Psychology Addict # 56 | Reflections on Anger.

in #psychology3 years ago (edited)

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I got angry this week. I got angry with Maria (I’m going to call her Maria here). I am not an anger-prone person. In fact, it takes quite a significant amount of nonsense to get my blood boiling. But Maria does just that! So, let me introduce you to her:

Maria is a government officer. My husband and I need to deal with her once a year in order to update our paperwork and keep our visas legal. The process itself is no more than just long-winded and tedious. In the end, we always get our stamps and live happily for 365 days. I mean, it’s more like 355 days, because that’s about the time we have to start dealing with her again.

From where I stand Maria is purposefully unfriendly, unhelpful, inconsistent and intentionally misleading 🙊 Anyways, this years, the set of emotions I experienced during our dealings with her got me thinking about anger.

The Case for Anger.

Mostly because it hadn’t been long since I had gone through some materials about Stoicism. You know, the popular philosophy that thrived in ancient Greece and Rome for nearly 500 years. It didn’t take me long to chuckle when I recalled that the Stoics pointed out that anger is an emotion which stems from stupidity and the wrong notions about life. Oh boy … But, I guess we better start unpacking this rather harsh explanation.

Of course, anger doesn’t have anything to do with stupidity or braininess. Anger is an emotion, and not an indication of intelligence or lack thereof. Anger is as an elemental an emotion as is fear or happiness. And it’s linked to the response mechanisms of the sympathetic nervous system. Some even argue for the “necessity” of it in certain life circumstances and go on to subcategorize it. For example: righteous anger and/or adaptive anger.

A compelling representation of righteous anger is that depicted in the Holy Bible, manifested by Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. In the Gospels of Mathew, Mark, John and Luke it is narrated that upon witnessing the activities of money changers and merchants in the temple Jesus overturned tables and drove the businessmen away in a protest against the exploitation they exercised over people. Adaptive ager, according to some psychologists, follows a similar principle: That which fights injustice, seeks the change of laws, and demands new behavioural norms. I do have my reservations about this perspective, though.

Further, at the level of the individual, there is also a popular, common believe about the “utility” of anger, that which argues that it places the individual in a position of superiority and control. In a position of: “they’ll know who they’re dealing with!”, “they’ll know I am not to be messed with!”

Now, I am not quite sure what sort of control this belief refers to? 😕 As if when wrapped up in anger we’re capable of rational deliberation! Anger has more to do with automatic responses. The cognitive theory of emotions explains that such responses results from the interplay between the individual’s history, mood state and current context. For instance; in my very case, my anger/frustration towards Maria was a consequence of the the continuing unpleasant encounters I had with her. Just imagining the mistakes she’s made and the unnecessary trips I had to do because of her poor attention to details put me in a bad mood.

Still, what advantage would expressing my anger bring me? Which kind of superiority would I gain were I to voice my anger towards Maria? Personally, I prefer and choose to behave with dignity.

How Anger Clouds Judgement.

This is why my take on this “control thing” is that people more often than not mistake assertiveness for the manifestation of anger (for aggressiveness). It was Horace who said:

Anger is a brief madness. Control your passion, for if it is not forced to obey, it will command. Bind it with ropes, bind it with chains.

He was quite right there! Because anger clouds judgement. And it does so through enhancing correspondence bias Ref.. You see, one thing people do when perceiving a chain of events, or a course of action is assign causes to them. Simply put: we like to find explanations for things. That is just how we function. On observing this, social psychologist Heider proposed that people perceive/explain the intentions of others through assigning to them, either:

Dispositional (or internal) causes: It is the person, it is her personality, her nature, her character. Or,

Situational (or external) causes: It was her boss who didn’t sign the paper, it was in the other department were communication broke down, maybe due to the long national holiday (?).

According to Heider, the more we perceive a cause as dispositional, the more we tend to write off the situational forces involved in the chain of actions and events. So, there I was, attributing to Maria all the flaws that I thought a human being could possess (without even knowing her) while completely disregarding the numerous possible external causes involved in the matter. Only to make the whole situation more tedious and frustrating than it already is. Not very wise!

Entitlement: The Road to Anger.

Seneca, the most prominent of the Stoics, argued that it is foolish to think that something won’t happen to us when we know that there is a possibility that it can happen, and that it has already happened to many others before. Is it possible that a government officer will goof things up? Has this happened before? So?

