Make Anger and Resentment Unnecessary

Anger is a protective emotion, activated by a dual perception of vulnerability and threat. (The more vulnerable we feel, the more threat we perceive.) When anger is a problem, it is only a symptom; perceived vulnerability is the cause.

Most problem anger comes from ego vulnerability – someone says or does something that offends your ego or makes you feel devalued. The best way to eliminate ego vulnerability is to strengthen your sense of who you are, especially:

  • What you believe in
  • What you stand for
  • What is most important to you

When people violate their deeper values - who they are, what they believe in, what they stand for, and what is most important to them - they become vulnerable to guilt, shame, and anxiety. They have more self doubt and, to some extent, feel phony. They feel devalued or violated by others. They perceive more threat and require more anger as a defense.

Never ask whether your anger or resentment is justified. (It probably is.) Here are the more important questions to ask yourself:

  • Is my anger or resentment helping me be the kind of person, intimate partner, parent, and worker I most want to be?
  • Is my anger or resentment turning me into someone I'm not?

The following exercise begins the strengthening process that will help you make anger and resentment almost completely unnecessary in your life.  


Please select the personal qualities that reflect your deepest values.

I am

(check all that apply):


Write down what you will do to reinforce your deeper values.




(Example – Try to be fair and ensure that other people think I am fair in my dealings with them.)








(Example – Adapt or compromise, when consistent with my deeper values.)








(Example - Always tell the truth and value truth more than ego.)








(Example - Maintain a moderate level of fitness and healthful appearance.)





(Example - Do what I say I will do.)




Worthy of respect



(Example – Respect others.)







(Example - Never take my unpleasant moods out on others.)




Hard worker



(Example - Work hard.)




Funny (sense of humor)



(Example - Look for humor in situations when appropriate.)







(Example - Be as generous as I can be within my means.)







(Example - Try to find ways of doing things that work best for everyone involved.)




Good parent



(Example – Focus on the best interests of my children.)







(Example - Never betray a trust or a promise to support and defend.)





Vibrant (zest for life)


(Example - Make an effort to appreciate life.)







(Example - Recognize the basic humanity within everyone, especially when I disagree with them.)