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When is Anger Appropriate? My Responses to Seven Scenarios (Part II of III)

Yesterday I started responding to seven scenarios from my book Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Your Anger. These are situations in which I have both seen and experienced anger. Below are my responses to two of the seven scenarios, including my immediate reaction AND my reactions after deeper reflection.

Would you react the same way?


A co-worker knows you’re a Christian and makes a point of using obscene language in your presence, repeatedly using the names of God and Christ as swear words.

Is it appropriate for you to be angry?

My Immediate Response

If this were me, Id’ be angry about it. I really don’t like it when other people deliberately speak in a crude or obscene manner in front of me, especially invoking the name of God or Christ.

My Reaction After Deeper Reflection

I said it’s appropriate to be angry. But how is that anger to be demonstrated? If you get angry right back at this insensitive person, is there really an expectation this person will change? Or, will you being angry and upset providing just the reaction this person was looking for in the first place? It’s certainly appropriate to be angry at a culture that allows God’s name to be trashed verbally, but is an angry response going to change this particular person? The initial reaction is one of anger, but is there a way to use the motivation of the anger to empower you to respond in a different way? Which would be more effective? Anger directed at the co-worker or prayer directed to God about the co-worker? Anger directed at the co-worker or at the condition of the culture?


Your teenager tells you he’s going over to a friend’s house to do homework for the evening. When he fails to answer his cell phone, you call over to the friend’s house to find out what time he’s coming home. You find out your son has not been there all evening.

Is it appropriate for you to be angry?

My Immediate Response

If this were my son, I’d be angry – angry at being lied to. I’d also be worried because I wouldn’t know where he was. Angry and worried – not a very nice combination for a parent.

My Reaction After Deeper Reflection

My teenager looked me straight in the face and lied to me about where he was going to be. I expect to be told the truth, and it really makes me mad when that doesn’t happen. Of course, I’m also worried because I realize I have no idea where my child is. Add to that – embarrassment. I’m embarrassed because I called over to the friend’s house, only to find out my child wasn’t there. Now, that other parent knows my kid lied to me and I don’t know where he is. I’m also scared because I have no idea where my teenager is, except it’s obviously somewhere he didn’t want me to know in the first place and now he’s not answering his cell phone. I’m angry, worried, embarrassed, and scared. All bubbling and popping up to the surface of my mind like some noxious, boiling, emotional brew.

How would you react?

For each of the scenarios above, what is your 1) immediate reaction and 2) reaction after deeper reflection. If you’d like to share, please post your thoughts in the comments section.

Read my reactions to scenarios 1 through 3, and look for Part III of III tomorrow.

SOURCE: Chapter1: “The Role of Anger” in Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Your Anger by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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