Anger: Mechanics

The mechanics of anger: how it happens

Understanding the ‘mechanics’ of your anger is the first step in mastering this mood.  If we think

  • It just happens to me – then we are powerless to do anything about it
  • It’s me; it’s how I’ve always been – then we’ll never try to change
  • I have a perfect right to be angry – then we’ll hang on to this alibi for not changing
  • I wouldn’t be angry if it weren’t for them – then I’ll use this to justify my angry feelings and reactions

The following pages describe some common ways in which we get angry i.e. they provide some insight into how we get into angry moods. Of course, this list is not comprehensive – that would take be a very long list.

Anger: The ‘Shoulds’

One common way of setting yourself up to become angry is to have a version of how things should be and to continuously compare reality with your version – and then feel angry when reality gets it wrong!

As part of this process you have mental list of triggers against which you test reality and when reality gets it ‘wrong’ you feel angry. These triggers are situations that cause you to explode – or implode if you tend to suppress your anger.

Read more about the ‘Shoulds’ here.

Anger: Mind Reading

This often works alongside the ‘should’ habit. Not only do we get annoyed with what a person does or does not do – but we also get annoyed with what we perceive to be their intention in acting like they did.

Read more about Mind Reading here

Anger: “Collecting Straws”

In this way of making ourselves angry we look out for things to get annoyed about – and we then ‘link’ these so that the emotion accumulates until a quite insignificant event becomes ‘the straw that breaks the camels back’. Then we have a tantrum.

Read more about collecting straws here

Anger: Self Criticism

Where we give ourselves a really hard time – and push ourselves to meet unreasonably high standards.

Read more about Self Criticism here

Anger: Right or Happy

It’s sad when two people who love each other lose the plot and begin struggling to be ‘in the right’ rather than to be happy. Sad yet all-too-common when it becomes more important to get them to admit they were wrong than to say ‘let’s forget about ti – and move on’.

Read more about ‘Right or Happy’ here

The truth about anger

Anger is just another mood or feeling. It occurs inside out skin – no-one gets in there and changes our brain cells – no-one can actually force to to feel angry any more than they can force you to feel happy or excited or to fal in love with them

So ‘they’ don’t make us angry. We make ourselves angry. But this is rarely deliberate – it’s the result of how we have always done things.


Our Anger pages

The ‘mechanics’ of anger

Anger and victim thinking

The cost of the anger habit

Tips for dealing with anger

Anger and Road Rage

The Short Fuse Workshop

What’s in The Short Fuse workshop

What people have said about The Short Fuse Workshop

Anger and the ‘rules to live by’

Anger and ‘mind reading’

Anger – ‘That’s the Last Straw!’

Anger and unrealistic standards

Anger and the Right or Happy question


by Reg Connolly

Important: please read our caution regarding online advice

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