Summary: Excerpt from the book, Living Forgiven
Anger, hostility, and resentment when not directly dealt with, can unknowingly get buried deep inside. Being stuck in a relationship of abuse or neglect can cause you to suppress anger. Suppressed anger, in time, will break out of your weak restraints and display itself in many self-destructive ways. It can turn into resentment or bitterness, gradually simmering to the boiling point-at which time it can have severe debilitating effects on your mental health. This can result in low self-esteem, withdrawal and isolation, difficulty maintaining relationships, suicidal thoughts, sexual promiscuity, and/or dysfunction. Even physical problems such as migraine headaches, colitis, high blood pressure, substance abuse, lupus, and arthritis can all be caused or aggravated by repressing anger.
*Feeling anger is neither good nor bad, but is rather a natural reaction that occurs whenever your self-esteem or your self-respect is hurt or threatened.
*Anger is a sign that you are alive.
*Hate, on the other hand, is a sign that you are sick and in need of healing.
Healthy anger can drive you to do something to change what makes you angry. It can actually help to make things better. The main difference between hate and anger is that hate does not want to change things for the better; it wants to make things worse.
Anger can mask feelings of helplessness, disappointment, insecurity, grief, and fear. Some people fear the possible consequences of revealing how they really feel.
*Anger can also feel safer than intimacy and genuine communication.
It can act like a shield to protect you from deeper pain and hurt. When you walk around with your defenses up, holding onto your anger, you are in effect keeping yourself from hurting too much and you then are not so fearful of being hurt again.
Anger projected toward others will keep them away. If they can’t get too close, you’re not so vulnerable. You may use anger to end a relationship, but instead the anger can actually cause you to maintain the relationship emotionally because you remain bound to the person with whom you are angry.
Many kids leave home at an early age to escape from anger and resentment they feel towards their parents. Sadly, if they don’t come to the place of reconciliation and forgiveness, they will be shackled to their family by the very anger that caused them to leave home.
Think about this: some people are even too scared of anger to get angry! They think that anger is bad because they’ve seen what uncontrolled anger can do. They’re afraid to be angry about things that may be "God’s will" for their life-that they brought it upon themselves.
Maybe your parents expressed their anger with loud violence. Perhaps you grew up in an alcoholic or another type of dysfunctional home where displaying negative feelings of any kind was against house rules. Therefore, feeling anger toward someone may leave you feeling guilty and ashamed. You may have been physically or verbally abused by angry adults and then not allowed to vent your anger back at them.
As a child, you may have been the victim of someone getting angry with you for no apparent reason. Maybe their day went bad, or they had to wait in line too long at the grocery store, or they were cut off by a bad driver, or had a bad day at the office. As a result, you may have been left with the impression that anger can take over at any time and make a person do things that they would not normally do.
*Anger can mask feelings that are at the root of the problem.
Because you dread feeling the fear and sadness underlying the anger. When you forgive, God’s light illuminates the truth, and gives you grace to confront the root of the problem.
*Anger is also used to avoid dealing with hurtful past experiences.
We have all been ridiculed or humiliated as a result of something we did. You may have been put down in front of others, or told "You’re stupid," or "You’re a geek!" This can lead to repressed anger-not only toward the tormentor, but toward yourself as well.
I remember that my parents wanted me to wear clothes that I knew no one else on the face of the planet would be caught dead wearing in junior high school! Later, during my high school years I bought my own clothes and put them on at school so I wouldn’t feel like a jerk!
One day in the fourth grade, I was participating in the painting of the various states on our playground. While bending over to paint, I remember hearing everyone laughing, and as I turned around to see what they were laughing at, I realized they were laughing at me! When I returned to the classroom, the teacher asked me how much I weighed-in front of my classmates! I’ll never forget the hush that fell on the room as everyone turned their eyes on the "fat boy."