Anger is a commonplace but powerful emotion which we have all felt at some time or another. It can be the result of a variety of personal circumstances and reactions, such as hurt, annoyances, frustrations and even disappointment. It is felt and can be expressed in a range from slight irritation to full-scale rage. When it occurs ordinarily only occasionally in regard to valid causes, it is normal, but if it is a common underlying feeling for an individual that is roused very easily, is often violently expressed, or flares up with little provocation, and often spirals out of control, that is a more serious matter. This adverse form of anger reflects the individual’s state of mind. This kind of toxic anger affects the individual’s personal relationships, may affect his or her performance at work or at school, and the individual’s own health.
Anger commonly takes two forms: expressed and suppressed. Expressed anger is demonstrated overtly in personal behavior. This is when someone “gets mad” the identifies and directs anger typically to someone or something outside of themselves. Suppressed anger, on the other hand, is anger that is not always openly or directly expressed. This is anger that is held in, that the person stifles the immediate expression of but which resides as an undercurrent in their personality. It does, however, occasionally flare out of control, but its object or causative factor may not be make sense or seem logical. The suppressed anger responds to a variety of stimuli, some of which may seem unclear and unreasonable and out of proportion to the causative factor.
There are dangers in suppressed anger. While the person suffering from suppressed anger may only intermittently become aware of the actual anger within them that is a critical underlying element of their personality, it may be the cause of other personal psychological problems, such as depression or anxiety. Because when suppressed anger flares up, it may seem to be irrational, out of proportion, and out of control, in interpersonal relationships, it can be the cause of significant problems and damage, Suppressed anger not only affects the individual’s thoughts and behavior, it may also be associated with particular health problems, such as headaches, high blood pressure, digestive problems, even skin disorders. There are other effects resulting from suppressed anger. It could lead to violent behavior and physical abuse that can rise to the level of crime.
The individual suffering from problems related to suppressed anger may not even be aware of the underlying causes of his or her out of control expressions of anger. The causative factors may be below the level of consciousness and may have had its origin in one or more incidents or circumstances in the individual’s past. If asked about the causative factor, the individual suffering from anger problems may refer to some immediate incident or occurrence that is an apparent cause for anger, but, in fact, when examined reasonably, the impudent or occurrence may appear to have been of minimal significance, but something about it stimulated the underlying anger within the individual, causing him or her to react disproportionately.
In psychological counseling for anger, one of the first objective is to determine the underlying cause for the suppressed anger. Often, coming to a realization about the underlying cause will have a positive effect on the circumstances and incidents of over-expressed anger. Linked to this is a focus on understanding the underlying cause and to discover how it becomes linked to other, seemingly totally different or unrelated circumstances or situations. The very realization that it is suppressed anger which is motivating out of control reactions and behavior is an important breakthrough for the individual.
Through psychological counseling, suppressed anger can be treated and the individual can learn to recognize its underlying presence and learn to control it in a variety of ways. To pursue psychological counseling for anger problems demonstrates a significant step in controlling personal behavior and lessening the negative and adverse effects of suppressed anger on the person and his or her relationships. Psychological programs dealing with anger management problems are effective.