How To Deal With Anger

Everyone has anger.  Understanding where it comes from and how to deal with it is what this article is about.

Where Anger Comes From

Anger comes from one of four sources.

1.  Abuse
2.  Doing Wrong
3.  Force
4.  Things beyond our control

Source 1:  Abuse

When people are abused, particularly as children, they develop a deep sense of unresolved anger.

Did you grow up in an abusive, dysfunctional home?  Were you verbally abused?  Physically abused?  Sexually abused?  Were you made to feel unworthy?  Did you feel emotionally trapped?  Were you unable to express yourself?

People who are abused feel hate, mistrust and vengeance.

Anger is a natural expression of ABUSE.

Source 2:  Doing Wrong

Have you ignored doing what’s right in life?  Do you lie, steal or cheat when it suits your situation?  

Doing wrong creates anger in yourself and others.  Why?  Because doing wrong brings consequences.  People are going to react to the untruth you bring to their lives and you in turn will react to them.

Anger is a natural expression of DOING WRONG.

Source 3:  Force

People are like springs.  The harder you push, the more they resist and the angrier they become.  People have free wills and they don’t like to be forced.  Not only will trying to change people not work, but you’ll feel frustration, anxiety and your own anger as well.

Anger is a natural expression of FORCE.

Source 4:  Things Beyond Our Control

There are many situations in life that we have no control over: like backed-up traffic, someone pulling out in front of us, people taking advantage of us, etc..  When things don’t go our way we get irritable, frustrated and angry.

Anger is a natural expression of THINGS BEYOND OUR CONTROL.

How To Deal With Anger

Dealing with anger is a 3 step process:

1.  Identify the source of your anger.
2.  Identify the emotions behind your anger.
3.  Deal with primary emotions.

1.  Identify the Source of Your Anger

Using the 4 sources of anger listed above, identify your source(s) of anger.  This will help you understand where your anger comes from and what situations in life trigger your anger today.

However, those who were abused may not remember the details of their abuse.

You can combat this by writing down the bits and pieces of your life that you can remember.  Start revisiting certain “sections” of your life.  What happened during your child hood?  Write it down.  What happened on certain holidays.  Write it down.  Why is this helpful?  Because writing things down makes that which was EMOTIONALLY INCOMPREHENSIBLE (thus your loss of memory) LOGICALLY COMPREHENSIBLE.

In time you’ll begin to remember the details of your abuse.

Now, with your source(s) of anger in mind...

2.  Identify the Emotions Behind Your Anger

We’ve been talking about the emotion of anger, and to some extent fear and sorrow as well.  But anger, fear and sorrow are actually only the EXTERNAL expressions (known as secondary emotions) of INTERNAL emotions known as primary emotions.

Primary emotions are the emotions we are interested in.

Here is a list of some of those emotions:

Abandoned, exhausted, ignored, stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, resentful, intolerant, unforgiving, imposed upon, persecuted, ashamed, inadequate, pressured, pushed, controlled, attacked, misunderstood, frantic, unjustly treated, put down, betrayed, frustrated, intimidated, rejected, burdened, grieved, isolated, cheated, bitter, hateful, guilty, insecure, threatened, criticized, helpless, left out, trapped, defeated, hopeless, depressed, doubtful, lonely, dominated, out of control, hurt, nervous, worried etc..

Do you see yourself in any of these primary emotions?

Dealing with anger is being able to identify your primary emotion(s) and then being able to deal with those emotions.

3.  Deal with Primary Emotions

Do you see where the battle is?  It’s not in trying to squelch, deny or repress the external emotions of anger, fear or sorrow— it’s dealing with the internal emotions that cause them.

In that regard, let’s take a second look at the 4 sources of anger and see if we can identify Biblical ways in dealing with the primary emotions caused by these sources of anger.

Source 1:  Abuse

Dealing with the primary emotions caused by abuse is a TALL order, but the Bible is explicit in what has to be done.  

We have to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15).

When we forgive, we release people from the power they have over us.  It allows us to move on and grow in love.

This is not easy to do because our human nature expects justice.

You may ask, where is the justice in forgiving people of their abuse?  But remember, forgiving someone is not condoning their behavior.  It may be that God uses you to speak out against the very abuses that affected you: incest, pedophilia, and mind control.

Forgiving someone just frees you from their control over you.  It tells God that you seek HIS justice, not yours (Romans 12:19).  Forgiving is also about trusting God.  We don’t always see the big picture, but God does.  He can take what was meant for harm and turn it into a blessing— if you let Him.

Maybe you feel: overwhelmed, helpless, betrayed.

Here are a few scriptures that will help you deal with your primary emotions:

God cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7
Matthew 11:28-30
Philippians 4:6-7

Source 2:  Doing Wrong

In my book Truth Based Thinking I discuss 3 types of truth:  relative truth, absolute truth and transcendent truth.  What we learn is that while each type of truth has basis, some truth is higher than others.

Here is what I would say to those who justify wrong doing in their life.  Absolutes exist.  You may think that you can justify from your “relative” perspective of cheating and lying, because “no one’s going to know”— but God knows.  His laws dictate the outcome of your happiness.  If you want to get rid of the anger, fear or sorrow in your life, then you have to change your ways.  You have to honor the words of God (Psalms 119:9). 

Maybe you feel: misunderstood, bitter, inadequate.

Here are a few scriptures that will help you deal with your primary emotions:

Get your life in order by trusting in God’s word.

1 Peter 2:1
James 3:13-16
Romans 8:31

Source 3:  Force

Perhaps you’ve had someone “do unto you,”  so you are going to “do unto them”.  Are you a person of agenda’s?  Do you see life as something you need to control in order to be happy?  Forcing situations and people is not trusting God.  Do you believe God’s got your life under control?

When people force you, maybe you feel: pushed, dominated, controlled.

Here are a few scriptures that will help you deal with your primary emotions:

God’s in control, so you don’t have to be.

Matthew 6:25-27
Romans 8:28
Luke 12:20-22

Source 4: Things Beyond Our Control

Who hasn’t been frustrated by a driver that pulls in front of us.  Immediately we get angry.  Why?  Perhaps it’s what we see in the "flash" of what could have been an accident.

Being late for work.  Missing work.  The cost of an accident.  The hassle.

Maybe this experience makes you feel: stressed, guilty, frustrated.

Here are a few scriptures that will help you deal with your primary emotions:

Give it to God.

Proverbs 29:11
James 1:19-20
Matthew 6:27


We all have anger.  That’s because life bears down on us and hurts us.  But the expression of anger based on the negative pain we’ve suffered, does not allow God to produce His righteousness in us (James 1:19-20).

If we want to live Godly lives, then we must deal with our anger, fear and sorrow.  We do that by discovering the primary emotions driving our behavior and apply God’s word to them.  God’s word reprograms our thought life and gives us effective thinking.

My prayer is that God will help you deal with your anger.  That you will let His words and presence be a balm to your soul.