How to Make Yourself Angry in Any Situation: Introduction

The Complete Guide to Misery

Volume I:

How to Make Yourself Angry in Any Situation

By Jim Stephens



Welcome to The Complete Guide to Misery. Each volume in this absurd series promotes a different form of human suffering, and encourages readers to adopt self-destructive habits that will bring them mountains of anguish. This silliness is intended to be satire, not self-help. However, if readers’ lives are enriched in some way beyond laughter, all the better.

Volume I: How to Make Yourself Angry in Any Situation teaches the skills readers need to enjoy frequent, sustained, and disproportionate anger anywhere, anytime, and around anyone.  

Hypothetical Reader (e.g., You): Wait a minute, the point is for me to get angrier?!? You’re out of your mind!

Author (i.e., Me): Probably true. Go on.

You: I already have enough problems! Bills, traffic, those telemarketing calls about my car’s extended warranty…

Me: I hear you.

You: … that evil party in Congress. You know who I’m talking about. I mean they’re just trying to ruin things…

Me: More on dichotomizing and mind-reading later in this book!!!

You: … and idiots everywhere.

Me: More on labeling and overgeneralizing later!!!

You: Why do you keep yelling like that?

Me: My apologies. Please continue.

You: Well, I still can’t understand the ending of the movie Memento. You know, that revenge story, told backwards, about the guy who lost his ability to make new memories. At the end-beginning of the movie, did he get the right guy or not?

Me: Couldn’t say. What is your concern about this book?

You: Look, I’m all in favor of being angrier, more often, and for longer, of course, but we all know there’s nothing I can do about my anger so don’t try to sell me something I can’t use.

Me: We’ll address that argument a little later. For now, I’d like to finish the Preface. Thanks for jumping into the book!

This pile of sophomoric sarcasm was written for everyone who wants to laugh at the chronically crabby people they’ve tiptoed around for years. Most of us have had some Lord Loudmouth or Lady Let-Me-Tell-You in our lives, whether it’s a friend with a temper problem or passive-aggressive colleague. Some of us, author included, have been that friend or colleague. Despite the attempts at humor, this work is not meant to make light of the pain that blood-filled people experience daily by the world’s myriad forms of injustice. Nor is it meant to encourage any form of abuse or violence.


Other Volumes in this Series (Proposed)

  • Volume II – Hope Is Overrated, or Depression for Beginners
  • Volume III – Choose Anxiety: Because When Everything Gets Worse At Least You Can Say You Saw It Coming
  • Volume IV – Healthy Habits to Make Your Body a Temple of Doom… Or Just a Doomed Temple.
  • Volume V – Relationships Would Be Soooo Much Better if They Didn’t Require Other People
  • Volume VI – Confessions of an Everyday Narcissist: Where Would I Be Without Me?


Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – The Basics

  • Forget Emotional Intelligence, Ignorance Is Bliss
  • Self-Righteousness Feels Better than Self-Esteem
  • Blaming Is More Fun than the Alternative

Chapter 2 – Shoulds: Keep ‘Em Rigid (Use Cialis if You Have to)

  • Be A Double Winner: Unrealistic and Inflexible
    • Warning: Don’t Tell Your Angry Friends What You’re Learning

Chapter 3 – Get Stuck in Your Head

  • Rehashing: Play It Again
  • Rehearsing: Visualize Your Tantrum
    • Venting: Let It Out
  • Basking in the Illusion of Control: Just Be Positive
  • Cognitive Distortions: The Pathway to Personal Fulfillment
    • Filtering: Don’t Bother Yourself with the Facts
    • Mind-Reading: You Know I Know You Know I Know You Know What the Rest of Us Are Thinking
    • Personalizing: Yes, Every Inconvenience Is Intended Just for You
    • Labeling: That #!$#^@* Piece of #!#%@!
    • Overgeneralizing: Everyone Always Makes Everything Too Vague
    • Catastrophizing: Your Horrible Future Has Arrived
  • Psychotherapy: Get the Most Out of Your Anger
    • Involuntary Therapy: Oops, Now You Did It

Chapter 4 – Quit Taking Orders from Your Body 

  • Tension: Everyone’s Best Friend
  • Breathing: The Shallower the Better
  • Just Add Booze
  • Crank that Frown Further Down

Chapter 5 – Relationships, or How to Confirm People Are Horrible

  • Strangers: Just Enemies You Haven’t Met
  • Every Battle Matters
  • Not Getting to Know You
  • Passive-Aggression, or How to Be Irresponsible
  • Nurture Resentments
    • A Bleeding-Heart Argument Destroyed
  • Tap into the Power of Martyrdom

Chapter 6 – Strategies for Never Not Being Angry Again

  • Inflate that Ego
  • Us and Them: We Are Us and They Are Them (aka Not Us)




If You’ve Always Wanted to Be Angrier, Then This Is the Book for You

Have you ever wished you could be angry more often, for longer, and with more intensity?