This is when, according to Stoicism, holding the wrong expectations/ideas about life can be a source of anger.

What is more, those of us who choose to live under the rigid rules of the should/shouldn’t mindset will constantly feel let down by others and life itself. For, this sort of notion about life rests on the assumption that we’re entitled to instant gratification always and forever.

And here is the big problem with entitlement, it plants the seeds of mean-spiritedness in us. Especially towards those who make mistakes in areas where we’re generally good at (e.g. work, problem solving, finances). When the Pharisees asked Jesus Christ whether to stone to death an adulterer woman, he suggested that only he who has never made a mistake throughout their lives, could satisfy their heart’s desire in this fashion [John 8:7]. Because only absolute perfection grant us the right to be vicious.

Further, in his teachings Jesus Christ said that in order to nurture kindness we need to avoid taking pride in having never committed a particular kind of mistake. In order to nurture kindness, we need instead to recognise that we have also acted incompetently and unwilling in our lives. When embracing this understanding it’s easier to be compassionate towards others.

Be Assertive & Kind. Not Angry & Resentful.

But please, please, don’t you think that I’m planning to become a doormat or turn you into one. You may be asking yourself by now: “Why I am the one who has to be understanding?”, “People will end up walking all over me”. Aren’t I supposed to express my emotions, my anger?

I know psychotherapists who would advise you to do just that! After all Freud himself suggested that depression was anger turned inward (I don’t agree with this, by the way). However, my point here doesn’t end in: “express my anger” or “not express my anger”.

It goes a little further than that. But please bear with me.

Meanwhile, remember that you can always be assertive. With your boss, your partner, with your children, even with Maria. That’s why I said (with a throbbing heart and a voice lower than usual): “Maria, just like you I have a busy, tight routine. I would appreciate if, next time, things could be done in a way that I don’t need to keep returning here and wasting my time”.

Notice that assertiveness calls for confidence rather than anger outbursts, through being assertive you stand-up for yourself without accusing or abusing others.

Minutes later, my husband and I left the office with our visas finally stamped. 😊

It is unlikely that my conduct will yield the exact desired outcome next year, the same old odyssey will probably be repeated again. But at least I managed to avoid polarization and preserve my sense of self-worth. In this flawed, imperfect world what could be better than this? Right?

Well, according to Buddhism it would be to avoid anger altogether.

Enlighten Your Mind.

In Buddhism it is not about binding your anger with ropes and chains. It is about not letting it surface in first place. This way there is no need to negotiate between, supressing this negative feeling, or even trying to figure out how to express it. This is the very rationale Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) resorts to.

CBT goes straight to the heart of the matter and elucidates that oftentimes it is not the situation itself that is exasperating, but the meaning your give to it; which inevitably depart from your emotions. And what prompts those emotions? That’s right! Thoughts such as “I have been nothing but polite to Maria, she should be at least more respectful of my time, of me!”. But, guess what? Other people have free will and often act in ways that aren’t to our liking. Just as we don’t always behave in a manner that constantly pleases others.

Cognitive behavioural approaches are also very much in line with what Marcus Aurelius (also a stoic) wrote in his work Meditations:

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

According to Buddhism the starting point to live a life filled with productive, constructive thoughts is to foster our minds with empathy (the magic ingredient), patience, and meditation. Like this we can rid our thoughts from the obscuration brought by ignorance (e.g. self-righteousness and entitlement). Through self-reflection, and non-judgemental self-evaluation we’re able to perceive ourselves, others and life itself in a more enlightened way.

I better get going, the 355-day countdown has already started! 😊

Image Source: 1,2,3,4, 5

Reference List:

Barker, M. Vossler, A. Langdridge, D. (2010) Understandying Couselling and Psychotherapy, London, Sage.

Costello, J. (2019) Applied Logotherapy: Viktor Frankl’s Philosophical Psychology., London, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Heider, F. (1958) The psychology of interpersonal relations, New York, Wiley.

The Holy Bibble.

Tuffley, D. (2013) The Essence of Buddhism, Australia, Altiora.


Thank you my dear reader, for taking the time to read my personal reflections on anger. If you fell like it I would love to hear how you reflect about your own frustrations, moments of anger and how you tackle it.

It is nice to be able to be back so soon after HF21 😊!

I wish peace-of-mind to each & everyone of you.


I really share these feelings. Really!

