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How To Know If You Have Anger Issues

how to tell if you have anger issues

Do you have anger issues? Maybe someone in your family has told you that you do, or that you need help. But how much anger is too much? Here is how to know if you have anger issues.

In this article, we’ll talk about five signs you can look out for if you think you have an anger problem. We’ll also discuss the difference between healthy and unhealthy feelings of anger. Once you see the difference, you can work on controlling your emotions, rather than the other way around.

We all get angry and lash out from time to time, and experts say it’s even healthy to vent your anger from time to time. It can also shield us from other people trying to hurt us or someone else.

The problems start when you let your anger get out of hand.

Rampant anger makes you feel like you’re losing control, almost like you’re not yourself. It’s not the best feeling in the world. It often takes its toll on your health, your relationships, as well as your career. It can even get you in trouble with the law.

If you think you’re suffering from a hidden anger problem, you’ve come to the right place. Recognition is an important part of solving any anger problems. Being aware of your anger issues means you’ve taken the first step towards positive change.

How To Know If You Have Anger Issues

how to know if you have anger issues

So what does extreme anger feel like?

Your body has several ways of letting you know when you are getting too angry.

Some common feelings may include:

  • Your heart feels like it’s racing—it beats very fast and may even feel like it’s pounding in your chest, or pounding in your head.
  • You breathe faster—it may feel like you can’t catch your breath.

Here are five points you can look at to determine how to know if you have anger issues.

Healthy Versus Unhealthy Anger

Before we talk about different types of anger, we need to learn how to recognize your anger. You should also know what sets it off. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What situations/events/places/people make me angry?
  • How can I tell when I’m angry?
  • How do I react when I’m angry?
  • How does my anger affect those around me?

Healthy Anger

Healthy anger is an instinctive signal that lights up when we sense that something isn’t right. If you see someone being hurt or treated unfairly, your anger acts as a catalyst. So, you immediately start thinking of ways to help.

Dr. Robert M. Fraum, Ph.D. says, “Healthy anger is deliberate, proportional, and responsive to a clear and present need. [it’s] a powerful tool of human survival and adaptation.”

Unhealthy Anger

On the other hand, unhealthy anger hurts everyone around, instead of helping. Remember, if you experience one or more of these behaviors from time to time, it doesn’t mean you have an anger problem. The problem intensifies according to the frequency of these behaviors and their consequences.

The following are a few ways unhealthy anger can manifest itself:

  • Rage
  • Resentment
  • Manipulation
  • Judgment
  • Passive aggression
  • Verbal or physical abuse

5 Signs You Have an Anger Problem

If you’re worried about whether your anger levels are unhealthy or not, keep reading. You’ll find five of the most common signs of having an anger management issue.

You Get into Arguments

We’re not talking about casual arguments you have with your partner or co-worker. We’re talking frequent, overblown rows with everyone you encounter, even strangers.

Not only that, but you feel that you have to win every single argument. Not being able to back down from an argument has nothing to do with what you’re arguing about. But it has everything to do with being more domineering and in control.

If these arguments seem to come out of nowhere and quickly spin out of control, that’s a sign your anger has turned into a problem.

You’re Passive Aggressive

People often don’t relate passive aggressiveness with anger. It’s neither loud nor violent.

Yet, it’s one of the most telling signs of anger management issues. The problem is that you may not even realize you’re being passive-aggressive. Not only that, but you may not even realize you’re angry.

One reason is that when you’re passive-aggressive, your emotions give the impression that you’re in control. For example, you avoid conflict, you’re often sarcastic, or indifferent.

You Blame Others

Blaming other people for your problems is easier than having to deal with them yourself. While you may do this unknowingly, it’s usually a sign you’re not dealing with your own, that’s also a sign of trouble.

Another sign of an anger problem is that you hold on to resentment. You stay bitter and can’t seem to forgive even over the small stuff.

how to tell if you have anger issuesYour Anger Causes Others to Fear You

If you usually react when you’re angry, this can make people start to avoid you whenever they get the chance. They become fearful of you and your over-the-top reactions when you’re mad.

You may notice that when people talk to you, they never come too close. They may also stand with their arms crossed over their chest or they have one foot turned to face the door.

This is their way of expressing their fear and anxiety when they’re around you.

You Worry About Your Reactions

This is both good and bad news. The bad news is that once you’ve reached this stage, it’s more than likely that you have an anger problem.

The good news is you’re starting to acknowledge that you have a problem and you’re worried about your behavior. This is the first step to working through your anger issues and gaining control over your emotions.

A Final Note

If you notice yourself in one, or more, of these five signs above, it means you have an anger problem. Admitting your anger issues is the first big step.

Here is an online test you can do for yourself to see what type of anger management skills you have.

The next step is to seek help. Remember, anger is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. But it could result in seriously damaging your life or hurting you or someone you love. The sooner you get the help you need, the sooner you’ll be able to live a healthier, more fulfilling life.

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5 Comments

  1. It’s good to learn there is healthy anger and an unhealthy one. I like the phrase that healthy anger is responsive to a clear and present need. With healthy anger, the main goal is to help. However, with unhealthy anger, everybody is affected. Even the person that gets angry. This is food for thought.

  2. Anger can be such a terrible feeling terrible for the angry person and for those around him/her . It is important that people learn and be taught how to control their anger levels. These lessons are very important to be transferred to kids as early as possible. Its important that we continually self introspect because anger can gradually develop unaware .

  3. This is a very interesting post and one that needs to be read over a few times and then lead to a lot of thinking.

    I would suggest that there are few people that don’t get angry at some stage.  Even Jesus got angry when he entered the temple and overturned the tables of those selling stuff for sacrifices.  So I agree with you that sometimes anger is justified when it is righteous anger.  But even then, I don’t believe that that gives us a right to act whatever way we want.

    No matter how angry we are, we need to be thoughtful and measured in our response.  Otherwise we only harm and destroy. But it’s hard when the red mist rises.  But we need to learn to step back and think.  Then act in an appropriate way.

    Even if we have anger issues we can still learn to stop and think first.  The more we do it, the more natural and automatic it will happen.

    Thanks for prompting us all to stop and think.

    • It does take control and work to face these issues Geoff, and thanks for stopping by.

  4. Good day, I’m pleased to meet you. I think it’s of utmost importance for all of us to know if we have anger issues so that we can work on controlling our emotions. 

    Having read this article has made me aware of the signs that one may have an anger problem. This is a very interesting piece of writing, I’m thrilled to have read it. Thank you so much for sharing.

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