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Types of Anger

Anger is an entirely natural emotion that we are all familiar with. Despite this fact however it can still be nasty and lead to unfounded behaviour and impaired judgement, possibly resulting in physical or emotional or discomfort. While some degrees of anger are seamlessly healthy and normal others pose more of a severe problem. Understanding how anger can manifest itself in diverse ways and knowing the distinct types of anger in addition to the different ways people can react to them, can aid you to control your own anger and understand the responses in others.

Psychologists have tried to categorise and label the diverse forms of anger as they do numerous different abstract conceptions. Nonetheless, there is no actual agreement on how many types of anger there are, and professionals vary in their estimates from at least eight to twelve.

The problem here is the fact that anger is essentially completely unique in every manifestation and highly prompted by the circumstance causes and the person if only for the fact that you’ve experienced anger in the past it will be dissimilar when it later occurs.

Hence any resource that asserts there are without doubt 8 types of anger are misrepresentative

Categorisation work continues, nevertheless, as they still have their circumstance uses.

Below are eight forms of anger that are equitably and widely settled upon:

Chronic Anger - Chronic anger defines an ongoing underlying type of anger frequently caused by an indiscriminate dislike of life and of other individuals. On the other hand, this can be caused by anger focussed at the self. Such protracted anger is extremely unhealthy and puts strain on the immune system and is closely associated to depression and other temperament disorders.

Volatile Anger - Volatile anger comes and goes and can be fiery and extreme when it does. This is frequently triggered by an apparent wrong or a personal annoyance and is one of the more treacherous forms of anger leading possibly towards physical or verbal outpourings. Anger management practices are predominantly affective against volatile anger, and those who experience it regularly should learn to recognise the signs and symptoms, then calm themselves down by focussing on their breathing or eliminating themselves from the circumstance.

Judgemental Anger - This is anger because of unfavourable judgements made about other people or situations and is also a form of resentment or detestation. This can then be voiced as critical, derisive or hurtful comments focused at the source of the anger.

Passive Anger - Passive anger is anger that is ingeniously hidden by the individual that it comes out in a non-obvious manner. In some circumstances, the individual may even be oblivious themselves that they are expressing a suppressed form of anger. This can make it one of the most problematic types of anger to manage or even identify. Passive anger may be conveyed through sarcasm, evasion or by resolutely performing subpar or arriving late. For instance, a disgruntled employee may begin to work less efficiently to ‘get back’ at their boss and may even be oblivious that they are doing so up until they are confronted about it.

Overwhelmed Anger - Overwhelmed anger results when circumstances turn out to be too great for an individual to handle. This anger is closely associated to frustration and is an alternate reaction to the ‘learned helplessness’ reaction where a person simply gives up on a situation. Overwhelmed anger can be instigated either by a situation - for instance having a tight deadline and a lot of significant things to do, or by life in general - for instance finding work too challenging or struggling to raise children.

Retaliatory Anger - This is anger that is focussed at a person, or group, in order to to get back at them for an alleged wrong on their behalf. For instance, this type of anger may be instigated by an insult or by a business declining to refund defective merchandise. This is another dangerous type of anger and is basically the motivation for engagements in revenge

Self-inflicted Anger - This is anger that is focused towards the self, infuriation or for failing on a task, for instance, or for being ‘weak’ or ‘incompetent’ in one’s own perceptiveness. This can then lead to self-harm either fervently or physically or can manifest itself more imperceptibly as an eating disorder, or self-sabotage or self-deprecation.

Constructive Anger - This is different from the other types of anger in that it can essentially be a positive thing. Constructive anger refers to anger that provokes positive reform, or action, such as protesting. It’s probable to use this type of anger yourself to get things done and generate drive and motivation. For instance, before going to the gym you may desire to get yourself worked up and then ‘take it out’ on the weights. This way, your activity turns out to be a form of release for anger you have purposefully generated. In the same way if you feel you have been aggrieved or suffered an injustice at the hands of someone else, or an institution, but would usually be too shy or apprehensive to stand up for yourself. This would lead you to get angrier, - use this as a tactic to overcome that fear (anger can be used to overcome fear in most situations)

All our emotions have survival significance which is why we have them in the first place. Nevertheless, it is still imperative to remember that these eight types of anger in no way define every possible variation, and every person's experiences will be diverse and distinctive.

it’s also probable that one form of anger may perhaps fall under more than just one of these types - for instance, it may be retaliatory in that its retribution is motivated, yet passive, in the way it’s voiced. These types of anger should only be used as a rough parameter and to categorise potential origins and instances of anger that you may otherwise have been unaware of.

