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

This week I’ve been 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 the last two of the seven scenarios, including my immediate reaction AND my reactions after deeper reflection.

Would you react the same way?


You’re driving down the freeway on your way to work when a car three lanes to your left suddenly diagonals right in front of your car, scooting over to catch a rapidly approaching exit.

Is it appropriate for you to be angry?

My Immediate Response

I would certainly be irritated if a car suddenly zoomed right in front of me in order to make an exit off the freeway, but I wouldn’t be angry, just startled.

My Reaction After Deeper Reflection

I said I wasn’t angry but irritated and startled. Once I got over being startled, the irritation really began to sink in. What a jerk! That car could have clipped mine and caused an accident! What if I hadn’t been paying attention? The more I think about it, the more irritated I become. Of course, irritation is just another word for being angry. I know it’s futile to be angry at a stranger I’ll never see again, over something that didn’t last more than five seconds total, with no real harm done. I know that intellectually, but it’s hard not to be mad in the moment and allow that moment to linger far longer than it should.


You’re asked to help out at a function at church. You agree to stay late and help clean up. The event is supposed to be over by 9:00 p.m., but it gets started late and doesn’t get over until almost 9:40 p.m. You were told there would be at least six people to help with the cleanup, but you find when everyone clears out it’s only you and two other people, neither of whom is the person who asked you to help. Instead of taking twenty minutes to clean up, it takes the three of you almost an hour. You’re now getting home at almost 11:00 at night and have to get up early the next morning.

Is it appropriate for you to be angry?

My Immediate Response

This situation probably occurs at churches at least once a month, if not more. It’s certainly aggravating if you’re on the receiving end of more work than anticipated and less help. I’d want to be angry but hopefully would talk myself out of it. Oh, and I’d sure think twice about saying yes the next time.

My Reaction After Deeper Reflection

These things just happen. Sure, they’re aggravating, but churches are essentially volunteer organizations and that’s just the way it goes. The person who asked me probably did think they had six people to help out but three of them decided at the last minute not to show or not to stay and help. What’s the point in being angry about it? I’ll just make sure that the next time that person asks me to help, I say no.

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. You may do the same for the other five scenarios here and here.

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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