We met our local Maria's all along our life in France (not necessarily for me, although I have stories as well, but especially for @lamouthe who is not from the European Union). I am not sure anger was all around the place. Frustration: definitely. But it was often followed by the joy of sharing the crazy adventures all around the world (thanks to social media) and summarizing the situation in one funny sentence that is hard to decrypt by anyone who does not know us. Yeah, fighting frustration with jokes and fun was our way :)

Jokes and laughter are indeed efficient antidotes to frustration! It's a smart move indeed :)

Especially if one restricts ourselves to physicists' jokes!

 3 years ago Reveal Comment

I do not understand. Why re-steeming a comment (which does not do anything effectively) instead of the initial post?

Oh well, I analysed my life a lot while reading your post. Now, I am not the kind of person that gets angry easily. In fact, in my lab, it was a topic of major discussion when I scolded this new student for arguing more and not reading or listening enough. They were all like, where did the sun rise today.

I was wondering why is that. I think it's exactly because I end up rationalising the series of actions to the context, as you described. And what's the point of having a fit of rage over those inevitable circumstances, I think. Though, I have had my fits of rage. Very rare, but they have been there. And I have to agree in most of the times I was feeling being wronged by the person, being violated or demeaned by that person. And I was holding the person responsible. And in those cases even after superficially forgiving the person, making peace etc, I have always held the grudge. And I have not forgotten a single one of those incidences. Like they are somehow important danger memories to be kept alive and whenever possible I should avenge that. A part of my brain knows how wrong is that, but the other part refuses to forgive and forget. Makes me wonder what is the purpose of anger on other animal species. Does any animal show prolonged grudge? Like does anger have a role to play beyond fight part of fight or flight response in them?

Anyway, after thinking a little more, I realized one more thing. The most frequent kind of rage I display is related to someone trying to push me out of my comfort zone. Not entitlement. But I have this dire need of being in my own mind. And it would irritate the hell out of me if someone tries to poke me out of it and worse if they try to look inside as if I am protecting something inside there. I was wondering what kind of anger that would fit in? What could be the possible psychology and biology behind this?

Anyhow, like always. Loved your post. I learnt something new, as well as indulged in a lot of self-analysis. Thanks once again for sharing this piece.

Have a great day.

Oh my @scienceblocks what a wonderful comment this is. Filled with honest, non-judgmental self-reflection. This is truly the right road towards personal growth :)

I have always held the grudge. And I have not forgotten a single one of those incidences.

Oftentimes this happens because of individuals' cognitive style. Those who tend to present this mode of thinking are understood to be ruminators ref.

Does any animal show prolonged grudge? Like does anger have a role to play beyond fight part of fight or flight response in them?

These are interesting questions indeed :) And, I have written them down to look into them later on, when I have some free time. It may answer many of my own queries. But, the thought of non-human animals holding a persistent ill-feeling towards something that happened a long time ago, is a difficult one to fathom.

The most frequent kind of rage I display is related to someone trying to push me out of my comfort zone. Not entitlement.

Here, it would be interesting if you could identify the thoughts that go through your head when this happens. Through pinpointing them you may unveil what is that makes you angry. Do they feature any cognitive distortion? For example: (1)inaccurate assumptions of what the other person is thinking, (2)jumping to conclusions about the other person's intentions, and so forth.

That would explain the psychology behind it (the cognitive style). As for the biology, all the neurobiological mechanisms underlying rumination (or repetitive thinking for that matter). Rumination has been found to correlate, for example, with activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula, and posterior cingulate cortex ref.

Your comment is very kind and encouraging @scienceblocks. It makes all the time and energy I put into my work here on the platform worthwhile. I feel very grateful for all those of you who read my writings. It means the world to me.

Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know that, somehow, this post has had a positive impact on you. Thank you :)

All the best to you. Always and forever!

Dear Abigail,
What a treasure. What a way to start my day, with such insight and wisdom. Not just yours, but wisdom of so many great thinkers across the ages. The beauty and value of your blogs is that you support your central premise by mining the wisdom of others.

Of course, I'm impressed, but also persuaded. Who doesn't have an issue with anger? Some more so than others, perhaps, but it's such a tempting crutch. So satisfying when indulged. It feels powerful. But, as you explain it is not a product of rational thought, of our highest potential.

In reading the comments here, I see reflected a point of view I've expressed myself, in the past.

