Most of the information you find on the internet about anger is ways to control it. But most people don’t control anger, they just suppress it. And then, what should you do with suppressed anger? Anger does not need to be controlled, it needs to be worked with.
Anger is one of the basic emotions. It arises when something does not suit us or threatens our world – the way we want it to be. This is a mechanism inherent in our psyche that helps us understand what is bad for us and gives us the energy to change it. It is natural to get angry from time to time.
Symptoms of Suppressed Anger
It is impossible to “switch off” anger. But if at the same time you consider it bad, harmful, interfering, unacceptable, then you can start suppressing it: not presenting it to others, not being aware of it, but keeping it inside.
If you feel like you are not angry, it is possible that you are experiencing the following effects of suppressed anger.
Anger and aggressiveness
One of the common consequences of accumulated anger is aggressiveness. It usually means that a person has been suppressing anger for a long time, and now it constantly spills out. This is a kind of protest – and a way to unload the accumulated emotions.
Other symptoms of suppressed anger include:
- Frequent anger at yourself. This is also a way to transfer anger. We are always angry with someone, so being angry with ourselves means that we just redirected our feelings inward.
- Offense. Resentment is suppressed anger. When we are powerless to change the circumstances, we can only get offended.
- Fatigue, apathy. Suppressing anger takes up a lot of energy.
- Psychosomatic disorders. From the point of view of psychosomatics, suppressed aggression is the cause of such diseases as migraines, ulcerative colitis, gastritis, bronchial asthma, diabetes mellitus. Constant stress can cause myocardial infarction, rheumatoid arthritis, uterine fibroids.
- Grunting. Grunting is not as socially condemned as anger. It allows you to get rid of negativity little by little, though constantly.
- Boredom. Suppression of anger leads to suppression of emotions in general and deprives life of bright colors.
- Sudden outbursts of rage. A vivid example: schoolchildren shooting classmates. Persecuted children who could not fight back often decide on such crimes. But at some point, suppressed aggression accumulates so much that it becomes uncontrollable and leads to tragic consequences.
- Deterioration in the quality of life. A person who does not allow himself to show aggression reconciles with the irritating factors. For example, he persuades himself to tolerate an incompetent colleague or a noisy boss. After some time, he perceives overwork and communication in raised voices as the norm and does not try to change anything.
Destructive ways of expressing anger
Both adaptive and protest types sooner or later begin to express anger in destructive ways. Moreover, it is almost impossible to control this – emotions require an exit and go ahead of the thoughts. We can wake up and even condemn ourselves, but the deed has already been done. And then it becomes a habit.
What are the destructive ways of expressing anger?
- Unloading emotions on others (transference), when the emotion does not fall on the one who caused it.
- Rudeness – it can also be carried over to those who have nothing to do with it.
- Internet trolling is a relatively safe way to assert yourself and express negative emotions.
- Eating sweets. We clog up the body, put on extra pounds, and transform food from a healthy need into a way to improve your mood.
- Swearing. It is very likely to hurt your opponent. You will relieve your feelings and calm down, and the interlocutor will get angry or offended.
- Beating someone
- Breaking things and dishes. Some experts believe that this is constructive, but it is better to beat a special pillow. Broken things will have to be removed later. In addition, they will remind you of a moment of anger, and it is painful.
- Slamming doors is a very demonstrative, even offensive gesture. And if you do not calculate the strength, then again you will have to fix something.
- Hurting someone with words is especially good for women, and it often hurts more than real punches.
- Sex. There are couples who get used to having sex after a scandal, as if heating up passions with screams. This is not a very healthy approach that can destroy healthy sexuality – it can end up in the fact that you cannot have sex without having a fight first.
- Shopping. Going shopping in a bad mood, we run the risk of buying something not very successful. Or, subsequently, to constantly feel a charge of negativity on the things purchased.
- Revenge. It starts a circle of anger and is therefore especially destructive.
How to properly respond to negativity without taking revenge
If negativity comes to you, you can’t just swallow it. This is very painful for self-esteem. In addition, unlived emotions remain in the body. Negativity must always be returned, otherwise, there will be an imbalance. But it is important to always return a little less and with a cool head (if it is possible).
Revenge is usually carried out in the heat of the moment, and in this case, the person gives back more than they suffered. The offender also wants to take revenge, and this can continue indefinitely.
If the negative response is smaller than the one received, this most often stops the person but does not create the need for revenge, since the initiator of the conflict understands what he was punished for.
What to do with anger and aggression?
If destructive ways of expressing anger cause nothing but problems, what about anger itself? The answer is to use constructive ways of its manifestation.
There are many ways to express anger constructively.
The simplest one is sport, preferably as active as possible. This is one of the safest and most effective methods. Jogging, exercising in the gym, and especially doing martial arts.
You just sit down, take a piece of paper and a pen, and write. You describe everything: experiences, all anger, negativity – towards your husband, friend, parents, whoever you want, just express as much as you like.
You can in any detail, in any words, complain, swear, whatever – it does not matter whether it is fair or not. But then this sheet of paper does not need to be shown to anyone, but you just need to tear it up. And you will feel much easier.
Keeping a diary is one of the most rewarding activities. It should not be a diary where we just write down what happened to us – this must be a record according to a certain pattern. It is better to jot down every day.
You can take this or that event that caused a strong emotional reaction in you – positive or negative, it does not matter. Events do not only mean something external. It may be an experience, some important thought that came to mind. You write, answering the following questions in order:
• What happened?
• How did I feel?
• What did I think about?
• What did I do?
• What is the result?
This practice helps to develop reflection and understand your own motivation. Writing is essential to keep track of and calm your thoughts.
Plunge headlong into emotions
A similar way to experience strong feelings is to plunge headlong into them. Instead of fighting depression, intense disappointment or sadness, meet them. You can just come home, lie on the couch and say to yourself, “I’m going to suffer now. Lie down and suffer for three hours without a break. Cry, whine, howl… ” And live on honestly.