Anger = Loss of Control

posted in: Stage 2, Stage 2: Step 1

Anxiety is the feeling generated by your body in response to a threat. When a situation causes a feeling of anxiety, we exert some type of control to diminish it. When you lose or don’t have enough control, your body secretes more stress hormones in an effort too regain it. Anger is simply anxiety with a chemical kick. Some general examples of anger-producing situations are:

  • Invasion of your boundaries
    • Boss
    • Bully
    • Spouse
  • Inability to meet your basic physical needs
    • Food
    • Water
    • Air
    • Sex
    • Freedom from pain
  • Inability to meet your basic psychological needs
    • Nurture and love
    • Protection
    • Be heard
    • Control of anxiety




There is a genealogy of anger:

  • Circumstance – perceived or real
  • Blame
  • Victim
  • Anger

It doesn’t matter whether the situation is a physical or mental threat, your body’s chemical stress response is similar. There is a surge of fight or flight hormones that enhances your chances of survival.

While anxiety represents feelings of helplessness, anger is a powerful feeling that covers up the sensation of anxiety. It is the most powerful role that a human can experience. Anger results in action that can help regain control—whether the actions are admirable or not is a different discussion.  Even if it isn’t possible to regain control, anger allows you to feel like you are in control. (you can’t control your thoughts) Anger is nearly impossible to give up. Nor should you give it up. It is a survival reaction. By being aware of and understanding how powerful and potentially destructive it can be, you be able to separate from it. Then you’ll be able to let go and move forward to experience a full, rich, and productive life.




For more on anger and control, see:

Listen to the Back in Control Radio podcast The Impact of Litigation on Your Pain.