Why Do We Suppress and Hold on to Anger?
Anger is a very powerful emotion and unexpressed it can destroy you. It can cause illness. Releasing anger is one of most important areas to work on yet it is one of most difficult to work on. Suppressed anger is lethal because it does not lie dormant within you. It actively destroys you and hurts others around you.
It is difficult to let go of anger because you are taught at home, in school or the church to not express anger in childhood and adolescence. Suppressing anger is part of masculine/feminine identity. Boys are taught to never fly off the handle, always be level headed, always together and in control. Girls are taught to be kind, never get upset and yell. Both are taught that there is no right or reason to express anger and you will be punished if you do so.
As a result of this conditioning many of you are afraid to express anger; its so intense, it’s scary.
Many suppress anger because you don’t know how to express anger. You don’t want to see yourselves as an angry person, as nasty, as someone who yells and screams all the time. With some people anger makes them feel alive. You hold it inside because you like to feel angry. It makes you feel vibrant. People seeking revenge can be very driven. Have you ever been so hurt by the ending of a relationship that you use anger to find another one? Anger can motivate and spur you on. Some think if they give anger up they will be bored. With anger, you can have an erroneous sense of power over others. You can threaten with anger. It you don’t let me be powerful I will spill my anger. You hold onto anger to be powerful. Some hang onto anger because it can feel good, almost fun to them. If as a child anger was the most dominant emotion, you will want to feel anger as an adolescent or adult because it brings back nostalgic remembrances of things past and so you enjoy the anger. It can be liberating to express anger when expressed in an appropriate way. There is a skill to placing anger where it belongs, being done with it and moving on.
Mary Jane Price