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.

On This Page . . .

  • Anger Defined
  • Anger as a Symptom of Medical or Emotional Conditions
  • Confused About Anger?
  • How Anger Gets Distorted
  • Three Ways Anger is Expressed
  • How Toxic Anger Affects Our Health
  • How Do I Know If I'm Anger?
  • How Can EMDR and Therapy Help?

Anger Defined
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 As A Symptom
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.

Confused About Anger?
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.

How Anger Gets Distorted
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 'terrorists'.

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.

Three Common Ways Anger Can Be Expressed
    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

How Do I Know if I'm Angry?
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?

How Toxic Anger Can Affect Our Health
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.

How Can EMDR Help?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), a powerful and
often rapid therapeutic technique can be used by a trained
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.
Dr. Logan is an EMDR Certified Therapist by EMDRIA
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.
Lynne Logan Ph.D., M.F.T.
Serving Orange County
6200 E. Canyon Rim Road, Suite 212
Anaheim Hills, CA. 92807
Call 714-883-9722
Are You Angry?    
Lynne Logan Ph.D., L.M.F.T.
Serving Orange County
6200 E.Canyon Rim Road, Suite 212
Anaheim Hills, CA. 92807
Call 714-883-9722

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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
or you choose to let these losses
be passages to something new,
something wider, and deeper.”
Henri Nouwen
My Family was Always Angry or Happy.The In-Between was a Fog
EMDR Helped Me Recover from Years of Torment
Never Give Up

Lynne Logan Ph.D., M.F.T.
Serving Orange County

Tellone Professional & Medical Bldg.
6200 E. Canyon Rim Road,
Suite 212 (Inside Canyon Wellness Center)
Anaheim Hills, CA. 92807
Call 714-883-9722
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My Family was
Always Happy or
Always Angry.
Anything in
was a
I Lived in a
Emotional Pain

EMDR Helped Me
Recover From
Years of Torment.
37 year old woman
Inner Peace
Comes From
Changing Yourself.
Not From
Trying to
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