About Anger – The Different Styles

Where does anger come from?

Anger is an emotion. It stems from issues in your past that are both unresolved and unforgiving. These feelings are buried deep down inside you and can cause you emotional and physical harm.
Anger comes from a past environment of confusion, chaos and lack of communication between family members. If you have seen your parents become angry, on a regular basis, you will perceive this behaviour as normal and are more likely to adopt the same method of inter-action yourself.
Anger is a habit that is rooted in your sub-conscious mind. It is a formed pattern of behaviour that is firmly established. A pattern of behaviour/ habit can be changed. Anger is based in your own fear and insecurities and a belief that you are, or have been wronged.

Anger (healthy)

It is important to understand that there is a positive side to anger. Healthy anger is part of the basic belief system that stems from a ‘high frustration tolerance level’. Anger used in its positive sense provides you with the drive to attempt and accomplish difficult tasks you perceive as threatening or unattainable/out of your reach. It motivates you to push yourself that extra mile in order to achieve the unachievable! Positive anger is an essential element in your life. Without it you are lethargic, hopeless, unmotivated and negative. Positive anger gives you the energy to tackle situations/obstacles/opportunities that are challenging. It allows you to expand your boundaries and take risks.

Healthy anger stems from a set of healthy beliefs:

Passion Competence
Drive Honesty Adequacy
Enthusiasm Dependability Intuition
Energy Loyalty Perception
Responsible Lovable Confident
Respectful Equality Assertive

Anger (unhealthy)

Is part of the belief system that stems from a low frustration tolerance level. Therefore, when faced with any situation that you are unable to understand or deal with, you resort to anger. When you resort to anger you are actively engaging in threatening and/or frightening people in order to push them away, and not engage in the conversation or set of circumstances that presents itself. You do this because you are unable to participate in healthy discussions that you cannot control.

Unhealthy anger stems from a set of unhealthy beliefs:

A need to control Rejection Lethargy
A dislike of criticism Failure Hopelessness
Resentment Intimacy Unmotivated
Jealousy Incompetence Unintuitive
Envy Inadequacy Unperceptive
Fear Lack of education

10 ways on how ‘unhealthy anger’ is used in relationships

• To get our own way
• To sabotage ourselves and others
• To frighten someone into submission
• To control people, situations and outcomes
• To shift blame from ourselves
• To show disrespect
• To criticise
• To intimidate
• To victimise
• To bully

Style 1: To get your own way:
Wanting, and having total control. Putting you first, at any price. The act of being completely selfish. This individual is frightened of what would happen if he/she didn’t have total control. They are scared that, if they are not in control of all situations and people nearest to them, their circumstances/life could change dramatically and they would be left ‘high and dry.’ They have no basic self-respect or like themselves and believe they are not liked or respected by others and, therefore, they have a desperate need to stay in control in order to keep and preserve what they have. They feel they are failures.
They manipulate those people closest to them by any method that works for them by, i.e.,

• Menacing behaviour
• Coaxing and cajoling
• Luring you into a false sense of security
• Sulking
• Aggression
• Attacking
• Bribery
• Threatening
Walking out (as if never to return – you wish!) He/she will be back!
• Violence (as in slamming doors, stamping around the house)
• Body language (large and looming over you)
• Accusing
• Blaming
• Physical Violence (when this occurs, or if there is a strong probability of this happening in your relationship – GET OUT!)

In my opinion, this type of person is only respected by people who know them on a superficial level. This controlling type can be friendly, talkative and interesting in professional and social situations. It is only when someone oversteps the self-imposed boundaries of the controller that outsiders will spot that this person is intolerant, aggressive, rude and threatening.

Negative Options on how to deal with someone who wants to ‘get their own way’.

