How To Control Anger

By Leo Gura - February 20, 2014 | 11 Comments

The root causes of anger and how to deal with them permanently.

Video Transcript

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Hey, this is Leo from Actualized.org, and in this video I’m going to talk about how to control anger.

Let’s break into this. How to control anger? In this video, we’re going to talk about, in about fifteen minutes, we’re going to quickly cover a lot of stuff. This is going to be a jam-packed session.

We’re going to talk about what anger is, the root causes of anger, ways to manage anger that are just covering the root cause and then how to actually get at the root cause to fix your anger problems more permanently. We’re also going to talk about different techniques, practical techniques you can use to control your anger, and techniques for going deeper, introspecting and getting at that root cause we’re talking about.

Calm Like The Ocean

I’m going to give you some really powerful techniques. If you just use them, I think they’re going to help you quite a bit. Let’s crack into it. The first thing I will tell you is, this issue of anger, it’s a little hard for me to relate to. Throughout my life, I don’t know why it’s been this way, but it has always been hard for me to get angry at stuff.

Of course, I do get angry. I get frustrated, which is a lower form of anger. I get irritated sometimes. But really full out rage, I don’t really get that. It’s a little bit hard for me to relate to people who do, even though I do study a lot of this stuff. I do understand it on a logical level. I don’t really experience it myself, emotionally.

Ultimately, I want to ask you, because when I see people being angry, I see people in rage, full on rage, having these episodes where they’re just blowing up on other people, getting frustrated, yelling at them, getting into heated discussions or flaming somebody on a message board.

Whatever that is, when I see that it’s like “Woah, what is going on there?” That person is at such a low level of consciousness and self-control that to me, it’s just disgusting. It’s literally disgusting. I’m disgusted when I see it.

I’m disgusted when I see it in myself too, on those rare occasions. What the hell are you angry about, honestly? What are you angry about? You need to wake up. Life is short. Life is beautiful. You’re a fucking loser if you’re angry all the time and you’re exploding at people. That’s not a problem with the world, that’s a problem with you.

Let’s get very clear on that. Someone who is in a high-consciousness state, someone who is living a charged life, someone who has emotional intelligence does not get angered easily. I will get angry when something extreme happens, like when my life is threatened. When I have some severe catastrophe that might happen. When my family is threatened.

Ignore The Trivial

Those are cases where if that happens, fine, get angry. But throughout your day, if you’re driving in your car, I don’t care how bad the traffic is. If something at work is not going quite well, or something’s happening in your relationship, you should not be getting angry at those situations, at all.

You should not be — your blood should not be boiling, you should never be yelling, you should never be so frustrated that you want to punch a wall. If that’s happening to you, something is wrong there. Something is wrong with your psychology. You need to start to get that psychology dialed in.

That’s what we’re going to talk about now. One quote that comes to mind, from reading all this self-help material, is — there was this quote, and I forget which book it was from exactly, but it went something like this analogy, which said that when you’re angry at someone, it’s kind of like going to the store and buying a bag of rat poison because you’ve got a rat infestation at home, coming home and then consuming that poison yourself.

What you don’t realise, you think that when you’re angry you get to express yourself and that somehow that resolves the situation, somehow that releases your emotions and all of a sudden things are lighter, better.

You’re Only Hurting Yourself

In fact, what you’re doing is not helping yourself in any way. Deep down, psychologically, you’re injuring yourself even more than the person you’re angry at. You’re not going to have an amazing, successful life, a happy, fulfilling life, if you’re angry.

It’s just not going to happen. It’s impossible. I really want to motivate you to start to go on a journey to discover what the root cause is. That’s what, if you take away one thing from this video, it’s that. That is the thing. You don’t need a quick little technique for how to just control or relieve some anger.

What you need is to go on a journey to discover what the source of it is. Let’s talk about what anger is as an emotion. I bet most people out there don’t even realise what anger means, as an emotional signal.

Every emotion is actually a signal that your mind, your subconscious mind, is sending to your conscious mind. These signals, you can learn to decipher the messages, because the messages are pretty simple if you just think about them. You can gain more awareness around them and you can actually use the anger to point you in the right direction.

