13 Types Of Anger & Learning To Be Angry (2022)

7 min read

Being angry isn’t always bad. There are different types of anger and some can be good for you in the long run.

Below, I’ll describe 13 different anger types and explain why it’s important to learn to express anger in a healthy way. 

This is a topic I’m regularly exploring in my role as a life coach.

So, let’s dive in. 

The Importance Of Expressing Anger

You might think the world needs less angry outbursts. You might get sick of having to deal with the negative emotions from angry people.

However, in reality, a lot more people suffer from not being able to express anger when it’s appropriate. 

Many of us are unaware how to express our dissatisfaction at a perceived wrong. So, we keep it inside us and that can lead to long-term bitterness and frustration.

There is rarely a need for aggressive nor physically intimidating behavior. However, it’s in your best interests to be able to speak up and share your opinion when something is wrong.

The inability to do this is more common than you may think. More likely, rather than let out an angry outburst, a man or woman may let an injustice slide, rationalising to themselves that this other person must have a perfectly good reason for acting so poorly. 

Types Of Anger
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Types Of Anger Management

This attitude is often ingrained in us from childhood. Desperate to have a ‘good child’, parents may be quick to punish any form of anger expression from their toddler. 

While this may ensure short-term compliance, an overly extreme policing of a child’s mood can lead to issues with assertive anger expression in adulthood. 

This can lead them to growing up being used as a doormat by their bosses, friends or romantic partners. It’s common for people like this to accept being walked all over for years, until they finally let loose their boxed-up rage in one huge outburst of vengeful anger or even violent behavior.

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Clearly, that’s not the healthiest type of anger to address injustice.

A better alternative is to improve your self-esteem, overcome fear of expressing yourself and learn how to show anger in a healthy way. 

Our list of anger styles will help teach you how to do that. 

Types Of Anger Expression

For the purposes of this article, we’ll group the 12 anger types into three categories; healthy anger, passive anger and aggressive anger.

Types Of Anger Issues

There are more nuances than these three categories. Still, by categorizing anger types this way, it becomes easier to understand how one should and shouldn’t react during moments of frustration.

Types Of Anger Psychology

As you’re scrolling through the 12 types of anger in the three categories, take the time to identify your anger pattern type.

If you’re prone to express anger passively or engage in passive-aggressive behavior, there’s every chance that you were a victim of overly-strict parents or teachers, keen to dampen your expression at the first possible opportunity.

If you identify more with an aggressive type of anger, the opposite could have been true. Perhaps you were raised without any boundaries on your behavior.

Ideally, you’ll at least be able to understand the healthy anger style. Adults will often be able to  engage in this naturally, when their parents adopted a healthy balance of anger management techniques during their childhood. 

What Are The 12 Types Of Anger?

Here are 12 common anger types, categorized into healthy anger, passive anger and aggressive anger. 

Healthy Anger

This is the type of anger that’s best for your physical and mental health. The one you want to be aiming for. 

1. Assertive Anger

Assertive anger is a productive expression of frustration to make a positive change. When expressing assertive anger, one might say: “I feel angry when XYZ happens”. It’s recommended to follow this by explaining what you’d prefer to happen. 

This is the most productive form of anger expression.

One might show the height of their frustration in their body language or tone of voice, but expressing their anger in this way is still the most likely to lead to a productive outcome. 

Passive Anger

These types of anger are more difficult to spot. They don’t cause immediate problems for those around the angry person. However, as previously discussed, they can have harmful long-term consequences.

2. Silent Anger

This is the expression of anger through body language and facial expressions only. You may feel a desire to express yourself verbally or physically, only to suppress it and opt for a pointed silence instead. This type of anger is at the extreme end of the passive scale.  

3. Passive-Aggressive Anger

Passive-aggressive anger occurs when you’re actively attempting to suppress your rage. When you fail to completely hide your inner conflict, passive-aggressive actions can creep out. This could be sarcastic statements, veiled mockery, a deliberate lack of engagement in a conversation or closed off body language. 

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When one chooses to mask feelings like this, it can escalate tensions in otherwise respectful relationships over time. 

Passive-aggression is extremely common in the workplace, where employees are scared of the consequences of showing blatant anger at their boss, so they engage in snide comments, micro-aggressions or chronic procrastination instead.  

