What Is Repressed Anger? Its Causes, Symptoms & How to Deal with It?

Anger, a universal emotion, is often a significant part of our daily lives. But what happens when anger isn’t expressed, buried deep within, shielded from the world and even from ourselves?

Yes, I am talking about repressed anger!

While anger is a natural and normal emotion, suppressing it can lead to many issues. This blog will emphasize the importance of understanding, identifying, and effectively coping with repressed anger.

By doing so, we aim to prevent its negative impacts on individuals’ well-being. Repressed anger can manifest in various ways, affecting our mental health, physical well-being, and relationships.

Understanding and addressing anger can foster emotional well-being, healthier relationships, and improved quality of life.

This blog will explore the topic of repressed anger. We will cover the causes, signs, health impact, and coping strategies to help you control anger.

What Is Repressed Anger?

Repressed anger occurs when anger is not addressed and avoided. It can lead to self-harm, poor self-esteem, self-sabotaging tendencies, physical pains, and relationship issues.

Repressed anger is a powerful and often intense emotion that has been pushed down, buried, or denied rather than expressed healthily. Repressed anger occurs when we consciously or unconsciously stifle our angry feelings, bottling them up inside.

What is the Difference Between Repressed and Suppressed Anger?

Repressed anger is not the same as suppressed anger, although the two are closely related. Suppressed anger is when we’re aware of our anger but choose not to express it, often to avoid conflict or because it doesn’t feel like the right time to address it.

Repressed anger, on the other hand, typically involves an unconscious avoidance and denial of anger. It’s when we’ve pushed anger so deep within us that we may not even recognize it’s there.

Key Characteristics of Repressed Anger

One of the key characteristics of repressed anger is that it often operates on a subconscious level. Individuals with repressed anger may not even realize they’re angry.

Instead, they might experience various physical and emotional symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, or even depression without understanding that anger is the underlying issue.

Repressed anger can stem from various sources. Regardless of its origins, understanding and addressing repressed anger is crucial for emotional well-being, as it can have significant and far-reaching consequences for mental health and relationships.

Causes & Triggers of Repressed Anger


Repressed anger is usually caused by external reasons, such as feeling upset at a specific person or situation, shame, repressed feelings, and internal factors, such as thinking about any problematic problem or unpleasant memory.

Here are some of the underlying triggers of repressed anger:

  • Having neurotic tendencies
  • Being rejected in the past for expressing anger
  • Experiencing trauma (chronic)
  • Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Limited emotional intelligence
  • Struggling with emotion regulation and impulse control
  • Having the innate desire to please others
  • Internal agitation
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Sadness

Identifying the underlying reason for your anger will help you reduce exposure to these triggers and understand how to release repressed anger! Let’s explore the main causes of repressed anger in detail.

1. Traumatic Experiences in Childhood

One significant cause of repressed anger can be traced back to childhood. Traumatic experiences during youth, such as abuse, neglect, or witnessing domestic violence, can deeply imprint repressed anger in a person’s psyche.

In such cases, the child learns to hide their anger as a survival mechanism or to avoid further harm, leading to a pattern of suppressing emotions that may persist into adulthood.

2. Influence of Cultural Norms

Cultural norms also play a substantial role in shaping how individuals express anger. In some cultures, openly expressing anger is considered taboo and is often met with social stigma.

This can lead to repressed anger as individuals internalize societal expectations, suppressing their emotional responses, even when anger is a valid reaction.

3. Impact of Childhood Environment

The emotional environment during childhood can be a powerful influence. Children growing up in households where anger expression is discouraged may internalize the idea that anger is unacceptable.
Consequently, they learn to repress their anger and may struggle to recognize or cope with it effectively in later life.

4. Various Causes and Triggers

Repressed anger can also result from a multitude of causes and triggers. Rejection, whether in relationships or at work, can lead to feelings of inadequacy and anger that are suppressed. Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can exacerbate repressed anger. Substance use, as a coping mechanism or a result of repressed anger, can further complicate the issue.

Understanding the diverse causes of anger issues and triggers of repressed anger is essential. It allows individuals to recognize the roots of their suppressed emotions, promoting self-awareness and the ability to address and cope with repressed anger more healthily and productively.

Signs of Repressed Anger

Repressed anger doesn’t typically announce its presence with loud, apparent signals. Instead, it may manifest in subtle shifts in your personality and behavior.

You might find yourself feeling inexplicably irritable, anxious, or generally dissatisfied. Negative thoughts might become more frequent, and you might meditate on past grievances. Here are some of the signs you need to identify.

1. Defensiveness

One common sign of repressed anger is defensiveness. When someone addresses a concern or conflict with you, you may become overly defensive, reacting as if you’re being attacked.

This defensiveness can be a way of guarding against the release of repressed anger as if admitting any fault or anger would open the floodgates.

