Anger often gets a bad rap.

For starters, it’s often seen as a ‘male’ emotion that women are not really encouraged (or even discouraged), on a societal level, to display. So we often deny our own feelings, convincing ourselves that anger is ‘not ladylike’ or that we ‘don’t have the right’ to be angry.

For men, anger is often associated with aggression, violence or destructive behaviour.

The problem is two-fold here. On one hand, historically, ‘toxic masculinity’ has often been (at best) ignored or (at worst) actively encouraged (at least in certain contexts such as sport), with enabling comments such as ‘boys will be boys’. Yet, not every male fits this architype of the ‘alpha’. Experiencing aggressive behaviour can be EXTREMELY traumatic for many boys/men.

As society begins to re-think its patriarchal constructs, anger has begun to be perceived as a ‘negative’ or ‘low vibrational’ emotion that again needs to be swallowed or avoided altogether by our new generation of ‘SNAGs’. Neither option is particularly healthy.

The main problem is that anger (the emotion) and aggression (the behaviour) are often confused.

The fact that anger is felt is NOT the problem – it is NORMAL (and actually healthy) to feel angry sometimes!

Anger can be an effective alarm system when someone is crossing our boundaries. It can help us to assert our needs when they’re being ignored by others. It can drive important change. It can keep us going as we move through the stages of grief or trauma. It can protect us from danger. It can help us to manage emotions (e.g. despair) that are too overwhelming to process (in the short term).

Anger may not be the ‘best’ emotion, but it is certainly better than guilt, shame or despair!

It only becomes a problem when it is extreme, prolonged, avoided, supressed or expressed in unhealthy ways. (Anger is a good place to visit, but not a great place to live.)

The ideal scenario is to acknowledge our feelings of anger and address them assertively and promptly by communicating our feelings and needs, before they fester and blow up out of control.

Unfortunately, not everyone has learned to process anger in a healthy way. Some people have learned to express anger aggressively; while others have learned to passively ‘swallow’ anger, allowing it to come out in other unhealthy ways (i.e. passive-aggressive behaviour). Some people swing between the two, depending on the situation.

Either approach can lead to problems at work, fractured relationships, poor mental health, self-loathing/destruction, substance abuse and even family violence/abuse.

Anger management problems are complex and can be caused by a combination of physical, learned behaviour and social factors.

Anger can be triggered by internal (e.g. mental health issues) or external factors (e.g. the behaviour of others), or a combination of both. Anger can cause changes to our behaviour (e.g. raised voice) and within our bodies (e.g. over-production of endorphins such as adrenaline).

When these endorphins are released in the brain, they produce a ‘high’, which helps us self-soothe and manage strong feelings. Sometimes, this high can become a ‘go to’ for ‘coping with’ anger. When the high wears off, in the absence of other strategies, it is easy to turn to substances/behaviours (e.g. drugs and/or alcohol) that produce a similar high. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol often have the opposite effect on the brain and anger can actually be intensified. This creates a greater need to ‘soothe’ and further increases the frequency/intensity of substance ab/use.

This cycle can lead to physiological changes in the brain, potentially leading to mental health issues and making anger even harder to manage.

A build-up of anger can, at worst, result in an episode of aggressive behaviour. Unfortunately, statistically, our loved ones are the ones we are most likely to hurt. This inevitably leads to feelings of regret, guilt and shame; which can increase negative self-talk, decrease self-esteem, exacerbate anger and intensify depression.

Anger management issues and cycles are complex. When the underlying cause/s of anger are not dealt with effectively, there can be serious consequences.

It is important to note though, that anger management issues don’t always result in aggressive behaviour. Internalised anger can lead to behaviour that is purely self-destructive. Depression is widely considered to be ‘anger turned inwards’ and it too can have devastating consequences.

If you’re struggling, it is important to seek help – both for your own wellbeing and for the sake of your loved ones.

You should never feel ashamed of experiencing feelings of and issues around anger. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Recognising there is a problem and seeking help is a brave first step that you should feel proud for taking. You CAN develop the skills and tools to live a purposeful life and life your best life. There is no shame in needing or asking for help!

In an emergency, call 000. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or 1800 RESPECT any time for free.

I am always here to support you using a range of modalities including Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Hypnosis, Time Line Therapy®, Access Bars® and Life Coaching modalities and work together with your Psychologist or other therapists.

For more information please visit To take your first step and make your first appointment, please reach out via phone on 0481 877 860 or email at