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How to Not Get Mad at Someone Even Though You Really Want To

Anger is a perfectly normal human emotion that can help you to identify stressors. It can even serve positive purposes, like helping you stand up for yourself, decreasing your negative emotional and physiological states, and keeping you safe from harm.[1] However, anger can have many downsides as well, including the potential to damage relationships. Keeping yourself calm and not getting angry at another person, even if you feel that your anger is justified, may help you maintain better relationships.

Method One of Three:
Avoiding Displaced Anger and Resentment

  1. 1
    Be mindful of the real source of your annoyance. The root of your anger may be internal or external. Internal sources of anger include perceived failures, injustices, and frustrations. External sources of anger could be losses, teasing, or humiliation. It can be very easy to become mad at someone needlessly if you have a tendency to displace your anger or your bad mood. Taking your displaced anger out on other people is not a healthy way to manage your emotions or your relationships. To avoid displaced anger, try the following:
    • Ask yourself, “what is really bothering me?”[2] Then ask yourself, “what is the worst thing about that?” This will help you pinpoint exactly why you feel bothered.[3]
    • Think about why you feel like you need to redirect your anger (for example, if you feel powerless to address a difficult work situation, you may take your anger out on someone at home).
    • Write down the different things that are causing you to feel negatively or stressed.
    • Try to deal with each stressor or annoyance separately, rather than rolling them together all into one big stressor.[4]
    • Apologize to someone if you have been short with or rude to her through no fault of her own.
      • You might say something like, “I’m really sorry that I snapped at you about dinner. I am a bit overwhelmed at work and I’m having trouble dealing with the stress, but that’s not your fault. How can I make it up to you?”
  2. 2
    Let go of resentments. Holding onto resentments for things that happened in the past is a common reason for feeling mad at someone. Resentment is not healthy, and letting go of those feelings is the best way to move on. To move on from resentment, try the following:
    • Acknowledge that your feelings of resentment don’t serve a productive purpose.
    • Realize that feeling resentment cannot actually change the past.
    • Accept that you cannot control the actions or feelings of other people.
    • Forgive if you can forgive or try to forget if you feel that you cannot forgive.
  3. 3
    Consider whether you have unexpressed expectations. You might feel mad at another person for doing or not doing something that you expect them to do. However, she may have no idea that you expect her to do that thing! If you feel like someone is not meeting your expectations, try voicing those expectations and having a conversation about whether they are reasonable.[5]
    • For example, you may feel mad at a coworker who never contributes to the daily coffee fund but drinks coffee every day. She may not realize that she is expected to pay into the fund or you might find out that she has a sick child and many medical bills. Having a conversation about your expectations instead of letting yourself feel mad can help strengthen your relationship with her.
  4. 4
    Develop empathy. One of the best ways to avoid getting mad at someone is to truly understand where she is coming from through understanding. Getting to know someone better and digging deeper into why she may act a certain way can help you feel empathetic towards her. Compassion will usually override feelings of anger or annoyance.
  5. 5
    Practice gratitude. Particularly if the person you’re trying not to be mad at is a loved one, try to picture your life without that person in it. Think about all of the things that she contributes to your life and allow yourself to feel grateful for all that she does. Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to make a habit of practicing gratitude.[6]
  6. 6
    Remember to HALT before you speak. The acronym HALT stands for “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.” It is a common recommendation in 12-step programs to tell yourself to halt (stop) and evaluate whether you feel any of those things before you lash out at another person.
    • For example, if your husband gets home late and you feel mad at him, before you express that anger, think about yourself first. Realize if you feel hungry, angry, lonely, or tired and think about whether those factors are influencing your feelings towards your husband. Eat something, relax on the couch for a few minutes, then ask him about why he is late.

