Do You Have it?

Many of us have been taught not to express angry feelings. In our childhood, expressing anger may have been too dangerous; perhaps it was not tolerated, or it was ignored, dismissed – even ridiculed.

Therefore, even as adults, we may have difficulty expressing anger, even when the appropriate expression of displeasure or anger is acceptable in current relationships.

After years of stuffing or stiffling our anger, we may not even acknowledge to ourselves that we are angry.

However, being unaware of anger does not mean that you aren't angry.

The anger you are unaware of can do the most damage to your health, sense of well-being, and relationships with others. If your anger is not expressed directly, it will probably be expressed in indirect or inappropriate ways.

Checklist for Hidden Anger:

Do you have any of the following symptoms?:

Physical signs:

  • Clenched jaws especially while sleeping
  • Grinding teeth especially while sleeping
  • Clenching fist
  • Unintentional, habitual foot tapping, facial tics
  • Chronically stiff or sore neck or shoulder muscles
  • Knot in your stomach; stomach ulcers
  • Tired more easily than usual
  • Difficulty getting to sleep or sleeping through the night
  • Waking up tired, rather than refreshed
  • Migraine headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic muscle tension
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Colitis
  • Frequent colds
  • Behavioral signs:

  • Procrastination in regard to imposed tasks
  • Habitual lateness
  • Sarcasm, cynicism, or flippancy in conversation
  • Frequent sighing
  • Over-politeness, constant cheerfulness, "stiff upper lip"
  • Over-controlled or monotone voice
  • Boredom, apathy, loss of interest
  • Frequent disturbing dreams
  • Angry fantasies
  • Increased irritability or intense anger over small things
  • Drowsy at inappropriate moments; sleeping much more than normal
  • Chronic depression; feeling down for no particular reason
  • Addictions, self-destructive behavior, significant weight gain, compulsive or binge-eating
  • If you have checked one or more of the above danger signals, you may have bottled up anger. Therapy with an experienced, trained professional can help you acquire new permissions to acknowledge, accept, express or discharge your anger in life-enhancing ways.