4. Self-Abusive Anger

Self-abusive anger is when someone harms themselves as a result of their anger. This could be physical self-harm or negative self-talk.  

This type of anger is often a symptom of low self-esteem. It can also develop as a method of maintaining a sense of control, when one is suffering from a sweeping sense of hopelessness.

Self-abusive anger can take place as alcohol abuse, substance abuse or any other form of binging in unhealthy behaviors. This type of anger is on the border of passive or aggressive behavior, as it can be either. 

Aggressive Anger

These types of anger are the most obvious. They can often result in the most dire consequences for yourself and the recipients of your anger. 

5. Verbal Anger

Verbal anger is characterised by aggressive comments. It can be particularly harmful when it descends into yelling, threats or verbal abuse.  

6. Behavioral Anger

Behavioral anger involves physical outbursts. It’s dangerous and incredibly destructive. It’s impulsive and therefore unpredictable. 

It can range from physically intimidating behavior, to breaking items or even violent actions. It can lead to negative legal actions being taken against the perpetrator. As such, it’s in their best interests to seek help with their anger impulsivity. 

7. Chronic Anger

Chronic anger is a continuous low-level feeling of perpetual irritation and frustration. It can be directed at other people, but is also characterised by negative self-talk. Sufferers have an ongoing and general sense of misery.

Due to its prolonged nature, it should be treated even if it’s not as visibly harmful as other types of anger on this list.

It’s recommended to engage in relaxation techniques to deal with chronic anger. Better yet, aim to resolve lingering hurt that may be causing this type of anger. 

8. Destructive Anger

Destructive anger could involve any verbal or physical actions where the intended motivation is to hurt others. By definition, there are interpersonal consequences. Verbal insults are common, as is physical aggression. 

9. Judgmental Anger

This is anger based on someone else’s behavior and what someone believes it says about their personality. It’s based on someone’s core beliefs on how they think the world ‘should’ be.  Sufferers of judgmental anger often believe their anger reaction is justified fury.  

10. Volatile Anger

Volatile anger is expressed as an instinctive response. You could appear to be fine in one moment, only to descend into yelling, throwing things or physical aggression. If you commonly struggle with volatile anger, it’s worth working with a professional to understand what triggers you so quickly and how to fix that.

11. Overwhelmed Anger

Overwhelmed anger is another type of anger commonly expressed – verbally or physically – as an instinctual response. It’s often a reaction to feeling unable to express your feelings. It can also occur when one’s anger issues reach a “boiling point”, which can often happen after one has suppressed their anger after years of past transgressions. 

12. Retaliatory Anger

Any reaction to being attacked can be described as retaliatory anger. It’s deliberately aimed at the person who performed the perceived injustice.

This person will often respond, creating a cycle of anger. And cyclical anger seldom dies off naturally. 

If you are going to engage in cyclical anger then, it’s best to learn how to do it in a healthy assertive manner that leads to positive change. 

13. Vengeful Anger

Similarly to retaliatory anger, the person’s rage stems from a need to get back at someone. However, this might not necessarily be because this person has wronged them. It could be because of a core belief they hold or an action they performed to harm someone else. 

Other Anger Lists

These 13 types of anger are commonly listed elsewhere, but you may find smaller lists too.

What Are The 3 Types Of Anger?

It would be useful for you to remember the three categories of anger I used in this article; healthy anger, passive anger and aggressive anger. Remember, you’re aiming for the former. 

What Are The 4 Types Of Anger?

Psychology Today has two articles about the 4 types of anger. One talks about long, short, hot and cold anger. The other discusses justifiable anger, annoyance anger, aggressive anger and temper-tantrums. Both articles are well worth reading if you’re looking for extra material on this subject. 

What Are The 7 Types Of Anger?  

Learning Mind also has a great article on this topic. It lists the 7 anger types as: 

  • Moral or righteous anger; 
  • Behavioral anger;  
  • Habitual anger; 
  • Self-harm; 
  • Vengeance; 
  • Passive-aggression; 
  • Incidental anger.
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Any More Questions?

Thanks for reading my guide.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how to deal with whatever anger issues you may be experiencing.

Anger is a universal emotion – and we should all learn how to express it in a healthy way. 

If you have any questions on this topic, please write them in the comments section.

It would be great to hear from you.

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