Angry Child Mode

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Angry Child Mode

Understanding why anger is a useful emotion for change

Anger is a powerful emotion that motivates us to create change when we perceive injustice. Think about a time when you last felt angry. What was the cause? Was it because you felt disrespected? Was something unfair? Was someone that you cared about being hurt? Were you being hurt?


Ultimately, anger comes out when we feel our needs are unmet. This means that more often than not, anger is a secondary emotion, and the primary emotion is vulnerability. Feelings of being unsafe, mistreated, disrespected or hurt trigger our Vulnerable Child mode. Therefore, the Angry Child Mode is activated to draw attention to the unmet needs for the benefit of the Vulnerable Child.


However, this often causes more problems that it solves. Think of a child who didn’t get what they wanted, so they stamp their feet and yell at a parent to try to insist on getting their wants or needs met. Often tantrums are responded to with threats, punishment or neglect, and the child’s needs remain unmet. When adults throw tantrums, they can also be punished, shamed or abandoned, which exacerbates the vulnerability.