This book will teach you how to create frequent, sustained, and disproportionate anger anywhere, anytime, and around anyone.

If, like so many, you’ve yearned in vain for apoplectic rage to be a bigger part of your life, it’s time you understand the real problem is that you haven’t learned how to do anger.

You’ve likely tried the usual strategies: Fakin’ it ‘til you make it, Yoga, rubbin’ some dirt on it, low-carb diets, CrossFit, and maybe even life coaching, but still aren’t the angry person you’ve always dreamed of becoming.

The good news, for all you placid souls, is that the ability to generate wrath is learned, and isn’t limited by level of intelligence, gender, race, sexual preference, ethnicity, religion, politics, socioeconomic status, or personal achievements.


One of the biggest challenges of learning to make yourself angry, though, is finding the right teacher. Locating a qualified temper tutor can be difficult because truly angry people don’t realize how they do what they do.

Generally speaking, angry people are so focused on having been wronged that they never develop an awareness of how they create all their hostility in the first place.

Put this observation to the test.

The next time your angriest friend is fuming once again over nothing, interrupt and ask their advice on how to get so furious over such a small matter. They’ll give you a response that’s viscerally moving but not very clear or helpful (i.e., they’ll get all shouty and make lots of wild, pointy gestures until everyone around them feels uncomfortable).

Your friend will earnestly address dozens of topics (e.g., what set them off, how rude you are for interrupting, and those annoying calls about their car’s extended warranty) but fail to answer the key questions:

  • How do they get so angry over such a trivial thing?
  • Again? Weren’t they just raging about something else three hours ago?
  • And how do they keep that wrath going?

This book will teach you to be as irate as your friend by breaking down the subtle, subconscious patterns of the chronically crabby into a unique set of skills. Read on and you’ll learn how angry people experience themselves in the world, process emotions, interpret events (before, during, and after), respond to their bodies, and develop relationships.

I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology, decades of clinical experience, and more than half-a-century of practice getting myself worked into needless agitation and bother.

Over time, and with consistent study, I’ve learned to apply acrimony to even the most joyful occasions.

And I’ve made a lot of people angry. Seriously, I mean a lot of people.

And I can help you feel angry, too!


Through the tips and tricks in this book, you’ll learn to make the most out of every potential anger-producing event.  

For example, imagine you’re at a Meetup group, talking out of your butt about the economy (i.e., quoting the Wikipedia article you read that morning or just making up statistics and barking “GDP” every ten seconds) the way some people do when they’re trying to impress new acquaintances and identify enemies. Then, another member of the group, an actual economist with all the letters after their name, respectfully disagrees with your uninformed, ad hoc opinion.

With the skills you’ll learn in this book, that potentially-forgettable interaction will become fodder for all the wrath you want. You’ll learn how to:

  • Feel disproportionate anger over the disagreement (aka The Trigger, if you want to get fancy about it). While others are only mildly annoyed, unbothered, or even grateful for the opposing point of view (WTF?!?) you will work yourself into ranting peevishness.
  • Keep fury going long after the triggering event. When others are winding down, you’ll just be getting into a pique about that %$&*!#@#!.
  • Sustain and nurture grudges for decades. Years later, after others have forgotten the incident, you’ll recall the whole thing in breathtaking minutiae. And bask in the glow of your old friend rage.


Please note that this book is only meant to teach you how to feel anger. With few exceptions, it won’t provide guidance on what to do with your feelings.

For example, you’ll learn to how to convince yourself that others deserve your self-righteous fury. But how do you prefer to handle that fury?

  • Do you prefer to have temper tantrums or give a cold shoulder?
  • Would you rather yell profanities or mumble passive-aggressive critiques?
  • Do you like to spread malicious gossip and then feign innocence?
  • Or all of the above (and more!) depending on the context?

