The Difference Between Constructive and Destructive Anger

Emotions are our bodies’ method of communicating with us. For example, anger is an emotion that is frequently associated with a desire for control. It is often our bodies’ way of informing us that we feel out of control or have been violated.

Anger might make us want to gain or regain control over a situation. Though we have stigmatized anger, it is not a negative emotion. On the contrary, constructive anger help your body prepare for a threatening environment and help you deal with an unexpected situation.

Destructive anger, including volatile and explosive anger, is harmful as they are associated with negative thoughts about an individual or incident.

Considering the impact of anger on our physical, mental, and emotional health – it becomes crucial to understand the difference between constructive and destructive anger.

A Quick Comparison Between Constructive And Destructive Anger

Constructive AngerDestructive Anger
HealingCan cause stress and trauma
Subtle and not too strongStrong emotions
Can help in understanding the situation betterCan further complicate situations

Let’s dive into the world of emotions and understand in detail constructive and destructive anger, & how to manage destructive anger.

Constructive Anger

Constructive anger is helpful to understand the situation of yourself and others.

Constructive anger is therapeutic which means it can help you better understand your circumstances, others, and yourself.

Furthermore, for anger to be productive and managed, a person must be conscious of it and acknowledge their own and others’ needs. Here, your anger is channeled to gain control of the situation and retain your self-respect.

Destructive Anger

Destructive anger is unhealthy your and for others and it can harm anyone.

Destructive anger manifests in an unhealthy manner and causes harm. In addition, it might be out of proportion to the provocation. Anger may also be directed inside, culminating in intentional self-harm or substance abuse. Again, it relieves tension in the short term but might have long-term detrimental implications.

When does Constructive Anger start to become Destructive?

In the beginning, all anger is constructive. It is a normal emotional reaction that may be used to process, protect, or activate. However, because anger is such a strong feeling, it may rapidly overtake you and turn harmful.

We must learn how to regulate our constructive anger to keep it from becoming destructive. We should understand what patterns of conduct cause us to cross the line into destructiveness. It is also crucial to pinpoint the triggers that cause anger so we can avoid them or be aware of them.

6 Actionable Strategies to Manage It

Anger management mainly focuses on identifying the cause of anger and trying various management approaches that work for you. Anger management strategies can be as simple as shifting your attention to complicated ones, including medication and therapy.

Here are some of the simple and advanced strategies that can help you deal with anger:

  1. Become self-aware
  2. Tell yourself that you are angry
  3. Opt for anger management classes
  4. Do physical exercises
  5. Talk to a therapist

Let’s discuss each of these management approaches in detail so you can select the approach based on the severity of the symptoms.

1 – Become Self-aware

Self-awareness is the number one method that can help you regulate your anger. This requires a great deal of introspection and examination of your previous experiences with anger. You need to assess the anger trigger and how you react to these triggers.

When you start observing your behavior, you will see how your body reacts to anger. For example, you will often clench your jaw or teeth or raise your voice.

These were warning indicators that you are about to enter the domain of destructive anger. When you observe these habits, you need to take active steps to interrupt them.

2 – Tell Yourself That You’re Angry

One highly effective approach in dealing with destructive anger is acceptance. Tell yourself that you are angry.

Anger can overwhelm and seize control. You need to ground yourself by accepting that you are angry. This acceptance is associated with raising awareness of your emotions and connecting to your body and mind.

Acceptance also helps isolate your thoughts from emotions, preventing you from becoming governed by them. This allows you to withdraw from the emotion of anger and have a more objective viewpoint.

3 – Walk/Step Away

When managing destructive anger, stepping away from the cause works wonders. It is one of the ideal solutions to environments where you cannot talk back.

For instance, you can get angry with your parents. While both parties are enraged, there is no use discussing the matter. But you can stop engaging in the angry outburst, take a break, and discuss the issue the next day.

You are no longer engaging in a destructive outburst by taking a break. Rather your discussion will be constructive, and you will talk to your parents easily to resolve the issues.

4 – Opt for Anger Management Class

If you experience regular episodes of anger, it is essential to address this problem. Individuals can try self-help approaches, but there is also assistance available.

Enrolling in online anger management classes is one of the most effective ways to deal with destructive anger. Anger management programs teach you how to cope with anger to regulate your emotions and wrath.

There are a variety of anger courses available, with information that can be completed in a 4-hour, 12-hour, or 52-hour class. You may choose the best option based on the severity of your symptoms and the level of support you require.

5 – Do Physical Exercises

Physical exercises such as strolling, cycling, or aerobics can help you handle anger effectively. Endorphins are hormones the body produces that help you relax and soothe muscles. If you’re not the kind to work out, try yoga, as it will help you constructively relax angry emotions.

6 – Talk to a Therapist

Suppose you feel you have an anger problem. In that case, it may be time to consult with a therapist about the situation and your emotional needs. Talking to a trained mental health professional can help you overcome anger issues.


There are healthy methods to deal with anger and other extreme feelings you may be experiencing. For example, self-soothing skills, taking a break, seeking social support, or emotion control tactics can help manage anger. Still, first, you must understand the difference between constructive and destructive anger.

The more you approach your anger, listen to it, and respond to it healthily, the more you will be in control of your emotional health.

Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC

Dr. Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC specializes in anger management, family conflict resolution, marital and premarital conflict resolution. His extensive knowledge in the field of anger management may enable you to use his tested methods to deal with your anger issues.


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