Calma? | Calm?Anger is often seen as a destructive force. But it may be just as harmful when it is chronically suppressed.

We all get mad at times. It can be righteous anger, like when someone hurts us. Or it can be overly exaggerated, like when we throw a fit about the slightest mishap.

Whatever the source, anger is most constructively dealt with in relationships when it is communicated immediately and without false intentions.

When we allow anger to build up over days and weeks and years without addressing it, it either goes inside and becomes destructive this way, or it leads to uncontrollable blowups that usually come at the wrong time.

Sometimes our anger is irrational. Then we have to deal with that. But it tends to fester when it’s not voiced at all.

Some people don’t have a single shred of anger inside of them, and it is experienced as a lack. When others hurt and neglect us and we can’t ever get angry at them, something is amiss.

It often goes back to self defeat. When we feel too fragile or weak to strike back at the offender, we tend to put ourselves down first.

“Oh well,” the thinking might go, “I deserved this because I didn’t speak up in the first place.” Or we come up with some convoluted reasoning like: “It’s not worth defending myself because I won’t be heard anyway.”

We don’t even give expression to our frustration for fear that it won’t have any effect. But if we suppress every protest inside of us, we destroy every chance to get any kind of retribution.

Sometimes the plain act of speaking up feels liberating, even when nothing is achieved by it. At least we tried and failed, rather than giving up in the first place.

The only way for some people to feel anger is when we try to protect our loved ones. This is when the lion mother makes her appearance. Many women can’t get angry when they are being hurt themselves, but they jump into aggressive action when their kin is threatened.

It’s almost like they can’t allow it to spin out of control, but have the right to do so when those under their care are threatened.

Wouldn’t it be liberating if the stronger parts of ourselves could get mad that the weaker parts in us are hurt? If we could protect that little girl or that little boy in us that feels vulnerable, but is too frightened to stand up for themselves?

We all have that strong side in us. Sometimes we can’t tap into it. But it is there for us to be identified and nurtured. That is when we are capable of righteous anger.

photo credit: Sergio Béjar



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Giant Comfort » When Anger Is Missing (July 19, 2012)

    Last reviewed: 27 May 2012

APA Reference
Schoen, G. (2012). When Anger Is Missing. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 2, 2015, from


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