“Permission to be Angry” – ACM Safeguarding Lead, Chris East

03 Mar 2021

This post was written more than two years ago. The content or information below may no longer be accurate.

ACM’s Designated Safeguarding Lead

If someone hurts someone I love and I don’t react by showing emotion, what does that say about me?

It means I have a few issues to attend to…and probably some explaining to do with my wife.

It’s often said: “The opposite of love is hate.”

However, the truth is, the opposite of love is indifference, which means a lack of interest, concern, or sympathy.

Anger is none of these things, it’s an emotional response of hostility or opposition toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.

So, should anyone bring those closest to me to harm, my reaction would not be indifferent, instead it would be an obvious expression of emotion.

Linkin Park – One Step Closer:

Everything you say to me

Takes me one step closer to the edge

And I’m about to break

I need a little room to breathe

‘Cause I’m one step closer to the edge

And I’m about to break

If handled well, anger can lead to positive outcomes. 

Anger can:

  • Helps express negative feelings
  • Motivates someone to find solutions to problems. 
  • Provides insight into our faults and shortcomings
  • Initiates acts of protection for either yourself or others

Anger has received some negative press over the years, this is potentially due to it being linked to aggression and violence, people tend to be attracted to emotions such as happiness, excitement and hope, understandably so.

However, If we were to remodel our thinking and see anger as a gift that teaches and protects us, we can then adapt our response accordingly to better our position. 

As the title of this article states ‘You’ have permission to be angry, however, it’s how you handle and express that anger that really matters. 

What makes you angry?

On a daily basis, we can all be affected by something that makes us upset, frustrated or disappointed. However, these emotions can escalate quickly.

What causes this to happen?

  • Loss of control
  • Triggered by memories of a traumatic experience
  • Frustration of recurring circumstances
  • Overstimulation or stress
  • Struggling with understanding the situation

How do you react?

  • Lose control
  • Become violent
  • Shout loudly
  • Attack verbally
  • Break down 
  • Hide away

How do you feel afterwards?

  • Depressed
  • Embarrassed
  • Hurt
  • Numb
  • Overwhelmed by multiple emotions

You’re not alone!


In the morning you’re gonna need an answer

Ain’t nobody gonna change the standard

It’s not enough to just feel the flame

You’ve gotta burn your old self away

When encountering a perceived threat our bodies release adrenaline, muscles start to tighten and heart rate and blood pressure increase. This physiological response can have a different impact on each individual. 

Factors to be considered:

  • Previous traumatic experiences
  • Upbringing
  • Health & Diet
  • Circumstance

These examples are in no way an excuse for someone’s inappropriately handled anger; You need to take control of your emotions instead of your emotions taking control of you.

We go to the doctors if we have nagging pain or flu-like symptoms, why not see a health professional when we are struggling with our emotions? There is no shame in admitting you struggle, in fact, It takes strength. 

Unbeknown to some there is already an unidentified loaded bullet and the trigger is freely accessible for anyone to pull. Learning to cope with triggers you can’t anticipate or avoid requires emotional processing, which is most often aided by therapy.


Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not easy.

We all have different ways of managing our emotions, some more successful than others. Although it might not work for everyone, a staged approach to handling frustrating situations may provide a more positive outcome:

Stage 1: Be Angry

Allow yourself time to be angry without the need to make further decision or action

Stage 2: Understand the facts

Identify the ‘Facts’ of what has actually upset you

Stage 3: Find a way to compromise

Gain clarity of your surroundings; instant anger causes us only to focus on what is in front of us

Stage 4: Constructive resolve

Look into calm and assertive responses to resolve the situation

Take one stage at a time, only move on to the next stage when you feel ready to do so.

Anger is effective when expressed within an appropriate manner and intensity.  It can help us to fix the wrongs we see in our lives and make it right. We are not expected to be perfect, we all have areas in our lives that require support or change. 

There is no shame in admitting that you struggle with your emotions, if this topic has affected you in any way, I want to encourage you to reach out for support. 

If you would like support with anything mentioned within this article please contact studentsupport@acm.ac.uk, alternatively, you can find out more information on our Student Services Canvas page.

If you have a concern for your wellbeing or that of someone else associated with ACM, please contact the safeguarding team:
Email – dsl@acm.ac.uk
Call – 01483 910197