Protecting Your Standards

You can use the anger against itself. Like aikidoing the anger into something positive. What is anger? The reason you become angry is because you perceive somebody else, or some situation out there, violating your standards, or your model of reality.

You have a certain model of reality. You have a certain thought process and belief process about how reality should be. You have certain ideals. Maybe one of your ideals is being honest. Maybe another ideal of yours is performing work well. Maybe another ideal of yours is being very creative. Maybe another ideal of yours is being humorous.

What happens is, we all have these ideals, for each person’s a little bit different. What happens is, we have these ideals and when we see other people not fulfilling those ideals, which are ours, they might not be those person’s ideals, then we get angry at it.

For example, we see somebody lying, we catch someone in a lie, and we say “Ah! You’re lying! You shouldn’t be doing that. You should be honouring honesty.” We get angry at that person, even though if we go and do a search, we can find cases where we ourselves have done similar things in the past.

Or it could be with humour. I had one client at one time who was really into humour. He loved to do comedy, he loved to do improv. One of the things that was really high on his list of values was humour. One of the things he really didn’t like were humourless people.

Why is that? Because he has this value of humour, of joy, of funniness, and when he doesn’t perceive it in others, then he doesn’t like that. It rubs him the wrong way. We’re going to get into the deeper reasons of why that is in a second.

Imposing Your Values

Anger is about violation of standards. What I want you to start to realise, though, to get a little bit more awareness around this, is that your standards are your own. They’re not necessarily the standards of another person. You have to start to understand that there is this distinction.

When somebody else is not living up to your standard, maybe you need to ask yourself could they have a different value system than you? Could you be okay with that? Could you be okay with somebody else having different values and not having to judge them for that?

In the end, that’s what you’re doing. You’re judging. You’re pointing a finger at someone and saying “Ah, he did that! Ah, he did this!” You get upset at that. Someone cuts you off on the road and you get upset at that person. Why? Because you think that’s wrong. They should observe proper road etiquette.

Yet how many times in your life have you cut someone off? Maybe you cut someone off and didn’t even realise it. One of the easy, quick little techniques I’m going to give you right now to fight road rage is to get curious whenever something happens on the road to you.

An Exercise

Just start to get inside the mind of the other person. Ask yourself “What is actually going on there? Someone just cut me off. He’s being an ass. He’s not observing proper road etiquette.” But ask yourself “Have I ever done that myself? Yes, maybe I don’t do it all the time, maybe I’m better than that person, but I probably have done it once or twice. OK, what went on with me at that time that I did it? Was I in a rush because I had to get somewhere important really fast? Did I have sick baby in my car and I needed to get to the hospital? Maybe there was an important report that was due at work? An important business meeting? Maybe I was just so upset because I just had a break up with my relationship that I was driving and I was just being careless? I was being petty and mean.”

Think about that and wonder if that person is doing something that you think is not right, they probably have some sort of justification for it. Just start to get curious about what that justification is, even if it’s wrong. Even if they’re wrong, just get curious. That will naturally get you shifted out of the outrage that you have into more a wondering mindset.

It will give you more consciousness. It will reduce your anger. That’s a quick little technique for road rage. You can use that for all forms of anger, really. The root of anger is the same no matter where it happens in your life — whether it’s a relationship at work, or on the road.

Let The Anger In

The next technique I’m going to give you is, I want you to just allow yourself to be angry. The point here is, to get yourself out of anger permanently, you need to start to develop and raise your consciousness. The more consciousness you have, the more conscious awareness, the more you’re going to be able to control your angry episodes.

What you’ve got to start to do is just let yourself be angry. After watching this video, tomorrow, for the next week, try this. Just observe yourself, the next time you’re angry, try to remember this video, and try to remember this point I’m making now. Just be the watcher.

Let your anger happen and watch it happen as though you were a third person observer. Like you were looking at yourself on a TV monitor, or on a camera. Just let it play out. Don’t try to control yourself. Don’t try to judge yourself.

