Some people might say, "I don't really get angry" or "It takes a lot to make me angry"—but anger can manifest in different ways we might not recognize. Sometimes it looks like yelling or contempt. Other times it can look like sarcasm, backhanded remarks, passive aggressive comments, or eye rolling. It can even look like withdrawal or shutting down.
People sometimes say they are afraid to get angry… which is ironic because the root of anger is often fear. I experience this myself from time to time: I will get angry at someone because, deep down, my sense of order and safety feels threatened, or perhaps I fear their disapproval. But fear is just one of many emotions that can drive anger. Anger is like a pair of boots we put on over our true feelings.
It may sounds strange, but we need our anger. It's important information. Anger can be an indication of sadness, fear, shame, frustration, or something else. Maybe it's pointing out a need to set boundaries. Maybe it's telling you that you are worried about something.
When we feel anger building up, it’s a good opportunity to investigate what’s really going on. If an angry moment passes too quickly to examine at the time, thinking about it when things have calmed down can be illuminating. If you can discover the emotion underneath the anger, consider telling someone you trust about what you've learned. Often, just expressing whatever it is will have a remedial effect. Whatever you find out, remember to apply lots of self-compassion.