22 Signs You’re Repressing Too Much Anger

Most of us experience anger from time to time. It is a natural emotion. Some, however, repress it. Is this you? 22 signs you're repressing too much anger...

Most of us don’t know ourselves. We think we do, but this is mostly mental abstraction. We have an image, and a story, but very rarely do we have a complete and honest picture of who we really are.

Yet knowing oneself is the only true way any of us can make any real progress, find any measurement of personal peace and help aid in the transformation to a better world.

One of the greatest hindrances to this is repressed anger. As with so many of our natural emotions, we are taught to hold anger in from an early age, as it is socially unacceptable. Hence we grow up bottling a lot of powerfully charged negative emotion that doesn’t go away, but instead finds its outlet through other behaviours and physical symptoms. Many of us don’t realize how much anger we still hold inside.

Compiled at surrenderworks.com, this list of the psychological symptoms of repressed anger should give you a clear idea of just where you land on it. Everyone has a certain amount, but if you find yourself mentally checking off more items than not in this summary, chances are you’ve got some mental house-cleaning to do.

As always, finding a way to express your repressed emotions remains the most natural and, likely, the quickest, most authentic method for integrating them and moving forward in a more whole, honed, effective version of who you are. Yet finding a way to do so in a culture that is increasingly ready to shame you for nearly anything can be challenging, to put it lightly.

If you can’t find a way to consciously sublimate (i.e. through art, sport or gratifying work), then therapy, meditation and mindfulness are all things fit for the task. It is vitally important to remember, however, not to allow shame or guilt to continue as the impetus for such an undertaking. If you find that neither is being dissolved over the course of the process–that is, if more items on this list persist than not–then you have simply found a more complex form of repression to engage, and the powerlessness/anger cycle will continue.

Though it seems paradoxical, radical acceptance of both our light and dark sides (everyone has a dark side, but many have become quite good at hiding it) is the first step towards creating change that works for you. Doing so opens the door to compassion for oneself, if only a crack, but enough to let the light get in; certain psychological aspects that are no longer serving us are then illuminated, and thereby either opened to integration or weakened in our recognition of them, and the beginnings of a positive feed-back loop is underway.

Remember, each of us has a lot of these signs to one degree or another, but that doesn’t mean we’re not ok. Many of them could be manifestations of other issues, or just the wear and tear of daily life.

Then again… you’ve read this far for one reason or another. So if you find yourself being unusually stirred by this list, check in with your doctor, find a well-rounded psychologist to work with, or look for some highly renowned literature on the subject.

Good luck!


1) Procrastination in the completion of imposed tasks.

2) Perpetual or habitual lateness.

3) A liking for sadistic or ironic humor.

4) Sarcasm, cynicism or flippancy in conversation.

5) Frequent sighing.

6) Over politeness, constant cheerfulness, attitude of “grin and bear it”.

7) Smiling while hurting.

8) Frequent disturbing or frightening dreams.

9) Over-controlled monotone speaking voice

10) Difficulty in getting to sleep or sleeping through the night.

11) Boredom, apathy, loss of interest in things you are usually enthusiastic about.

12) Slowing down of movements.

13) Getting tired more easily than usual.

14) Excessive irritability over trifles.

15) Getting drowsy at inappropriate times.

16) Sleeping more than usual / maybe 12 to 14 hours a day.

17) Waking up tired rather than rested or refreshed.

18) Clenched jaws or grinding of the teeth / especially while sleeping.

19) Facial tics, spasmodic foot movements, habitual fist clenching and similar repeated physical acts done unintentionally or unaware.

20) Chronically stiff or sore neck or shoulder muscles.

21) Chronic depression… extended periods of feeling down for no reason.

22) Stomach ulcers.


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  1. […] Anger, frustration, terror and betrayal are often the first feelings that show up once you get laid off. For some, this experience can be akin to some other very serious life situations, even the death of a loved one. I mean, it is your survival we’re talking about here, along with your pride, identity, sense of self-worth, etc. It can be very challenging to bounce back, but it must be done. […]

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