How to overcome Anger


#1

Are there any people out there that when wronged in some way automatically get angry? Have you been able to overcome it? If so can you please tell me how? I just had a serious case of road rage today on my way home and I hate it when I get so angry. I need a strategy to somehow stop the anger before it starts. I’m not sure how since it happens so fast. Thanks for any advice.


#2

Sure, there are plenty of us hotheaded types (at least occasionally in my case) out there. Remember that we are fragile humans - certainly can’t always control our feelings. The main thing is to control what we do with them.

Often the best thing is to simply pray - pray for the person who’s angering you, pray for anyone else who may have been in the same situation as you, pray for yourself and anyone who has problems controlling their anger.

St Jerome and St Padre Pio both reportedly had strong tempers on occasion, so they would be good saints to pray to about the issue.


#3

I have that problem. It’s gotten better as I’ve aged. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve experienced more trauma in life or what. I still have flare-ups sometimes, and usually I try to picture Jesus as the person that’s making me mad. That makes it pretty difficult to be angry. If it’s traffic or “things” that are causing the rage then I try to picture myself doing something I really like, or use that opportunity to say prayers for other people. God bless you as you try to overcome this struggle.


#4

I used to have a friend that would say

“God Bless them; Change me!”

She would use that phrase whenever she got peeved at someone and I would watch her take a deep breath afterwards and get on with life. I think she used the phrase so often it worked kind of like counting works for others who have taken anger management classes.

Good luck with it!


#5

I’ll pray for you. I have just the opposite condition. I’m so mellow that it’s practically impossible for me to get really angry.


#6

I am generally a nice calm person until… you say or do anything to my kids! I once was so mad at my employer for something she said about my kid that I didn’t speak to her literally for about 4 years unless I was threatening her to stay away from my kids or making a snide comment about her to her face. It tore me up inside the anger just consumed me… then I realized…how am I punishing her for being mean to my child? She knows I don’t like her but it wasn’t eating her up inside… life went on for her, but not for me. It was my relationship with God that was suffering because I filled my heart with hate and anger. Whether it was justified or not in the beginning… it was hurting me not her! So I went to confession and had a long talk with my priest about it (I suspect he already knew since we had both worked at the Catholic school). After that I prayed for her and for forgiveness for my anger and hatred. Not long after that we had our annual golf outing fundraiser for the school. I always work the 18th hole… well guess who plays golf??? Yep, here she came in a golf cart… so when she approached I said hi in a very neutral tone (don’t jump on me, it was the best I could do) and she was actually very friendly and nice to me. My husband just stood there in shock… after she left, he said, “Wow, that is growth!” I told him it wasn’t doing any good to hold on to the anger… she wasn’t suffering for it so why should I?


#7

Great advice…I’m going to start using this!


#8

ah, from my own experience:

about 4 months or so ago, I was driving and saw this car changing from one lane to another so many times without using signal. I thought in my head that I wish some police is around to stop him. The next few seconds later, I myself changed lane without looking and almost caused accident.

I immediately realized that I should’ve prayed for the person instead of wishing him to be caught. From that day on, I try to pray whenever I see some bad drivers on the road.

Praying and going to confession help a lot.


#9

I have anger problems as well. When I get angry I ask Jesus to take the anger out of my heart, over and over again, until I feel peace.


#10

Proverbs 29:8
Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger.
Proverbs 29:7-9 (in Context) Proverbs 29 (Whole Chapter)

Proverbs 29:11
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

Proverbs 30:33
For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife."

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Psalm 37:8
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.


#11

I used to be a very angry person. At everybody, all the time. It stopped about the time I converted to Catholicism! :smiley: It took a lot of prayer on my part, but I just kept asking Jesus and the Holy Spirit to bring me peace. Every time I got mad, I would stop and pray. Every single time. Eventually, I realized I was getting mad less and less often. It’s hard to be angry when you’re talking to God. Keep praying, and work at it. It won’t go away by itself. Prayer can change all kinds of things, including your anger.


#12

For anger in general, I have no answer. But I also suffered from terrible road rage, to the point that every time I got behind the wheel of a car, all of a sudden every other driver on the road was an idiot, was driving too slow, wasn’t obeying the rules of the road, etc. I decided to give up my car and only take public transportation or walk everywhere. It has changed my life. I am much happier, I find I don’t get angry as much just in normal daily life, and I am steadily losing weight at the rate of half a pound per week. It is also far cheaper than owning a car what with all the incidental costs, like gas, maintenance, insurance, parking fees, smog checks, registration, etc. I realise this method may not work if you have a family or an ill dependent who requires transportation to doctor visits, but it has certainly worked for me. If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out…


#13

Wow, good for you. You’re also helping the environment by reducing greenhouse gases!


#14

Count to ten, look elsewhere, avoid exchanging any words or even glances with the person who has enraged you, until it cools down? I’ve seen people ask for a couple of seconds in such circumstances and I’ve occasionally done that myself. You can also approach the window, take a couple long breaths to supply your brain with oxygen and clear your mind a bit.

Obviously, pray.

But don’t seek fault in yourself where there is none. It’s easy to jump into self-blame to clear other in your eyes, but it doesn’t make any point voluntarily skewing your own perception of reality. If the reality is that they do foul things, then they do foul things. Doesn’t actually change anything if you start thinking it’s your own fault for caring. Especially if people violate the commandments of God, you are not supposed to be OK with that. Similarly, you aren’t supposed to believe that a moral rule which applies to you doesn’t apply to someone else. We aren’t supposed to judge people, but neither are we supposed to pretend that what we see happening is not happening.

