External Things That Can Cause Anger

"Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame." -Benjamin Franklin

It is all too common to blame external things such as work, stress, having to pay the bills, and so on, as causing anger in our lives. The truth is that it is not anything external that is triggering your anger; it is caused by internal processes.

If work or bills provoked anger in everyone, we would all be furious most of the time. However, if we look around, we can see that is not the case. Many people are working and paying their bills without being gripped by anger.


Therefore, it is important to identify what triggers an angry feeling within you so you can do your best to stop the anger before it takes hold. In this way you can avoid acting out in an inappropriate way, which can only lead to even more problems.

Know Your Triggers

Our anger can often be triggered by certain aspects of our lives. Here are a few examples you might recognize.


* Boss
* Mother-in-law
* Romantic partner
* One of your (problem) children


* The office
* At home
* The supermarket
* The bank


* Your car, because it is always breaking down
* Your computer, because it is too slow
* Your lawn, because it always needs to be mown and your spouse is always nagging about it


* Holidays with the family
* Business meetings
* Phone calls with your difficult parent(s)
* Paying your bills every month

And so on...

Once you have identified your anger triggers, you can adopt strategies to curb your anger before it causes you to fly off the handle.

Understanding the Source of Your Anger

If you hate paying bills, for example, you are probably experiencing stress for a number of obvious, and perhaps less obvious reasons. The obvious one is that you are off track with your budget and are really struggling to make ends meet. Every bill coming through the door is a stressful experience that makes you feel trapped and helpless.

If you procrastinate about paying the bills, you might get a short-term feeling of relief; however, this can backfire in a number of ways, leaving you even worse off than before.

For example, paying the bills late can lead to fines or fees, harming your already difficult finances even more. It can also lead to bank overdraft fees as well if you do not keep track of the money in your account carefully.

Emotions Other Than Anger

There are other emotional aspects involved in paying the bills that might be less obvious but no less powerful triggers. For example, you might be infuriated by the fact that you are working so hard at a job that you might not even like and still can’t make ends meet. If you have been careless with money in the past, you might be angry at yourself.

If your family seem irresponsible with money in your opinion, this can cause resentment. You might feel guilty that you can’t provide for them as well as you wish. This in turn might make you feel like a failure every time you sit down to pay the bills. This underlying feeling or negative mental chatter can trigger your anger, rather than the bill itself.

If you’ve been seeing the sources of your anger as external to yourself, remember that nothing and no one "makes you feel" anger or any other emotion. Anger just arises like other emotions. It is up to you if you choose to let it get the upper hand, or brush it aside as you get on with paying your bills in a calm manner.