Anger Style–What is Yours? Part 3

Anger style can determine whether you cope well in daily life or not. Your habitual patterns of dealing with anger–your own or someone else’s–can make life unmanageable and chaotic, or healthy and successful. All of us have a particular and habitual style and if you think you have anger problems, you may have one of the common types that countless people have. Some of these include:

  • Habitual Avoidance Style
  • Explosive Style
  • The Power Tactic Style
  • The Passive Aggressive Style
  • The Dramatic Style

There are related blog posts (Parts 1 and 2 of this article) that describe the styles above in more detail. Two other common anger styles are given below.

Shame-Based Anger

Shame-based anger originates in bad feelings about one’s self borne out of painful and humiliating experiences. Shame causes us to feel unworthy, flawed, damaged and inferior to others. We feel that we are inherently broken and unlike other people. We therefore tend to hide our feelings of shame, keeping secret what we believe to be the awful truths about ourselves that abusive interactions ‘taught’ us.

When we feel shame-based anger, we are typically triggered to relive those painful feelings again. For example, if you were overweight and ostracized for that as a child, a mention of you ‘putting on a couple of pounds’ can trigger intense anger because it taps an intense previous hurt. Typically people who have shame-based anger are thought over as overly sensitive because they can become triggered by things others aren’t. To explore if you have shame-based anger, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I feel a need to ‘get even’ when someone hurts me?
  • Do I have revenge fantasies about how I will hurt someone who has hurt me?

Righteous Anger

Righteous anger always has a strong moral tone to it. If this is a pattern for you, you tend to justify your anger based on your beliefs, values and moral judgments. Such anger can arise when you believe that others are behaving immorally. To further explore this in your own life you might ask yourself:

  • Do I feel angry when others live in ways I wouldn’t live?
  • Do I feel my values and beliefs are more correct than those of others?
  • Am I sometimes preoccupied with the behaviors of others even though I am not directly involved?
  • Do I feel a need to confront others about their behaviors or beliefs?