Whew! Am I Ever Mad! What are you doing about it?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2015-05-06 09:42:15 -0500
Started 2014-07-13 21:40:06 -0500

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get angry. And what’s wrong with getting angry? After all, anger is one of our basic human emotions, like sadness and happiness.

Let me begin by saying that anger has a purpose. It triggers what scientists call the fight response which in turn motivates us to take action. And sometimes fighting – defending or advocating for ourselves – is what we need to do.

However, what to do with those angry feelings isn’t always so clear.

Anger may be temporary, we work through it or it passes on its own. Angry feelings may also stick around. You’ve probably met people who seem to always be mad about something.

I often connect with other members who post about how angry they are. They describe what’s making them feel that way. Trying to cope with being diagnosed. Complications from their treatment regimen. Having to follow diets or make other unwanted changes in their routines. Conflict with family members.

The situations we encounter in life have a way of reminding us that life isn’t always fair, that it doesn’t always go the way we want it to go, or the way we think we deserve. Nobody knows that better than someone who is living with a chronic condition. And during a rough patch, you may have times when you find yourself walking around “primed” to get angry at just about any curve ball that seems headed in your direction.

What can you do with all of those angry feelings?

Getting mad is human, while sitting with all that anger can have a negative effect on your wellness. Who needs that?

I wrote an article recently on dealing with anger. Here is a link:


What about you? How do you deal with those angry moments? Need some ideas?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

53 replies

suecsdy 2015-05-06 09:42:15 -0500 Report

I have always been a " get mad and let it go" person. Can't stay mad even when I try. It just isn't in my makeup. And when my daughter died at 23 some years ago, I learned that there are few things worth wasting that kind of energy on. Also working retail all my life has taught me when to keep my mouth shut. You can Think whatever you want as long as it doesn't come out your mouth.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-07-15 22:15:18 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary,
As usual a great post. I spent years getting angry and holding it in. Then I think I kind of grew up. I got tired of feeling like a door mat. These days it takes a lot for me to get angry or mad.

If people could stop in the middle of their anger, and ask themselves, is this really worth getting angry about, they may realize that it is so trivial that it isn't worth all of the energy it takes to be as angry or mad as they are.

I have a habit that drives people crazy. If someone yells at me I treat them like a television and turn them off. I don't hear them at all. When I notice that they have stopped yelling , I ask them what did you say and that makes them crazy. They have spent all of their energy yelling and I didn't hear a word they said.

I sit back and observe people. I have noticed that people who have way too much baggage are angry at the world. People who have too many issues such as religion, government or their neurotic beliefs get very upset if you don't agree with them or see things their way and people who are overly sensitive get mad at the drop of a hat because no matter what you say or how you say it they are offended and get mad.

These days it takes a lot to get me mad and that is probably because I really don't care if people are offended or angry. I do not have time for that. I also don't see how people can be mad with someone or about something for years. Carrying anger around that long has to be tiresome because anger like hate is very heavy and it takes a lot of energy to keep it going.

There is nothing worse then watching an adult have a complete and total meltdown over something idiotic. Makes me want to use Joan Rivers infamous words and say "Oh Grow Up". Unless someone is physically abusing me, I am not going to pay too much attention to their anger. If I am being physically abused, all bets are off. One of us is going to prison or the cemetery. This is why I always ask myself is this worth it. Nine times out of ten it isn't. I just move on to what I was planning to do and leave them wallowing in their anger or madness. .

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-17 18:32:31 -0500 Report

Hi Joyce,

As always, thanks for your insights.

I really liked your comment about stopping in the middle of the anger and just asking yourself if all that anger is worth it. I suspect if people did that more often, there would be many fewer arguments.

And I also agree that when we engage someone's anger, we are also helping to perpetuate the other person's anger. If the music comes on and we refuse to dance, maybe the other person has to find a new tune.

And carrying a lot of anger is just plain unhealthy. Life is too short.



Kats49 2014-07-15 20:44:56 -0500 Report

Loved your article and learned some new ideas…I am people pleaser from child birth…it takes a while for me to get angry. But when i do ..MAN I do. Then I regret it, because my BS will get out of whack. Fortunately, as I have aged, I find less things to be angry about and seem to take a lot in stride now

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-15 21:49:57 -0500 Report

Hi Kats!

Great to see you. Thanks for taking the time to check out my article.

I understand that experience of taking care of others and then letting the anger build up. When we don't take care of ourselves, resentment can be result. Resentment leads to anger.

I think we develop a new perspective over time. We realize not everything has to be a crisis. And we don't have to take everything personally.