Anger gives me focus. Anger gives me strength I would not otherwise have. Anger motivates in difficult situations so that I have the courage to move forward. All of this is true, but what it really says is that anger is compensating for a deficit in assertion. Would it not be better to learn how to be more assertive? To rationally assess situations and decide logically the best course?

See how you inform me, lead to self reflection that advances my understanding. Wow you should get paid a lot. All I can give you is a tiny upvote and the assurance that you have a powerful influence.

To highlight some points that were especially meaningful: Heider's insight into intention, and the discussion of stoicism. Of course, Buddha and the Bible--can't go any higher than that, can you?😇

Thank you so much for this wonderful blog. I'm waiting to upvote because I want that vote to have more value. In a few hours, that should work.

With Admiration and Respect,

I just wasted a vote on myself. So confusing sometimes :)

My dearest @agmoore :)

Same here! Your kind, insightful comment was the very first thing I read today. I always look forward to your feedback. For, you have a knack to bring further clarity to where things are still fuzzy in my head. To wherever I turn there seems to be a strong case for anger. I have been deeply puzzled by it! I sure have to reflect upon this in order to make sense of it all. I am a bit slow like that. I often need to think about this or that for a looong time :P

One of the many ideas I have been exploring is that people are afraid to resort to different means to draw the focus, energy and strength they believe they obtain from anger. But as I observed in my post, this is simply an illusion. It is quite clear that, if anything, anger stops problems being solved in creative ways. For the very reason that it narrows our views of the surrounding circumstances.

I was once told by a young lady: "don't underestimate the power of anger". We were talking about her ideals: she hates capitalism, she hates the education system, she hates many things in fact. In the end of our talk she hated me. To her anger slogan, I just nodded. I didn't want to put more fuel in her already enormous fire. I suspected she's been deafened and blinded by it.

I had that chat with her nearly a year ago. I remember that immediately after our talk I reached for a book I read in 2014 and flicked through my highlights. A book that also touches on the fight against injustice, through seeking change of laws, and demands new behavioural norms. One of my highlights was:

one can not expect to put out the fires of anger and hatred elsewhere if the same fires smolders in one’s home and heart.

The book is a biography of Mahatma Gandhi (by Eknath Easwaran). And it talks about how in his ambition to transform the world, he realized that he first and foremost needed to transform himself <3 :)

But, anyways, I still have much, much thinking to do about this :D

I am SO happy you liked this post my dearest friend. You know how much I treasure your feedback and opinion about my work and life in general. For I have great respect and admiration for you :*

I send you lots and lots of love. Always, always!

I am a bit slow like that

This I strongly doubt :) But if you mean you are reflective--this I can easily accept. Thank you for the compliment--although I think you are being extremely kind.

Your description of Heider's Dispositional or Internal Causes reminds me of something my son always says. He may not be as wise as you, or have your training, but he is perceptive. This is his advice whenever I'm upset by someone's behavior:

"They're not thinking about you; they're thinking about what's going on in their own lives."

It's true.

Want you to know your words were in my head a couple of times in the last 24 hours. And they helped me to modify reactions to situations. Imagine that :))

Thank you. Looking forward to your next blog....I don't know how you manage to come up with such brilliance, so dependably.

With Respect and Affection,

Love from your New York friend,


Want you to know your words were in my head a couple of times in the last 24 hours. And they helped me to modify reactions to situations.

😍Oh! You've just made my evening @agmoore2. How humbling! How encouraging!Also, I like your son's approach :) It's always nice to have someone with that kind of mindset in times of frustration and stress.

Ok, gotta go! It's Friday night 🍷 🥗 :)

Kisses, kisses and more kisses to you :*

Thank you for your very interesting article.
Someone told me an important statement.
Before the evening, one should put off one's anger.
Annoying thoughts unfortunately do not help.
If you can reconcile yourself with
negative things,
that's good.
This makes life easier.
Thank you for your good thoughts.
Best regards.

Thank you :)
Those are very nice words, and a wise approach to life too.


What about the type of anger where you turn green and grow 5x your original size except where it matters because your shorts don't rip off like the rest of your clothes? What do the Stoics say about that? :)

I have looked into that and haven't found anything either from Seneca or Marcus Aurelius on this.

But, there is still hope...


