It Feels Like Anger, but Is It Really Anxiety?

fists clenched on a wooden table in angerIn a series of articles on GoodTherapy, I have explored the fact our anger often possesses underlying emotional triggers. My first article began the exploration by pointing out that many anger-management strategies avoid having us confront what might be lurking underneath the anger and frustration. My second article targeted unexpressed sadness as a main culprit of anger. In this article, I will focus on anxiety and how it, too, can turn into anger when left unacknowledged and unexpressed.

Anxiety must be understood as a self-created experience of fear that comes from focusing on the future. Although it can feel a bit like excitement, anxiety can feel debilitating because the focus on the feared future event seemingly paralyzes us. Anxiety takes us out of the present moment and disconnects us from the reality we’re surrounded by. Anxiety is no fun because when we believe bad things will happen, we experience bad things in the present moment. Anxiety’s connection to anger exists on the same plane as anger’s connection to all other emotions, through denial and suppression.

Since anxiety is simply another form of fear, many of us struggle with admitting that we are afraid. Like sadness and guilt, we have been preconditioned early on to deny and ignore our fear. Fear is weakness, it is said. To admit we are afraid is thus tantamount to social suicide. So instead of admitting that we feel anxious, we suppress the energy created, which in turn gets lodged in our bodies. The truth of ignoring our true emotions comes to haunt us, keeping us from living the kind of joyous, fulfilling life we’ve dreamed of.

Anxiety—ALL anxiety—starts in the mind. It begins as a small story of what we believe we lack. Confidence. Patience. Strength. Quite often, we believe we lack the very thing we think we need to be successful. Over time, the story of our perceived lack gets “proven” to us through our immobilized behavior. We stop being assertive and proactive. We stop living, and then, lo and behold, we feel weak and powerless. When not aware of these mini-horror stories and the frenetic energy they create in our bodies, we position ourselves to be overly sensitive, irritable, and angry.

The path to overcoming this anxiety issue masquerading as an “anger issue” will prove ridiculously simple. Slow down. Yup, that’s it. Although simple, I caution people in therapy that the simple process of slowing down is not so easy. The simple comes from the tiny behavioral steps you will adopt; the not-so-easy to do comes from the years of conditioning you will have to overcome.

Slowing down means realigning body with mind. More directly, it means to quiet the mind and focus on just one activity, the activity existent in the present moment. Where anxiety pulls us away from the present moment and into our minds, slowing down brings us back to the body, which always exists in the present moment. Anger that comes from unacknowledged and unexpressed anxiety often boils just beneath the surface. By “surface,” I literally mean the body. Imagine that anxiety is the fuse and some external event acts as the spark. Surrounded by potential sparks, we will explode if we do not actively defuse ourselves.

Pick something sensual to focus on right now. Pick something you can hear, see, taste, smell, or touch. Focus on the sensations that occur in your body as you drink your coffee or listen to the typing in the office. When a thought pops in, and it will, simply tell it, “Not right now, I’m slowing down.” Over time, you will get quite adept at slowing down. When slowed down, we don’t produce the anxiety that then leads to our chronic anger. Becoming masters of our own inner worlds allows us the freedom to respond to reality rather than react to it.

© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Joshua Nash, LPC-S, therapist in Austin, Texas

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Adrienne

    Adrienne

    May 15th, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    I am not sure how the two things could be confused. Clearly when you are mad you will feel agitated, but I would think that when you feel anxious you will feel confused or scared. How could the two be mistaken for anything other than what they are? I am only speaking as someone who has only felt anger and only the kind of anxiety that makes me feel nervous and not the kind of that keeps me from leaving the house so I really guess I haven’t felt that strongly enough to know how you could mistake it.

  • DEE

    DEE

    June 11th, 2016 at 6:30 PM

    Adrienne, I Googled “Why does my anxiety make me angry?… and found this page. Let me give you an example of how the two emotions – anxiety and anger – can get combined with someone who suffers from anxiety. Saturdays is house-cleaning day for me and my family, which means I’m tough on my kids – they need to pick up all their toys so I can vacuum. It makes me anxious to have a very messy house, and it makes me anxious when I think that they are not learning to be responsible and take care of their toys and their environment. I ask them to do it, they don’t do it, and it makes me more anxious – why are my children disobedient AND messy? Can you trace the snowball’s path down the hill?

