Home » Ask the Therapist » Intense Anger and Urges

Intense Anger and Urges

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I’m not sure when it began, exactly, or if I’ve always been like this, but for as long as i can remember, I’ve had random – and quickly suppressed – urges to throw dishes, slap family members and peers, break phones, anything violent. These urges almost never arise when I’m actually angry, but when I am angry I tend to have problems with then cooling down. I often dream of following through with those urges, and those dreams never have a nightmare quality to them. If anything, I sleep better. What concerns me most, however, is why the urges arise. Though random in appearance, there is a pattern to who is typically nearby me when these urges pop into my head and my hands begin to twitch with the need to follow them through. My parents, my brother, and myself included are all snippy. We don’; fight constantly—not like it is seven days a week, but when we do have arguments because of our sharp tongues we often end things in tears. Most anytime I’m doing dishes, if my parents are nearby, I will have the urge to throw a glass in their direction and see who it hits. Again, never when I’m actually mad.

As I expressed before, I often have trouble cooling down after a bout of anger. I could be sitting in my room, reading a book or drawing a picture, and the smallest thing – such as getting a paper cut or crumpling part of the paper – can send me in such a rage that the sketchbook is thrown against the wall or the page is almost torn out of the book (which is horrifying as I love to read). Sometimes there is no spark to light the flame, and I’;m simply standing around and then so furious I could scream. I’m not sure what to do.

Intense Anger and Urges

Answered by on -


Every family has a culture that is influencing our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. There is a ”norm” or familiarity that gets woven into our way of being with our families that becomes a way of life.

The most telling of your concern is who is most often around when these feelings are activated: your family. You also say that most of the encounters you have with your family that involve anger end in tears. The important element here is what you DON’T experience. There is never a working-through of the anger. It ends badly and it seems clear from your statement that there is a residual that stays with you. This unresolved anger is like hydrofluoric acid and will eat through you. It doesn’t get contained because it is never neutralized through resolution.

In these instances it is best treated with family therapy with a highly skilled therapist. But if the family is unwilling or unable to go it may be good to find an individual therapist who can help you find appropriate outlets, alternatives, and resolutions for these invasive thoughts.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral


Intense Anger and Urges

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2019). Intense Anger and Urges. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 26 Nov 2019 (Originally: 27 Nov 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 26 Nov 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.