Anger Unmanaged

Anger = DangerAnger is a basic component of the criminal personality. Angry thinking and behavior is a fundamental element of the criminal’s thinking process; whether expressed outright or seen beneath the surface, the criminal is angry.

Fear, especially the fear of being put down, is the most common source of anger in the criminal. They perceive their own mistakes, or those of others, as an attack on their own identity. This type of thinking breaks down the criminal’s expectation that everything should go smoothly for them. A criminal’s reaction to such a putdown is aggression – a response intended to re-establish control. They use anger to gain control of others, whether these others are in a position of authority or submissive to the criminal. Aggressive anger often takes the form of intimidation, a method employed to gain the upper hand in a disagreement.

Anger brings out a vulnerability in the criminal to what is called the zero state, or depression. In this state, they develop inflamed irrational thinking about the unfairness of a situation, person or life in general. Part of this thinking involves getting even. A violation, or some form of irresponsible behavior, are the basic strategies by which the criminal re-asserts themself as a powerful person. This is the key, in the criminal’s thought process, to escaping the zero state.

A criminal may become angry during periods of self-restraint, as in therapy or treatment programs. Restraint by others, such as in imprisonment, can also escalate angry thinking. This anger is a result of the boredom these situations tend to produce. The criminal does not necessarily seek out confrontation with others, but this is often the result of their anger. This anger can arise from the interference of others in the criminal’s operation.

Often, the criminal attempts to define themselves as a rebel, justifying their angry behavior in this manner. Their behavior is not in fact rebellious, however, because there is a lack of concern with principles, they are a rebel without a cause. The criminal thinker is primarily concerned with getting what they want, and opposed to interference. Angry thinking can produce irresponsible decisions and violations. All this being said, anger is a serious threat to the criminal’s rehabilitation.

A criminal can alter this mode of thinking, in spite of everything. They must learn to deter angry thinking and angry behavior. This is important, because when a criminal expresses their anger, they experience an increase in the angry response itself – not a reduction in it.

The changing criminal must be aware of the irrational thinking of poor decision making processes which arise out of angry thinking. The result of angry thinking on responsible performance and positive goals must also be examined. As a criminal changes their behavioral patterns, they must be aware of self-defeating judgment toward themself and others. Eventually, they will learn to accept the imperfections that are intrinsic in their own self, other people and their environment.

A list of potential replacements for angry thinking includes:
1.    Tell yourself you cannot afford to be angry.
2.    Remind yourself of how it has gotten you into trouble in the past.
3.    Ask yourself: Am I expecting too much?
4.    Ask yourself: What did I contribute to this situation?
5.    Prepare yourself for disappointments. Remember if anything can go worng it will
6.    Ask yourself: how else can I handle the situation?
7.    Do something else. for example listen to the radio

Check out our other criminal thinking error related articles.


Fear Factor

Fear FactorOur stereotypical view of a “hardened” criminal is that they are fearless. Criminals are portrayed in the media, and often in movies, as callous, reckless, quick-tempered, ready to fight and angry. In reality, criminal thinkers have many fears. The primary fear is actually a fear of fear itself. Admitting fears would mean that the criminal would have to acknowledge they are not in control which is antithetical to their of view themselves and their way of life. Criminals have a compelled need to be in control of every situation including their emotions. In their mind, allowing fear to be present would mean they are vulnerable, weak and out of control.

In order to remove fear, the automatic response of a criminal thinker is anger.  Anger and bravado is a common mask for fear and the criminal thinker will go to many lengths to hide fears that are always bubbling under the surface. Fear of being put down or belittled is one of the most common observable fears in a criminal. Turning the other cheek is not an option for the fragile ego of an offender. Enduring putdowns reduces the fragile perception of themselves as all-powerful and in control. Since the criminals distorted self-perception is based on the illusion of being powerful and in control, being put down is an affront to their very existence.

A criminal lifestyle is filled with danger and the risk of being detected so the emotion of fear is regularly cut off or stifled. Alcohol and drugs are commonly used to reduce feelings of fear. Many rapes, robberies, and assaults happen under the influence of drugs since those chemicals reduce one’s natural inhibitions and fears that would normally deter the crime from happening in the first place. Cutting off and corroding fear does not mean it is not present. Cutting off fear is a distorted thinking habit that results in the continued victimization of others and ongoing risky behavior. If a criminal allowed him or herself to be influenced by their fears they would find it increasingly difficult to continue committing crimes, violating others and using or selling drugs.  For this reason, it is critical that the criminal thinker begin altering their thinking habits and beliefs about fear.

Fear is a natural emotion that results from the logical assessment of a risky situation. Instead of cutting off or reducing feelings of fear, the changing criminal must use fear as a guide.  That uneasy feeling we have just before doing something wrong is natures way of warning us to reconsider what we are about to do. When a criminals self-worth begins to shift away from distorted ideas of power, control, and superiority, fear will become more of an ally than an opponent.

Access our free “Fear of Fear” worksheet on CriminalThinking.net.


"An approach to the treatment of offenders which emphasizes the role of altering thinking patterns in bringing about change in an offender's life."