Why Are You REALLY Angry? Part 5

This week, Imagine Hope Counseling Group wraps up our blog series on anger.  As we have discussed earlier in the week, anger can often times be what we call a "secondary" emotion.  This means that what looks like anger is really secondary to another feeling that is underneath the angry reaction.  If you haven't read the earlier blog parts from this week, I encourage you to check out part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.  So, read on if you want to learn about why you or someone you love might REALLY be angry.


Disappointment is a common secondary emotion that often comes out as anger.

For example, when your spouse is excited about something they hope to share with you, but unforeseen circumstances prevent you from being able to do what you had hoped, you might see them become angry or reactive.  To the receiver of this, it can often feel very shaming and like criticism (possibly because it is being presented that way).  Perhaps it comes across as the other person being inflexible and having unrealistic expectations, or giving very little room for error or mistakes on your part.  But, ask yourself... is this person really angry?  Or are they disappointed?  Ask them that question, too!  

Allowing yourself to understand the root of what anger can really be all about (like hurt, fear, or disappointment, as we discussed this week), can allow your relationship to get to a more intimate, more understanding, and more connected place.  Think about that:  Your significant other gets angry, then you start defending yourself, then your significant other gets angrier, while you defend more.   It's hard to get anything resolved if you stay at the surface (anger) and never get to what it's really about.  Only then, can you truly understand your significant other (or anyone you are in a relationship with, who might be angry), and get past the angry/defensive or reactive dance that you do with each other.  

We hope this weeks blog helped you understand yourself or your relationships better!

If you are feeling stuck in getting out of your "angry" cycle with your relationships, professional counseling can be a great tool to assist you.

Other resources that might be helpful:

The Anger Workbook by Frank B. Minirth

Good Women Get Angry by Gary Oliver

The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner

Joleen Watson, MS, LMFTA, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling, and specializes in infidelity counseling and helping couples heal from an affair.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.