• Do anything you want behind your partner’s back
• Try and coax, cajole and beg your partner to agreeing with you
• Tell the truth at all times (in the full knowledge that the outcome will be anger), and put up with the consequences
• Enter into lengthy discussions about the innocence of your intentions (usually to no avail)
• Give him/her support at any price
• Love him/her more, and dance to their tune, to show and prove you could never, or would not want to be, without them
• Give in and submit all the time
• Give up on having a life of your own
• Fight ‘fire with fire’ and retaliate with anger


Positive options on how to deal with someone always ‘getting their own way.

• Be still – do not react – let them ‘run out of steam.’
• Do not be provoked, whatever they say
• Stay in control of YOU
• Devise a plan of action (the outcome you want to achieve)
• Stay focused on what you want
• Say nothing, other than giving answers such as, “I am not responding to you because I don’t know the answer yet, and can’t give you the answer you want at this time.”
• Continue (quietly and unobtrusively) to follow your own plan and do your own thing (this will give you confidence and raise your self-esteem)
• Encourage open and honest discussions during quiet, peaceful, relaxing times
• When there is an easy flow of conversation, taking place between you, assess whether it might be an appropriate time to air an issue causing you concern, i.e. “when we argue I feel unable to respond to you because you shout and frighten me with your presence.” This admission, gently said and repeated over many months, might eventually sink in and he/she might decide to start listening and stop shouting.
• Decide to change yourself (taking small steps and making small changes at first). This will provoke him to responding to you in a different way. If this is done slowly there will be a positive result as shown in my book, a 10 step-guide called, ‘My Way’ (how to live within a difficult relationship). This guide is an empowering strategy for change in relationships.
• Decide to leave him/her

The most effective way to deal with anger directed your way is to, first of all,

• Stay calm and in control of you
• Do not be confrontational
• Slow down your reactions
• Identify the style/type of anger that is used
• Identify your options and responses
• Adopt the chosen strategy

Style 2: To frighten someone into submission:

When disagreements occur anger is used to get someone/your partner to submit. The argument or discussion usually starts in a reasonable way but very soon spirals out of control. This happens when the controller sees that they could lose the argument and not get their own way. The controller raises his/her voice, eyes bulge in their head, their face turns the colour of corpse white, they loom over you and shout in your face. They resort to disgusting behaviour and language spitting obscenities your way. These outbursts, over a period of time, brainwash the victim into believing they are worthless. The victim in this scenario is baffled. Lost for words. Disabled and unable to respond. He/she is temporarily tongue-tied as the fear of the moment takes over and paralyses them. Their only thought is to calm the person down and get out of the situation as soon as possible. It is a dreadful feeling that you desperately hope never happens again. It always does! The controller has deliberately resorted to anger to get his/her own way and to ensure that they won’t be challenged about any issues in the future. They will not be challenged, if you challenge this type of individual – do it at your peril! This is the lowest form of interaction between people. It is bullying and, it subjects another person to threats and possible violence, unless they do what they are told. It is cowardly. It stems from an inability to discuss calmly, fairly and frankly the issue in hand for fear of losing the argument or discussion and also losing control of another person or set of circumstances. The type of person that behaves in this way only loves themselves. They say they love you, of course they would say that, but do you really believe that someone who loves you would treat you in that way? On the other hand a controller who is in love is so afraid of losing that special person that they resort to unacceptable behaviour in order to frighten them into staying with them. This home is a household ruled by threats and fears. A household should be ruled by love and compassion.
Being on the receiving end of threatening behaviour is fearsome. Being confronted with bulging eyes and a tight-lipped snarl is scary and would make most people submit. In my opinion, “a threat is a projected fear on the part of the person with the threatening behaviour”. If the person exposed to the threatening behaviour can remember this during the time the anger explodes, then they might feel more able to deal with the outburst and re-act in a different way. The person threatening is the person who is scared and frightened and is projecting this fear on to their partner in the hope that the issue will go away.
They are becoming angry, safe in the knowledge, that their demonic persona will frighten the other person into total submission.


