Unjustified Anger?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My problem is I have extreme anger attacks especially toward my boyfriend. Generally I get annoyed easily. When I think deeper I understand it’s mostly due due to ego, attitude my perfectionist nature which expect people to behave considerate and conscious. Though I get easily annoyed by the slightest things such as looks, facial expressions, use of words, and certain behaviour and do fail to put on a completely pleasing face I do not lose control as such. Though I get extremely irritated at unfair and unjust behaviours of others I do not lose control in a bad way. This happens especially with my boyfriend and sometimes with family members only because I don’t keep my guards up with them. I’m very close to my boyfriend like he’s my soul mate I get the urge to share everything with him but his behaviour triggers extreme anger in ways that scares myself. This happens on the phone but I still do not believe without sufficient cause. My boyfriend is irresponsible and inconsiderate in many ways sometimes though when I’m around physically he’s extremely loving and caring. Because of this I don’t get extreme anger triggers when I’m with him generally. I’ll give an example. He went abroad last week and while leaving sent a text saying he’ll inform me as soon as he landed. Since there was no sms I tried calling him and I found the phone off several hours after landing. Without any means of getting any info about him and analysing the situ I thought he couldn’t have been MIA for 36 straight hours hadn’t it been something crucial and I was panicking and sent a FB message to his sis only to learn he had been sleeping since he landed. Later he sent a text citing coverage issues. I was extremely mad at his ignorance and lack of care for how I would be feeling back home. I was of the view he could have called from some other line, sent a message through his sis’s phone or at least sent an online message somehow. I didn’t talk to his for two days only to find he’s MIA again the next day I texted. His phone was off throughout until he sent me a message from a local sim on the next morning. I tried texting that number and calling the whole day and none of the called were picked up or messages replied. Later that night he sent a message and I could call and I screamed from the top of my voice, yelled, blastered, cursed and I was slanderous, called him names and said everything I possible could and said I wish he was dead and then the whole thing would be over and I’d feel better off. This anger scares me. I was in so much anger I wanted to kill him brutally. I’m scared of this. It makes me feel bad about myself and he’s not the kind who would behave any different the next time. What do I do?

A. You have a right to be angry at your boyfriend for not having contacted you but clearly you have overreacted. You became overly emotional and verbally abused him. Eventually, he’s likely going to grow tired of your behavior and end the relationship.

In this situation, your expectations were not unreasonable but your reaction was.

When your boyfriend did not call you for three days, you had a right to be angry. Technologically, it was difficult for him to make contact with you but it was still possible. He waited too long. However, you should not have reacted in such an extreme manner. You should have expressed your concern for his well-being and strategized about the best times for him to make future contact.

Your extreme anger is either justified or not justified. If it is justified, then the obvious question is “why would you want to be with someone who is so terribly bad?” After all, he must treat you very badly indeed to deserve that level of your anger. The conclusion: you should break up with this very abusive man.

If the anger you display for him is unjustified, then it is you who is abusive and has the psychological problem. Undeserved anger is always abuse. You must determine which of the two situations exists; justified or unjustified anger.

It’s encouraging that you recognize that a problem exists and have a desire to fix it. You can teach yourself anger management techniques by reading self-help books. You should consider attending an anger management workshop or a therapy group. Individual psychotherapy is also an effective strategy for learning to deal with your anger. If you’re willing to seek help and are open to changing your ways, then you can expect a positive outcome. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jul 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Unjustified Anger?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/07/30/unjustified-anger/