Grendel is a the first monster Beowulf had to fight in the kingdom of Hrothgar. And it turns out you described the very kind of anger he underwent. The angrier he got, the bigger he grew ... except ... aham ... ahm .. well, you know where. During his struggle against Grendel, in a bloody fight, Beowulf instructed his best warrior and friend Wiglaf : Kick his ... aham ... ! Kick it! Wiglaf turned to the monster's bits and shouted back to Beowulf in astonishment! "But, I cannot see it! He has no ... ahm ... "

There is a chance we can find our answer there :)

I am very pleased you managed to find the time to come around and leave a comment @trafalgar. It gives me the opportunity to the thank you for your most generous support! I truly appreciate it. Thank you :)

I wish you a great, peaceful day!
All the best to you,


I read this blog from you with great joy and interest! I am quite of the notion that anger is not an emotion to be suppressed or sent away. The feeling of anger cannot be avoided, it just comes over you. I think it's human and therefore you can notice the anger in a situation and learn to deal with it accordingly.

Regarding Freud, I would assume the first part to be true, that depression can also mean the suppression of anger (among other things), but not the second part to let it loose on others. I also believe that this has laid a very big misunderstanding over the 20th century and continues to this day.

From a Buddhist point of view, one cannot fight anger, but only use it in the moment of its inevitable emergence for learning from self-awareness. When anger arises, it is a great opportunity to practice letting go!

So you could shout inwardly "Hurray!" as soon as the anger comes and you say: "An extremely good opportunity to practice letting go! Life gives you the opportunity to exercise again and again. Because if it didn't, how could we even learn to practice with negative thoughts and feelings?

(Just imagine, you every time are "hurraying" when you feel anger. Would be curious how this would change one over time ... I guess this is what the Buddhists mean when they talk about enlightenment. People take their own sufferings lightly.)

If you compare it with the fact that you need a practice area if you want to learn to play football, you need a goal that you can aim at. Every miss is a learning experience. Without the pitch and without the goal and the keeper there is no opportunity to practice. My mind offers this place every day.

But, guess what? Other people have free will and often act in ways that aren't to our liking. Just as we don't always behave in a manner that constantly pleases others.

That I find a very important message. Especially because we know that we ourselves have not always been friendly and generous in our lives and probably won't always be, it would be good that our missteps would be taken with care by our fellow men. It is logical to allow others to do the same.

Hello Erika :D How have you been?

Thank you for taking the time to bring further clarity to this discussion! I truly appreciate it.

Do you think I should have worded like this, instead?

It is about not letting it [anger] rise surface in first place.

Big hug from Portugal :*

Yes, thank you! That's what I meant.

I come from that notion if anger is already being felt, than you cannot avoid it to rise to the surface. It's already there. If anger would be a full number of 10 and you see (feel) it coming, than the thing you can do is not letting it become a 10. You start to practice to leave it at a 6,5,4,3,2 ... in this process it'll be transformed.

There is no person in the world who can avoid experiencing anger, only rare people who skillfully can make it into a play for their advantage (or better: well being). Even the Buddhists or high educated monks tell that they as well feel the emotions all others do. But deal differently with them. Maybe Buddha or Jesus were special and some other role models we can think of through history and narratives.
A practitioner with long term practice may let go of the anger to zero (transform it). A not so skilled practitioner maybe manages it to stay around a 3.

Most of us are probably beginners, I include myself :) I guess, my number changes depending on with whom I get in touch.

If Mary after your encounter would have the experience that you were of assistance to her, this might be a very high state of dealing with anger. If she does not feel that way, I'd say that it doesn't harm and maybe sub-consciously she might change if she makes continuous positive experiences with her customers over time. It sounds mean somehow but we can thank the Mary's as they serve excellent opportunities for practice. LOL :-D

I am fine, thank you. Just experienced anger with my son. HaHa! Daily arguments about daily stuff.

How about you?

Hug you back!! <3

Edited! :D

I am also fine. Thank you :*

Oh! There you go we can thank the Marys, the sons, the relatives ... :)

Excellent discussion, as always!
While I don't occupy the upper echelons of philosophical and psychological thought that you do, I get all this.
I find it interesting that Marcus Aurelius and today's Louise Hays said the same things about the quality of thought determining happiness and, in Hays' case, health. Some things are just true, ineffably true.
Love this.

Look @owasco, I googled Louise Hay and this came up 😃

Louise L. Hay.png

That's the spirit!

