The Three Faces of Unrefined Anger (#1)

This is the first in a three-part series.

People who face difficulties processing and managing anger haven’t cultivated successful methods for communicating anger. They’re still relying on tactics useful in childhood. As an adult, these practices (yelling, blaming, bulllying, etc.) are immature, inappropriate, ineffective and ultimately, hurtful for all involved.

In his book, “The Anger Trap: Free Yourself From the Frustrations That Sabotage Your Life,” Dr. Carter explains there are three categories of behavior that identify people who are trapped in their unproductive use of anger: suppression of anger, openly aggressive anger, and passive-aggressive anger. Today we’ll look at suppression of anger.

The driving force behind suppressing anger is avoiding pain. People often don’t even recognize they’re angry as they stuff their feelings deep inside. They put forth the tough-girl facade, or behave as people-pleasers, while ignoring the need to address the problem and find solutions.

Carter identifies several behaviors that illustrate the habit of suppressing anger:
  • Withdrawal from problems, even if it means the problem is left unresolved
  • Refusing to expose personal problems or needs
  • Being image-conscious to the point of having to appear totally together or above the fray (Can I get an Amen on that one?! Editorial comment is mine.)
  • Shying away from controversial or troublesome topics
  • Making excuses for others’ inappropriate behavior or taking responsibility for making others feel good even when they are wronging you
  • Easily second-guessing your own good judgment
  • Play the role of the people pleaser; trying to keep others happy
  • Letting frustration pass without saying anything
  • Refusing to let others help, even when you really need it
  • Pretending not to have resentment
  • Acting out the role of an encouraging or pleasant person, though you do not really feel that way
  • Succumbing to the strong will of others, assuming you have no other option.

When suppressing anger, people embrace the false assumption that if they can just cover up or stuff down their anger it will just go away. Unfortunately, a few more days or weeks, a few more stressors and triggers, then suddenly the unresolved anger comes spewing forth with disastrous repercussions. Suppressing anger merely postpones the inevitable.

Are you the tough girl who thinks she can handle it all? Are you a people-pleaser because you think expressing your anger is wrong or makes you look weak? Or that nothing good comes from opening up and asking for help?

Now’s the time to evaluate your anger management habits and make some healthy choices and changes to help you deal with your anger, rather than letting it deal with you.

One Response to “The Three Faces of Unrefined Anger (#1)”

  1. Mahesa says:

    This is really true and full of wisdom…I feel deep respect for Mother Theresa and she is a lighthouse for loving service…doing something without expectations but with love for God. Loving God fills your heart with much love for whole creation and you can not do anything against LIFE – because God is Life and Love. So love Life – God – God is everywhere! Much love and light to you all, Petra