While reading the book “Overcoming Hurts & Anger: Finding Freedom From Negative Emotions” by Dwight Carlson, MD, I ran across the following data that made my jaw drop
Many of us are walking around as ticking time bombs just waiting for someone to trigger our explosion.
If you were raised in a conservative, highly religious household, you’re probably suppressing a lot of anger as many conservative individuals believe that outward display of anger is not acceptable. This is true of the Christian faith where “turning the other cheek” is more of a rule than slight suggestion.
As Dr. Carlson pointed out, the numerous studies conducted showing incarcerated murderers who never had run-ins with the law before, yet somehow they “snapped”, killed someone (usually a family member), and ended up in prison.
We keep throwing around the phrase “mental health issues” as they relate to shooting incidents. But let’s really look at it.
Anger is mental and anger impacts our health. Our inability to properly manage our anger impacts our mental and physical health. Look at the laundry list of medical issues associated with anger:
Do you see one or more of your issues on this list?
I do. I found at least 10 issues on this list that I never had a “cause” for. In 2015 alone I visited more than 6 doctors because of pain that shot down my lower back through my hips, all the way to my feet. It felt like fire it was so intense. I would cry out in pain. A rheumatologist suggested that I just take anti-inflammatory pills for the rest of my life, knowing the detrimental impact it would have on my liver and kidneys. I opted against it.
Doctors could never answer why these various issues were happening to me. Now I know. It’s my anger boiling outward and attacking my body and brain. It would explain why when I opted to steer away from western medicine and turned towards eastern medicine and the use of acupuncture, I started noticing a difference. When I coupled it with counseling sessions and a change in diet, I felt totally different. I was redirecting and managing the negative energy.
I’m currently under a great deal of stress and have been experiencing dermatological conditions to my face and hands, and hives on my face. With the stress is depression. Stress is the code word for “anger”. It sounds better and safer to say “I’m stressed” than to say “I’m angry” or “I’m pissed the heck off”.
How often do you hear people saying “I’m stressed”? When was the last time you said it?
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Dr. Carlson made a valid point that the vast majority of times our anger issues are overlooked because doctors are treating the overtly obvious symptoms (what you initially came in complaining about) but not looking for the underlying and much more menacing cause—anger.
I was shocked when I saw cancer on the list.
Oftentimes we dissect and analyze how a person eats or any environmental factors (air quality, chemicals, pollutants, etc) that could have caused the cancer. What if the foundation is suppressed anger that is triggered by diet and/or environment? Or vice versa.
The two known cancers are of the large colon and of the breasts. Think about it. The largest percentage of patients with these types of cancer are women, the reigning champions of suppressed anger. We pack it down and try to pretend it’s not there, as it slow-boils us from within.
Think about it.
Now let’s look at our anger unleashed on others….
The young man in Florida who just shot up the high school. His mother recently passed away and his girlfriend broke up with him. If his family also struggled financially then he too would feel that struggle.
Suppressed anger that explodes becomes displaced anger if there’s not one particular target of your anger. But it’s clear where his mind was and wasn’t because he surrendered without further incident. He had no desire to go down fighting in a blaze of glory. He was remorseful after, placed on suicide watch. That’s what happens when you come down off of the anger high.
Dr. Carlson cited that:
“The suppressor” of anger does one or more of the following: 1) he consciously inhibits his anger; 2) he denies that he is feeling angry in situations in which most people would feel anger; 3) he experiences guilt after expressing anger.
Source: Harris. S. Goldstein, et al
The DC Sniper’s rampage was all over his attempt to cover up his retaliation against his ex. He wanted to kill her and cover it up by killing others. His anger towards her was so toxic that he couldn’t just focus his rage on her, he rationalized the murders and injuries of numerous other people in hope of fleeing and not getting caught.
Imagine if he had simply found a positive way to release his anger towards his ex, then no one would be deceased and he and his nephew (I believe that was the relationship) would have never taken part in such a heinous crime. They would be living their lives like the rest of us.
The Menendez brothers brutally murdered their parents in what they deemed self-defense. After years of sexual, physical, psychological, verbal, and financial abuse, a moment triggers paranoia that a veiled threat was a clear indication that their parents would keep their word to kill both brothers—to protect the family legacy, reputation and empire. So whether or not you believe the brothers, they purchased shotguns and killed their parents out of fear and rage. Now their parents are deceased, the brothers have been incarcerated in separate prisons, the money is gone, and nothing has been resolved. Those issues still plague and haunt the brothers. They are still being devoured from within. Because they live with the grief of knowing that they killed their parents.
Anger is a thief and a killer.
We will eventually discover the anger issues that triggered the Las Vegas shooter. His suppressed anger boiled over and he made the decision that he would not only take out innocent people but take his own life to spare the torment of facing man’s judgment. As though God’s judgment will be lighter. Yes, that was slight sarcasm.
Look closely at the majority of police-involved shootings. The anxiety and anger that boils up because a person or suspect refuses to comply or doesn’t comply as the officer demands, and the situation quickly escalates. Finger on trigger. Sudden movement. Trigger pulled.
Trayvon Martin was killed because a man got angry at how a boy addressed him and didn’t respect him as the authority figure he perceived himself to be as a neighborhood security patrolman. This man felt that he deserved as much respect and fear as law enforcement officers. He had a gun and he was going to prove a point once and for all. That gun would make the boy respect and fear him. Things quickly escalated and this man shot and killed a teenage boy whose only mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time on the receiving end of an angry, insecure, inadequate shell of a man. Some people quickly pointed the finger of blame towards Trayvon, dug up as much dirt as they could to prove that he caused his own murder. Trayvon did not unholster that gun and pull that trigger. His killer did. Then for several years after we have witnessed this man roam freely breaking laws, causing more harm, auctioning the murder weapon, and never getting help for his anger issues.
