“Stop crying this instant!”
“Don’t take that attitude with me!”
You might not hear these commands anymore, but the things your parents and caregivers told you when you were angry as a child have stuck with you. How your parents expressed their own anger taught you things as well—that the emotion should be avoided, that it’s bad, or that someone always gets hurt when it’s expressed.
Your childhood experiences created lasting emotional wounds that alter your adult relationships.
When you’re angry, stress hormones flood your body, shutting down the rational part of your brain. You may run and hide, or attack and deny, depending on your upbringing. More often than not, the autopilot response to anger you’ve been stuck on since you were a kid is hurting you.
Thankfully, wounds like these can heal. By learning a few things about anger, you can find better ways of addressing the emotion. Here are seven things to know about anger caused by emotional wounds and how to prevent it from controlling your life.
1. Suppressed anger is like a volcano.
Anger can make others uncomfortable, or frightened, so your parents may have encouraged you to bottle it up rather than let it out. The problem with suppression, though, is that it creates a mountain of explosive feelings that can eventually erupt in harmful ways, from physical illness and depression to self-defeating behaviors.
2. Your anger is trying to talk to you.
Anger is your brain’s way of telling you that something upsets you. If someone says or does something that angers you, and you ignore your feelings, you’re also ignoring the trigger. If something is important enough to you that it causes the emotion, it’s obviously too significant to be dismissed…