Anger Issues - The Mind Map
Find out more

Anger Issues

Anger is a normal emotion that we all experience on occasion. It can be an instinctive response if we feel threatened, powerless, frustrated, or misunderstood.

Table of contents

What are anger issues?


What are the signs of anger issues?


What causes anger issues?


How can counselling help with anger issues?


Popular anger issues FAQs


Getting Support


What are anger issues?

Anger is a normal emotion that we all experience on occasion. It can be an instinctive response if we feel threatened, powerless, frustrated, or misunderstood. Anger can be useful as it often gives us the strength and motivation to act when we feel something needs to be put right.

However, anger can become an issue if it can’t be controlled. Anger can be unleashed in unhealthy or destructive ways that can harm ourselves and others, and could potentially go on to affect your relationships, employment, and physical health.

Everyone experiences anger differently. Something that makes you feel angry may not have the same effect on someone else, and vice versa. There are also different types of anger issues depending on our triggers and how we respond to them.

There are three types of anger issues to recognise:

Outward Aggression

This involves being outwardly aggressive towards other people. Examples of this behaviour include shouting at others, swearing at others, breaking things, throwing things, or any other form of physical or verbal assault.

Inward Aggression

This involves directing your anger towards yourself. Examples of this include self-harm, negative self-talk (e.g. “I am worthless”), isolating yourself off from other people, or denying yourself basic needs (e.g. food, sleep) or things that make you happy.

Passive Aggression

This involves being subtle about your anger or showing your anger towards others in in-direct ways. Examples include sulking, refusing to speak to others, ignoring others when they speak to you, or making sarcastic comments.

Sometimes anger can feel overwhelming and uncontrollable, making it hard to think logically or take a step back from a difficult situation. If this occurs on a regular basis - resulting in continuous patterns of angry thoughts about yourself or others - then anger issues can have serious negative consequences for your life.

Anger issues can affect people from a variety of backgrounds and can occur at any age. A survey conducted by the Mental Health Foundation found that more than one in ten (12%) people polled said that they have difficulties controlling their anger, with almost a third (32%) also reporting to have a close friend or relative who struggles with their anger.

Find out more

What are the signs of anger issues?

Everyone experiences anger differently, meaning that the symptoms of anger issues vary for each person. More generally, the signs of anger issues are recognised to range from physical, emotional, and behavioural symptoms. Here is a breakdown of each:


• Feeling hot
• Feeling dizzy
• Tension in your muscles
• Clenching your fists
• Clenching your teeth
• Sweating more
• A faster heartbeat
• A tightness in your chest
• A tingling sensation in your hands, feet, and/or face


• Feeling irritated
• Feeling nervous or anxious
• Feeling stressed or overwhelmed
• Feeling a sense of rage
• Feeling like you are unable to relax
• Feeling resentful towards other people


• Shouting at other people
• Picking fights with other people
• Ignoring other people
• Breaking things
• Self-harm

You might also be experiencing issues with anger if you feel like your anger is out of control or is hurting others around you. You might notice that your anger is starting to affect your relationships, or that your anger is causing you to say or do things that you regret later on.

It’s also important to remember that not everyone who feels angry will act out in an aggressive manner. Similarly, people who display aggressive behaviour may be doing so out of fear rather than anger.

We all feel angry on occasion, but if you experience these symptoms often or the symptoms feel particularly severe then it’s important to seek help and support.

If you’re unsure about your symptoms, the NHS offers a free online mood assessment for over-16s that can help you to better understand how you have been feeling recently.


What causes anger issues?

Anger is often linked to how we interpret or react to particular situations. This could be when we feel attacked, frustrated, misunderstood, disrespected, or unfairly treated.

Everyone will interpret or react to situations differently, and what makes you angry might not bring out the same emotional response in someone else. How you interpret or react to a situation can be influenced by many factors such as your past experiences, current circumstances, or how you were brought up.

It’s important to remember that even if you interpret a situation differently from someone else, it doesn’t mean you are automatically wrong to feel angry if others aren’t.

