– By Sharon Ashton and Raksha Dave-Gates (Counselling Psychologists)

Aristotle said, “anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time,for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is noteasy”.

In our practice, we have observed that when one person in ahousehold is angry, there are inevitably others who also become angry – anger iscatchy!  Examining your anger style, your predictable and repeated way ofhandling situations where anger might arise, can help you to understand whetheryour anger is problematic or whether you use anger appropriately.

Ronald Potter-Efron, a therapist specializing inanger-management in Wisconsin describes ten different anger styles that peopletypically use.  As you review these styles, evaluate whether you misuse oroveruse one or more of these styles and whether you rigidly hold on to an angerstyle.

The ten anger styles include: anger avoidance, passive aggression, paranoia or distrust-based anger, sudden anger, shame-based anger, deliberate anger, excitatory anger, habitual anger, and resentment/hate.  If yo uare an anger avoider, you likely believe that any expression of anger is bad,fear your own and others’ anger as you worry any expression of anger creates conflict.  Avoiding anger may reduce anxiety and stress in the short-term but may not resolve issues in the long-term.  If you manage anger passive-aggressively, you may express your anger by doing nothing!  You show your anger by resistance, you might procrastinate or forget.  If you are prone to distrust-based anger,you likely feel justified in your anger as you believe you are defending yourself from people who are against you.  If you consider yourself to have a short fuse, your anger style is that of sudden anger.  You may believe that your anger is impulsive and uncontrollable but need to challenge yourself to recognize that anger builds towards explosiveness.  If you use anger to manage your own shame and shame others with anger, you are using shame-based anger. This pattern can be dangerous as it is often related to family violence. Another anger style is deliberate anger.  If you have learned that anger gets you attention, you use anger to bully and intimidate and use anger even when you are not angry.  If you use anger not to get attention, but rather, to create a sense of intensity and aliveness that comes with an adrenalin rush, you may be using excitatory anger.  For you, anger creates an immediate excitement that is later dulled by the consequences of the anger.  If anger is pervasive for you and you are convinced that others around you are useless, bad, and wrong, your anger style may be habitual anger.  Another style of anger relates to moral anger and applies to you if you justify the use of anger or violence by claimingto fight for a cause or for others.  The last style of anger is perhaps the most long-lasting.  If you resent someone, obsess about perceived mistreatments, and cannot let go, you are experiencing resentment/hate, an unresolved anger.

As you become more aware about your own style of anger, you may also notice how others around you use anger.  The more mindful you are of the styles of anger, you can change the thoughts and self-talk that promote you to overuse or misuse these styles.