Types of Anger

Feeling angry?

There are many different types of anger. Read on to learn more about these types, as well as some tips on how to deal with them.

Anger and Its Causes

Anger can be described as a strong emotional response to displeasure or antagonism. That seems like a very neat and clinical definition for a very powerful emotion that can seem to, at times, come out of nowhere. Perhaps the best way to understand anger is to look at some of its primary causes. For example, consider:

  • Frustration: Waiting in a long line is a form of frustration (not getting what you want) that can lead to anger.
  • Hurt: Some people use anger to cover up deep feelings of hurt.
  • Annoyance: Annoyance can occur when people are deterred from their plans. For example, you finally get the day off from work and fully intend to spend the day lounging and reading a good book, but then a pipe in your house bursts. Obviously, you have to immediately attend to that problem, and your plans? Well, they're now out the window.
  • Disappointment: Expecting one thing and getting another can cause anger.

The Different Types of Anger

Knowing what some of the causes of anger are can also help to explain some of the different types of anger. Even though there is no psychological grouping of anger, the most commonly accepted ones are:

Categories of Anger
Anger Explanation
Passive Aggressive Anger Passive aggressive anger is one of the most common ways of expressing anger. People with this type of anger never directly say that they are angry. Instead, they tend to use sarcasm, or "forget to do things" to get their anger across. This leaves people around them feeling confused, while the passive aggressive person just sits there looking "innocent".
Paranoid Anger Feeling threaten by others or believing that everyone is out to "get me" is common with this type of anger.
Sudden Anger The term "sudden anger" means that the anger seems to come out of nowhere. This type of anger tends to happen quickly and is usually over just as quickly, but it can leave a mass of destruction in its wake. The key factor in understanding this type is that it is a sudden loss of control.
Shame-Based Anger These individuals are extremely sensitive, but they also need a lot of attention. When they receive criticism from others, it sets off their own personal belief that they are worthless and unlovable. This makes them very angry, so they'll then ridicule, blame and criticize others. Unfortunately, this usually leads to attacking the very people that they love.
Planned Anger Planned anger is anger that is deliberate. This type is all about control, so at first, you won't even know that this person is angry. This person's main goal is to achieve power by threatening or bullying others.
Additive Anger As one can imagine from its name, people with this type of anger are literally addicted to it. They look forward to the rush and excitement that this emotion provides. People with this anger type also tend to pick fights because they are looking for an emotional "high".
Habitual Anger Anger has become a habit. These people are grumpy and they usually tend to get angry at small things. They may also go through their days looking for a fight and they tend to see the worst in everyone, and in every situation. Stuck in a rut, these people usually become very predictable over time.
Moral Anger These people feel that they have every right to be angry at others who have broken the "rules". This gives them the sense that they are superior to everybody else and they believe that their anger is for a good cause. Seeing the world too simply, and failing to understand that people are different from the way they are, is a hallmark of this anger style.

Coping with Anger

While it's true that we all have a different anger style, it helps to remember that anger is a universal emotion; everyone expresses it differently, but everyone "experiences" it. These tips can help cool you down when you're hot under the collar:

  • Take a few minutes to calm down before discussing the problem. This does not mean you should ruminate during the "time-out" period.
  • Be assertive, not aggressive when making your points. Express yourself firmly, but do not insult the other person.
  • Talk it over with a friend before you confront the person you are angry with.
  • Try to find the humor in the situation.
  • Do something physical to channel your energy.
  • Go work on a hobby for a little while. If you love to garden or build model airplanes, do that. Engaging in an enjoyable activity can help keep you calm.

Putting It All Together

There are many different types of anger, but people are much more fluid in their personalities than these categories might suggest. This is why it is not unusual to find yourself identifying with one or more of these categories. No matter where you happen to fall within the spectrum, employing some of the coping strategies will help.

Also, it's important to remember that anger serves best when it's channeled into something constructive. Thinking in this new way can open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Types of Anger