Be angry. Go ahead and yell at that person at work. Go ahead and flick that guy off who cut you off on the road. Go ahead and yell at your spouse. Do it, but watch yourself. There’s a big difference between doing that and not seeing yourself doing it, and doing it and in the moment you’re doing it, to be watching yourself.

Watch yourself throughout the whole episode and just notice what happens. What you’re going to start to see is, if you do that, if you’re disciplined enough to do this, and you actually remember, you don’t get triggered too much, you’re going to see that as you’re watching yourself, you’re going to stop becoming angry.

You cannot, it’s almost impossible psychologically, for you to be watching yourself doing something mean or hurtful or spiteful or outrageous or angry like that, yelling at someone, for example, while watching yourself. It’s almost impossible because you’re too high-consciousness for that.

That’s pettiness, that only operates on a low-consciousness level. If you can raise your consciousness to the point where you’re watching it, you’re just observing it, not judging it, just observing it, you’re going to start to see that “I don’t need to yell at that person right now”.

You’re going to start to see “You know what, that guy cut me off, but I don’t need to flick him off. I don’t even need to honk at him.” You’re going to start to notice that. Maybe someone said something mean to you, and you’re going to say “You know what, I don’t need to respond.”

Just because you’re watching yourself, you might start to respond, then you’ll notice yourself and it’s like “Oh, I’m just about to say something petty and nasty.” You see yourself and it’s like “You know what, I don’t really feel like saying that. I still might be a little upset, I might be hurt, but I don’t need to respond in an angry way.”

Meditate!

The next technique I’m going to give you is — I’m not going to go into the depth of this, but — meditation. If you’re an angry person, meditation might be the saving grace for you. Start to develop a habit of meditation. I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty of that, it’s little bit too much for one video.

I have other videos that talk about the benefits of meditation, other videos that talk about how to develop a meditation habit, make it stick. All I’m going to say about meditation is that it calms your mind, it puts you into the present moment and raises your conscious awareness. Develop a habit of meditating.

I would say, start with twenty minutes every single day, in the morning or in the evening, be very consistent about it, and you will notice that it has a profound effect on how peaceful and calm you feel throughout your day, throughout your whole week.

That will diminish angry episodes in your life. It will reduce their severity, it will reduce the amount of them. It will have many, many other benefits for you in the long run as well. Consider that.

Looking At The Cause

After I gave you some practical techniques, because I wanted to give you some techniques to control your anger right now, but what I also want to talk about is the root of your anger. The root of your anger is a disintegration of different parts within you.

What you’re doing when you’re angry all the time is denying something within yourself, you’re repressing something. That’s the core of it. This is probably stemming from some sort of childhood trauma or maybe even adulthood trauma. Some sort of event that has shaped your personality, shaped your ego in such a way where now you feel that there’s something within you that you need to repress.

What you’ve done is setup these high moral standards. At the same time, your subconscious mind also realises how hard you have to fight to live up to those moral standards and that you’re not perfect at them yourself.

When you see someone else breaking those standards, you become extra critical, because you want to shift the focus away from yourself. This is a deep idea. Your ego, in fact, if you’ve never heard this idea before, your ego is not going to accept it.

You’re either going to gloss over this, ignore it, or you’re going to say “No, that just doesn’t apply to me.” You’re wrong. You need to do more introspection to understand what’s really going on here. This is factually what’s happening. When you’re getting angry at someone, the only reason you’re angry is because there is a disowned part of you that you are really angry at.

You have not integrated it. For example, you might think being honest is super, super important. Therefore, wherever you see dishonesty, you call it out. You always get angry at that person. Yet, what are the areas of your life you’re dishonest in?

Think about that. That is more of a subtle point than you are willing to admit right now. Maybe you’re going to say “Well, Leo, I’m actually a super, super honest guy. I’m honest all the time. I try so hard to be honest. I try to be more honest than everybody I see out in the world. I’m entitled to this. I’m entitled to be judgemental of people.”

That very struggle you’re going through is already telling us there’s disintegration within you. You would not have to struggle so hard to be honest all the time, if you were truly and naturally comfortable with being honest.

