Identifying Anger Triggers and Anger Signs

Anger Triggers

While no one can force us to become angry or express anger in destructive ways, we may be more susceptible to giving in to anger because of certain triggers. Triggers may include when someone hurts your pride, shows disrespect for your wishes and needs, when someone puts you down, humiliates, or embarrasses you, If you are a parent, you might become upset when children don’t do what they are told, or refuse to cooperate or obey rules. You might become frustrated with a spouse who ignores the good things you do.

Unbridled anger almost always is a result of frustration in a relationship. We usually only get angry in relation to other people. Mismanaged anger is damaging not only for what it can do to us personally, to our health, but, perhaps even more importantly, what harm it can do in our family relationships. A first step to subduing contentious tendencies is to become aware of our typical reactions to frustrating situations, or our anger triggers. It’s also important to understand the triggers that affect others in the family. How we behave toward a family member influences their actions towards us. Write the list down for yourself and have family members do the same. Talk about what you typically get angry about as a family.

Once you have made a list of your anger triggers, keep the list handy. Spend some time thinking about what you might do instead of reacting angrily the next time the trigger gets pulled, then write down your strategies. For example, if you are angered when your teen won’t clean his room, create a strategy in advance for what you will do and say the next time this situation arises.

Anger Signs

When anger is triggered in us, it can produce three reactions: physiological (our body), cognitive (our thoughts), and behavioral (our actions). How do you react when an anger trigger is pulled?

For those of us who have been taught to deny our feelings of anger or to act as if they don’t matter, this kind of introspection can be uncomfortable. But to combat anger and build peace in the home, it is important to be very honest with ourselves about the nature of the problem.

For Further Reading:

Anger Kills: 17 Strategies for Controlling the Hostility that Can Harm Your Health
By Redford and Virginia Williams.

Additional Websites

APA On-line
http://www.apa.org/topics/controlanger.html