Method Two of Three:
Using Assertive Communication

  1. 1
    Differentiate between ways of communicating. There are three primary ways to communicate emotions (particularly anger); they fall into the categories of “passive,” “aggressive,” or “assertive.” Learning to use assertive communication can help you communicate with others in a healthy way.[7]
    • Passive communication involves becoming progressively angry about something without actually dealing with the problem or confronting the situation in any way. Passive behavior can often lead to secret revenge or other negative behaviors (known as passive-aggressive behavior).[8]
    • Aggressive communication involves becoming so angry that you have an outburst that likely seems like an overreaction to the situation from the outside. Aggressive outbursts can also be paired with violence.
    • Assertive communication is a healthy, respectful way to address and confront the person or situation that is causing you to become angry.
  2. 2
    Emphasize that both parties’ needs are important. Part of assertive communication is acknowledging that your needs as well as the needs of the other person (or people) involved are important. This takes the focus off of you and shows that you are appreciative of the needs of others.[9]
    • For example, if you are about to get mad at your husband because he did not pick up dinner on his way home, you could start your conversation by saying, “I know that you have a lot of different responsibilities that weigh on you” (acknowledging his needs). Then you could say, “I also have a lot going on, and when you forget to pick up dinner, it messes up the schedule that I had planned.”
  3. 3
    Use respect when communicating. Using “please” and “thank you” can go a long way towards seeming respectful of another. Treat the other party with respect, acknowledging that he has a side to the story as well.[10]
    • For example, instead of immediately getting mad at your husband for not picking up dinner, you might say, “do you have an alternate plan for dinner?” He may have come up with another idea. Even if he did just forget, asking with curiosity about an alternate plan is kinder than immediately demanding, “where is the dinner you said you would pick up?!” when he walks in the door.
  4. 4
    Be clear and specific with requests. Remember to think of any actions you would like the other party to take as requests, not demands. This will help you word your request appropriately. It is important that you are specific and that you do your best to stick to the actual facts.[11]
    • For example, you may say, “I know you just got home, but would you mind going back out for a few minutes to pick up dinner so that we can all eat together at home?”
  5. 5
    Express your feelings. While you do want to provide factual information, it is okay to include the way that you feel when you are expressing your anger. You can emphasize words like “I feel like” or “it makes me feel,” which may help prevent the other party from becoming defensive.[12]
    • For example, you could say, “I feel very frustrated that you did not pick up dinner because it makes me feel like I have to come up with an alternative solution on my own. I feel pressured to make everything perfect all the time, and this is stressing me out.”
  6. 6
    Seek a solution to the problem. Ideally, you and the party to whom you are expressing your feelings can collaborate on a solution to the problem that is making you angry. Unfortunately, you cannot control the actions of others, and you may need to seek a solution on your own.[13]
    • For example, you may ask your husband if he has an idea for providing dinner. You may decide to go out to eat. He could volunteer to go back out and pick something up, or he could give you a break by watching your kids or cleaning up the house while you run out to pick up dinner. Alternatively, he could cook dinner. There are many solutions to this problem, but the important part is coming up with one together that works for everyone.

