Do I have an anger management problem?

Answer yes or no to the following questions
People irritate me easily and I often feel agitated.
I get angry over the slightest provocation.
I am overly critical of others.
When I am angry, my family and friends should stay away from me.
I tend to keep my frustrations bottled up, and sometimes my anger explodes.
I tend to lose control of my emotions if something doesn’t go my way.
I dwell on past slights and even years later I still feel angry.
I get angry when I am stuck in traffic or when a friend is running late to meet me.
When I feel angry, I get aggressive and tend to lash out at objects or people.
I feel guilty about the way in which I interact with others.

Please answer all questions!

Your Score

You have answered yes to question(s)

If you answered TRUE to 3 or more of these questions, you may have an anger management problem.

If you answered TRUE to 3 or more of these questions, you may have an anger management problem.

Read on to help work out what might be causing your anger problems.

Although everyone becomes angry from time to time, anger is an emotion that can become damaging if it is left unchecked or is expressed inappropriately. Problems with anger management are usually masking other issues and can be understood and assisted with the help of a professional counsellor.

Why do I get angry?

There are many reasons why we get angry:-

Not feeling heard : You may become angry because you are talking to someone and you do not feel your perspective is being heard by the other party. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we are somehow not able to effectively communicate our needs or desires to the other party. This leaves us feeling unacknowledged, and can often lead to feelings of dissatisfaction or anger. Arguments between teenagers and their parents can be a great example of this type of anger.

Feeling stressed : Stress is a common issue in our busy lives. Stress can be generated by all sorts of factors – an increased workload, a sick child or partner, a rebellious teenager, or financial worries. The more stress we are experiencing in our lives, the less tolerant we tend to be of others around us, and the more angry we can become.

Feeling frustrated : Sometimes people feel frustrated by the actions of their children, partner, friends or colleagues. The frustration often bubbles beneath the surface, and can result in a loss of patience and an angry response.

Fear : Anger is a natural reaction to fear. Sometimes the fear is very real and immediate, for example, you might react with anger if you find yourself caught up in a bar fight and you fear that your physical safety might be at risk. Sometimes the fear is more internal – there may be a part of yourself you wish to protect. Perhaps there is something you do not want the other person to find out, or something about yourself that you do do not want to admit.  For example, a person gets angry at a coworker to hide the fact that they feel overwhelmed by their job.

Distraction : Anger resulting from distraction occurs when we are not really angry about the apparent issue at hand, but rather we are angry about something else entirely.  A good example of this is a couple who are fighting about something simple and silly – who should replace the toilet paper – but really they are arguing about feeling that the tasks around the household are not being evenly distributed.

Drug or Alcohol Addiction : Angry outbursts, particularly when they seem to come out of nowhere, can be caused by alcohol intake or by the effects of drug taking. You can read more about anger and alcohol.

Mental illness : Sometimes anger can be a symptom of a deeper physiological or psychological issue, such as depression or bi-polar disorder. These illnesses can cause patients to respond to minor irritations in an overly irritable or angry way. Indeed, psychologists have found that as many as 44% of people who suffer from depression experience inappropriate expressions of anger from time to time (

Anger itself is not a negative thing and can actually be a very healthy and appropriate feeling or emotional response.  Certainly, if someone does something unacceptable or damaging to someone else, it is expected that you might experience feelings of anger.  Indeed, counsellors agree that anger is a normal and healthy human emotion.  It is only when a person responds inappropriately to their angry emotions, or loses control of their anger, that you might find you have an anger management problem.

(This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

Inappropriate anger

While anger is an emotion, and emotions alone are neither good nor bad, it is how anger is expressed that can be of extreme concern to those around you, especially if they are at risk of being hurt (either physically or emotionally) when the anger comes out in negative ways.

• Constant Irritability – Not everyone displays their anger in a loud or aggressive way. Some people with anger management problems reveal their anger by always or often being cranky or irritable. They might be easily irritated, often grumpy and carry around feelings of general dissatisfaction. People who express their anger in this way often find themselves withdrawing from social contact with family and friends. They can also find that their constant state of emotional irritability starts to have an effect on their physical health.

• Aggressive Behaviour – Some people with anger management problems find that their communication with others is always or often accompanied by aggressive tendencies or nuances.  Whilst this does not necessarily mean that they will become physically aggressive, their communication is often fraught with aggressive innuendo and a threatening demeanour. This can make family, friends and colleagues uncomfortable or even fearful of dealing with that person, leading them to reduce or even sever the relationship.

• Unrelenting Rage – Some people with anger management problems seem unable to let go of their angry emotions, and find themselves constantly yelling and screaming or in a regular state of extreme irritability.

• Hitting, Shoving, Pushing – Physically acting out anger is never an appropriate response to feelings of anger.  In many cases, child abuse and domestic violence are the end results of inappropriately expressed anger and frustration on the part of a parent, sibling or partner.

• Explosive Rage – Becoming angry without explanation and without obvious provocation can not only be very scary for those who are the target of the rage, but can also be of extreme concern because it may be a symptom of a deeper underlying issue or problem.

How to get help for anger management problems?

Our Sydney psychologists can assist a person with anger management problems to be able to express their anger more appropriately. They can teach you and your family about stress management techniques, how to improve your communication skills and uncover the underlying reasons for inappropriately expressed anger. Additionally, many couples and families benefit from having a relationship or family counsellor mediate problems with them and teach them better ways to communicate, discuss and even disagree with each other.

(This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

If you or someone you know is struggling with their anger, or you think they might have an anger management problem, and you would like to book a consultation with a qualified psychologist, please contact:

Associated Counselors & Psychologists Sydney

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