From the time we are born, we experience and express emotions…happiness, sadness, fear, frustration and anger. So why is anger a secondary emotion? Because we learn it as a response to other emotions.

Humans are born with a protective “fight or flight” instinct. We respond to fear by either running away (emotionally or physically), or standing our ground and fighting back. At a very early age, we realize that we can fight any emotion that we don’t like, for example, sadness and frustration.

As we grow up, we are socialized. In other words, we are taught to play well with others. These lessons come in part from parents and teachers, but also from unguided practice, as we learn from our interactions with each other.

So why do some people have a terrible time dealing with anger? Either they didn’t learn to address anger appropriately growing up, or at some point, the rewards for feeling anger seemed better than dealing with depression or anxiety. If you are one of these people, your anger is still protecting you. Nobody likes to feel sad or lonely or frustrated, and anger often feels like a good substitute for the pain, until it grows out of control.

So where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Remember that anger is a response we learned, and it can be un-learned. We can teach ourselves a better way. We can find a person or a group or a program to help us learn to manage our anger, and express our feelings in less destructive ways.

If you feel you need help with your anger, speak with someone about it. Often, a family member, close friend or minister can provide useful advice that will set you on the right path. If your concerns seem more serious or urgent, speak with your family doctor or a local mental health provider. You might consider online anger management classes. A site offering free classes is There is help available, and you are absolutely not alone.

Author's Bio: 

William Smith is a master’s level psychologist, certified by the State of Tennessee as a Social Counselor since 1989. He is the CEO of The Logan Group International, a leading provider of anger management courses for court and employers. To learn more about his company and what it offers, visit