I am an anger person – So what? Assessing the cost of anger in your life.
George has had anger problems since childhood. He would pick fights in school, was belligerent, mouthy, and sometimes aggressive with peers, toys, family, etc. He managed to finish college and get a job – and lose his job “because of ‘dumb’ people” at his work. He developed romantic relationships and lost them, perhaps because of how he acted towards that loved one or people around. In his mind, everything is good – if you don’t count “other people’s behaviors that tick him off,” a few stressors that seems to be following him around, or perhaps a couple of health issues that seems to be “nothing” to be worried about.
If you see yourself in one (or all) of these situations, anger may have become that silent partner that lurks around until is time to show it off to the world. It may be difficult to face exactly what is happening in your life and what harboring the anger has cost you, but let’s take a look below.
According to Eifert, McKay, and Forsyth, there are 5 costing areas that may been affected by anger:
- Interpersonal Cost
George lost friends when he was a little boy because of his anger. He kept losing them throughout his life, along with some family members, girlfriends, and now is influencing his marriage and he is feeling alienated by his family (which he thinks is a good thing anyways).
You can observe and see if your friendships and romantic relationships have changed (or lost) throughout the years.
- Career Cost
George is proud to say he has never been fired – because he always quit his job before they can fire him. Conflict at work is a norm for George – as he has little patience for the type of workers he encountered along his career development. Which, by the way, is going very slow, since he has difficulties staying in place for too long before a conflict arrives.
Some people demonstrate their anger in an overt way – being passive-aggressive in their behavior. They might get to work late, start slacking off, or is now less productive. Others might be bad-mouthing people, spreading gossips, or feels that other coworkers have alienated them. Some of those behaviors can be seen even before, at school in your relationships with teachers or administrators.
- Health Cost
So is far to say that George is a stressed-out dude. Stress affect our health. And in George is no different. He tends to get sick often (which gives him a good excuse to not go to work “around those people”). Sometimes he gets headaches, some other times is chest pain, upset stomach (especially when he is anxious to deal with work issues). He is not sleeping well and feels tense.
So, ask yourself, do you sometimes ruminate so much about something that is going on in your work to the point of feeling sick? Do you have any (or all) of the physical symptoms mentioned above?
- Energy Cost
Being angry is exhausting! George has been putting time and energy into many areas in his life to just find disappointments that are out of his control. He feels fatigued, worn-out, and quite frankly, very discouraged to keep it going.
At times, George thinks that he has the best sex when he is feeling very angry. “It’s raw and it’s good.”
Often times people can transfer anger energy into sex energy. This can happen in a healthy way – or not. For some people, having raw sex is a good experience. Sometimes is for their partners too. Other times, is not. It can be scary and not romantic at all.
Have you ever attempted to manage the anger inside of you because of the way you feel?
- Emotional Cost
Although George feels vindicated about causing pain to others who made him suffer, he, at times, regrets how it made him feel emotionally afterwards. There’s a hint of depression and hopelessness that arrives every now and then that leaves George wanting to get rid of by drinking (or using).
Have you noticed any guilt or regret that you carry for the damage done by your anger? How that affects you emotionally? In which ways that affected your relationships?
Anger can have many consequences in your life. If you see that is happening to you – even when you think you’re doing just fine – please consider the well-being of others around you. Would you like to keep the relationships you have now, or the job you have, or even dream of a promotion? You anger may prevent that to happen.
Remember that there are ways to resolve issues from the past and present and have a hope for a better future with the help and interventions presented by a good psychologist.
For more information and consultation, please contact
Dr. Rosana Marzullo-Dove – Doctor of Clinical Psychology
 Eifert, McKay, and Forsyth. (2006). Act on Life not on anger. New Harbinger Publications. Oakland, CA