Levels of Anger

Most of our emotions vary on a scale of extremities. We can be happy or extremely happy, sad, completely miserable, or depressive, mildly irritated or extremely angry. This range can be explained through various levels.

Anger, too, has several levels, ranging from the mildest to the severest.

  • Level – Low

This level is represented by mild anger, which can be adequately described as ‘irritation’. A person is irritated when something happens that he/she is not expecting or when something does not happen when it was expected.

Joan was irritated when the train was late; so, she took a bus to work.

Here, Joan was annoyed as the train did not arrive as per schedule and she had to opt for another route to work. However, the irritation was mild (small) and did not really require her to demonstrate her anger through a public display. She, instead, suppressed the feeling internally.

This low level is demonstrated due to impatience and exasperation over the smallest of issues. Irritation even occurs when a mosquito is buzzing near the ears; or a fly is sitting on the fruit!

  • Level – Medium

At this stage, the feelings of anger are demonstrated by action or words. They are stronger reactions and, in some cases, may require the use of self-control lest harm is caused to self and others.

Ricky lost his baggage while travelling by the local airline and he became abusive when the airline staff refused to reimburse him.

Here, there has been personal loss, which made Ricky angry, and when being faced with unhelpful staff he gave vent to his anger by being verbally abusive. However, he could have used self-control on his anger and instead of losing his temper, he could have followed a more diplomatic system of complaining to the airline authorities.

  • Level – Severe

This level demonstrates anger that shows great vehemence; anger with an extremely high intensity. At this level, there is no heed to damage, or danger to anything or anybody. Acts of violence and abuse come in this category; certain ferocity emerges and is akin to animal instincts. The enraged person will commit acts of violence or abuse that are extremely harmful to the victim.

Jenny stabbed her husband’s mistress out of sheer anger.

The severity of the action demonstrated the intensity of anger. ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ is a popular adage.

Psychology theorist, Adam Blatner, M.D., lists seven types of anger:

  1. Number zero (0) – feeling angry subconsciously but not demonstrating it
  2. Number one-half (0.5) – anger shown through subtle clues
  3. Level One (1) – Displeasure is shown without blame
  4. Level Two (2) – A little more displeasure to elicit a response
  5. Level Three (3) – Anger with a scowl or harsh words
  6. Level Four (4) – Anger with loudness of speech and expression
  7. Level Five (5) – Losing temper and getting into a rage; aggression

At each of these levels, various degrees of self-control can be utilized to control anger and save it from becoming a destructive force. During the course of a single event, a person may go from one level of anger to another (not necessarily in a forward sequential manner). He could move from a Level 1 directly to Level 5 in a matter of minutes; or, could scale down from Level 3 to Level 1 by applying self-control.

There are several theories on the levels of anger as anger is very subjective and differs from person to person. Someone may deem mild irritation to be strong whilst others may consider abuse as a part of life. There are no clear gradations. What works for someone may not work for another.

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