Whether your interpretation or reaction is influenced by the past, the present, or your upbringing, it’s important to be able to acknowledge the cause of your anger and develop positive strategies to stop anger getting out of hand.

Here are further examples of some causes of anger issues that may help you to identify the root of your own feelings:

Past Experiences

If you haven’t been allowed to safely express or acknowledge anger in the past, this can lead to difficulties in the present. This past anger may be the result of an experience like bullying, abuse, or other trauma.

You might find certain situations particularly difficult because of these past experiences, or you may be more likely to become angry when faced with similar situations in the present. You might also be holding onto anger from the past that has been suppressed for a long period and then suddenly comes to the surface.

Current Circumstances

Anger can arise if you are currently experiencing a particularly difficult life challenge or lots of smaller problems that are beginning to pile up. This could be stress at work, grieving a loved one, a relationship breakdown, financial issues, or something else significant.

You might find yourself feeling more angry than usual or becoming angry at unrelated issues. If you feel unable to find a resolution to a difficult situation or unable to express your anger fully, then your anger may boil over at other times.

Your anger could also be a symptom of another mental health difficulty, such as addiction or a personality disorder.

Childhood and Upbringing

Many of us learn how to cope with emotions like anger at a young age, with these lessons largely influenced by the circumstances of our upbringing. However, you might have been given mixed messages about how to handle anger as a child which have now led to issues with anger in the present.

You may have been taught to not “make a fuss” or complain as a child, being punished for expressing anger. This can result in anger being bottled up or suppressed for a long time, leaving you unable to release anger in a healthy manner later on.

You might have witnessed your parents or other adults expressing uncontrolled anger, thus teaching you to associate anger with fear or violence. This could lead to you struggling to express anger as an adult out of fear of your own emotional response.

Some of us may have also been taught that violent or aggressive outbursts of anger are acceptable from an early age, meaning that you are unable to healthily express anger as an adult. This could result in you unleashing explosive anger when triggered by specific situations, resulting in difficulties maintaining relationships or employment.

"Anger is a normal emotion that we all experience on occasion"


How can counselling help with anger issues?

Counselling offers a safe space to talk to a qualified professional about anger issues or any other difficulties you may be experiencing. It is a confidential service that allows for your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours to be better understood.

A therapist can help you identify the cause of your anger issues and suggest positive coping mechanisms that can be used in situations that trigger feelings of anger. They won’t provide guaranteed solutions, but they will listen in a non-judgemental manner and point you in the direction of healthier changes to make in your everyday life.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a popular treatment for anger issues. It is a form of talking therapy that allows you to better understand how your thoughts and feelings affect your behaviour. CBT provides practical skills that can help you to retrain patterns of thoughts and behaviours, allowing you to face difficulties or obstacles by breaking them down into manageable steps.

Counselling can help you to become more resilient and find a better perspective on your life. The process can bring difficult emotions to the surface, but your therapist will be there to support you through this experience with compassion and reassurance.

Find out more about how counselling works and what to expect from your first session.

If you are experiencing an urgent mental health crisis, seeking assistance from an emergency mental health service may be more beneficial than counselling. Visit the Samaritans website for more information on what to do if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis. In very urgent circumstances, contact the emergency services by dialling 999.


Popular anger issues FAQs

• Is it normal to feel angry?

Anger is a normal and healthy emotion that everyone experiences, and it can be a useful motivator or safety mechanism. However, anger that becomes out of control or harms yourself or others should be addressed.

• What are some good techniques to help manage anger in the moment?

Take a deep breath and try to relax your muscles to relieve tension. Distract yourself with a practical task (eg. drawing, crafts), upbeat music, or writing in a journal. Find a safe outlet for your anger if necessary like ripping up paper, hitting a pillow, or squeezing a stress toy.

• How can I help a child experiencing anger issues?

Children will need specialist help with anger issues depending on their age and stage of development. A GP can provide a referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to help address this, or counselling can be sought through the NHS or private alternatives. Read our blog post on anger issues in children for more advice and information.

"Everyone experiences anger differently"


Getting Support