Last week someone showed me a finger while I was driving. The person was trying to make a right turn and I happen to be coming in that lane. Clearly I was not doing anything wrong but my fellow human was really upset. His reaction made me angry(automatically) and also curious as to why am I getting angry at angry people? I got better things to do but the almost instant brain response to threat was anger. A complicated threat (it is unknown to my primitive brain as no wild animal was attacking me) made by a hand gesture which was learnt as a theory by my modern brain to be perceived as an attack on ego.
Anger is a is nothing more than a defense mechanism created to hurt others but, in the end, it only hurts one person: Myself.
The Neurological Imperative: Conserve EnergyThrough the process of habituation, a perception of ego vulnerability, repeated over time, consolidates into a presumption of vulnerability, which requires the continual protection of anger. Also by virtue of habituation, the repeated experience of anger in defense of the ego reinforces its sense of vulnerability. The more you experience anger, the more anger you need to experience.
InflationIn addition to needing more and more protection from threat, the angry person attempts to reduce the fear and sense of inadequacy (shame) that go with a vulnerable ego, through a process of inflation. An inflated ego is one whose value depends on downward comparison to the value and rights of others - I'm not equal, I'm better! In addition to temporarily making the ego feel less vulnerable, inflation justifies the motivations of anger to prevail and dominate. It also creates a sense of entitlement - I deserve special regard, treatment, or resources - that is certain to cause negative reactions in others and require a response of still more defensive anger. As if that weren't bad enough, inflation guarantees cognitive dissonance whenever reality smacks against the overestimation of intelligence, talents, looks, shoes, or socks - whatever is used to inflate the ego.