News and Commentary

Handout: Ten Steps to Anger Control

Sharing is caring!

Anger is a common trigger of domestic violence incidents. These 10 steps outline the process of overcoming one’s feelings of anger:

1. Identify Feelings
Take an inventory of your feelings. Name these feelings: Mad, glad, sad, angry, or what?

2. Identify Your Thoughts
Clarify the thoughts that are contributing to your anger. Ask yourself:

  • “Why must I get my way?”
  • “Why should others do what I want?”

3.  Clarify the Situation

Ask yourself, “What is really going here?” Acknowledge feeling disappointed or hurt by the person or situation.


4. Dig into the Roots

Think about earlier experiences in life. What previous persons or situations does the current incident remind you of? Consider that anger is often a mask for deeper emotions, such as fear.

5. Ask, How Does your Anger Serve You?

Consider that your anger may be serving you in some way. For example, your anger may allow you to project your feelings onto your partner, in a way making the other person responsible for your problems.


6. Establish Healthy Boundaries

Don’t let others “push your buttons.” Draw healthy lines around your relationships. Realize that you are not responsible for your partner’s happiness.

7. Reframe Your Thoughts

Counteract angry thoughts with a positive self-message such as, “I know this person is trying to upset me. But I’m not going to give them the pleasure of doing that.”

8. Consider Other Strategies

Consider other anger management options such as deep breathing, taking a “time-out,” explaining to your partner how you’re feeling (what’s called an “I-message”), telling your partner to not engage in such actions in the future, and ending the hurtful relationship.

9. Decide on Realistic Goals

Ask yourself, “What constructive actions can I take to reach my goals?” Be specific and firm: “Tomorrow I will tell my partner to not slap me, even as a joke.”

10.  Take Positive Action

Act on your decision. Report back to your anger management group how it went.



Bartlett EE. The Difficult Patient. Brooklandville, MD: Data Trace Publishing Co., 2002.

Wentz T: The Practice of Control: Executive Coaching/Anger Management for Physicians. Brentwood, CA: Anderson and Anderson. 2008.

Domestic Violence Service ProvidersClick here to return to list of topics.