  • cameron m

    cameron m

    June 21st, 2016 at 1:52 AM

    we can get deffensive when we get afraid anxious why when we feel uncomofortable backed into a corner best thing to do to get comfortable in these types of situations is to do them over and over again to feel confident I screwed up yesterday and swore at my self in front of a customer and now I am beating my self up for it because I didnt think very clearly

  • Anita M.

    Anita M.

    July 10th, 2016 at 2:09 AM

    While I agree that slowing down certainly helps anxiety, and that yes, a great deal of anxiety is to do with processing underlying feelings,I do not agree that ALL anxiety begins with thoughts. I have recently been tested for a MTHFR gene mutation. It impacts your methylation process and neurotransmitters. I have been taking methylated B vitamins and special folate and my anxiety has been dramatically reduced like never before in my life. Some anxiety is very biological…

  • Triston

    Triston

    August 24th, 2016 at 12:44 PM

    Here is a personal example. I went to move in to my college dorm 3 days ago, the fridge was broken, room flooded whole place smells like mold. Okay whatever that’s irritating. Now these geniuses have me waiting in a lobby for over 3 hours when there is 2 open rooms and the only hold up is they keep forgetting to talk the supervisor when she walks by. The incompetence and constant fuck ups start making me anxious. My heart starts beating faster my thoughts start running at 10x the normal speed, I start getting twitchy and my breathing gets faster. The cause of my anxiety in this situation? Being polite because getting angry with these… “people” won’t help. I had say screw moving in I’ll figure out later and leave so I could have a breakdown in my car privately as opposed to screaming at those arrogant expletives (the person who kept me waiting was a very rude little girl with an inflated ego) I have anxiety anyway but having to bite my tongue can exasperate it sometimes.

  • Elizabeth

    Elizabeth

    October 26th, 2016 at 6:34 AM

    For me, I get anxious when I am expecting one thing and another thing happens. Sometimes it could be expecting to meet someone at a cafe at a certain time. They could have been held up for something as simple as a traffic accident but the fact that it wasn’t what I was expecting makes me anxious. That usually plays out where I get agitated and angry, until I realize I’m actually anxious. I can say logically in my head, it’s not their fault, but I can’t change the fact that I’m anxious that plans changed.

  • Nike

    Nike

    January 19th, 2017 at 10:01 AM

    I didn’t know I had anxiety until I was in my 30s and had a dr tell me what I thought was an asthma attack was actually a panic attack. That’s because I have ‘angry’ anxiety. If you consider that anxiety is the activation of the ‘fight or flight’ response, well, my first response to being startled or scared is to hurt whatever is scaring me. I’ve barely avoided actually hurting friends and family before they learned not to sneak up on me. When stress and anxiety are making me scared, I feel angry about it but, since it’s often not socially acceptable for a woman to express anger, often burst into angry tears instead which, of course, gets me labeled as ‘overly emotional’ which just makes me even more angry. It’s a vicious cycle.

  • Katie

    Katie

    January 20th, 2017 at 7:47 PM

    You basically took the words right out of my mouth. I feel exactly the same. I am just glad that I finally realize that it is really not anger operating, but anxiety. It makes things clearer and I feel less trepidation about “being a jerk.” I think it helps me to have better reactions since I am aware of where it is really originating.

  • Ames

    Ames

    May 16th, 2014 at 3:32 AM

    Any way that you look at it neither feeling, anxiety or anger, are good for the soul. You cannot feel good when you live perpetually afraid all of the time. And anger? That eats you alive. It is entirely different to be mad for a moment than it is to be consumed with overriding anger all of the time.

  • Joshua Nash

    Joshua Nash

    May 16th, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Adrienne,

    Good questions! It’s not so much that people confuse one emotion for another. Instead, when we don’t acknowledge and then feel the original emotion, the energy can morph into anger.

    Oftentimes people have one or two emotions they feel less comfortable expressing. When they occur, not admitting to the existence of the emotion takes considerable (unconscious) force. This tension must eventually be released and anger is usually what it looks and feels like.

  • franco

    franco

    March 11th, 2017 at 4:11 AM

    hi there.
    im 25 yo, chef. under a lot of pressure. work is crazy and my home life is not exactly flourishing at the moment. finances are tight and pressure is building up. i find myself surrounded by chaos daily. i am also a trustee for a complex. i get especially irritated when people accuse me of being angry or upset when i am not. they irritate me until i blow a fuse and then they want to be sorry for themselves being the victim of my rage. the worst is when people try to calm me down or touch me during my moment. hug or comfort me. it make me feel claustrophobic. i feel fine the one moment and the next something silly throws my whole mood down the drain. for instance i just had a major freak out because i folded all the laundry and found it strewn on the bed by my husband. it is annoying yes, but i really went to town on him. i got very ugly and personal. full on rage, screaming, swearing. really ugly. i chased him out of the house. like my brain told me to get rid of him, this is not right. but my body just kept going on fighting. afterwards i felt guilty, ashamed and upset at the way i treated him. i cried uncontrollably. i only stopped now because of a pill i took.
    should i seek medical attention? could this be severe anxiety or bipolar?