Yes, like you, I also find quite incredible how thousands and thousands of years ago this sort of understanding was already among us. And here we are, still at the mercy of our cognitive distortions!

It is always wonderful seeing you around. And it is always very motivating to hear you liked what I posted! Thank you.

Sending you lots and lots of positive vibes all the way from across the ocean!

Have a wonderful and peaceful evening :)

This piece makes me so angry assertive, right now....! lol

Only really, only joking...In a way.

'anger is an energy' to quote the sex pistols - and as such, can be used for exceptional results.
(maybe I mean assertiveness, but I don't think so).

The word 'should' or 'shouldn't' is one of the most 'evil words' there is.( I wrote a whole post on this, in the dim and distance past).
It's also a very useful too to see how other's perceive the world, and their place in it.
(regarding the combination of IQ and ego.).

....Still not sure if I'm angry, though...grrrr :)

Nice to see you!

Hey @lucylin :)

It's so nice to hear from you and have your input about this topic. I see where you stand with regard to "the case for anger". I have extensively thought about this in the past and have recently revisited those thoughts. But, I am yet to come to a position I am happy with! Like you I don't believe "that kind" of anger is assertiveness either. Well, one day I will get there :)

Good point about the should/shouldn't mindset. It is an often accurate way to get to know people's attitude.

I just don't imagine you as an angry guy.

I trust everything is fine with the new project, house, doggie and Lucy.
Lots of love to you all.

I'm not an angry guy, far from it. ( I do get frustrated with people and their myopia).

I used to have lots of anger - but I know exactly how to channel it (now) to serve my own purposes.
I can produce like a workhorse, using the 'anger' energy.
It clarifies and focuses like nothing else, in my experience.

(my anger and frustration at the steem car crash for example, was the fuel for my new project - which probably has more daily 'real' users than steem. Well, probably not, actually- but getting there.
I can't even code!!!)

Everything is very peachy, thank you.

I really only post here nowadays when I have some spare time -and feeling particularly mischievous. Me? mischievous? I know - shocker!
(My productivity/profit has gone up a gazillion percent since I left this place).

Give Mr dantes my commiserations!!

my anger and frustration at the steem car crash for example, was the fuel for my new project.

Oh, I see. Thank you for saying this. It's a very good illustration (for me) of this whole "anger as a means for a greater good". I might be beginning to get it.

It is wonderful to hear that you've learnt new things, that you're profiting from it, but that you're still managing to stop by whenever you have a minute or two to spare :) Thank you.

I will send your compassionate message to Mr. Dantes :P

interesting exchange.

I wouldn't call that anger, but transformed anger that you didn't pass on to anyone. But the moment when anger arises and happens to meet someone else in your presence (which quite often happens when one is not living in isolation) is neither creative nor constructive.

Anger, as I feel it, makes me agitated, unfocused, I can no longer form normal sentences, my mouth becomes frayed, my heart beats fast, I make everything worse instead of better. The feeling afterwards is (when I let it out onto someone): I have lost something, not won. I feel unwell, a feeling of inadequacy.

To turn righteous anger into something creative and inspiring, on the other hand: I am all yours. It's good for something. Anger as a launch pad for an important topic for you, I also know that. But if you then sit there and write, think, feel, is that still anger? Probably not.

For me, the anger that acts as a launch pad (very true), is also the fuel that keeps me going forwards.

The best way to describe how I utilize that particular energy, is the I can 'revisit' the cause of the emotion, and 'tap into it', again, 'giving' me the energy once more, to give me continued impetus.
(I'm essentially lazy, and and need a bomb up my arse to get anything done! lol)

LOL! If you ask me, I really don't want to revisit that place of anger. It gives me sad and bad times to put me in that same mode. I start ruminating and having dialogues in my head which never happened and never will happen. You know, those brilliant sentences I would like to throw at someone who aggravated me. ... Of which I ACTUALLY know, that no other aggravated me but I do myself aggravate me. The other is long out of sight but I pretend he/she is still here.

Forgive me to be provocative, I of course understand that to feel agitated or irritated can have this wonderful quality to bring things into life which maybe only happen after an emotion of high arousal.

But I thought about it once again and... I would like to correct myself in a way... I cannot come up with an example where I felt the anger as the source of inspiration. It's things which make me wonder, curious and what I admire which are the fuels of action. Maybe it's just that my own anger surprises or even shocks me so much that it gets me started to get away from it, for I truly don't like to be in that state. So the launch pad there...

