Anger is energy. We know energy has to go somewhere. You can either
externalize anger in a healthy way, act it out in a negative way, or hold it
inside. Held inside, unresolved anger becomes toxic and can cause problems
in your
relationships, your job, and your health. Toxic anger can cause
depression, anxiety, and heart problems. Here, we'll discuss anger, how to
recognize if you're angry, and how to deal with this often distorted emotion.

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Anger is an emotion, and can be felt as a minor irritation or intense rage.
Anger can help us make productive and safe decisions in our life. Anger can
help with our personal boundaries and help defend our life if needed.

When we are angry, we express it either internally or externally. And the
ways in which we express our anger can range from assertive
communication to acting it out in violent ways. Anger changes our bodies
physiology. Our heart rate and blood pressure increase, along with other
hormonal changes. Anger is often connected with another emotion such as
sadness or fear.

Anger can be a symptom of a physical or mental disorder. Temper flare
ups, chronic or out-of-control angry behavior may be a result of a physical
problem.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an example of a
diagnosis which may include
depression or angry outbursts. Accurate
evaluation and diagnosis is important for treatment. Children often display
temper tantrums which may be a result of an diagnosed physical condition.

As an intense negative emotion, anger can be a tricky, especially for those
who grew up in homes where the emotion of anger was disguised, distorted
or never addressed. For some people, they don't like to express their anger,
or even admit they might be angry. It seems safer for them to 'mask' their
anger, and pretend to have another, more acceptable emotion. In the long
run, this only leaves a person more confused about their feelings, as well as
promoting health risks.

After years of denying, distorting, covering up, and wearing an emotional
mask, people can become quite confused about their anger. Anger often
becomes a misunderstood emotion in a person's life, which can lead to a
variety of emotional problems.

Were you  raised in a home where one or both of your parents were
emotionally 'out-of-control'? For example, when Dad got mad, maybe he
threw things across the room . . . or Mom shouted obscenities . . . maybe
one of your parents didn't speak to you for days. Or perhaps you were
raised in a physically abusive home where you witnessed your parents
hitting one another and hitting you.  

In contrast, maybe your parents never showed their anger, always having a
'happy' face on, and maybe even told you "it's not nice to get angry." Then
there are the parents who show a 'happy' face to the outside world,
pretending to be the 'perfect' family, while inside the home, they're

Any of these situations can confuse a child and distort their emotions of
anger.  If a child is raised in an environment like the above, they may be
unable to recognize the emotion of anger.

  • You can hold anger in.
We call this 'internalizing' our anger. When you choose not to allow
yourself to feel negative emotions, this energy can become 'stuck' inside
your body. Once intense emotions are stored away, they often become
distorted, and can turn into what therapists refer to as 'frozen rage'. This
kind of stored up anger can affect both your emotional stability and your
physical health. Chemicals, food, and other forms of addictions are often an
attempt at 'numbing' the pain of stored up anger.

Another side effect of internalizing anger is it often creates
depression. If
we think of depression as a 'lack of feeling', and therapists attempt to find
out what intense emotions are not being expressed. Often, we find stored
up anger, guilt, unresolved loss, sadness and many other emotions not
expressed in a depressed individual. This is one reason"talk therapy" is
helpful. Having a safe and confidential place to discuss problems and
confusions can be the beginning of emotional clarity and relief.

  • You can  act out anger in negative ways.   
Let's look at 'the bully' as an example. The playground bully is one angry
kid. He has minimal coping skills, does not know how to defend his fragile
ego, feels out of control, and is most likely abused in some fashion. He
copes with his insecurities and inadequacies by attempting to gain control
on the playground by terrorizing other children.  

A bully feels powerless, worthless, helpless, and believes he has no control
in his life. Inducing fear in the hearts of others is his way to feel in control,
if only briefly, then the cycle repeats. Bullies come in all ages and can be
found in all environments:

  •     The bully on the school playground.
  •     The out-of-control father at a little league game.
  •     The abusive partner.
  •     The freeway driver who passes other cars on the shoulder.
  •     The shopper who cuts in line at the market.
  •     The boss who uses their intimidation to control employees.

  • You  recognize your anger and express it appropriately.
Once anger is recognized, you can let yourself feel angry, talk about it,
process other emotions which may be connected to your anger (such as
sadness, feelings of abandonment, or loss) and perhaps even cry. Crying is a
natural and healthy way of expressing intense emotions, and is usually
connected with the emotions of deep sadness, loss or grief.

