Do I Need Anger Management? Here’s How to Know

Do I Need Anger Management? Here’s How to Know


By Dr. Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC

If you’re asking yourself “Do I need anger management?”, you need to be ready to give yourself an honest answer. Just needing to ask that question gives some indication of what the true answer is likely to be.

Evaluating our behavior is an important aspect of being a healthy, responsible person. Many of us refuse to do this until we get some kind of a ‘wake-up call’ that suggests there could be a problem with our behavior. A common area where this occurs, especially for men, is with needing help managing anger.

What Is Anger Management?

Anger is a normal reaction to certain circumstances. No one should assume that the goal of managing anger is to eliminate the emotion altogether, but rather to learn the best, most effective, and most healthy ways to express it.

This is an important distinction when it comes to truly managing your anger. It’s nearly impossible, and not advisable, to suppress feelings of anger entirely. If you’re struggling with anger issues you know firsthand that those feelings always find a way to surface.

We all can easily justify our anger, rather than being open-minded to seeing its negative effects. I’ve worked with a lot of men in anger management classes who haven’t been open to seeing the negative effects of their anger until they’ve gotten that ‘wake-up call’ — like when they threw their kid across the room, pulled the dishwasher out of the cabinet, or punched a hole in the wall.

When there’s a lasting effect from our anger, it can help us wake up and ask ourselves, “Do I need anger management?”

How To Tell If You Need Help Managing Your Anger

Getting angry in and of itself doesn’t mean you have an anger problem. Many people get angry and use it to make positive changes, or find a way to deal with their feelings and then move past them.

Others, however, really struggle to control their anger but instead, it controls them. See if any of these sounds like you:

If you can identify with any of these, it’s very likely that you need help with anger management.

Here’s a post I wrote on our social media pages about why people need anger management. It explains one of the signs that are common. This sign is also a clue to the honest answer as well.


An important point from this post is this: What makes anger wrong is not the anger itself, but rather what people do with it. Why people need anger management is because they let their anger become mean, cruel and hurtful. Everyone has the right to be angry, but no one has the right to let their anger hurt others.

I was counseling a man this week who calls his wife an “a–hole,” “bitch,” “stupid” and a few other choice words, some of which I wouldn’t publish (use your imagination). Could this behavior be a sign that this guy should be asking himself, “Do I need anger management?”  Yes.

Although this man’s anger is understandable, the cruel way he expresses it is not. The result of this guy’s anger happens to be that he’s presently living with his parents while he and his wife are doing couples counseling with me to decide whether or not to stay married or get divorced.

Sadly, this guy wanted to argue about whether or not calling someone (note it’s his wife) an “a–hole” is hurtful, disrespectful and demeaning. In his mind, that word doesn’t have that effect but, for his wife, it certainly does (read this article about what it’s like being married to an angry man).

The Effects of Anger Will Show If Anger Management Is Needed

One of the ways we answer the question “Do I need anger management?” is by looking at the effects of our anger. The guy above needs to open his mind to the truth that his anger, and how he expresses it, are partly why he’s in counseling and facing the likelihood of a divorce if he doesn’t ‘wake up and change.

Could you be a little like this guy? Do you try to justify your anger rather than being open-minded to see its negative effects? As I said in the social media post above, most angry people don’t realize, or refuse to recognize, how their anger hurts others (and themselves). Find out the type of men who are willing to go to anger management classes.

Do yourself a big favor and open your mind to recognize how your anger hurts others — and yourself (I had to do this myself). When you do, you’ll know the honest answer to your question, “Do I need anger management?” Answering that question truthfully will change your life for the better in so many ways you can’t even imagine — trust me, I know.


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