I cannot come up with an example where I felt the anger as the source of inspiration

I agree , it isn't the source of inspiration.
However, (for me) it can be the source of energy to apply elsewhere.

I think childhood hard wiring, over many years, is the reason I can utilize it the way I do.
I say, 'think', as I do not know - but if I had to put a bet on it, I'd say I do understand the why's of the origin of my processes.

However, (for me) it can be the source of energy to apply elsewhere.

Yes, thank you, that was what I thought would be more correct when we talk about "using/transforming" that anger.

I very much like that you say "think" as "knowledge" is truly a tricky thing.

Where is the origin of your process? Your childhood? I am asking for I sometimes think it's not only childhood, it's probably way earlier. LOL. From psychology and the systemics in that field I learned that everyone can re-create his childhood. Ultimately everything laying in the past or in the future is a narrative with the potential to be changed.

Off topic: May I ask you to take part in my latest post? I would like to at least get in more people to give me food for evaluation.

Maybe I scare people off as you see me commenting a hell lot of words. But I promise, if you don't want to, I won't :) - give me the numbers and I shell leave it at there.

Ultimately everything laying in the past or in the future is a narrative with the potential to be changed.

The past is the past and can't be changed.
You can deal with it, but not change it.
The future, of course, is down to yourself.
( I don't buy into postmodern 'reality is just narrative construct' - But that's a whole other philosophical discussion).

I'll go have a look at your post now....Happy to help.

( takes a hell of a lot more than words, to scare me! lol)

I am not an anger-prone person. In fact, it takes quite a significant amount of nonsense to get my blood boiling.

I guess we're even here Abbey.

I don't get angry easily. However, I believe that anger is a tool (more like a weapon) that can help someone to survive. But just like any other weapon, the outcome of it is dependent on the person that wields it. On the flip side; even though it might help someone to survive, it can also deny someone the chances of survival if it is used wrongly.

Anger itself may not be entirely bad but allowing it to control a major part of the person is what is bad.

Well, those are my thoughts though... I may be wrong.

PS: I like the scenario of Jesus that you referenced in the post. I've read those portions of the bible quite often.

Nice piece as usual Abbey. Much love from Nigeria

On the flip side; even though it might help someone to survive, it can also deny someone the chances of survival if it is used wrongly.

Nicely put Sammi. I like your thoughts very much. I have come across again and again this concept of how anger can yield positive outcomes. I confess I am a little puzzled by it and still am trying to come to terms with this idea in my own head. What you wrote here has helped to clarify things a little further. The weapon analogy is a very useful one :)

Thank you for your constant support, re-esteem and for always taking the time to share your wise rationale here with me Sammi I truly appreciate it and thank you from the bottom of my heart! I am also drawn to the teachings of Jesus Christ, I think he was a great philosopher who left a legacy of valuable insights about human conduct <3

Sending you bags of love from Portugal :* :D

Dealing with government officials often results in anger lol. I have a similar visa appointment in October that I'm not looking forward to. I suspect I'll be dealing with similar issues that I'm sure you dealt with. Probably the usual: "you're missing... (insert random document not listed as required on their official website). Make another appointment and come back in and do this process all over again."


Good for you for sticking up for yourself and being assertive. Sounds like you handled that like a pro!

Anger is a very complex emotion. I personally do not see it as a sign of unintelligence or anything like that, as stated by stoicism. The explanation that I always liked was that its adaptive function is to remove an obstacle or blockage. Anger often arises when when we are blocked from accomplishing a goal - Someone or something, stops us from doing something. That doesnt explain every circumstance, but it fits with many. Like many human behaviors though, there are many factors that influence it and many forms of the behavior, as you pointed out in your article.

What you said about situational and disprositional causes was interesting. That also sounds like the cognitive heuristic known as the fundamental attribution error. It's very similar.

Interesting read! I'm glad that the visa process worked out in the end for you.

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Anger often arises when when we are blocked from accomplishing a goal

It's interesting you'saying this now @leaky20. I've been looking into some psychoanalyses materials and came upon this case of a psychotherapist who had to see a 9-year-old boy. The boy had been diagnosed with high functioning autism and was presenting some pretty disturbing, violent tendencies/behavior.

