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Feeling Angry Is Normal, Acting Out Hurts Everyone

Feeling angry all the time is often a characteristic of someone who has experienced trauma or been hurt. It’s also part of addiction. How do anger and addiction go together? We get this question all the time. They are related, and when you add stress and anxiety you get a toxic cocktail that causes many to numb out with substances and other diversions. Read more to understand how these all fit together and what you can do about it to stop the cycle.

Feeling Angry and Addiction

Everybody has anger. So why do anger and addiction seem to go together? Is anger some by-product of addiction and dependency? What we know is that any time we’re angry and we’re feeling anger, we know that underneath that anger there’s a hurt. There’s something that’s hurting us inside.

For those suffering from addiction or dependency, there’s a belief it’s not okay, for one reason or another, to express our anger. We cut ourselves off from that and it festers along with the original hurt episode or stimulus.

Anger Leads to Depression

Typically when we cut ourselves off from anger, we begin to feel depression. Depression is nothing more than anger turned inward. Next, most of us don’t want to feel what hurts inside. That’s why it’s called that. Hurt is not pleasant. It’s something we’re wired to avoid. Similar to when we stub our toe and it hurts tremendously – this is the physical body’s way of telling us not to do that again and be careful with the toe so it can heal properly. The same hurting principles apply to emotional wounds.

To avoid the hurt, we’ll cut ourselves off from feeling that as well. Now, that we’re not going to feel our hurt and we’re not going to feel our anger, we have our emotions bouncing back-and-forth, just kind of slow bounce, up and down.

From Anger and Depression to Anxiety and Panic

This emotional bouncing up and down is what we call anxiety. We’re not settled. A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. As we’re on this cycle of suppressing anger and hurt and feeling anxious, the world of course can then intervene. It does for all of us, not only those with dependencies. The world introduces stress as a normal course of human affairs.

With stress added to anxiety, we’ve now moved into panic mode. The emotional bouncing back-and-forth accelerates and then we get panic. What do we do about all this? Well, right now we’re saying, “Man, I don’t want to feel my anxiety, my panic, my stress, my depression.”

So we use. Substances and other dependencies follow. For many of us, this is living on the edge.

Does this sound familiar?

Anger Hurt Loving Model

There is a way out of this cycle. We deal with situations like this all the time and use something called the “Anger, Hurt, Loving Model” to begin to address it.

The way out is to learn constructive ways to express our anger and to make it okay to feel the hurtful episodes and other emotional hurts. When we do that, we’re able to apply love to the parts inside that hurt and then we’re able to heal.

What can you do about someone else’s anger? If it’s related to alcohol or substance use, you need to take care of yourself because people who use substances can be very destructive and even dangerous.

More Articles To Read

Coping with a disrespectful Teen

Letting Go Of Anger For Healthy Aging


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Dr. Tian Dayton
Dr. Dayton is the Director of Program Development for Breathe Life Healing Center. She is the author of fifteen books most recently The ACoA Trauma Syndrome, 
Emotional Sobriety,Trauma and Addiction:, Forgiving and Moving On , The Living Stage, and has developed a model for using sociometry and psychodrama to resolve issues related to Relationship Trauma Repair. Find more of her articles on her website: www.tiandayton.com.

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