Am I an Angry Person?

"Most people stereotype anger by assuming that it always results in shouting, slamming fists, or throwing things. However, anger is not that one-dimensional." (The Anger Workbook)

For years in my counseling practice I recommended the above mentioned book to clients who seemed to struggle with anger issues. I had it on my shelf for years and just recently decided to take another look at it. Drs. Carter and Minirth talk about how anger is often the result of "unmet needs" but may be expressed in a variety of ways. Even though, I'd had the book for years and recommended frequently, I'd never taken the time to personally take the inventory at the beginning of the book. I did today. I was a bit surprised at the outcome. Here are just ten of the statements in the inventory of twenty-five. See how you score and I'll share with you how I did.

  • Impatience comes over me more frequently than I would like.
  • I nurture critical thoughts quite easily.
  • When I am displeased with someone I may shut down any communication or withdraw.
  • I feel inwardly annoyed when family and friends do not comprehend my needs.
  • When discussing a controversial topic, my tone of voice is likely to become persuasive.
  • I do not easily forget when someone does me wrong.
  • Sometimes my discouragement makes me want to quit.
  • I struggle emotionally with the things in life that are not fair.
  • I may act kindly on the outside while feeling frustrated on the inside.
  • When I am in an authority role, I may speak too sternly or insensitively.

Before I share my score, I wonder, were you surprised that some of these statements were expressions of anger? I certainly was. I didn't realize that discouragement may sometimes be a sign of internal anger. In case you're sitting on the edge of your chair waiting for my score, here it is: I scored a perfect 10! All of the above, plus five more, were statements I checked on the inventory of 25. The authors wrote this about my score of 15 or higher:

This indicates you are vulnerable to the extreme ill effects of anger, rage, and explosions or to guilt, bitterness, and resentment.

I have to admit this is true. Although, I think I've grown, I am still vulnerable to outbursts and harboring resentment. I was reading in Proverbs today and this verse jumped out at me:

I've spoken rashly on more than one occasion. Maybe you can relate. If you identified with several of the 10 statements above, you might find The Anger Workbook by Drs. Carter and Minirth helpful. It provides a 13 step interactive plan to help you find healthier ways to express and control your anger. Don't be discouraged! Many of us did not grow up in homes where we were taught how to express anger in healthy ways. Take heart- its never too late to learn!