More Coping with Trauma Related Dissociation: Anger

Anger as a Substitute for other emotions:

Anger can sometimes be a substitute for other emotions that are hard to tolerate.  For example, it is not uncommon for people to express anger when they feel ashamed or afraid.


They may strike out at others, or toward them selves, or even both.  various dissociative parts may strike out at each other.  Anger also inhibits grief:   Sometimes it is important to finally grieve over what you have lost and cannot have, rather than continue to be angry that you do not have it.


Grieving is an important way of coming to terms with the reality of what is and then being able to move on.  Anger can keep people stuck, unable to find other ways to get what they need.


When anger is a cover for other emotions, an important part of anger resolution will be to accept and resolve those emotions.


4 responses to this post.

  1. What a perfect post for me right now. I find myself resorting to anger as a primary mechanism for coping, even though it doesn’t help the grieving process.

    I also wanted to note that I found myself attempting the breathing track as an act of desperation one night. I tried to remember everything that you had posted about it, but without internet handy at home (at the time) I resorted to memory of what I thought you had said. I envisioned a railroad track and positive thoughts coming in with inhaling and negative thoughts going out with exhale.

    At the time I didn’t know what else to do because I was absorbed in that PTSD state, allowing my past to consume me.

  2. Wow yes it has been a while.

    That is why we practice everyday so the. Reaching track will hold up when triggers fire and anger or fear or whatever other emotions present.

    I read this post as not only do Wehave parts of our personality stuck in childhood we also have emotions that could be stuck or averted.

    it is why’ve feel conflicted because emotions and parts are opposing fighting, suppressing or expressing.

    these emotions become stronger with anger and we leave this moment.

  3. very helpful and insightful post. thank you.

  4. Understanding anger is critical for trauma people. I always has this weird feeling. I was afraid to express my anger fully. My father was always critical and yelling or mad at me. it was his way to make me a better tougher athlete. He was always angry and it was dangerous to express anger around him. In fact it could be harmful.

    maybe I had so much pent up anger never used that all that scared me. Now not only do I have a choice if I want to be angry, most of the time I use that choice to acknowledge my ego is pissed right now, oh well.

    That “Oh Well” took me a long time to master but it brings the framework for calm and happiness. If thoughts fade with me present focused and empty of thought life is full and alive with excitement for me. A flower can bring me to a pleasant calm place.

    I needed so much less now. My neediness has given way to just being present. Know emotions are such a small impermanent part of us. The ego a golfball in a gigantic swimming pool. Small but created by us. A servant as our emotions.

    Work on the emotions, see if you can ride the breathing track and let an emotion pass on through. try with pleasant or unpleasant of happy or agitated. if you can see an emotion unattached to your, then things change.

    Keep riding the breathing track and exploring the body sensations and feeling tone underneath anger. let the story go and feel the inner sensations. Know where fear manifests inside your body. Some it is the neck or jaw area, some in the solar plexus and some in the fit, etc.

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