• When someone threatens to leave you if you do not comply with their demands
• When you feel forced to do something against your will
• When you are the subject of menacing behaviour
• When your every move is criticised
• When you are constantly watched

A story unfolded in a counselling session: A lady, who had been married for some 12 years confided that there is a list of things that she cannot do, at home, for fear of disapproval from her husband. These are:

• She cannot put nail varnish on her nails as he does not like the smell and he becomes angry if she does this.
• She must not chew gum – he cannot stand the noise.
• She must not make conversation, whilst out socialising, unless he likes the person she is speaking to.
• He says she snores, or breathes too loudly, so he opts to sleep in the spare bedroom most nights.
• She must not fall asleep in the chair in the living room. If she does this he slams his hand down on the arm of the chair, or stamps his foot on the floor to awaken her (with a start!)
• When they both go out for a meal and she chooses the table they sit at – he will always decide to sit somewhere else as her choice is unacceptable.

How to resist submitting to someone:

• Don’t respond/re-act
• Divert the conversation
• Challenge them
• Offer different options
• Realise they are cowards (knowing this, helps to take some fear away)
• Stop being afraid of them and know they are afraid of reaching at an outcome they can’t deal with
• Stay in reality and in the moment – don’t be tempted to imagine an outcome that affects your future with this person
• If he/she threatens to leave you – don’t be gullible and believe him/her – ask yourself has he/she ever left you before?
• Stay focused on your inner state of mind and body
• Hold yourself still inside
• If you think the situation is going to spiral out of control and become violent – get the hell out!
• Smile, nod, agree and then do what you want to do
• Imagine you are someone else – how would they respond?
• Disengage emotionally (this can be achieved with practice, as below)
• Imagine you are the third person in the room – stay with that person (in your mind) and observe both yourself and your partner. This exercise will help you disengage from the emotional entanglement you have become involved in.
• See you partner for who he/she really is – ‘knowledge is power.’

This article is an excerpt taken from Lynda Bevan’s book called, ‘MY WAY’ to help you live with someone else’s anger. The book explains the different styles of anger and offers suggestions and options on how to react to each style. This book is a must for those people living ‘on a knife’s edge’, and who are ‘treading egg shells’, rather than upset their partner.

Author's Bio: 

'Lynda Bevan lives in a picturesque village in South Wales, United Kingdom. She is 60 years
of age, married for the third time, with three (adult) children. During her teens and early twenties she pursued and enjoyed acting and taught at local Youth Centres.

Her 20 year career has involved working, in the area of mental health, with the two major care agencies in the UK, Social Services and the National Health Service.

After the birth of her third child, and with her second marriage ending, she became employed by Social Services and climbed through the ranks to senior management level with some speed.

During her career with Social Services she developed a passion for counselling and psychotherapy and worked extensively with mental health patients, within the organisation, setting up counselling projects in the Primary |Health-care Setting to tackle the issue of doctors who referred patients, inappropriately, to Psychiatric Hospitals for therapy for events that arise in normal everyday life, i.e. divorce, anxiety, depression, bereavement, stress, loss of role. It was during this time that she became involved in marital/relationship counselling and, coincidentally, was experiencing difficulties within her own relationship. The experience of working in this environment, and her own relationship issues, enabled Lynda to be innovative; creating methods of coping and developing strategies that enabled her and, consequently, patients to live within their difficult relationships. These strategies were devised and offered to patients who had clearly identified that they did not want to separate or proceed with the divorce process.

After taking early retirement from Social Services, she became employed by the National Health Service, as a Counsellor in the Primary Health-Care Setting. During this 10 year period in her career she began using the strategies, she had developed, with patients who were referred for relationship counselling and who did not want to end their partnership/marriage. This strategy (10 step guide) has been used extensively over a 10 year period with impressive results.

Lynda has lectured on the PGCE Course at Swansea Business Institute teaching counselling skills to post-graduate students. She has also run workshops on self-development and psychodrama at Swansea University.

Lynda is presently employed as a Manager of a charity that provides services and supports people who are HIV positive or who have AIDS. She is also the Resident Relationship Counsellor on Swansea Sound Radio.