The Top 10 Anger Triggers
The Ten Triggers for Anger
The first nine triggers are from Why We Snap – Understanding the rage circuit in your brain by Douglas Fields, Ph.D. This book is a tremendous resource if you are dealing with anger management issues.
- Life or limb – when you perceive situation is life-or-death. This perception is not always accurate however and anger may arise due to mistake in interpretation.
- Insult – Insults are a means of challenging for social position or dominance. Even perceived insults may trigger anger.
- Family – A perceived threat to a family member can trigger anger. We are wired to protect family. A basic instinct in all animals as wel as people.
- Environment – We are wired to protect our territory – home, yard, car, etc. Border disputes are common ground for anger.
- Mate – Anger often arises to obtain or protect a mate. What’s more, violence and anger can arise in an intimate sexual relationship (i.e., domestic violence, jealousy).
- Order in society – establish dominance in social orders or groups. Anger and violence are used to enforce society’s rules, assure fairness and punish transgressions. Injustice and unfairness fit in as triggers here.
- Resources – prevention of theft, protection of resources
- Tribe – Protecting the tribe is often a trigger for violence and anger. This drives inner-city gangs and is much of the basis for racism and war.
- Stopped – anger arises when restrained, cornered, imprisoned. This is related to waiting in long lines, someone cutting in line and traffic on the road. This also arises for people who are oppressed.
- Sensory Overload – some people have excellent senses and may be overwhelmed by too much sensory input – offensive touch, sounds, smells, and tastes may trigger anger (added by Dr. John Schinnerer – WebAngerManagement.com).
These triggers are cumulative so that one may build upon another. Or several triggers may be felt simultaneously. For example, you are driving with your spouse and someone cuts you off on the freeway. This often activates the life or limb, the family, the environment, the order in society (rule violation), and the stopped triggers. Typically, the more triggers that are activated, the more intense the anger experienced.