What’s happening is that you’re really forcing yourself into an unnatural, inauthentic state and your body and mind are rebelling against it, and that is causing you to project your anger out into the world in situations where you see that. In situations that highlight your own disownment, your own disintegration.

What you do is focus on the other party, the other person, because it’s more comfortable for your ego to look for the problem out there in the world than admit that you have a problem inside. Anger is all about the inside. It’s not about the world at all.

It’s not about the external world. It’s all about the internal world. It’s about the beliefs you have. It’s about the self-image you have. That is where you have to work. Do that deep work to really get you anger controlled permanently. This can be done.

It takes work. It takes introspection. There are various techniques — I can’t go into all of them now — coaching is great for that, therapy is great for that, various awareness techniques. I would start you off with just being an observer. Go with that technique and do some meditation. Those two will have some big impact on the level of anger you experience.

Wrap Up

That is it. I’m going to wrap it up there. That is how to control your anger in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed it. Please like, please share it, go ahead and subscribe, because I’m releasing videos all the time.

New videos on advanced personal development concepts, like this, how to control your emotions, anger and beyond, how to be successful in life. You cannot be successful in life. You cannot be happy in life when you’re angry all the time. Not going to happen.

Go to Actualized.org and you could sign up to my free newsletter. You’re going to get some amazing exclusive bonuses right now — I have an exclusive video series, it’s over ninety minutes long, on how to bust your limiting beliefs. You also have the chance to win two hours of free coaching that I give away to my subscribers every month.

Some awesome bonuses there, no strings attached. Of course, just follow along. If you’re interested in how to control your anger, you’re also probably interested in other aspects of emotional intelligence. The broader topic here is emotional intelligence.

You’re probably also interested in self-mastery. For me, to create the kind of amazing life that I want, to create the money situation that I want, the relationships that I want, the work situation that I want. To be out there just enjoying life, I need to understand the psychology of it.

It’s the psychology that’s the key, that’s why people are tripping up and having miserable lives, not having the results they want. They don’t understand the psychology of success. They don’t, for example, understand what their anger is about, so they’re always angry.

Now, hopefully, you have a little bit of awareness around that. You can do more work towards that. I’m releasing videos all the time, new content, in-depth stuff, exclusive stuff on the website, so you definitely want to sign up to be a part of that.

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Comments
(11)
steve says:

yeah that hit the spot .
thanks for putting this understanding out there for free .
working through your hard work as i write and your making a differance
keep at it.
thank you

Leo Gura says:

My pleasure Steven :)

Kiril says:

Hey Leo, thank you so much for that video! For the past couple of years I’ve been wondering what’s the deal with me and why do I get angry. This clears out a lot of it but I’d like to get more indepth on the root causes. I tried to google it but all I got was promotions to programs. Is there a good book on the subject that you can recommend?
Thanks a bunch, you rock!

Kiril

Natasha says:

I don’t get angry that much myself, just frustrated at times. And I also had a very nurturing family environment when I grew up in my native city of Odessa, Ukraine. So this is what I’ve figured out about anger – anger is rooted in a perceived lack of control. This kind of goes along with what you said about why people get angry when something doesn’t align with their perception of reality. Truly secure people are conscious enough to not feel the need to construct ‘reality’ for themselves as a coping mechanism, they are not easily threatened, are quite teachable and open to new ideas, and they don’t need to control anything other than themselves. To dig a little deeper – control tendencies are rooted in fear, and fear is our response to fight or flight instinct. When one’s emotional development gets stunted (even slightly) in the early stages of childhood (due to unmet needs, abuse, neglect, or other traumatic events), that survival mechanism goes on overdrive and stays there until the person begins to make a conscious effort to recognize the hidden roots of his/ her dis-function, and take action towards bringing all that baggage out to deal with.

Colin says:

Thank you, this video is a real game changer for me.

