Other Factors that Influence Our Anger

Awareness of the sources of your anger, can help prevent destructive outbursts

Now that we know some of the main factors that can trigger our anger response, let’s look at a few others in detail.

Controlling our anger often comes down to understanding the roots of where our anger is coming from. Looking at how our anger manifests can sometimes give us insight into what is causing it. Note that everyone may feel and express their anger in different ways.

  • Some people express anger verbally, by shouting, swearing, threatening others, or name-calling.
  • Some people react physically, hitting other people, pushing them, or breaking things. Some of us show anger in passive ways, for example, by ignoring people or sulking.
  • Other men may hide their anger or turn it against themselves. They can be very angry on the inside but feel unable to let it out. Men who tend to turn anger inwards may harm themselves as a way of coping with the intense feelings they have.

The way we express our anger is often influenced by many factors, especially ones related to our life experiences. By better understanding these factors, we can then get to the roots of our anger.


The way we grew up and the people around us have major impacts on how we learn to manage and express our emotions – including anger. Our social environment creates ‘norms’ or standards for how anger is expressed and managed. For example:

  • Maybe in your family, the loudest and most demanding person usually got their way, and now you have a tendency to raise your voice in order to get your way, without even thinking about it.
  • Or the people around you bottled up their feelings and expected the same from you.
  • In some social environments, outward expressions of anger (like shouting aggressively or hitting) may have been considered more ‘normal’.


Living through a traumatic experience can have long lasting impacts. Survivors of abuse or neglect often develop feelings of embarrassment and shame. Anger and aggression are sometimes used to defend against these uncomfortable emotions, especially when a current experience triggers feelings from the past.


Ongoing stress (e.g., worrying about finances, facing ongoing discrimination, or struggling to find accommodations for a disability) can pull us down and threaten our way of life. These types of everyday stressors can have a big impact on how we handle anger. For example, if you’re having a hard time providing food for your family, you may be quick to get angry at anything you perceive as a threat to your job security, or your identity as the head of your household.


Sometimes we feel that family or friends impose certain expectations on how we ought to live our lives, which conflict with what we actually want for ourselves. This conflict often underlies anger for many people.


Expectations of what it means to ‘be a man’ can pressure us to look and act in certain ways, or even be someone we don’t necessarily want to be. These expectations can come from many areas of our lives including the people we interact with, news/online forums/books we read, movies/shows we watch, or people/characters we admire.

Generally speaking, expectations of what it means to ‘be a man’ is how society teaches boys to be men (technically referred to as ‘masculine socialization’). Through this process, we develop a sense of what it means to ‘be a man’ (e.g., strong, in control, dominant), even when these aren’t always healthy or realistic standards. The burden of trying to meet such expectations can create resentment and anger.