Does Anger Management Work?

By Greg Baer M.D.

January 13, 2023

When you watch the news, do you feel your temperature rising and your eyes glaring?

Do your words become sharp when other drivers are inconsiderate?

Do you roll your eyes when people make really stupid decisions that affect you?

Do you grit your teeth when people let you down?

Do you sigh in exasperation when things just keep going wrong?

Does your tone of voice change when your children are difficult?

You’re not alone, and it’s very likely that you get angry MANY more times in a day than you think. Many mental health experts suggest that MOST people get angry fifteen times a day—or more. If we include irritation, annoyance, and frustration, it is estimated that people get angry more than TWENTY times a day. In fact, anger is so common that’s it’s become a kind of background noise that we hardly notice. Anger has become NORMAL, which is not the same as healthy.

Am I saying that we SHOULDN’T get angry? Not at all, but I AM saying that we’re angry a LOT, and when we’re angry, we’re NEVER happy, our spouses hate it, our children are injured by it, and our coworkers avoid us. Anger is uniformly destructive. Period. But we keep doing it, which brings us to the question, “If anger is so bad for us, why do we keep doing it? And do we need anger management? Does that work?”

Why Do I Get Angry?

We all believe that we get angry because of what OTHER PEOPLE do. We only get angry AFTER other people do stupid things, right? NO.

We get angry because of what WE DON’T HAVE. Many, many studies have proven that what we all need more than anything is to feel LOVED. Love is THE ingredient necessary for happiness, and without it we’re in pain. We feel small and helpless, and we HATE that.

Eventually we erupt into anger, and for a moment we feel less helpless. We feel a relief. Or other people do what we want. Briefly, we feel better. But oh my, the price we pay!! After the temporary rush of anger, we feel stupid, isolated, and ashamed about hurting the people around us.

Everybody needs love. Ah, but WHAT KIND of love? We’ve all seen how fleeting it can be to “fall in love” or to “love chocolate.” That’s not what we need.

What we all needed as children was UNCONDITIONAL love, or Real Love®. Right now you might be thinking, “But I DID get love as a child.” Yes, our parents and others did love us as well as they could, but they didn’t know how to give us Real Love. They just didn’t receive it themselves, and they were not taught how to give it to us.

What is this mysterious Real Love®? Real Love is caring about another person without any thought for something in return. There is no disappointment or irritation. We did not get that as children.

Remember in your childhood how many times:

  • your parents or others rolled their eyes at your mistakes.
  • they criticized your performance, especially with a “tone.”
  • they told you they were disappointed in you—with their words, their facial expression.
  • you just needed to talk to someone, but there was no one there.

Every time we were not unconditionally loved—whether aggressively or by simple neglect—we FELT the message, “I don’t love you.” Really. It was like being poked with a sharp stick. Early on, we put up with that. We even complied with adults in order to avoid the “I don’t love you” message.” But the message hurt us badly, and uncounted studies—with animals and people—have proven that after enough pain, we WILL respond with behaviors to protect ourselves. One of the first behaviors is ANGER.

So what is the REAL reason you get angry now? Because you carry with you all the “I don’t love you” wounds of your entire childhood, so that now when someone ignores you or does something inconsiderate, you are triggered and respond to all the pain of a lifetime. You are suffering from a kind of PTSD. Yes, really. Your anger is almost beyond your control, which is why you keep doing it, over and over, despite the negative consequences.

Take the first step right now. Say out loud these words: “OTHER PEOPLE ARE NOT TO BLAME for my anger. I get angry because I was not unconditionally loved enough as a child. So now I get angry at even little things in the present because I’m REACTING to all that pain. There, you’ve begun. And now we’ll learn what you can do about it.

What's Anger Management

According to experts, “The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can’t get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.” This is accomplished through a wide variety of techniques that depend on the therapist administering them.

Why Anger Management Doesn't Work

Note the primary features of anger management above:

  • “Reduce” feelings and physical arousal. This is done through artificial techniques that do not address the primary “I don’t love you wounds” that cause anger.
  • “Control” your reactions. By definition, reactions are automatic. We don’t control them, but we can heal our past wounds, and without constant pain our adverse reactions simply diminish or disappear.

Anger management doesn’t work because the techniques don’t provide the Real Love® we need to heal the past wounds of “I don’t love you” that we all received. No technique can change anger without unconditional love.

Does Anger Management work for Domestic Violence

No, for the same reasons listed immediately above. Domestic violence results from the anger that arises from both parties not receiving the unconditional love that is essential to genuine happiness. Anger management does not provide that love.

Can Anger Issues be Genetic?

Anger definitely RUN IN FAMILIES, to be sure, but that is not the same as saying that anger is genetic. There ARE studies that indicate that some families definitely have more anger, but NONE of those studies takes Real Love into account, which invalidates the studies completely.

For example, a Southern accent is more common in Southern families, but that doesn’t make a Southern accent genetic. It only means that Southern families pass on their accent to their children. Similarly, families are angry because of the lack of love they received. Naturally, they pass that lack of love on to their children—and they express their anger AT their children—so of course the children would be lacking in love and be far more likely to react to adverse situations with anger.

Can Anger Issues Be Cured?

Oh yes, anger can be vastly reduced and even eliminated. As you study Real Love® you will learn how to find the unconditional love you’ve always wanted. Start with this Free Ultimate Guide. And as you feel loved, you will discover that your perspectives on life, situations, and people naturally change. You will feel secure in who you are. You will CHOOSE how you respond to situations and people instead of mindlessly reacting to them—including anger.

You will discover that you won’t need to artificially CONTROL your anger. No, anger management will simply become unnecessary. You’ll lay it down in favor of far more loving and reasonable choices.

Your anger was created over many years. How fortunate it is that eliminating it doesn’t have to take nearly that long. Change takes focus and practice, but loving is certainly not more difficult than the way you’re living now, with anger and all the other behaviors that drive you crazy.

As you learn to be loving, you will feel so much happier yourself.

You will enjoy the relationships around you with children, partners, and coworkers.

You will freely abandon the behaviors that are now hurting them and annoying you.

What could possibly be better?

Eliminate your anger now.

Start here:

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

Subscribe to our newsletter now!