Can you see the common thread being sewn?
We’re not just talking about mental illness in the light of the stereotypical crazy person who walks around speaking in garbled tongue, professing to see images and hear voices. That is the extreme case. We’re talking about basic anger left unharnessed and not tended to.
Improper expression of anger over an extended period of time can create mental illness. Research shows that anger can lead to depression and sleep disorders. We read and hear testimony of perpetrators who were severely depressed and suffering from sleep deprivation.
What happens to your mind and body when you don’t get enough sleep?
Now tack on top of that depression and the boiling anger that is waiting to be unleashed on something, someone—anyone.
Just because I haven’t listed examples of women and girls as perpetrators doesn’t mean we don’t have a huge anger issue targeting females. That would be a lie. Do an online search of girls fighting. You will see hundreds upon hundreds of videos and images of little girls as young as age six fighting. Then the brutality increases the older the females involved. There’s footage of bloody fights involving teenage girls and adult women, fighting in the streets, front yard lawns, in parking lots, and at malls and shopping centers. It appears that the public actually prefers watching females fight more than males. You even have videos of women, now-celebrities, like Cardi B, fighting with other young women over who knows what. With society forcing girls to be tougher, girls are rising to the occasion at alarming rates trying to prove that they can hang with the boys and can be crowned the “baddest bitch” so that other females don’t challenge them, and if they do, they might receive a beat down or a chance to snatch that crown.
In many ways I would say that females are more dangerous than males, because that anger is suppressed in a way that mixes an explosive concoction that is difficult to contain once released. We try to channel boys energy through the playing of sports. How do we channel and redirect that same energy for girls?
We’re seeing a rise of females joining male-dominated gangs, and female-led gangs. There’s a rise in the female juvenile detention rates as well as the number of women in prison. Watch the television shows “Scared Straight” and “Beyond Scared Straight”, it’s not just boys in these programs. Girls are facing a lot of issues and those unchecked emotions grow into boiling hot anger, and without proper guidance on how to release this anger, girls are unleashing it with a vengeance.
When we see mothers in jail and prison the first thought is, “where is her child? and who is taking care of him/her?” Well if mom is locked up and dad isn’t in the picture or is also locked up, that leaves family or a child welfare agency. During the most vulnerable and valuable period of a child’s life, they are missing out on the love, nurturing, protection and guidance of their mother and father. Damage done. If that damage grows with the child and causes anger to raise its ugly head, the unhealthy consequences can be detrimental, and create a chain reaction that ultimately leads the child down the same path as their parents.
A negative cycle created.
Bullying is on the rise. We have the traditional face-to-face bullying and now cyber bullying. It’s being experienced by children, teens, and adults of all races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and socioeconomic statuses.
Everyone is feeling picked on so we’re picking on other people for a moment of twisted euphoria that is quickly replaced by even more rage—because the bullying doesn’t stop the things that are happening to the bully. He or she is still experiencing their own trauma and the temporary thrill they can from bullying someone else is always short-lived which frustrates them, so they increase the frequency and intensity of their antics in an attempt to flood out the feelings and experiences tormenting them.
The tormented becomes the tormentor, and a cycle is created.
The outcome of our 2016 election proved a point—Americans are pissed off. We are angry. We are depressed. We feel taken advantage of. We feel victimized. We want and need someone to blame for all of our financial, mental, and physical problems.
The election cycle played to these concerns and daily plucked at them like guitar strings, until a song was formed that brought forth the unlikely pairing of groups of people to elect the candidate most swore didn’t stand a chance. But people weren’t paying attention to his message and how it would resonate with people suffering. Now the masses are beginning to see but how do you reach those victims who are disillusioned and distracted by the venomous propaganda that has brainwashed their already toxic and tormented minds?
America has anger issues and if we don’t manage them properly we will destroy this great country and others. We have become our own cancer and we are slowly eating away at progress, destroying families, disrespecting the principles expressed and implied by the founding fathers through the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and our potential destruction of amendments passed down over the years that support the earlier documents protecting all men and women who step foot on this land as immigrants and refugees—just like the Pilgrims and the millions of people who arrived to this land as foreigners.
Sadly we are also making a mockery of the Christian Savior millions of Americans claim their ultimate allegiance to—Jesus Christ. For he was and is the example of how we are to care for ourselves and treat others. He provided the examples for how to deal with anger, fear, and depression—and how to heal from sin, disease, and death.
I strongly recommend that you read Dr. Carlson’s book. I also recommend that you create a checklist to identify what things and people anger you, and why. Then seek help with addressing your anger, whether it’s outwardly explosive or tucked in and suppressed, laying dormant until triggered to release a fury no one has ever seen.
Your inability to positively channel your negative energy, called anger, is causing you mental and physical health issues—and it’s negatively impacting the lives of those around you: your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, church members, and complete strangers.
If you have children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, or cousins, it’s imperative that you positively intervene to get them the help that they need to learn how to properly manage their anger. We need to break these chains of bondage. We need to break this anger cycle that is passed on generationally.
I want to live a long and healthy life surrounded by loved ones. I’m taking my first steps towards healing. I hope that you do the same.
Copyright 2018. Natasha L. Foreman/Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.
Dwight Carlson, MD. (2000). Overcoming Hurts & Anger: Finding Freedom From Negative Emotions
Harris. S. Goldstein, et al “Relationship of Resting Blood Pressure and Heart Rate to Experienced Anger and Expressed Anger,” Psychosomatic Medicine, 1988, Vol 50, pp. 321-329.