How To Know If You Have Anger Issues

Updated: Sep 17

Let’s begin with two simple questions:


How do you know if you are an angry person?


Can you tell the difference between being genuinely upset and having a real anger management problem?



It is worth remembering that anger can be positive, motivational, and appropriate in many situations. It is, after all, an adaptive survival response that allows us to respond to situations where we face a threat to our physical well-being. However, when expressed out of context it can become a liability.


Anger is expressed on a continuum, with calm being the starting point, and blind rage topping the scale. Most people experience graded anger that falls somewhere between these two extremes. Overtly angry people don't, however. Their experience is polemic with no happy medium. They also have difficulty in recognising when they are in a state of anger too. For some, the anger is consistent, simmering away below the surface, tainting their everyday lives and the lives of those around them.


Here’s some pointers to help you find out whether you need to take stock of your anger and do something about it:



Impatient and Interrupting

Angry people have little patience. They often interrupt during conversations as they find difficulty in waiting for others to complete what they are saying. Even when they do let others finish, they sometimes fidget, pretend to listen, whilst not necessarily paying attention to the conversation.


Moan, moan, moan!

People who constantly complain with undue venom about others, who are excessively vehement in their condemnation of politics, sport and life for example, often have a deep wellspring of seething anger that gets projected towards any perceived indiscretions. Rarely is this anger aimed at its source which may well have been lost in the mists of time.


Holding on to the Grudge Grinch

Never letting go or forgiving someone is a warning sign that anger is bubbling away under the surface. For the overtly angry, past conflicts are never allowed resolution and are kept constantly at the forefront of their mind. The memory becomes distorted and generalised, stoking the flames of anger as they relive the frustration, pain, and resentment each time they recall the wrong - whether it’s real or simply perceived.


Radiating Rage

Our skin is said to be an outward expression of inner turmoil, reflecting our inner emotional state in a way that is sometimes difficult to hide. The classic red-faced angry cartoon character is an exaggeration of the physiological responses to anger. Blood rushes to the face as a visual warning to "back off!" Muscles tense, adrenaline flows, respiration rate rises, and the heart pumps faster. All well and good if you only feel anger occasionally. But so much more of a liability if you are constantly angry. Numerous studies have shown that angry people are more likely to have high blood pressure and to suffer a stroke or heart attack.


Sensitive Souls

Angry people are always hyper vigilant as they monitor their surroundings and the people that inhabit their environment. Throw away comments that most would pay little or no attention to are like a red rag to a bull for a person of an angry disposition. Quick to take offence, they lash out seemingly for no reason.


Sharing the Schadenfreude

Angry people display a lack of compassion and empathy. Quick to condemn and slow to praise, some revel in the schadenfreude phenomena: taking an inordinate amount of pleasure in the misfortune of others.



It is worth remembering that anger can be positive, motivational, and appropriate in many situations. It is, after all, an adaptive survival response that allows us to respond to situations where we face a threat to our physical well-being. However, when expressed out of context it can become a liability.


As a final pointer, here's a list of common physiological and psychological signs of anger. Take note, be aware, and don't let grind anger you down.



Facing up to the Physical


Some physical signs of anger include:

  • clenching your jaws or grinding your teeth

  • headache

  • stomach ache

  • increased and rapid heart rate

  • sweating, especially your palms

  • feeling hot in the neck/face

  • shaking or trembling

  • dizziness


Emotionally you may feel:

  • like you want to get away from the situation

  • irritated

  • sad or depressed

  • guilty

  • resentful

  • anxious

  • like striking out verbally or physically


Also, you may notice that you are:

  • rubbing your head

  • cupping your fist with your other hand

  • pacing

  • getting sarcastic

  • losing your sense of humour

  • acting in an abusive or abrasive manner

  • craving a drink, a smoke or other substances that relax you

  • raising your voice

  • beginning to yell, scream, or cry


For more information on how you or your company can effectively manage anger, email us at info@lscch.co.uk, or to talk to someone in your area:


Scotland: +44 141 333 0878

Southwest England: +44 7761 773563

Midlands and Southeast England: +44 203 603 8535

Northern England: +44 7812 196 798

Southeast Asia: + 603 7960 6439

Portugal: +351 933 713 223


About the Author

Peter Mabbutt is the Academic Head of the London School of Clinical Communication and Hypnosis (LSCCH) and the President of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis (BSCH). Peter has co-authored two books on hypnotherapy and reviews newly written books related to hypnosis and hypnotherapy for Crown House Publishing. Find out more about Peter here.

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