What you do will be up to your interpersonal style and boundaries.

CAUTION: Depending on your boundaries or, more to the point, how much you respect other people’s boundaries, when you begin to feel the intended effect of reading this book, you may be tempted to move from angry feelings into acts of revenge. No satire here: Please don’t.

SIDE NOTE: Revenge is a common response to anger but separate form of misery and not covered in this volume.

STAY TUNED for The Complete Guide to Misery, Volume I.A.iii: 

Revenge – How to Make Yourself a Victim for Life




When developing a new set of patterns, it’s important to start by evaluating your current skill level so that you can understand your strengths, vulnerabilities, and areas for improvement. To learn your anger profile, read each scenario and choose your response according to your current constitution.

Please be honest with yourself.  

CAUTION: Honest self-appraisal can lead to remorse about, well, you know what you did, and possibly compassion for others. Remorse is a slippery slope and has led promising practitioners to abandon their wrath. Just ask people in Twelve-Step programs how taking a moral inventory ruined their lives and relationships. Compassion may eliminate acrimony and all of your progress. If you feel empathy for anyone, just remind yourself how horrible they are for that thing they did to you that time. If they haven’t harmed you directly, it’s reasonable to assume they harmed someone, so just invent something to fill in the gaps. Sometimes you just have to get creative. 


Scenario 1: On the Road

You are driving to dinner with friends one weekday evening when another driver cuts you off. No injuries, but it was a close call. Later, how do you describe the event?

  1. “Just glad everyone’s okay.”
  2. “Maybe they had an emergency, but they cut me off and were out of line.”
  3. “That was one terrible driver.”
  4. “The jackass who cut me off deserves whatever they get.”
  5. You don’t make it to the party because you are too angry to socialize.


Scenario 2: On the Town

You are out with friends at a restaurant, and everyone at the table except you received their entrée. You want to be annoyed, because you were cut off in traffic earlier in the evening, but decided to forget about it. Being the portrait of grace you strive to be, you invite everyone to eat their meals while you entertain yourself with some dinner rolls and another one of those Long Island Iced-something-or-others.

Your friends make it through their meals before you finally receive your order. And it’s wrong. By the time you get the correct entrée, everyone else is finishing dessert. You end up getting your food to-go and, full of bread and booze, catch a ride home. What do you say about the experience when you walk through the front door?

  1. “Now I have a meal to look forward to later.”
  2. “They might have been doing their best, but that place was a joke.”
  3. “That is the worst restaurant ever.”
  4. “The jackasses who messed up that meal deserve whatever they get.”
  5. You don’t talk to in your family when you arrive home because you are too angry to engage with another sentient being.


Scenario 3: Home

Thanks to the Long Island something-or-others from the night before, you are feeling a little hungover before work. You pour some Cap’n Crunch cereal for breakfast and realize, after you start to pour the milk, that there’s less than a quarter bowl’s worth left in the carton. The meal ends up a half-soggy, half-dry blend that both dissolves on your tongue and shreds your palate. What do you say about it when you get to the office?

  1. “Well, some milk is better than none.”
  2. “Whoever left that amount of milk might have been in a hurry, but they were really inconsiderate.”
  3. “Someone in my house is a milk-hogging jerkface.”
  4. “The jackass who committed the milk crime deserves whatever they get.”
  5. You don’t get to the office because you are too angry to work.


Scenario 4: Work

You’ve applied for a promotion at work. You’ve been with the firm for five years, received positive reviews, and were told by a supervisor that you’re the best person for the open position. You could use the extra money, and feel like you’ve earned it. And you’re already having a bad day because you’re still hungover from the night before and the roof of your mouth is in tatters from this morning’s Cap’n Crunch. But you don’t get the job and are told, without any further explanation, “We just didn’t feel you were the right candidate.” What do you say about the experience to your friends later at dinner?

  1. “I gave it my best. That’s all I could do.”
  2. “They were way out of line to lead me on like that.”
  3. “That company is just a bunch of idiots.”
  4. “The jackasses who made that hiring decision deserve whatever they get.”
  5. You don’t make it to dinner because you are too angry to eat.


Scoring: Tally your score by adding the numbers corresponding to each of you answers. For example, if you responded with the second answer, number two (2.), for all four questions, your score would be 2 x 4 = 8.

Score                                      Interpretation

4                                              Weirdo. You are beyond help. Put down the book and walk away, please.

5-9                                           Novice. Time to focus and get to work.