Different Phases/Forms of Anger

Anger derives from the Latin word, angere, which means to strangle. Anger strangles everyone on a number of diverse levels. It is the emotion which is perhaps the most accustomed to the majority of us. A regular finding in those individuals who have low self-esteem, ulcers, migraines, heart attacks, substance and drug abuse problems, troubled work and social relationships and frequent employment loss is that they are not capable of mastering their anger. Instead of controlling their anger, their anger controls them. Although anger is not the only cause of these difficulties, the perpetual presence of anger in such individuals point out that it is a major factor in all of these complications. Too much anger can be deadly.

Anger and aggression result in disease of all sorts. It is physically poignant and has detrimental physiological correlates, such as amplified heart rate, more cortisol which is a stress hormone that is dumped into your system, headaches, muscle tension, reduced mental clarity and blocked arteries.

Anger indicates the fact that someone, or something, has come amid you and a preferred goal. It is a call to action. The goal could be as simple as trying to get home through rush hour when another driver crudely cuts you off on the way. The anger is often confused with the actions. You take while angry. This is not the case with fear. You will not confuse the emotion fear with the act of hiding or running away. Nevertheless, anger is almost always assumed to be negative and damaging, notwithstanding the fact that anger itself is purely a feeling.

Anger, in itself, if not acted upon, is instructive and not destructive. Anger can, as well, be a good thing. On the other hand, for anger to be constructive, you must learn to control your emotions. Then you have a choice as to how you wish to react to anger's signal.

To lessen some of this misperception around anger, there are at least four phases of anger:

Anger at Yourself

The first phase is anger focused inwardly at oneself. The anger settles inside and burns and aggravates. After abundant anger has been spun inward, it ultimately leads to untimely angry explosions at undeserving and innocent individuals. Studies indicate that most people turn 90% of their anger inwards. Most of this anger is an effort to control and hold the frightening emotion of anger. Anger can cause rage-filled, intense behaviours. Instead of feeling the anger, honouring the feeling, and letting go of it, most us bottle it up. This bloated anger is toxic and results in all kinds of negative health consequences. It also causes displaced anger where you get angry with the wrong individual, at the wrong time, and to the wrong degree.

Anger at Others

The second phase of anger is directed outward. This phase builds upon itself and can often lead to rage. This form of outward-directed anger is characteristically directed onto the wrong individual, at the wrong time and in the wrong way. Both of the first two forms of anger are damaging. Destructive anger comprises anger that is absorbed inward and never released, and anger that is unbecomingly directed outward to others. Anger directed at others may be unfitting in terms of its target, its intensity, its timing, and the mode in which it is communicated.


The third phase of anger occurs in tandem with sorrow and most closely bears a resemblance to disappointment. Disappointment typically involves a judgment that has not been reached or achieved. Judgments are the basis of trouble for everybody. Judgments typically encompass an element of moral supremacy, as if you recognise what is best for somebody else. Always stay away from judgments.

Constructive Anger

The fourth phase of anger is the form used as a positive instigator to act to eliminate an obstacle that is inhibiting you from attaining a goal. This form of anger can be constructive anger, that is to say, an anger that is swiftly released and stimulates you to act in a progressive manner to remove the hindrance from your pathway. Constructive anger essentially provides you with an insistent attitude which empowers you to drive forward to solve a given difficulty. These four forms/phases of anger have been proven through numerous methods – reports from matters in scientific studies, physiological evidence, and social behavioural data. When growing your emotional awareness, part of the assignment is to learn the assortment of subtle emotional variances within an individual family of emotion. The better prepared we are to create subtle distinctions within an emotion, for instance anger, the better able you are to share with others the level of feeling you are presently experiencing. With that in mind, let us focus on the bodily cues that anger is responsible for.

Physiological Cues of Anger

To break the cycle of anger, you have capture the early warning signs…So pay attention!

When you start to feel angry, blood flows to your hands and feet, making it easier to attack at your apparent enemy, your heart rate rises, a gust of adrenaline kicks in and your body gets ready for potent action. Anger results in a surge of chemicals (catecholamine’s) which creates a swift, one-time rush of verve to sanction for one short-lived shot at physical action. In the meantime, in the background, alternative sets of chemicals, comprising cortisol, is released via the adrenocortical branch towards the nervous system that produces a framework of physical readiness. This emotional feeling continues much longer than the first one-time surge and can even last for hours or days. This undercurrent keeps the brain in a distinct state of over arousal, constructing a foundation on which responses can occur with great swiftness.

Compassion as the Antidote to Anger

If you desire to moderate your anger, think of the world as kind and nurturing. As such it is designed to reward kind, nurturing behaviours in people. Compassion goes beyond both natural human kindness and customary Christian concern, allowing one to sense in others an extensive range of emotions, and then offer a supportive basis of caring. Compassion comes about when an   individual is moved by the pain or distress of another, and by the yearning to relieve it. Compassion is empathy, not sympathy. It is the identification with, and the appreciation, of another's circumstance, feelings, and intentions. This capacity to put oneself in the other individual's shoes functions as the perfect antidote to anger in which one identifies an obstacle to one's goals. The goal is to appreciate the situation from the standpoint of the other individual. Regularly, this involves construing the circumstances with a large degree of grace.

