What’s Your Anger Expression Style? Take This Quiz to Find Out

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Is your daughter the type to come right out and tell you when she is feeling angry?  Does she stuff her anger inside?  Perhaps she is most likely to express her feelings in sneaky ways.  Or maybe, when she is mad, the whole world knows about it—and better step aside!  Whatever your child’s anger style, chances are she has developed it over the years and modeled it after…gulp...much-loved family members.

Anger Styles Quiz

Take this Anger Styles Quiz to learn about how anger is articulated in your family:

Your husband complains about never having time to finish the bathroom renovation. However, you notice that during free time he is almost always glued to the TV. This infuriates you and in response, you:

  1. Get mad and threaten to cancel the cable subscription until his construction tasks are complete.
  2. Tell your husband how you feel when the bathroom doesn’t get done and you see him always watching TV.
  3. Keep your resentment to yourself.  After all, your husband’s desire to relax is more important that your wish for a finished bathroom.
  4. Hide the remote control

You have plans to enjoy a Girls' Night Out with your neighbors.   Your daughter tells you that she really needs you to drive her and her friends to the movies.  You cancel your own plans, remembering how important such occasions were for you when you were a teenager.  On Friday night, your daughter tells you that her plans have changed and Erika’s mother is going to drive them instead, since she just got a brand new car.  In response you:

  1. Yell at your daughter about her “inconsiderate” and “thoughtless” behavior and warn her not to ask for rides ever again.
  2. Tell your daughter that her change of plans has affected your evening activities and make a plan for how the two of you will schedule events from this point forward.
  3. Get really angry but say nothing about it.
  4. “Accidentally” misplace your car keys next time your daughter asks for a ride so that she has to cancel her plans.

Your daughter has been giving you the silent treatment all week.  On Friday morning, she leaves her soccer jersey on your bed, with a note that says, “Please wash before my game today.”  In response you:

  1. Storm into your daughter’s room, throw the shirt on her bed, and tell her to wash her own clothing from now on.
  2. Talk to your daughter about your schedule for the day and work out an agreement for doing laundry.
  3. Wash the shirt, per her note, and leave it neatly folded on her bed
  4. Put the shirt in the washer, but “forget” to put it in the dryer in time for her game.

Your daughter never gets up on time.  Every morning it’s a battle that ends up making you late for work.  In response you:

  1. Start off waking her up nicely and end up screaming at her 30 minutes later, putting you in a bad mood.
  2. Explain your feelings and concerns to your daughter and set firm limits for morning routines in your house.
  3. Continue your routine of rousing her every morning and forego your own breakfast so that you can still get to work on time.
  4. When she asks you to wake her up in time for an outing with her friends, wake her up 5 minutes before she has to be there.

If you answered mostly A’s, chances are your style is on the aggressive side.  You show your anger and frustration through verbal, and sometimes even physical ways, that depreciate others.  While your feelings may be very natural in each situation, your choice in self-expression has a high cost in terms of the long-term damage it causes in your relationships.  Aim to eliminate destructive “You” messages and replace them with relationship-building “I” statements that express your angry feelings without putting family members down.

If you answered mostly B’s, you tend toward an assertive style of anger expression.  Assertive behavior clearly sets the limits of what a person is willing to do or not do in an interpersonal situation. Unlike aggression, assertive behavior does not depreciate or cause harm to either person.  It is a healthy way of defining the boundaries of one’s personal reality and an effective way of “making friends with one’s personal anger.”

If you answered mostly C’s, you may possess a passive style of anger expression.  Through passive behaviors, a person allows her own rights to be violated because of a personal belief that her needs are not worthy of consideration or that their feelings are not as important as those of others.  Passive behavior often results in the passive person feeling even greater anxiety, helplessness, and internalized anger.

If you answered mostly D’s you may be using passive aggressive behaviors to communicate hidden anger.  Passive aggression is a deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings of anger. This anger expression style is motivated by a person’s fear of expressing anger directly. Passive aggression involves a variety of behaviors designed to “get back” at another person without the other recognizing the underlying anger.

To find out more about Anger Expression Styles, please visit Passive Aggressive Diaries.  To help kids develop skills for assertive anger expression, check out Signe’s newest book, How to Be Angry, coming in June 2011.
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3 Responses to “What’s Your Anger Expression Style? Take This Quiz to Find Out”

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