Healing suppressed anger for good health
In simple ways, when you eat something and it is not digested properly that food will remain stuck in your digestive system, or can cause digestive imbalances in the form of acidity, gastritis, or reflux. In the same way, when you get angry and it’s not processed properly or expressed properly either positively or negatively then the anger will remain stuck and become suppressed or repressed. According to Psychology, Anger is a normal human emotion that is a normal part of everyday life. Anger can range from slight irritation to raging fury. Anger can be triggered by various things, people, or circumstances like being stuck in a traffic jam, a flight getting delayed, or comments by a rude boss in the office. Every individual has own way of reacting to anger. Some people express anger physically and some verbally but some people don’t express it all and tend to suppress it to the point of morphing it into something else inside them like depression, guilt, fear, or shame. Some people deny their anger to the point where they become numb or shut down completely. Some people become sarcastic and they use their sarcasm in place of anger to avoid conflict. This type of behavior is called passive aggression. In passive–aggressive behavior people will criticize, become cynical, and put others down constantly to belittle them instead of getting angry with them.
EFFECTS OF ANGER
Apart from putting a body on alert mode or fight or flight mode anger if becomes chronic can put your body on a vicious cycle of stress response which further can lead to the inability to process other emotions as well along with anger. People who internalize anger hold it in their physical bodies and minds. They may project anger towards themselves and blame themselves mostly. In projecting anger inside of themselves, they might suffer from depression, anxiety, and somatic experiences like emotions turning into physical pain or ailments.
Childhood trauma is one of the major reason for repression of emotions or anger. This mental process of restrain behavior leaves the body’s defense mechanism vulnerable to diseases. So, when you constantly de-attach yourself from your emotions and put them to your unconscious mind then it leads your physiology getting imbalanced and chaotic. When your physiology goes chaotic it no longer protects you instead it destroy and attacks you leading to auto-immune disorders, cancers or trauma.
When you choose a place of less importance for your emotions inside of your body then your body will react in an inappropriate manner.
Author Gabor Mate in his best- selling book “When the body says no” explains the role of emotional repression in cancer. He says that in many people with malignancy there seemed to be an automatic denial of psychic or physical pain and of uncomfortable emotions like anger, sadness or rejection. He further says that the basic problem is not the external stress, such as the life events but an environmentally conditioned helplessness that allows neither of the normal responses of flight or fight. The resulting internal stress becomes repressed and therefore invisible. Eventually having unmet needs or having to meet the needs of others is no longer experienced as stressful, it feels normal. One is disarmed.
LINK BETWEEN CANCER AND ANGER
In an article published online in September 2017 in Psychology today – “ANGER AND CANCER, IS THERE A RELATIONSHIP? It says that today’s research suggests connection between intense and persistent anger which is suppressed, and cancer. Few studies suggest link between repressed emotions especially anger and lung cancer, it can even cause breast cancer the findings of which is consistent of link between breast cancer and repressed anger.
In an another study on PubMed online “Anger and cancer: an analysis of the linkages by S P Thomas , M Groer, M Davis, P Droppleman, J Mozingo, M Pierce.
This study shows that Extremely low anger scores have been noted in numerous studies of patients with cancer. Such low scores suggest suppression, repression, or restraint of anger. There is evidence to show that suppressed anger can be a precursor to the development of cancer, and also a factor in its progression after diagnosis. Some studies indicate that it may be beneficial for patients to mobilize anger to battle their cancer.
There is some proof that people who are diagnosed with cancer are not able to express positive feelings, make an extensive use of repression and use ego defense less frequently (Bahnson, 1981). Longer survival rate among cancer patients was linked with more frequent expression of hostility and other feelings (Derogatis, Abloff and Melisoratos, 1979).
Type ‘C’ personality people according to psychology are susceptible to cancer. They are basically nice people who never shows anger and other negative emotions in public. They are cooperative, helping, smiling, never hurting others but simultaneously never expressing their true feelings. These types of people are lonely, shy and seeking help from others. Type C personality is four times higher risk of cancer than others ( Derogatis et al, 1979).
In eastern philosophy, anger emotion is linked with liver organ and the normal direction of movement of Liver energy is partially upwards and partially outwards in all directions to ensure the smooth and uninterrupted flow of energy everywhere. When the Liver energy is stuck or blocked or not expressed in a healthy way then the liver energy gets heated up and attacks inside rather than outside. As from the above study you can see that those people who keeps their anger stuck inside and are unable to express it properly are prone to cancer.
The Liver function of ensuring the smooth flow of energy has a deep effect on the emotional state. On a physical level the smooth flow of liver energy helps the physiological activities of the whole human body. On a mental level, it ensures a balanced emotional life. When the liver is in top health the energy flows freely in the body.
The Chinese word for free flow of energy is “Shu Xie” which means ‘to flow’, ‘to let out’. Other terms which are used is ‘disperse’, extend, ‘loosen’, relax’, circulate, and make smooth and free. The western medicine will always remain at loss unless they integrate the concept of energy (Qi) in their science. Only reason Cancers and Autoimmune disorders are hard to cure in western medicine but if we combine both western and eastern medicine we conquer illnesses that are Incurable.
ANGER AND AUTOIMMUNITY
Repressed or suppressed anger and Liver plays an important role in innate and adaptive immunity according to research. In one of the studies it was found that liver plays important role in lupus and sjogrens disease because some cell receptors in the liver don’t work properly. Lupus and Sjogrens patients are good at suppressing their anger, they are not able to say ‘NO ’and they are very shy and not good at expressing their feelings. Several investigations found that Rheumatoid Arthritis patients one form of autoimmune disorder where joints are affected are self-sacrificing, masochistic, conforming, self- conscious, shy, inhibited, perfectionist and don’t show any anger signs.
The studies performed by Eyesenk (1992) demonstrated quite clearly that modifying personality and communication patterns “for the better” hugely reduced the tendency to become ill regardless of other factors. In other words if a person is able to bring changes to his/her personality traits through training can survive longer. Important elements in the training were-
1. Greater self-awareness
3. Improved communication
4. Group support
5. Finding new ways of dealing with stressful circumstances.
By Dr Abid Khan