After a few sessions the boy started spitting in his face. This went on for months! Until the therapist confessed "I'd reach a breaking point. I began to dread the anger I felt after each of his attacks." Only after seeing a senior colleague he realized that the anger he was feeling towards the boy was due to him (and the boy) being "stuck". Or, blocked. As you would say. I was quite taken aback by this! I had never seen anger from that angle. And here you are, just reinforcing this perspective :)

Yeah ... fundamental attribution error. I am tempted to use it interchangeably with correspondence bias. Some regard them as more or less equivalent. But, there are some subtle differences between the two ref..

But, Yep! All in all: "dealing with government officials often results in anger". Good luck with your appointment in October. It is very unlikely you will be experiencing frustration leaky, as you seem to have the right expectation in place! :P

Bye for now & take care :)

That's an interesting example. I can see why or how that would be frustrating and lead to anger.
I wasnt aware of correspondence bias. That's interesting. Thanks for the link. There are so many different cognitive heuristics and biases - how does one keep track? Hahaha

Thanks for the well wishes :)

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My goodness! Needless to say steem may not even be steem without your boisterous blog posts that basically thrills.
I love the way you alluded to Jesus's anger in the bible really, in my opinion I think that sometimes anger may be as a result of issues that keeps bickering from our past, it might also be inherited as a result of disappointment, deja Vu as well as anger that sometimes results for no reason at all.
In my stance, I noticed that some of the things that triggers my anger is when I'm basically sitting among the people who are called my distant relatives and when I'm basically experiencing an emotional love situation these are basically the things that spurs my anger and irrespective of even the kind of situation your faced with Maria, I hardly get angry. So it could be that Maria's case has to do with work-related issues and she might not even be that way, but it's definitely not an excuse to treat someone with anger. At the end of the day, it boils down to our deposition and control irrespective.

Hello there @josediccus :)

noticed that some of the things that triggers my anger is when I'm basically sitting among the people who are called my distant relatives and when I'm basically experiencing an emotional love situation these are basically the things that spurs my anger

Having said that, in case you're willing to stop such emotion from rising. It would be useful if you could identify the sorts of thoughts that go through your head in those given circumstances. Then, rationalize and tackle them in order to see things from a calmer, more realistic perspective :)

Thank you for the kind words my dear.
I wish you all the best always :*

Sometimes we really need our being calm and our poist, a lot of people´s behavior are like that especially those working with the government... They want to show they have power and authority... I´d be mad too, but it won´t bring anything except probably to slow down processing of appplication.

So true @mers :)

There are definitely situations that call for an extra sense of calm and composure! Especially when dealing with authority figures like that. There is always that feeling in the air that they might forget professionalism for a sec. just because one said something that wasn't to their liking. It's tense 😅

Thank you for stopping by and empathizing with me!

Have a great afternoon.

@abigail-dantes, For sure Paperwork sessions hold annoying situations too which leads to frustration and anger sometimes. But for sure with our thought process and by holding control towards our thoughts we can hold ourselves into the state of Patience and Kindness. Stay blessed.

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Hi @chireerocks :)

It's nice to see you around! Yep, allowing patience and kindness permeate our thoughts is the most effective way to deal with frustration and avoid again. Isn't it? I find interesting how this sort of wisdom that is used today in therapy rooms was already around thousands and thousands of years ago (Buddhism and Stoicism) :)

You too stay blessed my dear.
Have a wonderful afternoon.

For sure because we are nothing without Knowledge which is tranfered by our Ancestors.

Excellent post as usual. I don't get angry too often, but I was a very temperamental child.

That Maria sounds like a real piece of work.

It's always nice to see you around @tking77798 :) I am glad you enjoyed reading this article. Yes, let's just say that Maria is not my favourite person in the world :P

My now 9 year-old nephew is beginning to show signs of more patience and tolerance. But for a couple of years he was surprisingly irritable !

All the best to you & hugs to the doggie <3

There's a good TED talk on the topic: Why we get mad -- and why it's healthy. I wrote a short article about it back in June, here. The TED speaker tackles the subject from a different perspective, but makes some of the same points.

Hello there @remlaps,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. That is a nice, concise post you have there! I will sure watch that TED talk sooner than later over the next few days. I was mostly drawn to the part you said he discusses cognitive distortions (e.g. overgeneralizing, catastrophizing etc..). I am a big fan of the cognitive behavioural approach, and I think that sort of distorted thinking gives rise not only to anger, but to many other emotions attached to low mood :)

All the best to you.

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