There’s also difference between anger as emotion and anger as the sin of anger. But on that one you can read somewhere in the wise books. :wink:


#15

From my own experience…

There is some anger over which you will have no control. There is anger that is “triggered” by past incidents that in effect causes the “rational mind” to check out as “now” becomes “then” in your mind and some subconscious ego state takes over until it is either vented or distracted. Under those circumstances one reacts before conscious thought can even be given. I think it’s the same type of mechanism that will cause even a saint to say “oh, s***” when they hit their thumb with a hammer.

The only thing I have found at all effective is to try to prepare myself for the most common triggers when entering situations where they are likely to occur. If you are going out on the road, this might include reminding yourself that you may get cut off or that someone may sit in front of you in the passing lane doing 10 mph under the limit. Practice–out loud if possible–saying calmly “I wish you hadn’t done that” or something else, as long as it is civil. Over time you can in fact re-program your responses to many of the common ones if you can give them some forethought.

You will get blindsided on occasion though. I’ve found that when that happens, I just have to look up and ask yet again for more patience or more ability to bear my trials, especially recognizing that I cause my share of trials for others.

It’s a difficult thing to deal with for sure. I am an incredibly mellow person, except for those times when one of those triggers hits. Then it becomes a Jekyll-Hyde world for me until my rational mind can take back over. Sometimes I get to apologize for that if I’ve hurt someone in the process. Other times I just have to live with the guilt, though I recognize that there is limited guilt for autonomic responses.

Peace be with you,


#16

Christ’s PEACE to all. Satan is always pushing my anger doorbell. It doesn’t mean I have to answer the door! Ever notice how the temptation to unrighteous anger is so frequent? The evil one knows our weakness and is always on the attack.

In traffic, when someone else makes a mistake, I quickly think “Have I ever done that?” Unfortunately, the answer is frequently “yes”. If it’s yes, I let it go as those whom I have wronged let it go. If it is something really bad, I immediately pray for them, not knowing what they may just have experienced, or learned that casued them to act out.

Remove the triggers: I used to listen exclusively to political radio. Of course, it left me angry. I now listen exclusively to Catholic radio. It brings peace, wonder, contemplation and instruction. This has lead to me driving more slowly, and considering those whose houses I used to speed past.

Constant prayer is another help. The Lord’s help always comes. But, it’s on His schedule, not mine. Actually, if He granted patience the second we asked, wouldn’t that lead to more impatience? The Lord bless you all richly, and forgive my driving errors as I forgive those who cut me off!


Why follow a dead German, when you can follow a live one?


#17

Road rage never starts on the road. It starts at home. What is the real source of your anger?

The reason people go berserk on the highway is they feel relatively anonymous and so they act out in ways they wouldn’t and voice anger they normally would keep stuffed down.

Change the radio station as someone said. Play classical music. When someone cuts you off, try to make jokes. See how well you can amuse yourself at the other person’s expense. (Yes, humor can be a very sharp little sword and a prudent outlet for anger.)

“Gee, buddy, your hurry bigger than mine? Well, your ticket will be too!”

“Oh, you need all three lanes to make that driving error? Most people can make it in one lane! You are an underachiever!”

“Let’s see if for all his effort he still gets stopped at the same traffic light as myself.”

Life is too short to endanger yourself and get angry. But why are you angry when you get in the car? Find the real cause of your rage and deal with it, and you will find eventually that you will not even notice bone-headed drivers hurtling toward their meeting with Jesus. At the very least, it won’t fill you with rage.


#18

Remove the triggers:
I used to [insert the trigger . . .]

Good point! If we know by experience what those triggers are, it seems good to me that we avoid them until the time our frame of mind is able to deal more patiently with them. There are a few that I have come to recognize as a temptation, and frankly, it is not my mission to redeem the stubborn. :stuck_out_tongue:

What has helped to overcome road rage was delivering a wedding cake in the trunk of my car, and driving below the speed limit to get it to the hall safely. Whenever someone irks me due to driving too slow, I remind myself that they may have a cake in their trunk. :smiley: It always helps to walk in another’s shoes, for thereby we gain understanding.


#19

In the car, alone, is the only time I really get Angry, but most of the time while driving, I’m too distracted by the radio or my thoughts to worry about others. I’m not an aggressive driver at all (not timid, though either), I drive faster than the speed limit, but always leave room in front of me. Sure, I call folks idiots when they cross 4 lanes of traffic to exit, but doesn’t everyone? Or, if an SUV flies past me on an icy road in the winter, and later I see the same SUV in the ditch (with unharmed occupants) I get a good chuckle.

I did have a serious case of anger a few weeks ago. The worst part is, it didn’t even help the situation, and I ended up being angry all over again 3 days later. Finally, it did some good, but it didn’t come without cost.


#20

Joysong,

I have realized that eveerything happens for a reason. We are not privy to that information at the time-sometimes not at all. When a slow driver is in front of me, I remember that God is in charge and may just be protecting me from someone who runs a stop sign up ahead. I cannot be harmed if I’m not up there to be hit.

Why must we know everything in this life? Let us have knowledge only of the Heart of Jesus and live in peace.

Christ’s peace to you.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.