ANGER PRE-TEST ANSWERS
Answer and Discussion
Anger is a bad emotion that should be avoided at all costs.
FALSE. Anger is a normal natural human
emotion. It is how you respond to the anger you experience
that determines whether it is helpful or destructive in
Everyone gets angry at times.
Anger as an emotion is a fact of life. It exists on a continuum
from mild annoyance and frustration to feeling rageful and
"out of control." Some people get angry less frequently
but they still get angry at times.
Too much anger can hurt your physical health.
Recent and ongoing research indicates that anger, particularly
when it leads to a hostile and cynical attitude, can be
damaging to your physical well-being and can play a part
in high cholesterol, heart attacks, strokes, and other significant
Screaming and throwing things are helpful ways to get anger
out of your system.
Research indicates that, especially for people who are prone
to become explosively angry, ventilation (e.g. yelling and
screaming) and catharsis (acting out your anger, e.g. hitting
a wall) only escalate you more and, in fact, train you to
handle your anger poorly with people in other life situations.
Angry people can never change the way they handle their
Even explosive, disrespectful, and abusive people can learn
to react differently to their anger triggers, change their
negative attitudes, and learn to handle their responses
to feeling angry more effectively.
There is one right way to handle anger with others.
There are many ways to handle anger responsibly and productively.
Sometimes you may want to talk to the other person involved
with your anger directly. Sometimes you may want to talk
to someone else about the anger you are feeling. Sometimes
you may want to handle the anger by yourself in a completely
different way (e.g. getting some aerobic exercise, looking
at a different perspective).
Frustration just naturally leads to aggression.
In the past, it was believed that human beings, like animals,
experienced an inevitable build-up of internal tension and
frustration and that aggressive impulses had to be discharged
periodically or they would build to the point where they
explode spontaneously and uncontrollably. These hypotheses
have been disproved, however, and more recent research indicates
that even animals need specific environmental triggers in
order to act out in an aggressive way.
People should never raise their voices when they are expressing
It is unrealistic to believe that you will always respond
to your anger in a calm and measured manner. Expressing
anger often involves intensity, increased volume, and firmness
in the way you say things. These do not necessarily mean
disrespect, cruelty, intimidation, or abuse. The other person's
reaction to your expression of anger is important, however,
and can move you in a helpful direction in terms of how
to effectively deal with your anger in that particular relationship.
Women are less likely to feel angry than men are.
A large study about women and anger reported that women
frequently get angry, most often at partners (whether or
not they are the source of the anger) or at co-workers.
The younger a woman, the more likely she was to express
it directly (women over 55 reported the least anger). Anger
is a part of living for both women and men.
Getting angry never leads to a productive outcome.
In fact, anger can be a helpful motivator and a catalyst
to take constructive action if you respond to the anger
you feel in a positive and productive manner.
Anger often makes people lose control of their behavior.
People often use this excuse to justify disrespectful or
abusive behavior toward others. But the truth is that, although
people may "feel" out of control, they are continually
making choices and decisions about how they will respond
to their anger. In reality, people are never truly out of
control unless they have a complete break from reality like
a major mental illness like paranoid schizophrenia might
Angry people tend to be powerful and confident of themselves
and their abilities.
Often, abusive and explosive people appear to others as
if they are powerful and "in charge." But the
reality is that people who allow their volatile anger to
control them and their interactions with others actually
feel insecure and inadequate. People who basically feel
good about themselves do not have a need to try to assume
power over others and put themselves above others. Explosive
people actually become other peoples' puppets because they
are simply reacting to others' behaviors rather than living
by the "game plan" they would like to have for
Anger is the same thing as hostility and cynicism.
Anger is a normal human emotion. Cynicisim and hostility
are negative and destructive attitudes which color the way
that we look at and respond to the world around us. These
attitudes, if they become your primary way of dealing with
life, lead eventually to lashing out at others verbally
or physically or pulling inside yourself, withdrawing, and
"stuffing" your anger. Both these behaviors are
harmful to ourselves and our relationships with others.