Here’s an example:

“I am driving 80 kilometres per hour on the highway. A car comes up behind me doing 100 kmph. The driver of the other car approaches inches from my rear bumper in a frantic attempt to get me to move aside. At this stage, my prior interpretation was "that idiot! What does he/she think he's/she's doing? I'm going 80 kmph! I'll show him/her." And then I let up the gas to slow down even more.

My current interpretation is He’s/she’s perhaps trying to get to the hospital. Maybe there has been an accident."

…And I go on to change lanes and let him/her pass. No anger.

You can practise being less angry and, as an effect, happier. It may take time and it takes a lot practice and awareness, but it's worth every ounce of work you put into it.

Anger Avoidance

These individuals don’t like anger very much. Several them are afraid of their anger, or anger from others.

Deliberate Anger

This is using anger to achieve power over a position or individual.

Sneaky Anger

This form is subtle and never lets others know they are angry.

Shame-Based Anger

Individuals who require a lot of consideration, or are very sensitive to reproach, often develop this form of anger. The slightest criticism sets off some kind of shame.

Sudden Anger

People with sudden anger are like storms on a summer day. They take off from nowhere, flare everything in sight, and then disappear. On occasion it’s only a big show that goes away.

Addictive Anger

Some individuals desire or need the strong emotional state that comes with anger. They want the intensity; even though they do not desire the trouble their anger causes them.


Hate is a kind of hardened anger. It is a nasty form of anger that occurs when somebody decides that at least one other individual is utterly evil or bad. Tolerating the other person seems impossible as an alternative, the hater undertakes to despise the offender. Hate starts out as anger that did not get resolved.

Habitual Anger

Anger can develop into a bad habit. Habitually angry individuals find themselves getting angry every so often, generally about trivial things that may not bother others. They wake up cranky.

Violent Behaviour

All these kinds/forms of anger can all lead to some form of violent behaviour. It habitually begins with verbal threats or reasonably minor incidents, however over time it can encompass physical harm. Violent behaviour is very destructive, both physically and emotionally. Violent behaviour can comprise physical, sexual or verbal abuse of a close partner, a child or an older adult.


Aggression is the acting out of anger in an open verbal or physical way that is potentially hurtful or harmful to others. If you behave aggressively, there is little doubt that you have already received feedback and possible negative consequences about what you said or did. Of all the faces of anger, being aggressive is the quickest way to get into trouble with others and creates serious problems in your life and relationships. In contrast to hostility, aggression is clearly directed at others (or occasionally objects, like a car that won’t start) with a goal of attaining an objective by intimidating,

demeaning, or inflicting harm. Many people consider being aggressive in physical terms. Certainly, physically touching another individual in anger by hitting, slapping, or holding them; falls within most definitions of being aggressive or abusive. Not only is such behaviour offensive to most of us, but it can result in significant injury and harm to the body, emotions, and the human spirit.

Nearly always, such physical aggression is supplemented by words that can be similarly damaging, even if no physical injury takes place. This is referred to as verbal abuse; aggression via words has been found to be a predictor of subsequent physical violence. Even if aggression stops with words, the damage inflicted by verbal threats, demeaning statements, and name- calling can be equal to, and sometimes surpasses, the immediate injury caused by physical acting out. It is imperative for us to address verbal forms of aggression since most aggression typically begins in this manner and so that you can be aware of when the line is crossed from intense discussion, or disagreement, to abusive and harmful statements.

Negative labelling

This is characterizing another individual using negative labels that demean or demonize. The problem with this name- calling is that it treats the other as an object and not as a valued human being whom you happen to differ with. The problem with objectifying another person is that it is easier to mistreat or injure a labelled object than a living human being. Therefore a “moron,” “bitch,” “lazy jerk,” “incompetent,” “fool,” or worse loses his/her humanity.

Research literature tells us that people who are negatively labelled are much more likely to be the objects of physical violence in the future. A good example is tribalism, where one group or tribe objectifies another or others with labels that justify unfair treatment.

Contemptuous statements

Critiquing or belittling the abilities and characteristics of another individual can hurt just as much as using negative labels; by criticizing another individual’s appearance, personality, intelligence or any other personal characteristics.

Some examples of contempt include;

- “What is the matter with you?” (implies the other has major faults and defects.)

- “You never get it right! Where is your mind?” (diminishes the other person’s intelligence/ability.)

- “I knew I couldn't count on you!" (implies incompetence.)

- “Why can’t you try to look more attractive?" (implies a flaw in physical appearance.)

- “You are impossible to have a discussion - You constantly start conflicts!” (implies a disagreeable personality.)

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Classifying Anger