I didn’t learn how to tap into my repressed anger until I was in my late 30’s. The unprocessed anger sitting in the pit of my stomach caused me to numb out using alcohol and drugs in my 20’s, and once I stopped those, I turned to food binges.
My repressed anger manifested in Candida yeast overgrowth and feeling victimized by the emotionally unavailable men I would attract into my life.
Anger is usually avoided like the plague. Most people were taught that anger is bad and you should never get angry. Anger, though, like all emotions, is healthy and needed.
Anger is healthy.
Anger alerts us that we need to set boundaries. It tells us something is wrong and gives us the energy to do something about it. If someone is using, abusing, neglecting, or violating you, the healthy response is to get angry and say STOP, and then if it continues, to take other self-affirming actions.
I hear people say they processed anger by talking about how pissed they were. That is like saying you processed grief by saying how sad you are. Both are thinking and talking about your emotions and not feeling them.
How anger gets repressed.
So where does repressed anger come from? As innocent children, we are 100% dependent on our caretakers. Most of us grew up in dysfunctional homes where our parents were not taking care of their own emotional needs and so they didn’t take care of ours. They left us crying in the crib, they told us not to feel the way we do or act the way we do. They may even have failed to protect us from sexual and other abuse in the home.
We had every right to feel angry but we didn’t express it; we repressed it to protect ourselves. We shut down, acted “perfect” and left our bodies to not feel the pain and anger. Back then, this actually served us well. However, when we experience neglect or abuse later in life, we tend to follow the same outdated patterns that can end up resulting in various symptoms and struggling to get what we really want.
The missing piece.
As adults, a lot of people are doing everything “perfect” to get healthy, including eating right, seeing healthcare providers, exercising, and meditating. Many are still suffering from chronic symptoms, depression, anxiety, and dysfunctional relationships though. Often, people using spiritual principles jump right over anger to forgiveness. They aren’t fully embodied and are still living unconsciously from their pain. You know it when they are talking love and light but you don’t feel their peace or see it in some of their actions.
Many people acknowledge that there is an emotional root cause to their symptoms so they try tapping (EFT), hypnotherapy, Reiki, affirmations, and other forms of healing to clear the emotions.
In my experience, while these provide temporary relief, the patterns of learned pain avoidance and anger repression are maintained.
The problem with many of these approaches is nobody is actually feeling the repressed anger. You can’t talk about it, tap it out or have someone else clear it for you.
YOU have to feel the anger.
Let go of the anger.
Try this next time you get triggered and feel angry: (when you are alone) take a pillow with two hands, lift it over your head, and bash it down on your bed while screaming “FUCK YOU!!!”.
Repressed emotions are stuck energy and you need to move the energy with your whole body. You feel it? Now yell “FUCK”… it comes from your gut, where the anger is buried.
Anger is a four-letter word.
You will also notice during the anger release that other long-buried emotions are also released, including sadness and joy. Also with the release, comes more energy!
Anger is an empowered emotion. It moves you out of your shame, despair, hopelessness, and stuck sadness and into courage, determination and love.
Once you express what’s repressed, your heart will open, forgiveness arises naturally, and you move on in gratitude.
Explore your defenses.
If this topic turns you off or makes you uncomfortable then there is more to explore, such as your unconscious beliefs: “mad is not okay, it is not safe to feel, my feelings don’t matter and I’d rather think (not feel) about my feelings.”
Anger release is a part of a more complete, effective, and efficient emotional healing process that I’ve developed to live a more fulfilled, free, and joyful life as the real you. Check out my free gift below to learn more…
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Elicia, I love your article but I live in an apartment. I can’t yell. Maybe I can yell, quietly?
Thank you! You can yell into a pillow 🙂
Punching pillows and yelling “quietly” worked. Yelling into a pillow, quietly works, as well. Yelling loudly in the car on the freeway works, too! Allowing my face to get ugly and say curse words really helps as long as I know I can’t be seen or heard. It’s exhilarating!
Initially I felt reluctant and doubtful to do anger-release…but once I got started it’s like a volcano eruption and I felt so much better after! Yelling into a pillow helps so much. Stomping my feet and jumping up and down helped too, and it felt good hurling my pillow full force into the walls as if i’m throwing it at the people i’m angry with. Thanks Elicia!
Great job Gwen! You’ve healed so much in such a short time too. xoxo