Anger: a Mask for Primary Emotions

Anger is a secondary emotion. When you see the face of fury know there is an underlying unresolved rooted issue, a sense of dissatisfaction with what is. Humans express anger to cover more vulnerable feelings of fear, offense, hurt or a sense of entrapment. The more deeply you feel those hidden emotions, the more intense your expression of anger.

people-1316420_1280Normally it is easy to detect oncoming anger, as you observe the volume and tone of the person’s (or your own) voice changing. You may also notice body tension and breathing changes. This ire can be expressed in several ways – aggressively (shouting, through hitting, verbal abuse), passively (shunning, revenge), or the most appropriate way, assertively (using “I” statements like “I feel angry when…”).

As an example, let’s look at a couple (Jim and Mary) who often fight. Mary is triggered by what she perceives as Jim ignoring her, and expresses anger by shouting that he “never listens” to what she says. She may be feeling insecure or abandoned. As Mary becomes aware of her true feelings, she can communicate them in a healthy way with Jim so they can be resolved.

A chronically angry person may create a story of perceived reasons to be angry. Inappropriate expressions of anger may trigger reactions in others (fear, avoidance) that create even more of a sense of anger in the person, as he or she becomes increasingly dissatisfied with what he or she is experiencing.

Healing comes from accessing what lies underneath our anger. You can learn to become conscious and aware of feeling angry in the present moment and identify what you are truly feeling under the anger.

Then that primary, core emotion can be dealt with in a healthy way, through learning to accept what is under the anger, or find healthy ways to heal it or change it.

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