relating to and managing anger that persistently causes significant difficulties in a person’s life including their thinking, feeling, behaviour and relationships.”

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Anger is part of our emotional makeup. Thus, there are times when expressing anger in a controlled fashion may be appropriate. However, these articles deal with unhealthy anger, which can harm us and others emotionally, physically, and spiritually.