What is the appeal to the emotion of anger that it can become like an addiction? Can passive or suppressed anger become an addiction, too?

Anger can serve in the short run as a protection.  One is on guard against others’ injustices.  One is ready to defend oneself and loved ones from others’ harm.  Yet, if one is constantly vigilant against threat or perceived threat over a long period of time, then this can be exhausting. Also, the anger can grow in intensity and expression.  A key is to be aware of this so that the anger does not take up residence inside of the one treated unfairly.

Yes, even anger that is not conscious can be addictive.  The person may be rewarded internally for the flow of adrenaline that makes the person feel strong and ready.  The adrenaline flow itself can become addictive so that the person thinks certain thoughts, keeps the muscles tight, and the emotions always ready.  The person’s unconscious anger can be uncovered by focusing on the symptoms of that anger (thoughts, muscle tightness, and so forth).

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness

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