  • Joshua Nash

    Joshua Nash

    March 11th, 2017 at 2:00 PM

    Franco,

    I’m sure you feel out of control in the moments you’re describing. Certainly I would encitage you to find a professional to speak with about these issues. The freedom and control you can generate from increasing your emotional intelligence will be well worth the time/money investment.

    Good luck!

    -Joshua

  • Adrienne

    Adrienne

    May 19th, 2014 at 3:49 AM

    HI Joshua and thanks for the feedback!
    I am still kinda new, just taking it all in and learning so these points that you make really help me see how the two could be confused but also how you can make some sense of that. Thanks again for the follow up

  • Eileen Bailey

    Eileen Bailey

    May 19th, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    This is important stuff for those of us who indeed experience anxiety in the form of anger. I know that the help in diffusing these energies into more positive ones does lie in the ” simple but not easy ” way of proceeding. It is quite the task to stay on track and keep my awareness open to the changes that are occurring however meaningless/small they seem at the time. It’s a continual start, stop, start again process. It is good to be reminded of the value that exists in the simple..it informs me again how the power lies in me to make the necessary changes to creating a life that is more in tuned to my desires for myself and my relationships to everyone I meet along the way.

  • l jones

    l jones

    May 20th, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    Am I reading this to mean that we use the anger to cover up the discomfort of the anxiety? That it is easier for us to think about being mad than anxious and frightened? We know what to do with the concept of anger, we don’t know quite as much about how to process those feelings of anxiety so we have thme morph into something different, namely something that we are all familiar with.

  • Joshua Nash

    Joshua Nash

    May 20th, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    I Jones,

    Realize that this process is unconscious. Therefore, it’s rarely a choice of feeling anger over some other emotion and more about the energy itself being translated incorrectly.

    Misidentification and outright denial of the primary emotions occurs most frequently.

  • Clare

    Clare

    July 26th, 2014 at 4:00 AM

    This is an excellent article, and I agree that expressed anger can often be undealt with anxiety. The slowing down tool is most effective for anxiety, and I have employed it to very great effect, to the point that I feel I have mostly got a handle on my anxiety.

    Anger however can also often come from a violation of boundaries, and in this case, slowing down and trying to diffuse the feeling does not really work but can make it worse. Yes of course it is helpful to calm down in order to respond to the violation appropriately, but you also want to harness anger’s energy to protect yourself when someone is overstepping your boundaries.

    Just my thoughts.

  • Tracy

    Tracy

    July 26th, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    #9
    I’m always interested in articles about anxiety. I suffer from agoraphobia (fear of the “marketplace”). When I was a teen and in my twenties, my anxiety/fear/perceived threat caused me to seek “flight” mode, flee the perceived threat (overwhelming crowds, stores, restaurants with lots of people). It was difficult for me to try to go to college, I never completed my degree. Thankfully, there are online degrees available and I am working on finishing school. The other day, my family and I were at a downtown festival. I was somewhat able to deal with the crowds, maybe because everyone was seated watching a parade. Once the parade was over and crowds were a bit more unpredictable, I grew angry and tense, rushing my family out of the mayhem. From what I understand, a threat is perceived, the body releases a stress hormone, the heart beats faster, thyroid gland stimulates metabolism. Other times, the threat is so overwhelming the response that is triggered is the “freeze” response, as to be still and not be noticed by what you fear. I hate that I always automatically perceive social situations and crowds as a threat. It really hinders getting to talk to people. I have to be familiar with them before I can relax.

  • Flor Chavez

    Flor Chavez

    August 30th, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Anxiety is one of my biggest struggles and being able to see how it connects to all other emotions gives me hope. I mean that if I can only learn to control my anxiety or like you call it my inner world; I will be better able to affront life.
    Thanks

  • summer

    summer

    September 1st, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    I never knew that anxiety was real until I started having anxiety attacks randomly. I thought I was going crazy. I left my husband of 17 years after he knocked someone else up. I am trying to fix this problem but am finding myself beating myself up. I am finding myself banging my head in a brick wall trying to figure this out. Yes anger has been the root of my anxiety, but I can’t figure out how to overcome this. Death lingers in my head everyday, until I realized no matter how many times I have tried to end it I have yet again failed. I am starting to think I am invincible.

