Managing Anger

Anger is a surface emotion which results when

  • you feel devalued, rejected, or invalidated
  • you have a need that is not met
  • something is contrary to your personal convictions

Anger is a God-given emotion and, therefore, is not necessarily bad.  If handled properly, it can be used for positive influence. It's how you handle anger that is important.


How do you most commonly express anger?

When do you most often feel angry?

Is it directed toward a specific person(s) or situation(s)?


How you handle anger is actually a matter of choice.  Five possible ways of managing this emotion are:

  • Suppression
  • Outward aggression
  • Passive aggression
  • Assertiveness
  • Letting go of it

SUPPRESSION is denying that you are angry. Believing that all anger is bad leads to thinking, "I can never allow myself to show anger." This results because:

  • We have been taught that all anger is bad and is not a normal emotion.
  • We desire to appear morally superior to others by not showing any weakness or imperfection.

OPEN AGGRESSION is taking your stand while being insensitive to someone else's needs.  It includes explosiveness, being sarcastic, complaining, arguing, criticizing, and blaming.  It results from:

  • Spending too much energy on unimportant imperfections that you cannot change anyway
  • Personal insecurities (an attempt to make your needs known)

PASSIVE AGGRESSION is a quiet way of expressing anger but still is insensitive to someone else's needs.  It includes becoming silent, refusing to cooperate, being deliberately evasive, procrastinating, sulking and pouting, denying that anything is wrong when asked, and complaining behind a person's back.  The passive aggressive person desires to have control without openly expressing his anger.

ASSERTIVENESS is a positive means of protecting your personal worth, needs, and convictions while being mindful of the other person's feelings and needs.  The goal is to take your stand by communicating in a constructive manner.  To accomplish this you must:

  • Focus on non-trivial issues
  • Speak in a respectful tone of voice

LETTING GO OF ANGER is necessary when you realize that nothing else will work.  Although you may have tried making adjustments or being assertive, you realize you cannot control the situation so you accept your personal limits.  It is YOUR choice to tolerate the other person's differences, put away angry feelings, and choose to forgive (Ephesians 4:31-32). 

Be aware that just because you make this choice once does not mean you will never again feel angry toward this person or situation.  New events may cause old hurts and frustrations to resurface.  Remind yourself of your choice to forgive and commit to the same choice with this new episode. 

You may find it helpful to

  • Live one day at a time.  Don't worry about tomorrow's frustrations with this person/situation.
  • Talk with a trusted friend.  Make yourself accountable.
  • Write down your frustrations.  Choose to let them go.

Find out more about Christian counseling.

Related Articles and Devotionals:
Anger devotional
What Do You Know About Anger?
A Jealous Heart
How Are You Handling Anger?

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