2. Chronic Tension

Individuals with repressed anger often experience chronic tension in their bodies. This tension can manifest as headaches, jaw clenching, or persistent muscle pain. It’s like your body trying to express what your mind keeps hidden.

3. Discomfort with Conflict

Repressed anger can make you uncomfortable with conflict in any form. You may avoid confrontations, even when necessary, and find it challenging to express your true feelings.

This discomfort with conflict is rooted in the fear that addressing anger will lead to an uncontrollable emotional outburst.

4. Missing Early Anger Cues

One of the complexities of repressed anger is that individuals often miss the early cues indicating their anger. This is because the anger is so deeply buried that it becomes almost subconscious.

Consequently, individuals might not recognize these subtle signs as manifestations of anger, further complicating the process of addressing and coping with repressed anger.

Understanding these signs and being attuned to subtle changes in your thoughts, feelings, and behavior is crucial in acknowledging and addressing repressed anger. By recognizing these early cues, you can unravel the layers of suppressed emotions and work towards healthier and more constructive anger expression.

Irritability, anxiety, and wrath are some emotional signs of repressed anger. A person’s thoughts and feelings might become repressed. Some people may struggle to control their thoughts and even consider harming themselves.

  • Using cynicism or sarcasm as a coping mechanism
  • Inability to confront someone
  • Avoiding the situation
  • Not anger but depression
  • Being passive aggressive
  • Being over-controlling
  • Headache or muscle tension
  • Inability to stand up for yourself
  • Constantly complaining
  • Isolating yourself
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Criticizing yourself
  • Feeling ashamed and guilty

If you experience repressed anger symptoms frequently, it is time to get the proper diagnosis and focus on management strategies. Here are other signs associated with repressed anger.

Symptoms of Repressed Anger

Repressed anger, like a hidden toxin, can silently erode your well-being and quality of life. Here are the main negative effects of repressed anger on an individual’s physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.

1. Impact on Physical Health

Repressed anger is not solely an emotional burden; it also takes a toll on your physical health. Chronic stress from anger can lead to various issues, including high blood pressure, heart problems, and a weakened immune system.

The long-term physical strain from repressed anger can increase the risk of severe health conditions, affecting overall quality of life.

2. Influence on Mental Health

Mental health bears a significant brunt from repressed anger. It can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression as the emotional pressure builds within. The continuous repression of anger exacerbates these conditions, making it harder to manage and recover from them.

Additionally, individuals with repressed anger are at an increased risk of developing addictions as they may turn to substances or unhealthy behaviors as a coping mechanism.

3. Impaired Relationships, Communication, and Workplace Challenges

Repressed anger can significantly hinder your interactions with others. It often leads to communication difficulties as you struggle to express your needs and feelings openly and honestly.

It can lead to anger at the workplace or ruin your relationship. In a relationship, anger can result in misunderstandings and unaddressed conflicts. In the workplace, it might lead to challenges in collaboration and productivity.

4. Overall Toll on Quality of Life

The sum of these effects dramatically burdens your overall quality of life. Living with repressed anger can lead to a life marked by physical ailments, emotional turmoil, damaged relationships, and unfulfilled potential. It’s like carrying a weight that grows heavier with time, hindering your ability to enjoy a whole and healthy life.

Recognizing these negative effects is the first step in addressing repressed anger and mitigating its impact on your life. By understanding the toll it can take on your physical and mental health, relationships, and quality of life, you can begin to work towards healthier anger expression and emotional well-being.

If you experience these symptoms on a frequent basis, it is time to get the proper diagnosis and then focus on management strategies.

12 Strategies to Manage Repressed Anger

Addressing repressed anger is associated with emotional well-being and healthier relationships. It’s a process of unearthing suppressed emotions and finding constructive ways to express them.

Let’s explore the strategies helpful in dealing with repressed anger in detail so you can understand how to express your anger constructively.

1. Identify the Source of Anger

Understanding the source of your repressed anger is essential to finding the roots of a problem. Take time to reflect on your past experiences, the situations that trigger anger, and recurring patterns of emotions that you may have buried.

It’s about recognizing the events, people, or memories contributing to your suppressed anger. By identifying these sources, you gain insight into the complex landscape of your emotions, shedding light on why certain situations may trigger your anger more than others.

This self-awareness is a crucial first step toward effectively managing repressed anger. It provides the knowledge needed to address the core issues and tackle the emotions constructively, preventing them from being suppressed again.

2. Track Anger in Your Body

Repressed anger often manifests physically before it’s acknowledged consciously. You can detect early signs of anger by tracking physical cues such as muscle tension, headaches, rapid heartbeat, or even stomach discomfort. These physical cues act as silent alarms, signaling your body reacts to an emotional trigger.

Paying attention to these sensations helps you become more attuned to your suppressed emotions. It’s like your body whispering that something is amiss emotionally.

By recognizing these physical manifestations, you can catch anger in its early stages, allowing you to address it before it escalates into a more significant issue.

