Psychology: 5 signs you’re suppressing anger

5 warning signs of suppressed anger

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We usually associate anger with something loud, with shouting and rumbling. Anger, especially when suppressed, can manifest itself in a completely different way.

Anger gets a much worse reputation than it deserves. Because it is a useful feeling that shows us our limits and clearly signals when there is a need for action. But because anger, especially among women, is socially unwelcome, we often suppress it. Of course, that doesn’t help, because just because we suppress a feeling doesn’t make it go away. On the contrary: it can boil up again at the most unfavorable moments or make its way in the form of other feelings and behaviors. There are five particularly common patterns that arise when repressing anger.

These 5 signs point to suppressed anger

1. Aversion to conflict

Many people learned as children that anger is evil, downright immoral. This causes them to become afraid of their own feelings and get into an inner conflict when they get angry. As a coping mechanism, they quickly divert their attention away from the nasty feeling of anger and focus on other people and their needs. They prefer to avoid conflicts by subordinating themselves and doing what the other person wants or says out of a strong need for harmony.

Very sensitive and empathetic people show this pattern. Because they have often been told that they or their feelings are “too much” or “too dramatic,” they now withdraw and focus on the needs of others instead of dealing with their own sense of anger.

2. Depression

Psychoanalysts have known for a long time that suppressed anger often turns inward – and can lead to depression. People with this tendency often feel sad, hopeless and listless for no apparent reason, classic symptoms of depression.

Such people often learned this pattern of behavior early on. Their defense mechanism in difficult situations was to identify with the aggressor, such as when they were bullied as a child. Part of her psyche then took on the bullying tone—and that overly critical voice haunts her to this day.

3. Self righteousness

Another sign of suppressed anger can be self-righteousness. This can especially happen in people who tend towards perfectionism and obsessive-compulsive disorders. These people have very high expectations – of themselves as well as of others. When others don’t live up to these expectations, these people become frustrated and resentful that others are “getting away” with their behavior while they are trying so hard.

This self-righteousness is often not associated with anger, because people with such tendencies often appear very controlled and tense.

4. Passive-aggressive behavior

Other people tend to vent their anger more subtly on others. For example, they deliberately forget appointments and promises they made to someone else, or don’t reply to messages. Such passive-aggressive behavior can permanently damage a relationship. But instead of venting their anger and talking about what makes them angry, they take it out on the other person in this way.

5. Paranoia

Less commonly, paranoia is a warning sign of suppressed anger. Instead of saying that something upsets them, such people project their feelings onto others. They then convince themselves that others are angry with them – when in fact they are the ones who feel angry. Such people often find it difficult to trust others. They see the world as a cold place and assume the worst in virtually every situation. This is because they constantly assume that others resent them, rather than embracing their own emotions of anger and frustration.

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