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Is There Any Value to Anger?

Anger scaresbefriending anger us. That is normal.

As a small child, I can remember shaking in my boots when my Dad got angry. There is nothing scarier to a kid than a 6 foot tall adult man yelling at them.

Anger makes us afraid that we are out of control. I have heard depression explained as anger turned inward…and from what I have seen, I believe that is at least partly true.

When we don’t feel safe to express anger, it is so simple to become angry at ourselves…and then become depressed.

Is Anger Ever a Good Thing?

Yes. It can be. That is not license to commit violence. Anger is an emotion. Violence is an act. Being angry does not have to be equivalent to committing a violent act.

Anger is never an excuse for that. Never.

Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.

Anger has its place in our bag of emotions. It is a natural human emotion. An emotion is a feeling in motion. So, yes, there are moments when anger is appropriate and is a good thing.

Anger at social injustice is a good thing.
Anger at bullying is a good thing.
Anger at senseless acts of crime is a good thing.
Anger in a person who is depressed is a good thing.

These are self explanatory…these reasons…except for possibly the anger that occurs in a person who has been depressed.

When a depressed person becomes angry at their situation, then they gain some power. They gain the energy of the emotion…the feeling in motion…so, it becomes possible to move from that stuck state of depression.

An Anger Push: A Tale of Moving Forward

Depression is a stuck state, like being mired in the mud. Let me be clear here. I am referring to depression that is situational…that is based in the way a person thinks…not clinical depression that is caused by a chemical imbalance.

So…imagine it like this…there is a tractor…a big green, John Deere tractor and it is stuck…up to its big, black sturdy tires in the deep, dark, wet mud. It has been sitting there idling…and the wheels spin ever y time it is put into gear and the farmer tries to drive it forward.

Then…a friend comes along…and puts his shoulder to the wheel and gives that tractor a little nudge…and it boots out of the mud and onto the pasture…where the grass is green and there is a well laid out track.

The tractor is free because of the extra push…that little bit of momentum that got it out of that terrible, dark place. And anger can be that little push…that little extra piece that gives that situational depression the heave ho…so that the person who is suffering from that stuck state can get moving…

And you know that physics law…the one that says that an object in motion stays in motion? Well, it’s just like that…

So, yes, there are times when anger is a good thing…times when it is totally appropriate to be angry…and again, let me restate…NOT to be violent…so own all of your emotions…and when you feel that anger coming up…use it to move you forward…use the energy of the anger to get you moving…to get you past what you need to get past….that’s right…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner

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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

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  • Edmund Lee December 12, 2012, 4:02 pm

    I love the quote Sherie! I totally agree with you. Anger is emotion and taking control means we should know when and how to let it out so that things don’t get blown out of proportion.

    • Sherie December 12, 2012, 5:54 pm

      Thanks, Edmund, appreciate your comment!

  • Michael McDonald December 8, 2012, 9:00 pm

    For myself anger is not a good emotion. When I get angry I have to slow down and pray then find the root cause. Generally it’s something within me that I need to change.
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    • Sherie December 8, 2012, 9:33 pm

      Thanks for your insight, Michael…it’s always good to find out what the root cause of emotions is…

  • Norma Doiron@Start, Grow & Strenghten Your Business ONLINE December 4, 2012, 7:54 pm

    “When a depressed person becomes angry at their situation, then they gain some power.” I’ve seen this happen over and over… “when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change…” Great post!

    • Sherie December 4, 2012, 8:16 pm

      Norma, thank you, so much! : D

  • Carl Mason-Liebenberg December 3, 2012, 11:35 am

    I agree…anger can be an instrument for growth and change! Of course it can and often does reap ugly rewards as well. But having an awareness in anger can do wonders! Great article, Sherie!!
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    • Sherie December 3, 2012, 7:00 pm

      Carl, like everything, it is in how you utilize it, right? Thanks so much for your comment, I appreciate it! : D

  • Lorii Abela December 3, 2012, 7:45 am

    Excellent article about anger. You have explained it well how anger can be controlled and used as a pwerful tool for positive things. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sherie December 3, 2012, 7:00 pm

      Lorii, thank you, my dear, I appreciate you commenting!

