From Dr. Jane's Notebook

ANGER... The Secret Emotion

Have you ever walked away from a conversation with a growing sense of resentment over something that was said? Have you ever felt as though your rights were violated in some way? Have you ever found yourself seething over an event in which you feel you were embarrassed or disgraced? If so, then you may be familiar with the cycle of anger which grows in our minds and spreads tension throughout our bodies... with the resulting sense of unfinished business.

At some point, we have all felt the emotion of anger. But many of us have also been taught not to act on this feeling. Not reacting to our anger certainly has its benefits for civilization. But when we are civilized to the point of repressing our feelings, it can create a host of physical and psychological symptoms ranging from ulcers and anxiety to high blood pressure and headaches. If we truly wish to be healthy, learning to deal with our anger is critically important.

Several years ago, I worked with a couple where both came in with their laundry lists of complaints about the other. They were miserable, but wanted to stay together. I asked each to decide which item on their list happened earliest in the relationship. Each one pointed to something that had happened ten years prior. Since the time of that misunderstanding, their anger and their issues had "snow-balled". Had they addressed their anger at that time, their relationship might have developed very differently. Their reason for concealing their anger at the time was fear of hurting the other's feelings.

ęCopyright, 1992, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated October 24, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.