Effectively Dealing with Internalized Anger

Mature couple fightingA CLOSER LOOK AT ANGER

Anger, like all emotions, is neither good or bad.  It is just a feeling like all other feelings.  However, it has gotten a bad rap.  People forget that it is not the anger that gets them in trouble but how one thinks about and deals with this feeling that can become a problem.

When people think about anger it is not unusual to think about it only when it becomes explosive. However, it is not unusual for people to internalize or cover up feelings of anger under layers of other feelings such as depression, anxiety, fear and trepidation. They fear that if they got in touch with their anger, they would lose control. The result is that they end up appearing on the surface to be very different than what is going on underneath, The following is some suggestions on how to deal with those long standing angry feelings that can simmer under the surface.


  1. Begin by becoming aware of when in growing up you were given the messages that feelings of anger were not permitted to be felt or expressed.
  2.  Use your feeling as a wake up call that is providing you with the opportunity to examine what is really going on inside you.
  3. Be aware that avoiding conflict at all costs results in your paying on the back end.
  4. Know that whether you keep your anger in or explosively let it out, neither works in the long run. Only when you fully recognize this, can you examine any part you may play in your response. In recognizing how you contribute to the conflict, can Provide you an opportunity to react differently.
  5. Know that angry feelings don’t necessarily have to end up in a fight/flight response but can be someplace in between.
  6. Focus on being proactive instead of reactive when dealing with others.
  7. Being proactive means first being aware of your own wants and needs.  Next, you need to have the courage to express those needs, while being respectful of the needs and wants of the person you may be in conflict with.  Finally, you need to be willing to negotiate and compromise with the other person resulting in hopefully, an equitable solution.
  8. If an equitable solution doesn’t happen, you need to take responsibility for taking good care of yourself.  This may mean accepting what is, emotionally letting go and getting on with your life.
  9. Moving on emotionally is important even if you decide to stay in a situation or relationship that is frustrating you. In the final analysis, you are ultimately responsible for your happiness. Taking control of your life, rather than allowing other things or other people control you, results in you becoming the master of your own destiny.
  10. Be aware that our anger may be a defense against other, deeper feelings that you may not be admitting to, not even to yourself. Recognizing and admitting to these other feelings may result in your dealing with your anger differently.
Questions and suggestions can be directly to myself, Ray Shocki PhD, LCSW, LMFT at lifesourcecenter@aol.com