What is Anger? (Anger Management Part 1)

Anger management is a common reason for seeking counseling whether you’re a teen or adult, man or woman, wealthy or just getting by. In other words, it’s a common struggle for Americans and you are not alone.

What is Anger? - blog post by Sharon Martin, LCSW SharonMartinCounseling.com

photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

First, anger is not inherently bad. All emotions are important cues to understanding ourselves and responding to our surroundings. Anger can let you know that something is wrong and needs to change. For example, if I feel angry when my friends are talking behind my back, that’s an important cue that I need to take some action. You might desire to feel peaceful all of the time, but in reality it wouldn’t be healthy for me to feel peaceful when my friends are mistreating me.

Where we get into trouble, is when we act aggressively when angry. My definition of aggression for this series of articles is behavior or speech that is disrespectful to others. Aggression often serves to blow off steam. As you know, however, it often causes more problems. You may very temporarily feel better after yelling at your boyfriend, but it causes damage to the relationship and may leave you feeling guilty and down on yourself. So, remember that verbal or physical aggression are not the same as anger. Anger is simply a feeling. And it’s what we choose to do with it that determines whether it’s helpful or harmful.


Click on the link to read part 2 of this series.


Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in Northern California, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in CA where she is available for online counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism and write the blog Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today.