  • Stormie

    Stormie

    July 29th, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    You are not invincible!
    I’m having the same problem of trying to overcome the anger, but it hits me so off guard. I can’t come down quick enough to react civilly to the problem. So I made goal for myself that I know I can achieve. Then I reward myself for the good choices I make. Give it a try. Hope this helps you too. Lmk

  • Kelly

    Kelly

    November 9th, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    I enjoyed reading this article. For it articulates well what I could not. My anxiety is the root of 90% of my anger. That anger is usually in the form of emotionally charged outburst. Filled with harmful words. The guilt after the fact is just as damaging and then detachment and then more anxiety and self-loathing. I self medicate to block the pain. I make excuses not to be helped. It’s destroying my relationships that I really do care about. I have a beautiful and yet troubled family. They don’t deserve this from me.

  • julie

    julie

    March 31st, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    Wow. This is so spot on for me. Abd it is such a challenge to slow down! My mind is a constant whirlwind of anxiety,fears,worries and frustration. It has affected my family. I need to realign my mind and body now. No more anxiety and anger.

  • JJ

    JJ

    May 23rd, 2015 at 12:12 AM

    I have a family memeber that is suffering severely I believe she is not on the right medication but her do for disagrees. Can anyone recommend wherei can go from here to gain the right advice and to seek the right meds / help.

  • Joshua

    Joshua

    May 23rd, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    JJ,

    If you are wanting to have a meds check, I recommend that you speak to a psychiatrist in your area. You can search for a psychiatrist and/or counselor to help you out.

  • Katie

    Katie

    August 19th, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    The very fact that most people can’t see how anger and anxiety can be confused is precisely how it eludes many closet anxiety sufferers. I can’t stand to be trapped between two cars on the highway. In my haste to get out of this situation, I have suffered what seems to be road rage to an onlooker. For year, I literally freaked out. Also, waiting in lines with people in front and behind me, would cause me anger. Additionally, having someone confront me suddenly in a benign way, seems an affront. It could be something as simple as tapping me on the shoulder and saying excuse me in a louder tone. I would freak out in anger. Over the years, I have realized that my “anger” was really anxiety that resulted in the “fight” instead of “flight.” Sometimes, I would try to get out of it and just leave items and the store. I would pull over to the side of the road and cry. I would shake and have my heart pounding out of my chest. Other times I would have the same happen alongside outbursts of anger than came out of nowhere. I didn’t even understand it. I am still struggling with this. Today, a lady came up to me in a store very hastily and touched my shoulder because I was going to take this small buggy down the escalator. She said “Miss, you can’t do that!” At first, I was shocked and very frightened and jumped because she alarmed me. Then I looked at her dead in the eyes and said “Don’t ever put your hands on me again or you will pick your teeth up off the floor.” I did this without hesitation. I was ready to fend off an attack. Some of this can be some PTSD for people who have been abused (yes, I fit this mold) to severe anxiety that has to find somewhere to go. I see the relationship and I feel other people will understand this in an “a-ha” moment at some point in their anxiety disorder. It really depends on many things and the person. I don’t really get the shock and awe and lack of ability to correlate the two emotions by some of the commentators.

  • Jennifer

    Jennifer

    August 23rd, 2015 at 11:38 AM

    Thank you so much for this. I have dealt with anxiety for a long time but couldn’t figure out where the anger was coming from because the anxiety never manifested in such a way before.

  • Sarah

    Sarah

    October 6th, 2015 at 11:37 PM

    i think this is so true and particularly relevant to my work with a number of school refusers at the moment, my experience is that underneath the anxiety of attending school there sits unexpressed rage and a strong sense of protest. Is anyone else finding this?

  • Horzen

    Horzen

    January 5th, 2016 at 5:17 AM

    Calm down and speed up.

  • Mari G.

    Mari G.

    January 9th, 2016 at 10:37 PM

    This is a really interesting article – thank you.

    I am interested to know how you feel anger might interact with PTSD? I work with many women who have experienced traumatic births, sometimes who have a diagnosis of PTSD, sometimes they have a diagnosis of the related symptoms they are experiencing (such as anxiety), sometimes they have no diagnosis, or their symptoms are sub-diagnostic level. I am interested in thinking about the anger they experience.

  • Joshua N.

    Joshua N.

