In childhood, we often learn to suppress our anger as a way to navigate family dynamics. However, burying this emotion doesn’t make it disappear; instead, it finds other ways to surface. Disowned anger often leaks out in unexpected ways, impacting both our mental and physical well-being. Unhealthy power imbalances within the family can inhibit the expression of anger, especially for those in less powerful positions.
As children, we may suppress anger to avoid conflict or meet familial expectations. Kids may fear negative consequences or retaliation if they express anger, leading to the suppression of these emotions. This learned behavior becomes ingrained, leading us to disown our anger and push it into our subconscious. I talk a lot about this on the podcast this week. This is such an important piece to unearth, grieve and change.
Manifestations of Anger Leak:
Disowned anger can manifest as anxiety, sleep disturbances, and somatic symptoms like headaches or muscle tension. Anxiety arises when suppressed anger festers beneath the surface, leading to feelings of unease and apprehension. Other examples of “leaking” are:
Passive-Aggressive Behavior: Instead of directly expressing anger, individuals may exhibit passive-aggressive behavior, such as sarcasm, backhanded compliments, or subtle acts of sabotage.
Excessive Criticism: Disowned anger can manifest as overly critical behavior towards others, where individuals find fault in minor details or frequently criticize and nitpick without clear justification.
Chronic Irritability: Unexpressed anger may lead to a constant state of irritability, where individuals are easily annoyed or angered by minor inconveniences or everyday frustrations.
Avoidance of Confrontation: People may go to great lengths to avoid confrontational situations or difficult conversations, even at the expense of their own needs or well-being, due to an underlying fear of expressing anger.
Self-Sabotage: Disowned anger can lead to self-sabotaging behaviors, such as procrastination, self-destructive habits, or intentionally undermining one’s own success or happiness.
Physical Toll: Disowned anger can also take a toll on our physical health, causing headaches, muscle tension, and gastrointestinal issues. Sleep disturbances are common, as the mind grapples with unresolved emotions.
Path to Healing:
Acknowledging and addressing disowned anger is crucial for holistic healing. Therapy, coaching and mindfulness practices can help us reconnect with our emotions and express them in healthy ways.By honoring our anger, we reclaim our authenticity and live more fulfilling lives. It’s a journey that requires courage and self-compassion, but the rewards are immeasurable—a life lived authentically, in harmony with our true selves.
In essence, disowned anger silently impacts our mental and physical health. By acknowledging its presence and addressing its underlying causes, we can start on a journey of healing and self-discovery, reclaiming our authenticity by embracing out truth.