3. Start Journaling


Journaling is a cathartic process for managing repressed anger. Writing about your feelings, experiences, and reactions provides a safe and private space to express your emotions. It allows you to articulate the anger you may have difficulty expressing otherwise.

Journaling can help you make sense of your emotions, trace patterns in your anger triggers, and delve deeper into the root causes of your repressed anger. It offers a way to release emotions in a controlled environment without fearing judgment or conflict.

Writing can be therapeutic, serving as an emotional outlet and a tool for personal reflection, ultimately aiding you in managing repressed anger.

4. Practice Deep Breathing


When you’re upset, try gently inhaling and exhaling. This helps to lower your heart rate. Deep breathing exercises might also help you redirect your attention away from the source of your anger and into your breathing. This little diversion might help you get over your anger without ignoring it.

5. Perform Exercises

do physical exercises

Physical activity can be a powerful and effective approach in managing repressed anger. Engaging in exercises like jogging, yoga, or even a brisk walk releases the physical tension that often accompanies suppressed anger.

Exercise helps reduce stress and triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Incorporating physical activity into your routine can improve your overall mood and reduce the physical symptoms of repressed anger.

Exercise becomes a constructive channel for releasing pent-up emotions. It can act as a vital component of your anger management strategy.

6. Use I-Statements

When it comes to addressing your anger, communication is critical. One effective technique is to use “I-statements.”

Instead of saying, “You made me angry when…,” which can come across as blaming and defensive, opt for statements like, “I felt hurt when…,” which expresses your emotions without accusing or putting the other person on the defensive.

I-statements” foster open and honest communication, allowing you to express your feelings without escalating conflict. They encourage the other person to listen and understand your perspective, making it easier to address anger constructively.

By employing this communication technique, you can engage in more productive conversations in personal or professional relationships.

7. Practicing Meditation


Meditation techniques, particularly mindfulness, offer a path to self-awareness and emotional control. Mindfulness meditation teaches you to stay present, observing your emotions without judgment. It helps you become more aware of your emotional landscape, including repressed anger.

By meditation regularly, you can recognize emotional triggers as they arise, allowing you to address your anger. This heightened awareness fosters self-control and emotional well-being.

Meditation offers a valuable tool for managing repressed anger, enabling you to stay composed, even in challenging situations, and providing a healthier outlet for your emotions.

8. Opt for an Anger Management Course

enrol now in anger management course

Sometimes, professional guidance is necessary to manage repressed anger effectively. Anger management courses provide structured support and a safe environment to explore emotions.

Mastering Anger offers some of the most effective anger management classes that teach techniques and strategies for understanding and coping with anger constructively.

In a group or individual setting, you can dive into the roots of your repressed anger and learn healthier ways to express it.

An anger management course offers a structured approach to address suppressed emotions, providing valuable insights and strategies to navigate the complex terrain of repressed anger. It’s a proactive step toward emotional well-being and healthier emotional expression.

9. Talk to a Therapist


If you suspect you have an anger issue, it may be time to see a therapist about the issue and your emotional requirements. Talking to a skilled mental health expert can help you overcome anger problems.

10. Find Social Support


It might be tough to understand how to deal with repressed anger. You can, however, pull it off. Talking about your problem with a friend or loved one might also be helpful.

While some people may be ashamed to disclose their issues to anybody they know, others may find it quite beneficial. Furthermore, you may discover that your relatives are dealing with the same problem, as it can happen in families.

11. Challenge your Thoughts


When dealing with anger, mental health practitioners usually use cognitive restructuring, which encourages you to replace negative beliefs with sensible ones. This mental change enables you to calm your thinking, clarify your thoughts, and target the feeling of being ashamed and embarrassed.

12. Change your Surroundings


A change in environment might sometimes be sufficient to prevent anger from being contained. You may, for example, create the space you need to calm down and go ahead by placing distance between yourself and the conditions causing anger.

While permanent separation may not be possible, taking a brief vacation from the trigger might help you deal with repressed anger.


In this blog, we have explored the topic of repressed anger, so you can understand it better. Repressed anger affects our emotional well-being and affects our physical health, relationships, and overall quality of life.

The attempt to understand, acknowledge, and address repressed anger is not only focused on emotional health; it’s a critical step towards a more fulfilling, well-balanced life.

As we conclude, we urge you to recognize the importance of acknowledging your repressed anger. Identifying its sources, tracking its presence in your body, or journaling your emotions are steps toward emotional liberation. Seek support through meditation or professional guidance to pave a path towards healthier emotional expression.

Remember that you can free yourself from the silent torment of suppressed emotions. Doing so opens the door to a life marked by emotional freedom, improved relationships, and a heightened quality of living.

Your well-being is worth it, and the path to emotional liberation begins with the first step!

Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC

Dr. Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC specializes in anger management, family conflict resolution, marital and premarital conflict resolution. His extensive knowledge in the field of anger management may enable you to use his tested methods to deal with your anger issues.


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