10-14                                       Intermediate. Just improve your game.

15-19                                       Advanced. So close to the pinnacle.

20                                            One of The Gifted. You’ve already mastered the necessary skills.




Weirdo is not a clinical term, just a fun one.

You are so tranquil and empathic that your local Pastor, Rabbi, Imam, Priest (from any team: Catholic, Zoroastrian, etc.), Shaman, Wiccan High Priestess, Hindu Pujari, and Polyphonic Overtone Singing Tibetan Monk all visit you for wisdom and guidance.

You are so skilled at adapting creatively and playfully to reality that you can endure, even embrace, injustice aimed specifically at you and still access the most compassionate parts of yourself.

When you first picked up this book, you thought, “Oh, a satirical deliberation on anger? This will be a bit of fun. The author is using humor to play with his long-standing difficulties with wrath. Maybe he’s hoping his readers will do the same. I’m aware of a distant memory of such passions, however I’m so peacefully present now.”

You’re able to adjust your expectations by realistically re-assessing any situation.

You accept that life, being life, will throw very uncomfortable things at you. And that life isn’t doing it to you personally.

You have trained yourself, through years of persistent and patient training, to stop yourself when frustrated, and think about how to use that emotional fuel constructively for the betterment of humanity.

You take such radical ownership of how you respond to life’s challenges that you can’t remember the last time you felt like a victim.

The reality is that you will never be a raging lunatic no matter how hard you try. You are beyond help in this area of life. Nothing I write will get you to experience the joy of asperity.

The problem is you can find and use your responsible, flexible and empathic resources too easily.

Now I need you Weirdos to do three things:

  1. Put down the book and grab anything else to read. And nothing else in The Complete Guide to Misery Series, please. I don’t want to have to do this again. 
  2. Get out of my head.
  3. Please tell your hostile, offended, and martyred friends about this work.

Thank you for your interest.



You believe it’s impossible to avoid feelings of irritation and annoyance in this life, and accept that you’ll sometimes feel a version of anger.

You keep your expectations flexible and adjust as needed most of the time.

You have a reliable sense of what you can control.

If you’re angry at someone, you think about their point of view before acting or coming to a final judgment about the situation.

In the face of true injustice, you feel upset and think, “That’s wrong and absolutely should not happen.”

And after an exasperating day you are more likely to be irritable towards those around you.

Otherwise, you sit idly by and watch others have all the fun while you wait for your turn to enjoy conniption.

The good news is that the anger journey is all learning curve for you.



At least one of the following forms of self-deception applies to you:

  • You go to church every Sunday and daydream about your fantasy football team during the sermon.
  • You think you’re enlightened because you’ve been to psychotherapy and Skyped with your inner child.
  • You walk around with a Yoga mat and call yourself spiritual.

The self-deception shows up when you’re frustrated. All your enlightenment, spirituality and piety go out the window the second you don’t get what you want.

You have expectations that often align with reality. However, when they don’t, you assume that the problem is with the world, not you.

You can turn up the dial on your anger, so to speak, in the right situation while you are already in a pique.

Your biggest shortcoming is that you have to get in the mood, find the right hot button issue, or be in a specific context to get furious. For example, you might effortlessly turn into The Hulk when driving but are otherwise stuck in a rut of cool-headed stoicism.

An excellent start for becoming a hothead, but not much more than the bare minimum.



You can increase your fury under almost any circumstances, even a few that having nothing to do with you. Like alchemists or sellers on eBay, you practice your craft with whatever junk is available.

You can take a little bit of irritation and, like Jesus with bread and fish, create enough resentment and animosity to force feed a large gathering.

Your expectations about the world and others place an enormous burden on things going right, and leave little margin for error.

When things go wrong, you blame the situation and everyone else in sight for making you mad.

You can get lost in your thoughts for several hours stewing about some old grudge.

Your shortcoming is that you become exhausted from all that bitterness and sometimes opt to let go of resentments and avoid situations that are likely to upset you. Your task is to increase your stamina and endurance.



In sharp contrast to the Weirdos’ relations, no one, not even a needy six-year-old child, approaches you for wisdom and guidance.

Also unlike the Weirdos, you can’t get in touch with the compassionate parts of yourself because you “don’t understand what the #@!^%!& that means.” Your words, not mine.

