Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion.
But it’s important to understand how to cope with it in a constructive way.
Otherwise, it can lead to problems—at work, in your personal relationships, and in your health.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to manage your emotions, there are many excellent resources available.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best anger management books to help you get started.
The Best Books on Anger Management
1. Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way by Gary Chapman
Anger is a book about what can often be a destructive emotion of anger and how to handle it more constructively.
Importantly, the book is written for both individuals who struggle with anger and those who want to learn how to better deal with someone who is angry.
The first half of the text discusses the different types of anger and the different ways that it can be expressed, while second half provides tactical advice for dealing with anger in a healthy way.
Chapman begins the book by discussing the different types of anger, dividing into two categories: constructive and destructive.
Constructive anger is associated with feelings of assertiveness and empowerment, while destructive anger is associated with feelings of aggression and hostility.
Chapman notes that not all expressions of anger are bad, and that there is a time and place for constructive anger.
However, he emphasizes that destructive anger should be avoided at all costs.
Next, Chapman discusses the various ways that people express their anger, noting that some people yell or scream when they are angry, while others become quiet and withdrawn.
Some people may use sarcasm or insults when they are angry, while others may resort to physical violence.
Chapman stresses that there is no “right” way to express anger, as each person’s method is based on their individual personality and history.
However, he does suggest that specific methods of expression are more likely to lead to healthy outcomes than others.
In the second half of the book, Chapman provides practical advice, recommending that people take a step back and assess their feelings before taking any action.
He also suggests that people try to identify what is causing them to feel angry, and then work on resolving those issues if possible.
If resolution is not possible, Chapman recommends using strategies such as relaxation techniques or positive self-talk to manage one’s emotions.
Finally, he urges readers to seek out professional help if they are struggling to manage their anger effectively.
2. The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner
The Dance of Anger focuses on the ways in which women can change the patterns of their intimate relationships.
The book is based on Lerner’s own experience as both a therapist and a patient, and it draws on both research and case studies to provide its readers with a comprehensive guide to understanding and overcoming the anger that can so often damage relationships.
It begins by discussing the different ways in which anger can manifest itself in relationships.
Lerner notes that anger can often be used as a way to protect oneself from emotional hurt, and she describes the different “dance steps” that people often take when they’re angry.
She also discusses the various myths that are often associated with anger, such as the belief that anger is always bad or destructive.
Next, Lerner provides readers with a roadmap for changing the patterns of their relationships, outlining the importance of understanding one’s own anger, and offering a variety of exercises designed to help people learn more about themselves and their relationships.
Lerner also provides readers with tips for communicating effectively with their partners, and offers advice for dealing with difficult emotions like jealousy and insecurity.
The Dance of Anger concludes with a discussion of how anger can be used as a positive force in relationships.
Lerner notes that anger can be a powerful tool for getting what you want in life, and argues that the emotion can be a healthy response to situations that are unfair or harmful.
However, she does stress the importance of taking responsibility for one’s emotional response.
3. Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh
In his book, Thich Nhat Hanh discusses the many causes and effects of anger, and offers strategies for overcoming it.
He begins by noting that anger is often caused by our own unrealistic expectations and assumptions about the world.
We get angry when things don’t go how we want them to, or when people don’t behave as we think they should.
Anger can also be caused by physical or emotional pain.
When we’re in pain, we can become angry at the person or thing that’s causing us pain, or we can become angry at ourselves for being in pain.
Finally, anger can be a response to fear or frustration.
We may become angry when we feel threatened or helpless to change a situation.
No matter what the cause, according to the author, anger always has negative consequences.
It can lead to fights, verbal abuse, physical violence, and even homicide.
It can also damage our relationships, our health, and our ability to think clearly.
Fortunately, there are steps we can take to overcome these outcomes:
- The first step is to identify the source of our anger – once we know where our anger is coming from, we can start working on ways to deal with it.
- We can learn to accept ourselves and others exactly as we are, let go of our unrealistic expectations, and face up to the things that scare us or make us angry.
- We can also practice mindfulness meditation, which can help us stay in control of our thoughts and emotions.
4. Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft
In this popular book, Bancroft explores the thoughts and motivations behind abusive behavior in men.
He discusses the different types of abusive men, their typical patterns of behavior, and the ways that victims can protect themselves.
Bancroft begins by describing four “archetypes” of abusive men:
- The Drill Sergeant – a controlling man who expects perfection from his partner and is very critical and demanding.
- The Mr. Hyde – a Jekyll-and-Hyde figure who can be loving and charming one minute and explosive and violent the next.
- The Victim – is someone who has been abused himself and may feel like he deserves the abuse or that he can’t live without his partner.
- The Hermit – is someone who is isolated and withdrawn, often due to social anxiety or fear of intimacy.
Next, Bancroft describes the common patterns of behavior exhibited by abusive men.
Many abusers will start out with small acts of control or violence, gradually escalating over time.
They may make excuses for their behavior or try to convince their partner that it’s not really abuse.
They may also use manipulation and intimidation to keep their partner in line.
Finally, Bancroft offers advice for victims of abuse, recommending that victims set boundaries with their abuser and put safety first.
Victims should also seek support from friends, family, or professionals to help them cope with the situation.
5. Don’t Bite the Hook: Finding Freedom from Anger, Resentment, and Other Destructive Emotions by Pema Chödrön
Pema Chödrön discusses the importance of working with difficult emotions and how to do so in a healthy way.
The book is written in an easy-to-understand style and includes many personal anecdotes to help illustrate the points made.
The first half of the book discusses different emotions and offers advice on how to work with them.
Anger, resentment, and jealousy are among the emotions discussed, and Chödrön offers advice on how to deal with them before they become destructive.
She emphasizes the importance of not repressing these emotions, but instead learning to become aware of them.
The second half of the book focuses on how to let go of negative thoughts and emotions.
Chödrön discusses topics such as letting go of attachments, dealing with fear, and developing a non-violent attitude.
She offers advice on how to let go of negative thoughts and emotions and how to live in a more peaceful way.
Anger management is essential to maintain healthy, loving relationships.
Becoming more aware of this much-misunderstood emotion will benefit you both at home and work.
So If you find yourself struggling to keep your anger in check, consider reading one of the books on this list, which offer helpful advice on how to deal with difficult emotions in a constructive way.