Personal Assistance Service (PAS) | 2200 West Main Street | Erwin Square Tower | 4th Floor, Suite 400A | Durham, NC 27705 | 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727)

Anger Triggers

What triggers anger?

The way you interpret an event determines your emotional response.

Example: Steve and Bill are two drivers unable to pass a slower car. While Steve wants to get home after a long workday, he realizes he can't pass the slower car without creating a safety hazard. Steve chooses to relax by listening to his favorite talk show on his car radio. Meanwhile, Bill gets impatient with the slower car. He assumes the slower driver lacks good driving skills. Bill tries to get the driver's attention by honking his horn, flashing his headlights, and screaming out his window. When the slower car doesn't respond, Bill screams even louder.

Steve and Bill interpreted the same event differently. Different interpretations led to different behaviors. Steve calmed down while enjoying a radio program. Bill's anger just got worse.

Painful or angry memories can trigger anger.

Example: While sitting in a coffee shop, Beth sees someone who looks like a close friend seriously wounded in Iraq. Beth thinks back to the anger she felt seeing her friend in a hospital bed, and realizes she feels angry.

Other potential anger triggers include:

  • Managers/supervisors not maintaining expectations consistently.
  • Managers/supervisors not providing feedback or guidance clearly.
  • Long waits to see a doctor.
  • Traffic jams.
  • Persistent belief that your family or friends don't support you.
  • Crowded places.
  • Insensitive jokes made by others.
  • Friends NOT repaying money they owe you.
  • False accusations against you.
  • Messy room or house left by your partner, kids, or friends.
  • Neighbors playing the stereo too loud.
  • Long waits for customer service while on the telephone.
  • Rumors that are untrue or hurtful.
  • Personal property that gets stolen or misplaced.

Anger Cues >>