The Anger We Harbor is the Most Dangerous
If you’re angry, why pretend? Yes, often you pretend, and don’t say you don’t. On many occasions, we pretend not to be angry to save face and keep up appearances, and that, besides causing us great harm, gives others hints as to what they can do to control and take advantage of us.
The real problem is that you don’t know how to channel your anger, and you prefer to contain it. But that bubble will burst sooner or later.
And if we do not bother to learn to control our anger, it is because it’s an emotion that we don’t think about because we believe it doesn’t have to do with us or because we think we can overcome it. Often we are taught to avoid it in order to prevent any collateral damage to our environment.
This might prevent highly toxic situations, but completely repressing anger can have negative consequences as well.
Repressed anger and your health
We tend to think of emotions are abstract, as if the body were a container to hold them and a means to express them physically. However, emotions manifest physically as well as in our thoughts.
Pent-up anger can cause serious health problems which, although they do not appear to be related, some in fact are. Some of these problems include headaches, digestive problems, insomnia, increased anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, skin problems or heart problems (heart attacks, tachycardia).
Unprocessed anger and your behavior
When we don’t deal with them properly, our emotions lead out in unexpected and uncontrollable ways.
We may feel good at first by controlling a fit of anger in order to not hurt or offend anyone, but later we’ll probably lash out on others — innocent people who have nothing to do with the situation — in another way because they present a slight threat to us. You don’t intend to harm them, but the anger simmers inside you, and that can cause your self control to evaporate.
Suppressed anger can also cause anxiety disorders, irrational fear and rage. The emotion has to come out wherever it can.
How and where to draw the line
Realizing that anger is part of us is an important first step because it’s the only way we can begin to establish healthy boundaries. Are we angry about something else that others are doing or is the anger being caused by personal injury from our past that we aren’t remembering? Is it due to uncertainty on our part, or is the other person really treating us badly?
The answers to these questions are found when we face our anger. This knowledge will give us clarity to make good decisions about the relationships we have with others. We may have to take a step back and realize that others are not as bad as we thought.
Communicating your anger
Although sometimes people act with the intention of doing harm, most of the time that’s not the case. Because we don’t want to hurt others with our anger, we repress it. And especially if we feel guilty for our anger, we can internalize it and blame ourselves, without addressing the real problem.
When we are given the opportunity to get mad and analyze the reason for our anger, we are able to become more aware of the cause behind it. Thus, we can implement the tools needed to release anger slowly and without causing further damage by doing a healthy self-control exercise.
Experiencing anger can be nice
Just as suppressed anger will make you feel bad, you’ll find it just as comforting to release it. It’s like taking away a large burden. Consciously experiencing anger is totally different from denial. It can help us understand ourselves better and understand why certain things make us angry.
This is not about living in a constant state of anger, but rather not pretending that it doesn’t exist. Anger is a natural human emotion, and we have to give ourselves permission to experience it. Only then will we learn to express it healthily can we prevent it from controlling us.