Anger is a very human emotion. It is a common, valid, and healthy emotion when expressed in appropriate ways. On the other hand, inappropriately expressed anger can have devastating effects on personal relationships, work, and the overall quality of one's life. Anger is believed to be at the root of many family and societal problems (e.g., child abuse, incest, verbal and physical, and community violence). Anger, expressed or unexpressed, may disrupt one's work site and performance, interfere with one's problem solving capacity, contribute to health problems, and increase one's feelings of isolation.
Americans are not particularly comfortable with expressing anger; in fact, many children are taught not to express or show their anger. This child-rearing attitude toward anger may produce adults who feel frustrated and unable to express how they feel inside, instead storing and suppressing their anger.
Anger can be the result of a wounded ego (pride), of unreasonable expectations of others and of self, or even of repeated hostile fantasies. Anger can be used manipulatively to "get" one's way, to fault others for one's perceived shortcomings (i.e., displacement or projection), to justify oppressing others, to feel better about oneself, and/or to conceal or "handle" other feelings (i.e., becoming aggressive when afraid).
A few working definitions are in order. What is anger?
Tucker-Ladd (1996), a psychologist, defines anger as "feeling mad in response to frustration or injuryàanger is separate from the behavior it might prompt." Charles Spielberger, Ph.D., a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger, defines anger as "an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage" (APA, 2000).
What is frustration? Also from Tucker-Ladd (1996), "It is the feeling we get when we don't get what we want, when something interferes with our gaining a desired and expected goal." He de...