    January 10th, 2016 at 1:19 PM

    Good question–and tough!

    I’d say anger related to PTSD would very often serve as a protective emotion. Protecting against the perceived external danger and potentially protecting against the internal discomfort of feeling fear and loss.

    Also, PTSD’s connection to a disregulated autonomic nervous system suggests that a propensity towards anger could indicate an inability to engage the parasympathetic response which is the “rest and digest” part of the ANS.

    -Joshua

  • wisp

    wisp

    June 7th, 2016 at 2:32 PM

    Stumbled across this today. Thanks for posting it! Over the past few years I’ve come to notice that most of the time, when I feel irrationally or disproportionately angry about something (or nothing!), if I think really closely about what’s bothering me it’s almost always either hurt feelings or anxiety/fear coming out as anger. I guess I feel like the anger feels better because it usually doesn’t prevent me from accomplishing what needs to be done quite as much as a crying fit or anxiety attack does. I did a Google search out of curiosity, because I’d never really heard much about a link between anxiety and anger, and it’s validating to know that I’m not the only one who has anxiety manifest in this way.

  • Jessica

    Jessica

    October 25th, 2016 at 5:39 AM

    Anger is a secondary emotion. The gift of anger is strength and the gift of fear is wisdom. The anger is easily identified and per se easier to address, (illusion). Anger is something the person who expresses outwardly or inwardly can control. Again, an illusion. Anger we can see, anxiety we cannot. Anger seems to be in the persons control whereas anxiety (fear) is there and seems that it cannot be explained or understood.

    I al

  • Katie

    Katie

    January 20th, 2017 at 7:49 PM

    I think this was about as enlightening a comment as I have read. Very eloquently stated and what a wise and keen observation. Love this.

  • Cassius

    Cassius

    December 3rd, 2016 at 8:01 AM

    Thank you for this. Is it clear that all anxiety starts in the mind, though? I believe some may start with physical sensitivity, or physical triggers, which the mind then interprets afterwards. This can create a feedback look of body and mind. For example, a therapist showed me quite viscerally how it is possible to artificially trigger a panic attack just by hyperventilating.

  • Joshua Nash

    Joshua Nash

    December 3rd, 2016 at 12:35 PM

    Very good point! It’s true that the mind-body connection is so intimate, this discussion can quickly become a chicken-egg/what came first debate.

    Our breathing is directly tied to our sense of connection or disconnection in the body. Although you can artificially simulate a panic attack through conscious breathing, the big difference is that it’s done consciously and is therefore all the easier to back off of.

    What’s important to recognize here is that if we don’t stay mindful of our breathing and body state, we can be unconsciously tense and therefore be more prone to a legitimate panic attack or anxiety.

  • Joanne G

    Joanne G

    February 21st, 2017 at 7:15 AM

    Perhaps you can validate my feeling that my significant other has extreme anxiety problems. Almost without fail, each time I travel with him, he has issues with someone in the plane. It’s generally that they are sneezing or coughing and spreading germs to him. He cannot keep silent; he often loudly voices his displeasure using swear words directed at them. We just returned from a trip where the man behind us was intermittently coughing; halfway thru the flight he slammed his drink down on the tray table and loudly said “I hope he’s covering his f—ing mouth when he coughs!” But the worst I’ve ever seen occurred on the return trip. As luck would have it, the plane had several young families with children, one 14-month old who was seated one row behind us and across the aisle. The little girl was having tough time with the flight and intermittently cried. He was next to me in the middle seat and began by constantly leaning over me to give one of the parents a dirty look. At last, I was petrified that he was going to “explode”–he began an extreme physical shaking, huffing and puffing, put a death grip with both hands on a rolled up magazine leaned over bumping his head again and again on the seat in front of him. I am sure the lady next to him was beside herself.
    As we were descending to land, I explained, as quietly as I could, that often children experience uncomfortable ear pressure, hence the extreme crying. This little girl was not the only one crying; there were three or four farther back in plane doing so. He was almost uncontrollably furious and told me “what about MY ears!!!” I could see he was struggling to calm down and I think he was close to hyperventilating. Similar situations have happened on almost every trip–for awhile I booked our seats apart so that I would not be embarrassed. I am afraid that on one of these trips he is going to be subdued or hauled off the plane. He generally drinks alcohol before or during flights–and this is a daily habit–and I am sure that this intensifies his problem. He will not talk about his actions afterwards and gets very belligerent if I try to bring them up or suggest he may be experiencing some kind of anxiety. He is very OCD–especially about germs, brought up by an overprotective mother who was the same. Any suggestions as to how I should handle myself when this occurs so that I don’t intensify the problem? I think he needs counseling but I doubt he will ever agree.

