Why Don't I Get Angry?

14 September, 2020
Do you ever feel like you're incapable of expressing your anger? When someone hurts you, do you respond with thoughts and behaviors that worsen the situation? If your answer is "yes", this is the article for you.

If you know how to manage anger, it can be really helpful. In fact, some people feel like they can’t get angry, even if someone else hurt them or treated them unfairly. If you identify with this, you know that not being able to get angry makes you feel bad.

It isn’t exactly accurate to say that these people don’t get angry, as they’re able to tell when other people have violated their rights in some way. However, their coping strategy is to keep everything inside. This is often due to insecurity or poor social skills. The result of not letting these feelings out is that the emotional energy turns inward and negatively affects their well-being.

A woman looking annoyed.

Why is anger important sometimes?

Anger, like the other basic emotions, has several essential functions. Most of us consider it a fundamentally negative emotion, but it’s actually necessary when situations that could threaten your integrity come up. In other words, anger has an essential role to play in your survival. Consequently, it’s an important part of how the human species evolves.

Physiologically, anger is easy to identify. It triggers adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones that play a role in emotions such as fear and aggressiveness. Also, it raises your blood pressure and makes you breathe faster. Your body prepares itself for a confrontation.

In addition to being part of your survival instinct, anger is a catalyst for change. Staying angry is unpleasant. Thus, it forces you to expend a significant amount of energy to change whatever’s bothering you. It can also push you to defend your personal boundaries when they’re in danger of being violated.

Why is it so hard to express anger?

Some people feel unable to express anger. We’re not talking about trying to control your anger in order to achieve something but actually being unable to express it even when it’s completely appropriate.

If you can’t get angry, you might find yourself in harmful situations again and again because you didn’t react to similar events in the past. Next, we’ll describe some of the factors that explain this phenomenon:

  • Happycracy. In today’s society, you’re not supposed to feel sad or scared. You’re supposed to be happy all the time. In this context, anger belongs to a group of “bad” and “negative” emotions that are unacceptable in any situation.
  • If I get mad, other people will get mad at me. Fear of other people’s reactions is a common reason for not expressing your own anger. If you’re supposed to always be a happy and understanding person, it’s especially difficult to show that other side of yourself to others.
  • Your loved ones never got mad. Or, on the contrary, they always did. Your family teaches you how to manage your emotions. You learn how to react to situations from watching your parents. Maybe you come from a family that never expressed anger, so that became normal for you. On the other hand, if you grow up in a home where anger was practically the only emotion you saw, you develop a coping mechanism of avoidance.
  • Being shy or having social issues. If you have a hard time relating to people, you’ll probably avoid anger because it produces a lot of stress. You feel so tense or anxious in social situations that you’re incapable of expressing emotions in a natural way.

Is being unable to get angry really a problem?

Anger is a basic emotion that has different psychological and physiological functions. So what happens if you tend to repress your anger?

To answer this question, it’s useful to think about the following questions in the context of concrete situations. “When have you felt like you should get mad but can’t?” and “What are the consequences of repressing your anger?” After this reflection, you might identify with one of these situations:

  • You weren’t able to set boundaries with other people. Whether at work or with friends, lovers, or relatives, repressing anger can get in the way of being assertive. This inability is often related to a passive communication style.
  • A sense of being stuck. You might feel like you’ve needed a change for a long time or that things aren’t going well. Having trouble expressing anger can impede the feelings of discomfort that come before you make changes.
  • You never deal with your anger, so you explode later. When you repress emotions, they don’t magically disappear. In fact, expressing them triggers an emotional release that can relieve tension. If you don’t allow yourself to express your anger, it’ll build up and you’ll eventually explode.
What it looks like when two people get angry.

Anger is a release and it helps you breathe easier

Although most people consider anger negative, it serves a regulatory function. In fact, as we mentioned above, it’s a great catalyst for change on a personal and social level. It’s also a defense mechanism against outside forces that threatened your personal integrity. In addition, it can be a way to cushion anxiety if you know how to manage it.

Unfortunately, some people feel incapable of expressing anger and rage. Our culture tells us that being happy all the time is important, which hinders appropriate emotional expression. The way you see your family and friends deal with anger also conditions your response. Repression of anger can also be related to shyness or fear of what people will think of you.

If you have trouble expressing your anger, working on it is important for your health and well-being. If you don’t address the problem, you’re unlikely to respond assertively when the situation calls for it. You might also miss the signs your body and mind are sending you to make a change in your life. Lastly, your anger could build and build until it becomes completely overwhelming.

In your life, you’ll deal with situations that require calm and clearheadedness. Others that’ll end in tears and sadness, and others that’ll leave you feeling hurt or stuck. In those situations, it’s completely appropriate to express anger. If you do it in an intelligent way, it has the power to liberate you. Knowing how to properly manage your emotions can be the key to happiness and well-being.