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3 Basic Anger Styles

Learn about the three basic anger styles (anger out, anger in, and anger control) from anger management expert Dr. J. Ryan Fuller in this Howcast video.


There are a number of different anger theorists who have talked about different kinds of anger styles, but the one I'll mention breaks anger styles into three forms of expression.

There's anger out. Anger out typically looks like the kinds of behaviors we see with someone that we consider to have a temper. They become very angry, and then they're gonna be doing things like yelling, they may be using profanity, they may smash cellphones or pound their fist on the desk or something along those lines, destroy property. A single anger out episode, in fact, can even cause a heart attack. That anger expression style does have some risks. It also has personal consequences. As you can imagine if this is your employer or employee, this is gonna cause problems in the workplace.

Likewise an anger in style where the person is more typically experiencing high levels of anger, but they're not expressing them outwardly. So this person, it may not be clear to those around them that they are actually very, very angry, but they're having an internal experience, usually of high levels of rumination, is what I see in my practice, where they're stewing about it and they're not engaging or doing an active problem solving. That too has physical implications and is correlated with things like gastrointestinal problems. There's even some evidence that it might be linked to some forms of cancer.

Finally anger control is the expression style in my practice is what we're trying to teach clients. That's where we're really looking to have them do a few different things. One they're gonna begin to change their thinking about things both how they're perceiving situations in the first place, what they're attributing the cause to, and then thinking about the practical implications and consequences of their actions. By doing so, they're hopefully gonna bring down the level of anger int eh first place. They'll also use relaxation to bring down the level of anger, and then they're gonna actively engage in problem solving and assertively communicate what's going on for them. They might share their feelings. They might share what they proposed could make the situation better. That's really the kind of expression style we're looking for when we're dealing with anger management.

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