Anger affects all of us at some time or another. It is our bodies’ natural response to what we see as a potentially threatening situation and part of the “fight or flight” response where our body prepares us to fight a threat (anger) or run away (anxiety). It is when it affects us frequently, when it becomes out of proportion to the situation provoking it, or when it becomes uncontrollable and scares others, or turns into violence, that we might need to seek help to manage it better. Often anger and violent outbursts are linked to and fueled by alcohol. Sometimes they are the result of background stress or underlying depression.

Sometimes there are particular patterns to our anger underpinned by beliefs about ourselves, the world and other people. We might feel that people never give us a chance to show what we can do. We might think that people are always picking on us and putting us down. We might believe that our partner always puts their friends before us. Words like “never” and “always” reinforce the injustice of the situation, strengthen our resolve and justify our reaction to the situation. We are entitled to be angry. We deserve to be angry. The other person needs to understand exactly how upset we are.

Anger can be fuelled by alcohol. Often people find it hard to discuss issues with their partner when they are sober. Alcohol may help do this. It releases inhibitions. When emotions have been supressed however, when they are released, with or without the use of alcohol, our thoughts can come out in a torrent of angry words.

Often we can feel quite depressed when we have lost our temper. We may have said things that we regret. We may have physically hurt someone we love. Showing anger, although it can feel good, seldom resolves issues. Generally anger is met with anger and simply results in an exchange of insults and threats.

If you have difficulties with anger or someone has suggested that you might have difficulties, you could see a psychologist for help. A psychologist can help you understand the beliefs that you have that fuel your anger and the patterns of behaviour that maintain the need to get angry. They can help you learn to challenge your behaviour, to communicate in different ways, to have conversations rather than confrontations and to think differently about the things that currently ‘make’ you angry.

If you feel that you need help with your anger, please contact Erko Psychology in confidence to arrange an appointment.