  • Elizabeth L Maness December 2, 2012, 4:21 pm

    Becoming very anger at a senseless act of Violence made me very depressed for a long time. I was so afraid of the way I reacted to the act of another that I was afraid of myself for a very long time. It didn’t matter how many people told me that it was a normal reaction. I was deeply ashamed of my rage and violent thoughts. After a while it did sink in that any one would react this way. Thanks for Sharing this Sherie! I hope it saves a person from feeling like I did about their anger!
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    • Sherie December 2, 2012, 5:02 pm

      Big hugs, Elizabeth….yes, that rage turned inward is very scary…when we accept those emotions, they lose their power over us. You have certainly turned that around, my dear!

  • Suzanne Jones December 1, 2012, 10:12 am

    I love the metaphor Sherie, it really drives the point home. I also love the anger/depression breakdown. It is true, as long as there is anger, there is emotion which will make it easier to break through..Great post!

    • Sherie December 1, 2012, 1:19 pm

      Thank you, my dear!

  • shirley wilson November 29, 2012, 9:53 am

    Anger certainly does have its place – thanks for the great advice on how to put it work for positive results.

    • Sherie November 29, 2012, 6:21 pm

      Shirley, it does have its place…you’re welcome and thanks for reading it and commenting!

  • Kelly Green November 28, 2012, 7:36 pm

    Absolutely anger can be a good thing! It’s necessary to move past those feelings, otherwise you’ll stay STUCK. Thanks for this Sherie, I’m sure it helped a lot of people!
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    • Sherie November 28, 2012, 7:42 pm

      And staying stuck doesn’t get you anywhere! Love that, Kelly!

  • Carele Belanger November 28, 2012, 2:49 pm

    Thank you for your article. I agree it is important to express it. It is normal to have some. Once it is release, we are ok after. As long as we don’t get mad at someone who was not the cause of that anger. I see that all the time.

    • Sherie November 28, 2012, 7:29 pm

      Yes, we certainly can’t direct that anger at someone…that doesn’t work!

  • Ruby November 28, 2012, 2:02 pm

    Thank you for this…anger can be ok….small doses 🙂
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    • Sherie November 28, 2012, 7:29 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Ruby!

  • Terressa Cortez November 28, 2012, 10:56 am

    Anger can be a good thing Sherie as you said but realizing it and knowing how to deal with it properly can be the hard part. Understand your anger so you can react positively.

    • Sherie November 28, 2012, 7:30 pm

      That’s right, Terressa!

  • Meire Weishaupt November 27, 2012, 9:58 pm

    Thanks for the article Sherie! Loved the John Deere tractor’s, it is really like that “an extra push” and things get moving!
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    • Sherie November 27, 2012, 10:12 pm

      It is, isn’t it, Meire?? Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Meryl Hershey Beck November 27, 2012, 9:36 pm

    Anger is especially difficult for women — as a kid I had a choice, I could be angry or I could be nice. I chose the latter and then learned to own and embrace my anger in my 30s. Nice post, Sherie!
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    • Sherie November 27, 2012, 9:42 pm

      Yep…so many people get stuck in that choice. Thanks so much for your comment, Meryl! : D

  • Estelle November 27, 2012, 7:53 pm

    For many years I felt I had no where to express anger appropriately – so I bottled it up, stuffed it, ignored it – In the last 5-6 I have found my anger! I do have to be careful that it doesn’t come spewing out (generally after bottling again) but I find it is very energetic and I always feel better when I have expressed it instead of keeping it in – still working on ways to effectively express it without it affecting others. Thanks for the post.
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    • Sherie November 27, 2012, 9:11 pm

      Anger can be very energetic, and yes, we do need to control it and use it to our advantage. Thanks so much for your comment, Estelle, I appreciate it!

