Anger repressed

By Dave Henning / July 19, 2016

“Anger repressed can poison a relationship as surely as the cruelest words.”- Dr. Joyce Brothers

“Anger was designed to be a visitor, never a resident, in the human heart.”- Dr. Gary Chapman

Dr. Gary Chapman begins Chapter 6 (“Explosions and Implosions”) of Anger by noting that “implosive anger can be as damaging as explosive expressions of anger.”  Furthermore, Gary adds that explosive anger: (a) never is constructive; (b) directly hurts its intended target; and (c) destroys the self-esteem of the person who is out of control.

In contrast, implosive anger: (a) is not as easily recognized by others; (b) begins with silence and withdrawal- eventually leading to resentment, bitterness, and hatred; and (c) typically consists of three elements- denial, withdrawal, and brooding.  Next, Dr. Chapman takes a detailed look at those three elements.

1.  Denial. This response to anger tends to tempt Christians who have been taught that the emotion of anger is sinful.  However, denial doesn’t make anger disappear.  Whether or not one admits internalized anger, its destructive effects wreak havoc on the angry individual’s body and psyche.  Eventually, anger pushes its way to the surface, rendering denial useless.

2.  Withdrawal.  This response describes the central strategy of people struggling with implosive anger.  Distance, rather than denial, connotes the theme.  Therefore, the angry person reasons that creating distance from the offender diminishes anger over time.

3.  Brooding.  The angry person broods over the event that stimulated the anger.  As a result, the angry person’s mind replays the initial scene of wrongdoing ad infinitum– in technicolor with surround sound.  In addition, the angry person replays psychological audiotapes containing his/her analysis of the situation.

Today’s question: Have you responded to your  or vocation loss with explosion or implosion (anger repressed)?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Implosion destroys”


About the author

Dave Henning

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