What happens when you deny anger or deaden your feelings?
1. Self-sabotage is defeating yourself without realizing it. Perhaps you are angry with yourself because you didn’t speak up and defend yourself and you unconsciously allowed yourself to fail. Individuals also sabotage themselves by neglecting to take care of their teeth or practice other preventive health practices.
2. Depression is often caused by anger that has been denied. When anger is denied, the person feels that life is hardly worth the struggle. Depression is an extreme feeling of sadness, and the depressed person thinks his or her situation is hopeless.
3. Loss of sleep may occur when people think or dream about how they should have expressed their anger. “I wish I had said” or “How could they do me this way?” can cause many sleepless nights. Other individuals may sleep too much so that they can escape thinking about the problem that makes them angry.
4. Drug abuse is probably the worst method of coping with anger. Taking a pill to forget anger or calm down emotions is not an effective way to handle anger-provoking situations.
5. “Over-doing” is based on the idea that if we really get into our work, our exercise or our hobby, then we can forget about being angry. This method may cause fatigue or remove us from our family, but it seldom solves our anger problem.
While research on the effect of hostility and health is relatively new, there is growing evidence that habitual hostility is associated with increased risk of suffering a heart attack and increased risk of dying from other causes.
Some researchers find that people who remain angry and hostile much of the time also have less physical activity, less self-care (e.g., adequate sleep and dental hygiene), more smoking, more alcohol consumption, and more frequent drinking and driving episodes. Ironically, sometimes the anger hurts the angry person most.