Anger has many masks. Here's a list of ways which may help you determine
if you have unresolved anger issues:
  •     I feel depressed most of the time
  •     I drink too much
  •   I use drugs to escape my problems
  •     I smoke too much
  •     I have had several speeding tickets
  •     I feel guilty most of the time
  •     I am overweight
  •     I feel out of control
  •     I'm anxious a lot
  •     I have several physical symptoms, with no diagnosis
  •     I suffer from insomnia
  •     I harm myself
  •     I am a people pleaser
  •     I use inappropriate humor
  •     I am sarcastic
  •     I have suicidal thoughts
  •     I have conflict in my primary relationships
  •     I have temper flare ups easily
  •     I am anorexic or bulimic
  •     I feel worthless
  •     I am chronically late to important functions.

Maybe a little angry? Maybe a lot?

The American Heart Association has recognized that emotional issues may
place us at risk for developing heart problems. Other medical research has
indicated anger as a cause of heart trouble. In the medical journal,
Circulation (October 1995) anger was shown to precede and actually
trigger a heart attack. Researchers have been able to find a direct
relationship between having anger and developing a heart attack.

In one research study, Circulation, May 2000, of the 12,986 people who
harbored their anger were twice as likely to have a heart attack, die, or
required angioplasty or bypass surgery when compared to people who were
less angry.

University of Washington School of Nursing research:
(Study of husbands and wives)
  • Evidence that anger problems and depressive symptoms have been
    linked to all major causes of death
  • Found wives specifically found a greater association between anger
    and symptoms of depression
  • Men tended to experience an association between anger and health

Ohio State University study:
Found people who had less control over their anger tended to heal more
slowly from wounds.

Harvard School of Public Health:
Studied hostility in men and found those with higher rates of hostility  had
poorer pulmonary functioning (breathing problems), and experienced higher
rates of decline as they aged.

Health problems of the Youth:
Research shows youth who cope poorly with anger are at greater risk for
problem-ridden interpersonal relationships. Their health is also at risk;
those who have poor coping skills to resolve anger have more negative
outcomes when it comes to mental and general health.

You are not meant to carry the burden of negative emotions around for a
lifetime, or bury them and pretend they don't exist.   Every painful and
negative event and emotion of your life can be resolved  in healthy ways.
EMDR has proven to be an excellent technique for resolving emotional pain.

'Here and Now' Coping Skills:
  •     Try to define what you are angry about.
  •   Talk to a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor.
  •     Journal . . . write down your feelings
  •     Take a Walk.
  •     Exercise.
  •     Think about how to forgive.
  •      Question if you might be depressed.    
  •     Think of constructive ways to 'externalize' the angry energy.

These are tools you can use immediately to help diffuse anger when it
happens so it doesn't pile up. If these don't work, think about talking to a
trained counselor.

Talking to a professional therapist can be the beginning of freeing yourself
from the bondage of anger, pain and
hurt from your past. Something
happens after we talk about our anger. You will be helped to clarify your
're-frame' the event and the memory. You will be helped to
change your negative thoughts about the situation, and have a healthier
perspective about the experience. You may want to contact
Dr. Lynne to schedule a personal
phone counseling session.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), a powerful and
often rapid therapeutic technique can be used by a trained
EMDR therapist
to help you effectively deal with unresolved anger.
EMDR is a
breakthrough technique for dealing with many emotional issues.
Information can be found on this website.

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No Matter
Who You Are,

No Matter
What You've

No Matter
What You're
Going Through,

Nothing Can
Keep You
From Hope.

Cling to Hope.
Don't Allow
Your Anger
To Be
More Important
Than Your
Peace of Mind.
Deal With
When it
Hold it In,
You Will Be
as the
Once Anger
With Pride,
You've Lost
When I Decided
Give Up the
I felt Better. . .
Went Fishing.

Dr. Lynne
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Are You Angry?    
Deal With Anger When It Happens
Once Anger Becomes Partners with Pride, You've Lost the Battle
Don't Allow Your Anger to be More Important than Your Peace of Mind
When I Gave Up the Anger, I Felt Better and Went Fishing
Toxic Anger . . .
Toxic Anger . . .
The Silent Killer
The Silent Killer
“.....every time there are losses
there are choices to be made. You
choose to live your losses as
passages to anger, blame, hatred,
depression and resentment, or
you choose to let these losses be
passages to something new,
something wider, and deeper.”
Henri Nouwen
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My Family was Always Angry or Happy.The In-Between was a Fog
My Family
was either
was a
EMDR Helped Me Recover from Years of Torment
I Lived in a
Nightmare of
Emotional Pain.

EMDR Helped
Me Recover from
Years of Torment.

37 year old female.
Never Give Up
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