Anger has a bad reputation. However, in itself it is not a bad thing. It’s a human response. When we use anger as a place to understand ourselves and others better, it is an angel in disguise. Let’s look at some of the distortions of anger.


Blaming: “You did this,” name calling, not taking responsibility, getting on the other’s case. The response is usually defensive.“She’s sooooo emotional. He’s tooo good for us.” Sarcasm is a distancing, protective response.

Sarcasm: “She’s sooooo emotional. He’s tooo good for us.” Sarcasm is a distancing, protective response.

Aggression: “They don’t think like I do, so I told everybody to treat them like poison.” The more pain someone has endured, the more they will react in an aggressive manner. Aggression comes from not having tools to discuss disappointments or the ability to self soothe.

Vindictiveness: “He stole my girlfriend so I broke into his locker.” “She wouldn’t give me what she owed me so I stole it from her wallet.” A tit for a tat. Control is used to relieve feeling one-down.

Viciousness: “I told everybody your secrets because you said you didn’t like me.” “You went out with my boyfriend so I told all my friends not to speak to you.” Viciousness is used to create distance. It’s called “Hitting below the belt”. It takes advantage of the other’s vulnerability.

Punitiveness: “You didn’t show up on time last week, so this week I made you wait for me. How does it feel?” Punitiveness is punishing the other for a past hurt rather than allowing your vulnerability to show.

Sadism: “I tripped that nerd just as he was headed for the bus.”“I just thought it was funny to tickle her until she cried.” “Can’t you take a practical joke?” Sadists were often abused as children. They repeat what was done to them and can only be sadistic to someone smaller and weaker. Practical jokes are often sadistic.

Passive: “I’m not going to tell her I’m upset, I’m just going to not answer her phone calls.”
You agree to go to your friend’s dinner, but show up an hour late. You forget to do the errands your husband wanted you to do. You don’t share what bothers you. You manipulate others to feel bad by withdrawing into silence.

Manipulation: “I’ll go to that lecture with you, if I can go out drinking with the boys later tonight.” “I’ll go to see that movie with you, but don’t expect me to be in a good mood. I’ll go to your favorite restaurant, but don’t expect me to enjoy it.” It is used to control or intimidate others as a way of getting what you want without asking.

Scapegoating: “It’s your fault I didn’t get that promotion, you were always nagging at me so I didn’t do my best.” “It’s your fault I kicked the dog, you burned the dinner again.” Scapegoating is similar to blaming. It is using someone or something to stop you from taking responsibility for your actions.

Next, let’s look at what anger really is and how we can learn to take good care of it. Anger is very destructive when you don’t know how to listen to it and use it for self growth.


Anger is a natural response to something happening in the present or something that happened in the past. Sometimes the cause is unknown, but you can feel it. It is often a cover up for sorrow or fear. The expression of it may not always be appropriate.

If trust in the feeling of anger is developed the feeling can be explored and the reason may emerge. This is often the case in the body/mind/spirit process that I teach.

It is a way to establish boundaries and let others know what evokes your anger. When expressed appropriately it is brief, open and direct. Others know where you stand and so do you.

Feeling angry is a natural, positive response. The expression of it may need cleaning up.

Suppression of feelings –– including anger can lead to headaches, depression, feelings of hopelessness and anxiety. Appropriate expression of painful feelings is healthy.

A path to self care When the misuse of anger is replaced by positive and protection communication with yourself and others it allows for a deepening in all relationships. The world becomes a more nurturing place.

We all have “triggers” or vulnerable places within us that evoke anger. It is a self protective body response. Like an onion, we all have many layers of past experiences that were hurtful. As we begin to discover and peel back the onion, we expand our awareness of ourselves and others. This is a spiritual path that leads to great compassion for all things. It takes a mighty warrior to walk the continued path of this daily discovery.