Lisa says:

I was literally raised as a scapegoat/punching bag (think Dave Pelzer, not quite as bad so no one knew I needed to be rescued). “Irritation” got me beaten or locked in a closet or bathroom for the night. One brother was encouraged to beat me up as an outlet for his anger (at our alcoholic, violent mother). I was sent to a different HS my first three years, then institutionalized for over a year for objecting to the family’s abuse. I was put on anti-depressants to make me docile. After that, I spent time with men who beat & abused me (they were “better” than what I’d been used to). Despite being a HS dropout & living with men who abused me, I worked my way through college p/t, and managed to support myself doing anything from cleaning house to computers to construction. My first job was cleaning kennels at the ASPCA, where I also rehabilitated abused dogs (I had free vet care). In that time I was also beaten, raped, homeless, etc. All that time, I also had therapy, spiritual workshops, etc. I escaped the worst at age 30+.

It took stage 3+ breast cancer a year ago (at 50) to realize I’d kept myself in the victim role & needed to focus on my life instead of making everyone else’s better. Unfortunately, my rare collagen mutation (collagen is the “glue” in most body parts, my joints sublux, chronic & acute pain is “normal,” I have countless dysautonomias, etc. The chemo made things so bad most doctors won’t even see me). My boyfriend dumped me when I lost my breasts & could no longer work for him, the “help” he’d promised the ten years I worked for him FREE (long story) on my dilapidated house in the boonies never came to fruition, & I’m now too disabled to do much myself.

Point is, anger is new for me. Being cut off in traffic, someone saying nasty things because I have no breasts, keep my head shaved to 1/4″, don’t dress “right,” etc., means little to me. But when a doctor dismisses my rare disorder & then blames ME because they maim me; or my ex-boyfriend tells me he ended our relationship for MY SAKE, I feel angry. I know the anger carries my childhood baggage of fear & pain. I’m not vindictive or mean, my anger is mostly at myself because I know I can’t trust myself to discern when I can trust someone (doctors are the worst as the physical damage/pain they cause is often irreversible) when they all tell me I can trust them. Anger is my only clue something’s wrong, that something needs to change (like, I need to leave, etc.). My anger at prompts me to at least dispute a payment through my credit card to a doctor who lazily/thoughtlessly/unnecessarily causes me additional lifelong disability/pain. I’m also “doubly gifted,” which includes a learning disability that makes it almost impossible for me to detect deception/abuse until it’s become very blatant or the damage is already done. I’m “handicapped” in that respect.

I’m not lazy, I try everything I come across, including listening to self-help tapes all night because of my insomnia. I worked my way through college despite being beaten by a boyfriend who didn’t want me to continue. After escaping several abusive men, I worked f/t five nights a week, cleaning apts/teaching computers p/t four days a week so I could buy my own apt. in the Bronx (which I paid off in three years). My last “vacation” was over a decade ago when I visited many ancient sites in the US SW. I go to workshops. I started neurofeedback. I force myself into uncomfortable situations, just for new insights. A new therapist. Your videos, Debbie Ford’s “shadow” work, Tony Robbins, that whole section of audiobooks at the library. I take responsibility for it all, even my beatings as a child because I couldn’t just shut my mouth & be everyone’s slave until I could escape. Anger is the only way I can tell I need to escape whatever abuse there is. The pain & fear beneath are obvious, then.

I’ll continue to watch your videos, you’re very insightful, well-spoken, evolved, on-target, helpful, etc. I just don’t understand how you have compassion & gentleness for everything including laziness (which is a way of life for those who abused me or idly allowed it to happen when I was a child) which is anathema to me as I’d be dead long ago if I were too lazy to keep trying. I recognize I’m like a small child, enraged because my brother beat me up yet I get locked in the closet because I complained or fought back. I’m still locked in the bathroom with my drunk mother telling me how my very being caused all the problems for everyone. My “anger” came out as self-mutilation (in private, no one knew). My diet is perfect (I allowed chemo since the cancer made it to the vascular space, because I refused radiation/hormone blockers (the chemo destroyed me enough), and I have anger at the doctors’ laziness the only ones willing to see me (my disorder + chemo damage, they’re “afraid” of me) just push pain pills (horrible side-effects) and pressure me to do things like let them START fusing my spine (which will put me in their clutches to make the rest of my life unbearable).