  • jean November 27, 2012, 1:18 pm

    Thanks Sherie for a great post. I love how we can use our anger to drive us forward to the goals we desire.
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    • Sherie November 27, 2012, 7:25 pm

      We really can, Jean. Thanks for your comment!

  • Sally K Witt November 27, 2012, 12:13 pm

    Anger can be scary for me. Thanks for a great post.

    • Sherie November 27, 2012, 7:25 pm

      You’re welcome, Sally, thanks for reading and commenting!

  • denny hagel November 27, 2012, 8:03 am

    I have found anger to be a motivator in my life, for awhile I tried to ignore it as it felt negative and unpleasant…this of course led to depression. Once I learned to recognize its value and put it to work for me in a positive way I actually found that I do not get angry as much…I tend to go more directly to the positive action. Thanks for sharing this important article !
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    • Sherie November 27, 2012, 7:26 pm

      Isn’t it amazing how that can change? Love your insights, Denny, my dear!

  • Eva Blaskovic November 26, 2012, 9:07 pm

    I love the question, “Is there any value to anger?” You open with “Anger scares us,” and this is–or was–certainly my case for a long time. My own anger scared me and was unpleasant, and other people’s anger terrified me. (You’re right about there being nothing more terrifying to a small child than a large, angry parent.) I could not turn my anger into a good purpose, as some people could (maybe because I had witnessed the negative, uncontrolled variety at a young age). Anger ran me down rather than giving me strength, and all I wanted was to dissipate it, which I learned to do extremely quickly to spare myself the pain of feeling this emotion. Besides, the way we were brought up, women weren’t supposed to display anger, and angry women were often misinterpreted, disrespected, and/or dismissed. Either way, even a private, quiet anger was something I had not yet learned to use.

    Well, one day things changed. Anger became harnessable, useful–a tool. Suddenly, anger fed me rather than sapped me. Anger pumped adrenaline through me so I could stay awake for extended hours in order to attain my goals; anger gave me strength to stand my ground with my values and needs, and to face resistant people with my purpose; anger was at once a suit of armour and a fire inside (“Tranquil as a forest, but a fire within” – song from Mulan); anger helped me find words to express situations and find solutions to them; anger merged with determination to create something that ultimately brought me joy and satisfaction, or at least closure. I accomplished so much good using anger, or at least faced that which needed to be faced–everything that infuriated me I turned into something constructive for my children, my writing, and myself. Much of the time, people didn’t necessarily know I was angry. It was simply a hidden, smouldering source of constant energy that kept me on track, pushing through all obstacles.

    Properly used, anger can be useful. But I find it keeps a person on high alert–in the fight or flight response–and if this goes on too long, it is harmful to the body. I carefully state that anger, for me, became a tool. You have to control it, rather than it controlling you.
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    • Sherie November 26, 2012, 9:16 pm

      Eva, you make so many good points, especially how for a lot of women, it was unacceptable to ever show anger in any form. You share a very powerful story with us, beautifully written and expressed. Yes, anger is useful if properly used and not misused…because you’re right…it must be controlled…such a heartfelt comment, Eva…thank you.

      • Eva Blaskovic November 26, 2012, 9:45 pm

        Thanks, Sherie. This is a great article and you hit so many important points besides the fear thing, such as the difference between anger as an emotion and violence as an act, and anger turned inward becoming depression (and also the difference between situational depression and a chemical imbalance).
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        • Sherie November 26, 2012, 10:09 pm

          Thank you….

  • Rob Hodgins November 25, 2012, 5:36 pm

    Fantastic post, Sherie!

    Anger is something we all must deal with at times. We all have memories of what can happen when anger gets away from us. The best way to deal with it is to put it to work!

    • Sherie November 25, 2012, 8:09 pm

      Absolutely, Rob!