Some People Like Being Angry

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The evolutionary purpose of anger is to make us aware that our interests are being trampled upon while giving us the energy and motivation to make things right. Anger is fiery, it winds us up like a spring, it primes us to act. And when we do act we feel powerful, righteously indignant, like avenging gods.

This is probably why even though anger is a response to a real or perceived wrong, obviously an unpleasant situation, some people like being angry. They unconsciously seek out situations that will arouse their anger, purposefully creating these scenarios so that when they go on the attack they can do so with a clean conscience.

The conversation with such people needs to move away from ‘anger management’, since anger is not something they are actually interested in modifying. Instead the conversation needs to move towards what lies underneath, which is the need to feel powerful, vital, potent, and how this need might be a reaction formation to protect them against secret feelings of vulnerability and weakness.

If they can become consciously aware of unconscious feelings of vulnerability and deal with these feelings adequately, their previous strategy of manufacturing anger situations becomes unnecessary. They can start thinking about how to cultivate the feeling of power and efficacy through healthier, less destructive channels.