Stress is related to anger.
Stress, and the "fight or flight" response that
we as human beings are "hard-wired" to experience,
is always a part of our becoming angry, especially if we
are prone to label or interpret this physical response with
a negative conclusion about why the physical sensations
are there in the first place.
It's okay to use put-downs, name-calling, and cussing from
time to time in a marriage and in other close relationships.
Put-downs, name-calling, and cussing and swearing are verbal
abuse and are always hurtful and destructive in human relationships
and have the potential to create fear, intimidation, and
emotional distance in those around us.
All people have cues and triggers that can help them recognize
when they are becoming tense, frustrated and angry.
There is always an escalation, a build-up of stress and
tension, that precedes an outburst of explosive or abusive
anger. It is critical to begin to notice, identify, and
respond more effectively to the different kinds of triggers
that are a part of this escalation process.
Temporarily getting away from a potentially volatile situation
is one way to start to learn to handle anger more effectively.
Taking a time-out, which means temporarily leaving a situation
where you notice yourself becoming more and more tense,
angry, and escalated, is an important first step in learning
to handle anger more effectively. This strategy can give
you the opportunity to figure out what is going on within
you, can help you calm down, and can lead to returning to
discuss the issue without saying or doing something that
you will only end up regretting later.
If people are angry, they should always express it directly
to the person they're angry with.
Although sharing your anger with someone directly is one
option, talking it out with another person who is not involved
with your anger and working it out within yourself and then
"letting it go" are others.
Angry people tend to want to control what is happening around
Anger often arises when we feel that things around us are
"out of control." A desire to exert control over
people and situations around us is an important part of
why we get angry and how we stay angry. This is especially
true with explosive or abusive anger when we are, in fact,
often able to control what happens around us on a short-term
basis (i.e. if we blow up, people will do what we want for
awhile). Long-term, however, control, disrespect, and abuse
destroy relationships and drive people away.
Some people just deserve to be yelled at because of the
way they act.
No one "deserves" to be shamed, punished, or abused.
It will not work to effectively change their behavior over
time and it creates the possibility that you will end up
experiencing negative consequences for yourself or in the
relationship as a result.
The way that you think about a person or situation has a
lot to do with how angry you end up getting.
Your thoughts and what you are saying to yourself at any
given moment are a powerful part of escalating yourself
and becoming more tense and angry OR calming yourself down
and finding effective ways to handle difficult and frustrating
Families who yell at each other a lot are emotionally closer
because they're more willing to express their true feelings
with one another.
In fact, yelling and other forms of verbal abuse push people
away and destroy trust. Often, the anger serves as a "cover"
and hides other thoughts and feelings that, if they were
actually shared, could increase the potential for trust,
caring, and intimacy in your relationships.
Explosive and disrespectful anger destroys intimacy, trust
and safety in a family environment.
Explosive and hurtful anger creates fear, intimidation,
mistrust, and a lack of safety. In an abusive atmosphere,
family members will be much less likely to take emotional
risks and to share honestly and openly with one another.
If your anger is justified, you have the right to really
'go off' on the other person.
Even if your anger is "justified" (i.e. if you
have accurately perceived that someone or something really
is "out to get you"), it is still not okay to
become explosive and disrespectful. And it is not an effective
and useful way to address the ongoing issue or problem that
exists between the two of you.
If you grew up in a family where people were abusive and
explosive with one another, you are more likely to be abusive
and explosive in your adult life.
Although not everyone from abusive families becomes disrespectful
and abusive themselves, this is the primary place where
you learn how to experience and express our anger and this
is a important reason that many adults, in fact, become
abusive in their own lives.
© 1987 David J. Decker, MA, LP
Phone: 612-725-8402 or 651-646-4325 - www.ANGEResources.com