CaliKo 2014-07-15 19:56:02 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary, Someone once told me it's impossible to be angry and depressed at the same time. Is anger a natural defense against depression?

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-15 21:47:40 -0500 Report

Hey CaliKo!

Interesting question. Actually, being irritable or short-tempered can be one of the signs of depression. So I would say the two can be very directly related, not always, but potentially.

Nice to see you!


ReaderReader12 2014-07-15 06:19:47 -0500 Report

I am a pleaser from way back. I am a pro at stuffing my feelings and or eating them. I am learning to deal much better with my feelings and oh my gosh even dare I say talk about them out loud? Yes even that and the world has not ended yet. Thank you for the ideas from the article you wrote they are all better suggestions than my stuffing them down. lol Laughter and music are so important to me and learning to love the person I am.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-15 22:02:37 -0500 Report

HI ReaderReader,

Thanks for your reply. I loved the way you said this. I say something similar to my clients -- you can say what's on your mind, the ceiling won't come crashing down on you. Many of share the tendency to stuff feelings, you are not alone.

And thanks for your kind words. Glad this was helpful. And yes, laughter and music are a great way to stay centered.


rolly123 2014-07-15 06:12:56 -0500 Report

Dr Gary I do c counselor it only las two months then they leave or gets switch to another department or transfer to another town I'm waiting to find out who I get they can't decide so difficult to get passed what goals like achieve with us trust isn't doing good with me

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-15 21:59:28 -0500 Report

Hi rolly, thanks for getting back to me. I am glad you see a counselor but sorry to hear they are switching in and out so often. It's hard to build trust. But I hope you will stick with it. Counseling helps a lot!

krioni 2014-07-14 23:54:53 -0500 Report

It kinda scares me to get angry I've coming pretty close to being abusive when my sugar is high and I get progressively more angry with seemingly no reason. Is this normal

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-15 21:45:35 -0500 Report

krioni, that is a very good point! Thanks for adding that to the discussion. We can't forget the effects of blood sugar levels on mood. Gary

GabbyPA 2014-07-15 05:59:37 -0500 Report

Yep, sugar can be a big factor in our anger. I know when I start to get snippy with family I need to check my sugar. Specially with it's over stupid little stuff

healthy412c 2014-07-14 16:17:42 -0500 Report

I believe anger human emotion that is good if followed positive actions to subside it. When I was first diagnosed with Diabetes I was not angry until I had to figure portions and healthy foods that I could eat on a daily basis. When I found healthy foods and understood Diabetes more the anger was gone! So it absolutely can be a positive human emotion.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-15 07:51:26 -0500 Report

Hey healthy412c,

Nice to meet you! And thanks for jumping in here.

You bring up a very good point. Coping with a new diagnosis like diabetes -- and the changes you have to make as a result -- can be really frustrating. Anger is a natural, human response. And as you said so well, accepting the need to change and doing what you need to do to take good care of yourself can help the anger to go away. Life on life's terms.

Keep in touch!


haoleboy 2014-07-14 15:04:57 -0500 Report

probably the wrong discussion group for this comment but …

Interesting article that got me thinking. I had a stroke January 8, 2013 and one of the interesting side effects of a stroke are the cognitive / personality / emotional changes. I have been fortunate in that I had little decrease in cognitive abilities but have experienced several emotional issues. I suffered from Pseudobulbar Affect (sudden episodes of crying or laughter) for about the first year.

… so this article made me realize I no longer get angry (or particularly happy either) … not that I was an overly angry person before … but I had my moments. Perhaps it is another emotional side effect of the stroke or maybe a manifestation of the way I have been coping with the effects of the stroke.

Not sure … sorta weird.

Thanks for posting Gary … you have given me something to contemplate.


Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-15 07:48:17 -0500 Report

HI Steve,

This is really interesting reply, Steve, and totally on topic.

Physical conditions can have an impact on emotions. A stroke is a perfect example. I have worked with stroke victims who had similar experiences, which can include bouts of anger as well, in my experience. Something that you don't have a lot of control over.

Sounds like the emotional ups and downs are evening out for you. I am guessing your coping skills have helped.

Thanks a lot for this, Steve!


fatso200 2014-07-14 13:50:01 -0500 Report

I had anger as an illness. Several times in my life I've been in a constant snit or state of rage as a result of sub manic states of mind where the subjects of my rage infllated in my mind and just thinking about them set me off. I'm pleased to state that this year I have stabilized and seem to feel a lot less rage than last year, when I was caught up in destructive rage. I still suffer some of the resultant damage but I sleep at night a little better. Who knows what's to come in the future.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-15 07:44:47 -0500 Report

Hi fatso200,

I really appreciate your honesty here. Anger can be an illness. It can boil and bubble and be debilitating. So glad to hear you are making progress on this. Did you talk to a counselor about this? Or did you work it out on your own.

