What Good is Anger?

black dog
Garnet was abused before she came to us about 7 years ago. She is very sweet and timid – until she gets angry and suddenly she will snap at another dog. Then she scares herself and returns to timidity.

I’ve known people who were habitually in the victim mode, helpless and powerless – until they got angry. Then it was like flipping a switch and they became strong, inflexible, and perhaps mean. What happened? When I look at the situation energetically, I see someone who doesn’t feel like they have a right to speak up or they are afraid. They use anger as a lever to promote their emotions in one area in which they feel they have a right. The emotions that normally tear them down – depression and powerlessness – give way to strength that their anger gives them. Many times these people are then angry all the time. They use the emotion as a pathway to strength. Wouldn’t be nice if this was unnecessary?


Sugar (left) is very emotional, and they all seem to come forward in a storm and then let go. He’s pretty emotionally healthy now. Hannah (right), though, was abused by other birds before we got her from the rescue. She used to be angry all the time, but it’s better now. She felt vulnerable and let her anger give her strength. We let her feathers grow out to give her confidence, and she flies now. As she becomes more capable, the anger comes less frequently.

When I see a person that is always angry, I see a person that cannot find strength except through the adrenaline rush and self-righteousness that they feel when they are whipped into a frenzy. When I see this dynamic in children, I always hope that they can find more room to feel self-empowered and capable before the powerless/anger/strong dynamic takes hold. This isn’t a particularly healthy way to navigate the world. I did it for years like many in my family before me. I’m so glad that I found a way off that merry-go-round with metaphysics.


We’ve had Tribble her entire life and she is rarely angry. She is mellow and happy, quite willing to stand up for herself without getting angry.

Anger can be a powerful motivator for social and personal change; it has a constructive place in our world. It isn’t, however, a healthy crutch when used to simply beat obstacles into submission through emotional fury. How do you use your anger?

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