Anger usually arises when we perceive a threat or an injustice. Anger may also arise when we encounter stress, disappointment or hurt feelings. When managed properly, anger motivates us to clarify the other person's intent, express our disappointment, or if necessary, set some limits to protect us. "Constructive anger is a means to a positive end," suggests anger management expert Doyle Gentry. (See Dr. Gentry's book,  Anger Management for Dummies.

Anger can be destructive when it is not managed appropriately. We may feel stronger when we are angry, but chronic anger usually gets in the way of good communication. Anger may lead to inappropriate outbursts, interpersonal problems, and health problems such as headaches.

To help you manage your anger, the following information may be helpful. Note that if you grew up with anger and criticism being expressed on daily basis in your home, you may want to consider getting some additional help through counseling from a mental health professional.

Overcoming a Combative Interpersonal Style

(Making Relationships Work)

Combatitive Behavior



Make  requests, not demands.  Soft approaches work 70-90 percent of the time. Remember that an 80 percent chance of success is much better than the odds associated with combative behavior.


Relax for 10 minutes at the end of the workday and remember: "I want to be there for my partner/friend." Make it  emotionally safe to be around you.

Dominance Seeking

Think  "Team" rather than "opponent." Having to be the top dog all the time can leave you one lonely dog.


Even though an issue may be important to you, it doesn't have to be solved entirely right now. Clarification is an essential ingredient in good communication and in making relationships work.   Also, if the issue is not that important,  "Let it Go."


Remember that your partner or friend probably has agood reason for not doing a task or complying right away, at least from his or her perspective.


Tell yourself, "Sometimes I may not be right or I may not have all the relevant information:  New information from my partner or friend can reassure me that the issue need not be a threat in the way I had thought. Also remember that there are often  many ways to  solve a problem or to complete a task.

Additional Reading

The Surprising Purpose of Anger: Beyond Anger Management: Finding the Gift, by Marshall B. Rosenburg