It's one day at a time. But having coping skills that you can use every day, to help avoid the build-up of anger, can be a good strategy.


Pynetree 2014-07-14 10:51:14 -0500 Report

I unfortunately, stew internally. With the usual stomach issues almost guaranteed.
On the few times that I sarcasticaly voice it, I find I am less physically ill, but, sometimes, I later regret making someone aware of what, or who, they are. Then again, sometimes I don't regret it later.
I am working on rechanneling Anger~ sometimes writing it out helps.
Good discussion topic, Dr. Gary.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-15 07:40:39 -0500 Report

Hi Pynetree,

Thanks for jumping in. I know what you mean about sitting and stewing. And it does have a way of taking a toll on your poor stomach. Getting the anger out in a productive way is always a challenge. We do the best we can.

Writing can be a good therapy. Even writing a letter that you don't send. It helps to sort things out on paper.


theladyiscrazy 2014-07-14 08:59:47 -0500 Report

I am trying to refocus, or walk, or even journal. They act of doing something to counter for me is helpful. Now, I am not at 100% yet and it is a progress in work.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-14 23:51:57 -0500 Report

Hey theladyiscrazy (thought I don't think you are crazy), some good ideas here. Take a break from the situation and do something to regain your perspective. Keep working on it, like we all are. Gary

GabbyPA 2014-07-14 07:30:57 -0500 Report

All I know for certain is if I keep it in, it makes everything sour. If I don't express it constructively, it also haunts me later. So I have to find the balance of expressing anger without being mean. There is a fine line there and that is why if I am really angry writing it out is best, because I can write exactly what I feel, then go back and take out the mean and hurtful parts, so it's just anger expressed.

I know someone who just keeps reliving the anger and can never seem to get past it. They will say they are, but then in the next breath all the blame, excuses and negativity come back in. That is hard to deal with too. It is eating that person alive. Very sad.

If you cannot let it go, you will never get to move on. If you cannot see both sides of the issue, that will also hold you back and cause resentment.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-14 23:50:41 -0500 Report

Hi Gabby!

That's a very good point. It is sure a fine line. I think we have all been in that situation of letting out the anger and feeling justified in doing that, and then feeling badly that it came out in maybe too much force, and did some damage. On the other hand, holding it in isn't helpful.

I also know people, including clients, who just seem to be on automatic replay, caught in that cycle of anger over something from the past. Eating them alive is right.

Yes, let go and move on.


GabbyPA 2014-07-15 06:04:34 -0500 Report

What kinds of things do you tell your "replay" people? I am trying so hard to deal with it. Everything I say to her gets misconstrued and she constantly brings up comments from years ago? I don't know what to do to help her stop reliving it.

RebDee 2014-07-14 01:51:43 -0500 Report

In other words, don't let anger fester to the boiling point. If you are angry about something, let it out. Don't kill the messenger. Remember that you didn't like the subject, not what your friend said.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-14 23:47:32 -0500 Report

Good point, RebDee. Don't hold things in until they come blasting out in an explosion of anger. We always need to try to keep things in perspective.

Michael Morgan
Michael Morgan 2014-07-14 00:34:28 -0500 Report

I have AML Leukimia in remission. My diabetes showed up at the same timtime. I have been on insulin injections up until last month when they tested me again and put me on Metforman pills. They work great. I had nonoticed that as they cut back on my steroids that my blood sugar was no not as bad. I still watch my diet . My stress libel is lower and that has caused me to feel better yet. I am 65 and have been in remission about 4and 6 months. Stress is made by self and it alone can kill you. People hahave to look beyond themselves and see how your stress effects the on ones around you. I am winning a battle that in time will take me but
That is not today.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-14 23:46:01 -0500 Report

Hi Michael,

It's nice to see you , my friend. You have been dealing with a lot. Glad to hear that you are on Metformin now, and that your leukemia is in remission. That's good news.

You're right. We all need to manage our stress and not create more of it for ourselves. Great to hear you are winning that battle.