I’m doing the best I can. I try anything that comes my way. It kills me that of everything, you only judge anger as “disgusting.” I know it’s not personal, you don’t know me or how being able to finally feel anger (only alert I have, so far, to pain/fear, to know to protect myself) is my savior. I’d love to get past it, know I will when I can go straight to pain/fear or can somehow figure who is trustworthy or not (a surgeon, for example). I’ve gotten so much from your videos, even if just validation that I’m on the right track. I’ll keep watching your videos & take what I can out of them, but now it will always be in the back of my mind that of all of all the things you discuss, it’s only anger that I’ve heard you judge harshly. Especially since you say you’ve never felt it. Maybe you mean an anger that hurts others, but my anger isn’t “disgusting.” My anger is an alert things have gotten bad & I need out. I love your videos, I’ll have to come to terms with the fact that you’re right on about so much, maybe I really am disgusting because I have anger. If I have to stuff my anger again, I’m afraid it will explode out by my putting my head through a mirror/window or slicing my arms, etc. I take responsibility for it all, but I think for someone like me it’s healthy to be able to feel anger at abuse & therefore be alerted to the fact I need to make some changes. I’m so hurt someone I’ve come to respect thinks I’m “disgusting,” I’m sure I’ll come to understand the wisdom of what you say. I guess it’s progress, not perfection, eventually I hope that even with my learning disability I’ll be able to recognize deceit, abuse, lies, etc., without having to be so damaged that my anger is triggered. Perhaps my inability to recognize danger until I feel anger will pass as I continue to grow (I don’t watch TV, listen to the radio, etc. I’m not interested in another boyfriend, or even friends, though I hope I can get my house fixed enough to make it dog-proof so I can adopt an elderly dog). It’s always self-help – in the car, when I’m doing dishes/cooking, etc. It will click one day, maybe I”m still too damaged, or maybe I have to be able to feel anger in order to work past it.

Thanks for all you do, for sharing the wisdom you’ve worked so hard to gain. I feel so hurt, and I still send you all my love for all the good you do in the world. G-d bless.

Lisa says:

omg. I’m so embarrassed, I did exaggerate some. A couple of hours is not all night. My misery could never compare to Dave’s. Well, at least you’ve got a vague idea of why some people might be angry. My anger isn’t something I want to keep forever, but it is something I need to feel, embrace, & accept before I’m able to also embrace my golden shadows (I took the strength survey you suggested in another video). I was trained to “be nice” since I can remember, allow anything. As my anger that was triggered in the above rant has faded, I can see the gift of strength that is waiting once I no longer have to pretend everything’s “OK.”

I am disgusting. It’s actually one of the words I’ve used to describe myself in fits of rage at myself. I am able to embrace that part of me, too, and am already finding the gift it’s been hiding.

So sorry for my meltdown, I’ve been having a tough go of it & if I don’t allow myself to let my pain out I will never be able to transform it. That you for putting up with my anger, I no longer feel triggered by that word “disgusting.” I’ve been listening to you for days (and doing “shadow” work for weeks/months) to force myself to have such “revelations” when possible. Thanks for being part of an answer I was searching for. Sorry for any discomfort!

kristen says:

This video really put things into perspective. I grew up in a very angry place. Lots of addiction, abuse, neglect…you name it. Then I made some crappy choices of my own and now I have wicked anger issues. Your videos have helped me so immensely. Thank you so much. I never realized just how in control I was!

Anu says:

Hey leo..

This video is so helpful like your other videos, just hit the spot. It’s strange how some comments criticized the video on other sites. Is it so difficult to understand what u are saying?

Am i getting angry now? haah!

Sir, u r doing a get job to improve many lives including mine.

Thanksss a ton.

oscar says:

Thank you.

That is what I needed to understand

Colin says:

Hi Leo,

Thanks another great video.

I was once an insanely angry person, 40 yrs plus.

I was once asked are you angry at that person or do you think your angry is towards your self. I answered how dare you ask such a question you know what that person has put me through…

Then quite some time later I realised I was angry at myself, angry at how I allowed myself to be mistreated by others.

Today anger is there in the moments when its needed but its no longer something which defines me.

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