Method Three of Three:
Letting Go of Anger

  1. 1
    Give yourself a break. If you feel like you’re getting mad at someone, give yourself a little break for some time to cool down and regroup. If you regain control of your feelings before you talk to the person you’re on the verge of being mad at, you’re more likely to avoid conflict.[14]
  2. 2
    Take deep breaths. Deep breaths can help you calm down and avoid getting mad at someone. To benefit from the potential relaxation of deep breathing, you need to take deep breaths into your abdomen. Place your hand on your diaphragm (between your belly and chest) and breathe so deeply that you hand moves as your belly begins to expand. Then slowly breathe out.[15]
    • Keep your focus on your breath, breathing in and out 8-10 times or until you feel like you have regained control of your emotions.
  3. 3
    Redirect your anger towards productivity. While displacing your anger towards another person can be bad, redirecting it towards an activity such as cleaning, exercising, or tackling long-overdue items on your “to-do” list can be helpful. You can get out some angry energy while you do something productive!
  4. 4
    Care for yourself. Give yourself time to do something nice for yourself.[16] Get plenty of sleep, and exercise.[17] You will also maintain a healthy diet, and you will feel better.[18] Feeling better often means having better control over your emotions, which leads to more effective (and kinder) communication with others. Additionally, if you are not getting any time for self-care, you may begin to feel resentful to people whom you perceive as preventing you from getting that time.
    • You should try to sleep 7-8 hours every night to thrive physically and emotionally.[19]
    • Aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise each day. If you cannot exercise daily, try to do it at least 3-4 times per week.
    • Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein in your diet.[20] Getting healthy fats can also make you feel full longer. Also avoid fat-free and overly processed foods. These often lack adequate nutrition and may leave you feeling dissatisfied.[21]
  5. 5
    Listen to relaxing music. Unwinding to some of your favorite singers might calm you down and get you in the mood. Music is proven to make you feel a certain way when you hear it and bring back memories. It can calm people who are angry or agitated, even if they’re not aware of the source of that agitation.[22] Classical music and jazz are particularly helpful for calming people down, but you have to find what works for you.
  6. 6
    Turn on your positive thoughts. You can help reduce your anger by trying to focus more clearly on your positive thoughts. Close your eyes, banish every negative thought that comes your way, and think of at least three positive things.[23]
    • The positive thoughts can be positive aspects of the situation you're worrying about, or just thoughts about something else you have to look forward to or something that makes you happy.
    • Some examples of positive thoughts include:
      • This will pass.
      • I am strong enough to handle this.
      • Challenging situations are opportunities to grow.
      • I will not feel angry forever; this is a temporary feeling.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • How do I stop myself from blocking my partner from leaving my room when she wants to leave?
    Answered by Tasha Rube, LMSW
    • If you have personally attempted to reduce your anger at your partner without success, perhaps it is time to seek out assistance from an anger management therapist. Inappropriate behavior due to anger could be something more serious with personal emotional or mental health concerns.
    Thanks! 0 0
  • How do I avoid getting upset when someone doesn't understand what I'm saying?
    Answered by Tasha Rube, LMSW
    • Try listening to how your friend/family is perceiving what you are trying to say. Before reacting to your frustrations, ask them questions of what they think they understood, and then clarify your point of view from there.
    Thanks! 0 0
  • What music should I listen to when I am angry at someone?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • I listen to the Undertale song "Quiet Water" or rain sounds. I find these very relaxing.
    Thanks! 7 0
  • Can I try repeating the phrase 'I can do this without lashing out on others.'?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes if that helps you not be angry then go for it.
    Thanks! 9 2
  • My mom often compares me with others. How can I not be angry and jealous?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Well this might not work, but don't think about it. If you must, you can try to think about why she is saying stuff like that; like maybe because she wants you to better yourself and push you forward.
    Thanks! 6 7
  • What do I do if none of these work? Do I have anger issues?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Probably not, unless you find you really can't control yourself. When you're mad, just imagine the person you're mad at in their underpants. Laugh! It helps. Then just flip your hair over your shoulder and walk away. The person you're mad at will be in shock!
    Thanks! 3 7
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  • If you feel as though your anger is controlling you or your relationships, you should seek anger management counseling through a group class or a psychologist.
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Expert Review By:

M.A, Clinical Mental Health Counseling

This version of How to Not Get Mad at Someone Even Though You Really Want To was reviewed by Jessica B. Casey on May 23, 2015.

67 votes - 70%
Co-authors: 16
Views: 30,399
Categories: Anger Management

Reader Success Stories

  • ZL

    Zarushka Lee

    Jun 12, 2017

    "Helped a little, thanks. But my gran never understands a thing I say, and she's a smart person and listens well. She thinks I hate her when I just take a deep breath, because she knows I'm mad. Then I can't take it that she never understands what I'm saying."..." more
  • Ngomuso Precious

    Jul 31, 2017

    "It helped me because I was able to learn on how to deal with anger."
  • VB

    Valentina Brown

    May 25, 2017

    "It actually helped me control my anger. I love it."
  • PN

    Precious Ngomusa

    Jul 31, 2017

    "That you should not let anger worry you."
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