Anger: The Mismanaged Emotion

Sandra P. Thomas


Dermatology Nursing. 2003;15(4) 

In This Article


Lack of relationship reciprocity is a frequent trigger of a woman's anger. The woman feels pressed, stretched, and almost pulled apart by multiple demands, and she wants someone or something to change but often feels powerlessness to make this happen. In many cases, she does not feel that the other person really listens to her requests. Cooking metaphors, such as "simmering," "stewing," or "slow boil," are often used to describe the undercurrent of unexpressed anger within her body. The suppressed anger sometimes "leaks" bit by bit, through passive-aggressive behaviors. Overt anger sometimes does emerge, usually as the culmination of a buildup of grievances over time. However, a volcanic angry outburst is not necessarily efficacious in bringing about the desired changes, and usually leads to self-recrimination over the loss of control. After all, the woman has learned during gender role socialization that direct anger expression is unfeminine and unattractive. Her female role models may have conveyed their feelings indirectly through sulking or sighing. Although relatively rare within the data, there are some examples of women using their anger in a more constructive fashion; they are able to ask assertively for what they need to address a problem or restore relationship reciprocity.


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