What Color is Anger?

What Color is Anger?

Most people think that anger is found in the RED MVS (performance).  I can understand why they may think that way.  When a RED expresses anger it can be a “memorable experience.”  What I mean is that RED anger can feel harsh and intense.  Language used may be quite direct and may cut.  When one experiences that kind of anger often, one may begin to think that anger is an issue for RED MVS’s.

However, anger is not found in the RED MVS alone.  Anger is an issue for every MVS.  So why do we assign anger to RED MVS?  Because anger expressed by other MVS’s are often expressed differently from RED MVS, at least through stage one conflict.  For example, a BLUE is less likely to express their anger directly to someone else because they want to maintain the relationship as much as possible.  Blue anger is more likely to be expressed through passive-aggressive behavior instead.  Instead of being direct with communication, the BLUE MVS tends to let their anger leak out in indirect ways which can be just as off-putting as a harsh word or an aggressive attack.  If your spouse is expressing BLUE anger, they might “forget” the important meeting they were to attend with you.  A BLUE administrative assistant might not get your work done as fast as they usually get it done.  Just as a RED MVS may not be conscious of their anger being expressed harshly, so a BLUE MVS might not be aware that this behavior is directly related to something they are angry about.

Each MVS may express anger differently including GREEN.  Green may get more rigid in how they apply the rules.  Another way that GREEN expresses anger is to withdraw from the relationship or task.  Regardless of one’s MVS, anger is an emotion that is experienced by everyone.  The way it is expressed may look different.  When we think about anger, we have to refrain from assuming it is coming from a RED MVS.  We would make a mistake if we came to the conclusion.  Perceiving RED MVS’s are angry is harmful to relationships.

Anger is an emotion that is felt when a goal or expectation is not met.  It signals for us that something is wrong.  Don’t ignore the feeling of anger.  It indicates that something is not right.  Here are some things to ask yourself when you feel anger:

  • What is causing the feeling of anger? What is important to you is directly related to your MVS.  Are you angry because performance is being blocked (RED)?  Are you angry because someone was disrespected (BLUE)?  Are you angry because you were left out of the decision making process (HUB)?  Are you angry because your research was disregarded (GREEN)?  Understand where your anger is coming from.  Also note that nobody is completely one color.  We are all a combination of motivations so anger can come from a variety of places on the triangle.  The important thing is that we are able to recognize the source so we can address it.
  • What signals do you have to recognize anger? When you feel anger coming on, you should recognize that you are venturing into stage one conflict and that your motivation and behavior is changing.  By recognizing this early, you can gain relational intelligence and avoid relational damage.  An increase in blood flow and adrenaline usually accompanies anger so take note of these physiological signals.
  • What passions of the soul may be intensifying my anger? Anger is an emotion, not a sin.  Scripture assigns anger to God himself.  Scripture teaches us that you can be angry and not sin.  But we can allow anger to fester which can lead to bitterness.  The soul has three passions that drive behavior.  When those passions are met by Christ we maintain peace in our souls.  But when we try to have those passions met by anything or anyone other than Christ Himself, we set up an idol.  We begin down the road of sin and destruction.  Here are the three passions and how they impact the soul:
    • Acceptance: When we feel rejected because our values have been offended, we may feel the need to strive after acceptance that only Christ provides perfectly.  The more we live our identity as a fully accepted child of God, the less we will “need” the acceptance of others and avoid having a demanding spirit towards others.
    • Significance: Our significance is not related to our performance.  We will be less demanding of others and strive less if this need is fully realized in Christ.  Our value is as his child, not in accomplishing things.
    • Security: The need being safe is resolved when we come to fully embrace the sovereign grace of God and his care over our lives.

In my most recent book release, Soul Discipleship Primer, feelings like anger and others are dealt with in more detail.  Emotions are a gift to us from God and serve us well if we can learn to recognize what we are feeling and embrace why we are feeling the way we do.  Discipleship requires an acuity in recognizing the emotions we are having and why and then applying the wonderful truth of the Gospel to our souls.

At Consentia Group, we believe that relational intelligence when increased will lead to more loving relationships.  When people learn to love one another more effectively, the church shines more brightly in the world.

Bruce Terpstra

Our President, Dr. Bruce Terpstra, has 36 years of pastoral ministry experience. He is a veteran of 17 years in denominational leadership and developed more than 70 new churches in the New York metro area and has given oversight to almost 400 pastors. He holds a doctorate in Leadership Development and is also the founder of 3KeyCoaching and the author of Three Passions of the Soul.