The Skillful Podcast Episode 54: Emotions Explained: Anger

#54: Emotions Explained: Anger

In this episode, Marielle and Ed discuss the emotion of anger. In its most useful form, anger moves us to protect and defend ourselves and those we care about.

Many people, though, find anger frightening because they have witnessed destructive expressions of anger such as emotional or physical violence. This episode unpacks the emotion of anger so you can understand it in yourself and potentially in others.

Sometimes anger fits the facts, and sometimes faulty interpretations can intensify anger, making us believe that we are being treated unfairly or that things should be different than they are. Skills such as Observing and Describing Emotions, Paced Breathing, Check the Facts and Opposite Action can be particularly helpful in responding to anger effectively.

Show Highlights:

  • Noticing what anger looks like for you: ruminating, crying, shutting down, or something else
  • Reflecting on your own family of origin experience with anger
  • Anger lets us know that our boundaries have been crossed
  • Is this anger covering a different emotion?
  • Societal and cultural prohibitions around anger: who is allowed to express anger and who gets punished for it?
  • Criticizing or complaining can be a sign of anger
  • Understanding and being able to name anger is regulating
  • Notice the hangover effects of intense anger in your mind and body
  • Sometimes our anger is spot on and other times it’s more about an assumption, judgment, or interpretation
  • Using Check the Facts to see if anger is justified by the facts
  • If it’s not the right time or place to express the anger, or if the anger is more about interpretations or assumptions then the actual facts, use Opposite Action
  • Give yourself time to sit with the anger so you can decide the most effective course of action
  • Remembering you have options in how you express anger

DBT Skills Discussed


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Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.