Thanks for checking in.


kayisT2 2014-07-14 01:41:52 -0500 Report

Hang in there Michael! I believe that if you believe you will be okay, you WILL! We are all fighting a battle, but we will WIN'

rolly123 2014-07-13 22:59:16 -0500 Report

Dr Gary I saw what happens when my family gets angry they throw thing hit beat up who next to them I always keep it inside me I one time let out and almost hurt someone I had revive her real bad so I eat clea
Clean but that don't help I hurt myself instead person I'm mad at I have lot self worth issue I value others more me anger isn't my friend it takes a lot get me angry my dad joked through life I guess I do same thing I'm having hard time taking my diseases serous nobody in my family ever did no good example thanks for that subject

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-14 23:42:12 -0500 Report

Hi rolly,

Thanks for sharing this. When you come from an angry family, it can feel natural to get angry and just let it out. But it sounds like you recognize how destructive anger can be.

It sounds like you are not getting a lot of support. Talking to a counselor could help a lot. Have you thought about giving that a try? It also sounds like you are working to take good care of yourself. That's great.

Stay in touch!


Pegsy 2014-07-13 22:23:50 -0500 Report

Great article, Dr. Gary. While it is all good, the part that spoke most to me is about reconsidering my expectations. I realize that I most often get angry when my expectations are not met. This is usually unfair because I fail to effectively express to others what those expectations are. This is a setup for failure for all involved. I also get angry about others' expectations of me. Often not communicated or communicated in such a way that I feel obligated to put someone else's needs ahead of my own. I was pretty much raised to be this way and am only now learning how to have proper boundaries. Sometimes my anger is out of frustration of not knowing how to express myself effectively. Feeling as though I have not been heard or understood. We are all a work in progress, that's for sure!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-14 23:38:02 -0500 Report

Hey Pegsy,

Thank you! Glad this was helpful.

I often say to clients that not having expectation -- or having reasonable expectations -- for other people is one of the keys to happiness. When we're not constantly expecting something we can't get, then we give ourselves and others breathing room. And your comment about meeting other people's expectations is really insightful. We do have to set boundaries. When we don't we are setting ourselves up for feeing depleted and resentful. And nobody likes to feel like they aren't being heard.

Yes, we are all a work in progress!


robertoj 2014-07-13 22:19:55 -0500 Report

I had a bad temper when I was young. I blacked out when another kid hit me for no reason.When I came to I was pounding his head on the sidewalk and some kids pulled me off him. Anger is not an option for me. All I do is take deep breaths until the feeling passes. Sort of a meditation. I remember things from my gratitude list so I don't ruminate.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-14 23:33:57 -0500 Report

Hi Roberto,

I do think that we tend to mellow with old age, as you said. And having an experience where we really blow up and get physical with someone can be eye opening -- we realize our own potential to do damage. Deep breaths can be a great way to deal with anger. It is like a meditation.


diabeticdummy 2014-07-13 22:02:41 -0500 Report

it takes allot to get me mad that is a good thing as when i do get mad i get destructive and with my strength from years of strong man training it is pretty powerful impresses people though i usually can count it down and relax but if some one does get me there and keeps pushing once i break something they back off like a tv remote broke in half with one hand or fist threw a door or wall but i deal with it pretty well like i said takes allot to get me mad in first place have other things in life to use my energy on only one person in my life ever pushed me past my limit he ran behind a wall when i started chasing him i reached thru the wall and polled him thru it and that calmed me down almost immediately and i just yelled at him dropped him to the ground and walked away that was 20 years ago now a days i just laugh it off as most of the time nothing i can do about it anyways so why get mad I've mellowed allot in older age

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-14 23:31:39 -0500 Report

Hey diabeticdummy,

Thanks for checking in. Wow, I suspect you can be pretty intimidating when you're mad. That's probably effective in certain situations -- certainly no problem getting someone's attention! Sounds like you keep things under control. That's a good thing!


kimfing 2014-07-13 21:59:36 -0500 Report

When i used to get really angry, i used to throw things. That is until one day, i broke something of irreplaceable sentimental value to me. I sat back and asked myself if that was worth it. Now i try to take a deep breath and try to figure out my source of anger and fix it

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-14 23:25:51 -0500 Report

Hey kimfing,

Sounds like you learned the hard way where exploding can get you. Your new approach sounds a whole lot healthier and productive, especially if it leads to fixing the problem.



camerashy 2014-07-13 21:48:35 -0500 Report

Sometimes I just want to bite somebody. Anybody. Usually goes away by itself, but I have a sister I can call. I say "I need to whine" and she listens. When I'm really mad, work it out by grabbing a broom and sweeping the patio. Maybe hitting something with the broom. Don't worry - it isn't the dogs - they can tell when I bang out the door I'm mad and they run.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-07-14 23:20:48 -0500 Report

Hi camerashy,

Wanting to just bite somebody is a good way to describe what it's like when you feel angry. Having someone you can vent to can be a big help, as can some kind of physical activity. Good to hear you're not swinging it toward the dogs. :))


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