Suppressed Anger

Ten-thousand Israelis Show Why Suppressed Anger Is Dangerous To Your Health If You're an Abuse Survivor


Mount Stromboli Volcano Eruption At Night

Have you ever seen those old Bugs Bunny cartoons where someone plugs up a giant volcano so that it can't erupt naturally? All of a sudden it starts expanding in weird and radical directions. Everyone runs around screaming, "look out she's going to blow." Of course, nobody is harmed. They might be covered with gelatin or vomit or some other silly cartoon device.

If you have suppressed anger (or repressed anger), you may feel a bit like that volcano. But you don't have to. As a human being, you have the ability to make choices about how you express your anger. You can talk to your friends about it, or you can even choose to suppress it. And perhaps it's better to suppress it. After all, if you're an abuse survivor, you may have been taught that "nice girls" or "good boys" don't express their anger. So you learned to sit with it. And you've been fine so far, right? So is there really a problem here?

Let's see what 10,000 Israelis have to say about holding on to your anger.

In 1972, a team of researchers reported the results of a five-year prospective study on 10,000 Israeli male civil servants with normal blood pressure. In this study, 90 factors were looked at that might contribute to the development of hypertension (high blood pressure). Surprisingly, the following factors made a significant difference in a person's odds of having high blood pressure, and all of them had to do with suppressed anger. They were:

  • Brooding and not retaliating (i.e., suppressing anger) when hurt by a co-worker.
  • Brooding and not retaliating when hurt by a supervisor.
  • Brooding and not retaliating when hurt by a spouse.

Clearly, the data shows repressed anger can put your health at risk.


But how do you manage your anger, especially when "retaliation" may not be an appropriate response?

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Fortunately, there is a safe and easy way to reduce your anger. All you have to do is express it safely. There was a study done at California State University that showed that spending twenty minutes talking with a counselor about their feelings left subjects with much reduced anger compared to sitting quietly in a room thinking about how they felt or venting their feelings into a sound recorder.

But why was counseling so effective? It's because it let the subjects share their emotions and also understand them. The experience helped them figure out how to move on.


Of course, you may not have access to a counselor every time you get angry.

That's why if you're an abuse survivor working with a therapist, it helps to cultivate a network of supportive friends. Hopefully, one of these friends is understanding enough that they can be a "substitute counselor" for when you get angry. You can get to the bottom of your emotions and then figure out how to move on.

Hopefully, as you begin letting go of anger in other parts of your life such as work, and practicing expressing your anger constructively, you'll be less prone to suppressed anger. You won't have to feel like a plugged up volcano in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.


Did that help?

Yes, but I would like to:

Learn Why Not Letting Go of Anger Can Hurt Your Career If You're a Child Abuse Survivor

Learn Why Avoiding a Crescendo Effect is the Key to Managing Anger In a Conflict With Your Mother If You're an Abuse Survivor

Learn What is anger and what are the effects of anger?

Learn Anger Myths Every Child Abuse Survivor Should Know

Assess How Angry I Am With This Anger Quiz

How Helium-Filled Balloons Can Help You With Anger and Depression If You're a Child Abuse Survivor

Learn How Ten-thousand Israelis Show Why Suppressed Anger Is Dangerous To Your Health

Why Understanding Your Childhood Issues Is Critical In Learning How To Control Anger If You're a Child Abuse Survivor

Learn How to Make More Friends After Surviving Abuse (e-book)

Learn Strategies for Dealing With Depression (e-book)

Learn How to Relax With Meditation (Audio Compact Disc)

Return from Suppressed Anger to Psychology and Mental Health Articles

Return from Suppressed Anger to Home Page

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