Chronically Angry People

by Dr. Michael Obsatz

We all know someone who is chronically angry. This means that they are usually angry, upset, critical, and judgmental. We joke about them and say “They must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.” Underneath their anger is often emotional pain, and they don’t show it to most people.

Chronically angry people have often been shamed as children. They did not receive the emotional support and love they needed. They may have been neglected, abused, or put down repeatedly. So, they are angry about what they have lost — often their parents, and sometimes, parts of themselves.

Shame is about feeling worthless down to one’s core. This worthlessness makes a person feel powerless and afraid. Men are not supposed to feel powerless and afraid, and so they express it as anger. Anger becomes the way some people, especially men, try to control out of fear and powerlessness.

The healing process for chronic anger usually involves looking at a person’s family-of-origin issues around shame, neglect, abuse, and abandonment. Healing happens when people realize they are lovable at their core, and whatever happened to them as children were not their fault. The process involves forgiveness of self, and of others who hurt them. It also includes the reclaiming of all of oneself, especially those parts that were hidden due to fear of being abandoned.

Chronically angry people often push people away with their anger, and repeat the feeling of childhood abandonment. They maintain their shame and thus validate their unlovability. Therapy, anger management groups, and support groups can help heal chronic anger.

© Dr. Michael Obsatz, all rights reserved

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