Explaining The Stages Of Anger

I was recently skimming through a learning module when I came across a section titled “The Stages of Anger” and how to deal with someone who is “bubbling toward the boiling point.” Immediately intrigued, I decided to examine. Small disclosure: I have an absolutely atrocious temper. I have certainly gained some control over it in recent years, but nonetheless, I wouldn’t go near me when sh-t hits the fan unless you are ready to witness me morph into a two headed monster-mix of Kitina and Scorpio and then battle me Mortal-Kombat style to the death. I attribute this trait to my dear father. This is mainly because he has always had a horrible, fear-provoking temper, himself. But also, I prefer to blame my short-comings on others rather than hold myself accountable for them. What? Is that not what parents are for?

So, the learning module described the four “Stages of Anger” as such:

  1. Annoyed
  2. Frustrated
  3. Infuriated
  4. Hostile

Maybe it’s just me and my sub-par comprehension of the English language, but I can’t help feeling like that’s just four different ways to say the word “mad”. I see little differentiation between the first two stages and little differentiation between the second two stages. The module did not distinguish things much further, either. I even tried to google “The 4 Stages of Anger”, but found very little supporting research. And if it doesn’t exist on Google, does it really exist at all? So, in an attempt to clarify this whole situation, I have taken it upon myself to further explain each stage in a detailed, educational manner…

STAGE 1: Annoyed

Translation: “I’m pissed off, but not for long.”

Description: The “pettily pissed off” stage happens when you are irked by an everyday incident but still rational enough to realize that though it’s bothersome, it’s also relatively unimportant and you’d look like a massive lunatic if you made a big deal out of it.

Triggers: Being interrupted during your lunch break, running on the treadmill next to someone who smells bad or hearing “Call Me Maybe” for the 67th time in a day.

Symptoms: Eye-rolling, a brief internal-monologue-of-what-you-would-like-to-say-but-realize-would-be-way-out-of-line-if-you-did-say-it, and potentially letting out a heavy-breathed “huff!”

STAGE 2: Frustrated

Translation: “I’m definitely angry, but I’m keeping it undercover until I receive further validation”

Description: Now we’re getting somewhere. When the “Undercover Angry” stage hits, you secretly begin to enjoy your anger. Though you may think you appear mature and under control, you are a mere tick away from going overboard – a tick away from back-flipping off the ship of reason into a sea of self-rage – and we all know it. Your grip on reality is quickly slipping and you are, in fact, bubbling toward the aforementioned boiling point.

Triggers: The most popular frustration triggers consist of a multi-pronged attack of petty annoyances in a short time-frame, your overbearing mother taking one too many jabs at your emotional psyche on the wrong day or your weird, craigslist roommate simply being present, yet again. Like, don’t they have anywhere else to be?

Symptoms: Talking about it. With everyone. Any way you can. You will lambast the situation to anyone on G-Chat who doesn’t have an orange inactive symbol by their name and you will probably suffer from light perspiration at the very thought of someone not agreeing enough with you. It is also likely that you will indulge in some passive aggressive tweeting.

STAGE 3: Infuriated

Translation: “I have now knighted myself with the right to be furious”

Description:  …and anything you say or do will be held against you in the future and/or posted on YouTube, you big, hot-mess of an embarrassment. You have relinquished any hope for keeping this a private matter and are now openly sharing your endearing fury with the outside world. You, my infuriated friend, are toeing the line of a public-disturbance citation.

Triggers: Infuriated folk have most likely accumulated a week’s worth of bad luck and, by this time, are hunting for a reason — any reason, to let somebody have it. So, triggers could include anything from boss-drama to boyfriend-drama to someone getting your order wrong at McDonalds (there’s always that one guy!).

Symptoms: Forget Twitter. Your wrath now deserves an upgrade to the entire Facebook network. Perhaps, a starring role in some anonymous hate-crime website, as well (doesn’t everyone know by now that those sites are never really anonymous?). After you realize that social media outbursts aren’t satisfying enough, you will feel inclined to take to the crowded streets for the sole purpose of shoulder-slamming innocent passersby before telling off your significant other, best friend, guy-at-the-coffee-shop, etc.

STAGE 4: Hostile

Translation: “GET OVER HERE!”

Description: Is it a coincidence that hostile and hostage have the same root word?

Triggers: Any thing. Every thing. All the things.

Symptoms: ANNIHILATION. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Shutterstock

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