  • Joshua Nash

    Joshua Nash

    February 21st, 2017 at 12:29 PM

    Joanne,

    I think you’re right on the money with seeing your husband’s issues being based on anxiety. There are certainly lots of indicators that this is correct.

    So how to handle this? This may sound counterintuitive, but don’t! It’s not your job to “handle” or “fix” your husband’ emitiinal ouput. It IS your job to let him know how you feel and what you think about his outbursts.

    Although I understand your belief that says he’d maybe never agree to counseling, a deeper truth is why people often don’t seek the help they need. If people around them enable their poor behaviors and also don’t advocate for their own desires for peace and serenity, the person in question has no reason to change.

    I encourage you to speak up. Be honest and gentle with your honesty. Let him know how unsafe you feel around him when he acts out. He’ll either remain as he is or change because he knows it’s best for him and you.

    Good luck!

    -Joshua

  • Sara Z

    Sara Z

    April 20th, 2017 at 10:45 PM

    I am wondering if anger anxiety can come in the mid 30s. I have recently been feeling soo very angry. My family is moving to a new place but I can’t move out due to student loans. They seem to be moving very fast and clearing out my stuff to move some of their stuff in. Thus creating havoc in my life. I am so mad at them but can’t really say anything because they r paying my bills because I was recently laid off from my job. I was on bupirone and it just seemed to make it worse after the second week. My family doesn’t believe things I say and that frustrates me to no end. Since then I have been consistently angry, waking up angry and going to bed so angry that I’m crying.

  • Joshua Nash

    Joshua Nash

    April 21st, 2017 at 12:20 PM

    Sara,

    This sounds like straight-forward anger to me. I’m betting you feel pretty powerless in your current situation. Figure out what you can control and go take action! You’ll be feeling better in no time.

  • eliana

    eliana

    April 27th, 2017 at 7:58 PM

    i get mad when ever i go to a places that are crowded. I don’t know why but i just can’t control it i just wanna go crazy but … i can’t so i just stay home. because i just don’t wanna snap on people

  • eliana

    eliana

    April 27th, 2017 at 8:02 PM

    and also when i hear loud music or people walk so slow but thats something else i think

  • Joshua Nash

    Joshua Nash

    April 28th, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    Eliana,
    Actually, the two experiences you are describing are actually coming from the same place. Anxiety/anger is very physiologically similar. When we are in situations we find dangerous or constricting, we can feel anger due to what seems like a lack of control.

    I’d encourage you to look into grounding techniques such as belly breathing, which put you into your body. You decrease panic thoughts and reestablish a sense of security within.

    Good luck!

  • Lee

    Lee

    July 16th, 2017 at 1:25 PM

    I can attest as a woman who was raised by a woman who was more like a man that this is spot on. the woman who raised me was tough, strong, dominant and considered emotions such as sadness or fear to be weakness. And she despised the weakness in me. Being extremely sensitive, intuitive and compassionate, this parental match was incredibly detrimental to me. She despised my compassion and sensitivity as a weakness and her job was to toughen me up. Whether that meant leaving me in a locked room alone while my older brother pounding on the door screaming that he was going to kill me, or forcing me to spy on said brother of whom i was terrified, there was nothing she enjoyed more than trying to toughen me up. By age six I’d already been consciously working on shoving down every emotion so that i felt nothing by age nine. This was an incredible feat that took a tremendous amount of willpower and energy, as it meant suppressing not only my emotions, but who i was inately. Looking back i was raised like men were raised, with emotions being shameful and something you suppress. Is it any wonder rage would suddenly erupt without warning, when i didn’t even know i was angry?! I’ve known for a long time anger was a secondary emotion and that suppressing emotions doesn’t eliminate them, but somehow it didn’t click for me as to where my anger and rage inside me came from. Thank you! It makes perfect sense to me. You just validated what I instinctively, as well as from observation of others, understood, and you helped close the connection. At least now i understand more fully, even if i cannot deal with the root emotions. How can you deal with what you cannot feel? Especially when it’s overwhelming and literally goes back to the day you were brought home from the hospital and left unattended in a crib for the next couple of years? If i hadn’t of aimed my anger inward as a child to protect others, there’s no doubt I’d have lashed out at the world as so many men are today. They too were shamed and punished for their emotions as children, and they too suppressed them, and they too are filled with anger. And people ask why.

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