And when you first saw a copy of this book, unlike the Weirdos, you thought, “Who let this #@!^%!& thing get published?” Again, your words.

You find a way, in any context, to rage over everything from actual injustices to minor problems and even *&^$#@% that doesn’t involve you at all. Okay, those were my words, not yours. I’ll stop that bit now.

You can be self-righteous, bubble with passive-aggressive eye rolls, shower others with toxic hostility, or transition between all three.

You revel in relentless temper tantrums, gleefully gripe about the most trivial things, and nurture your internal world with grudges over long-dead disagreements.


For everyone else, except the Weirdos, of course, it’s okay to admit you’ve been jealous of The Gifted in your life.

Because soon you won’t have to envy them anymore.

STAY TUNED for The Complete Guide to Misery, Volume VV: 

Envy, the Secret to Durable Relationships!

Keep reading and you’ll be as furious as the best of them.

Before we dive into the technical stuff, let’s address potential arguments against this book.


You Can Be More Like Those Incensed Grown-Ups You Admired When You Were a Child

An argument against this book is that there’s nothing people can do to change their levels of anger. That belief is a load of hooey. My apologies for the strong language. I hope you weren’t reading this aloud to children.

Earnestly practice the exercises in this book and notice how much more easily you’ll rage.

The aforementioned hooey is also demotivating. If there’s nothing you can do to change something, such as your anger, why bother trying? 

A subjectively comprehensive yet inaccurate explanatory model that disempowers one’s self-efficacy can be sufficiently demotivating to undermine remedial efforts, and practitioners’ assumptions about the ontology of wrath foster an external locus of control and perceived helplessness to govern their own irascibility. Sorry to have to dumb it down so much but this is important.

The reality is that your feelings, including anger and its affiliates, are 100% yours to own and manage.

And since you learned how to do anger one way, you can learn to do it a different way.

Think of it like learning a language. When people learn a language (accurately) early in life, later the correct words come to them without any effort at all. They have an intuitive grasp of which words to use in which context.

When people learn a language after childhood, it takes more deliberate effort to access the words. And their conjugations.


Do you still believe you’re doomed to a life yearning for cataleptic fury? If so, you may be kidding yourself with a half-baked belief about what causes temper. Here are the usual examples of the “I’m helpless to be angrier” cry, and my responses to them:

Helpless: It’s all about DNA. Anger is just a function of genetics and biochemistry and can’t be changed. Some are born with the gift of apoplexy while others suffer in peace. Some are gifted with a chemical imbalance while others are cursed with a balanced internal chemist.

Me: Genes are context-driven and independently determine nothing. Same with biochemistry. For example, testosterone doesn’t cause aggression; it increases aggression in those who already use aggression as a strategy for maintaining social status. See Robert Sapolsky’s Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst for details.

Helpless: It’s all about the past. I would have developed more acerbity if only my parents had role-modeled it. Or if I had quit my piano lessons instead of my temper tutor.

Me: Also not so much. Your early experiences nudge you in a given direction, but learning and development continue throughout the lifespan. See any adult development textbook for details.

Helpless: That’s just how I am. It’s my personality and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Me: The mantra of the truly rigid. The unchanging anger personality. How is it then, that you create rage at anyone you believe you can bully, but “can’t help” staying calm and controlled when confronted by a more intimidating person? Or when you really, really need to keep yourself calm in order to get something else you want? Oh, just be honest with yourself and admit that your reactions change depending on the context.


You can’t change your DNA, past, or “personality-type”, but you can learn new skills, shift your focus, and interpret events in a different way.

You can proactively enjoy the sweet taste of bitterness and be more like those incensed, out-of-control grown-ups you admired when you were a kid. You can create your next temper tantrum all by yourself, whenever you choose. As long as you’re not a Weirdo.

And that’s where this book can help. It will clarify:

  • You: You’re the victim. Always.
  • Other people: You’ve put up with enough from them already.
  • And the world: It’ll shape up if it knows what’s good for it.

Now let’s move on to the good stuff, how to actually make yourself angry.

Anytime, anyplace, around anyone.

Especially all the #$*&@# who deserve it.


Thanks for reading! Chapter One coming soon!

4 thoughts on “How to Make Yourself Angry in Any Situation: Introduction

  1. Do yourself a favor: READ THIS BOOK! Even if you’re already good at making yourself angry. It has even BETTER tips for inducing rage! 100/10 will read again.

    Liked by 1 person

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