We can't say that every survival response will lead to anger. But in many cases, it does. When we think about it, another word for anger is passion. And it takes passion to survive, persevere, succeed, and make change.      

But no one tells us to be angry or that anger is important. 

Instead, we grow up hearing:   

Don't be angry.   You have nothing to be angry about.    Take a chill pill.   Laugh it off.    

Then depending on who you are (your gender, religion, ethnicity, colour), you will hear messages like:   

Don't be a bitch.   Just another angry black man.   Muslims are just angry people.    

Why do we say these things? We do it because people think it is bad to be angry. Because it is bad, we hide our anger behind other words. Some words play down anger by using gentler words. Others dismiss anger by using colour phrases. Some words even amplify anger but still allow us to avoid talking about anger and its relationship to anxiety, stress, and ultimately fear.   

Consider these words and phrases for anger:

agitated frustrated hit the roof livid steamed up wrath beside oneself spittin’ angry pissed- off in a lather railing against fit to be tied fuming ticked mad furious exploding enraged p’od annoyed incensed bugged bothered irked disgruntled displeased exasperated vexed crossed teed off peeved bent out of shape miffed put out seeing red seething hot riled up hot under the collar infuriated apocalyptic outraged foaming at the mouth 

Questions to Ask Yourself

Which words have you used to disguise your anger?   

Did your parents name anger as anger or use other words to avoid admitting they were angry?   

Is there anyone in your life that you use the above words to describe but are not considered angry?   

How can identifying anger (yours or others) as anger make a difference in your life?   

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