Suppressed Anger & Fears of Abandonment

Does anyone else have difficulty owning their anger? By this I mean do you find that you get angry with yourself when you feel anger towards another person, if that makes any sense?!

Basically I feel very uncomfortable with my own anger towards others and I’m trying to work through this issue.

Any anger I feel towards a friend or loved one I struggle to deal with. I think it might be due to a fear of abandonment: if I’m angry with those I love- I might push them away, which is always the last thing I want!

Black & White Thinking

My thinking around all this is probably very black & white, which is a well known cognitive distortion in those with psychological issues. If I feel angry I judge this as a “bad” feeling. I often transfer this to thinking that I am a “bad” person for feeling “bad” emotions.

Black & White Thinking & Bipolar Disorder

To me, black & white thinking & beliefs seem to merge very well with the idea of Bipolar Disorder. The word Bipolar means two polar opposites- such as hot and cold, or indeed, black & white.

As we develop through childhood, do we learn to see ourselves as all good or all bad?

Do we reject the bad side of ourselves & embrace only the good?- Hypomania/Mania.

Do we accept only the bad and none of the good?- Depression.

Depression is sometimes thought to be caused by suppressed anger– anger that we consciously push out of our awareness or ignore. In an attempt to process these emotions- which never really leave our whole being- we automatically turn them around to ourselves. We may have been brought up to believe that it is safer to be angry with ourselves than with others. Being angry with others may have caused very difficult circumstances in key relationships. A deep fear of abandonment by caregivers is obviously something a child is very likely to feel as their parents are absolutely essential to their existence as they see it.

Traumatic Experiences With Anger & RageID-1007128

If we deal with Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder, we may have had particularly traumatic rages with others, which we felt were so powerful they overtook us completely. This can be a very scary experience and one that we would do anything to stop from recurring.

High Sensitivity

If we are also Highly Sensitive (take the test here) we will likely process seemingly smaller behavioural clues as rejection or abandonment: thereby increasing the likelihood of Bipolar Disorder, Depression & Anxiety occurring in later life.

One of the diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder is described as “frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.”

Any anger we experience towards someone we love may then be construed as a threat to our safety and therefore a potential danger in provoking this abandonment.

ID-100156695Bullying as Abandonment

Abandonment can also be seen to be a rejection by our peers. We are isolated as different and therefore a target for teasing and abuse. This creates an intense feeling of isolation and loneliness- effectively abandonment by peers.

Abandonment by God

I often think there is a real link between religion and psychological disorders. If we were brought up to believe that we were “bad” for feeling angry towards our “elders”, or that it was in some way unacceptable, we may have grasped hold of the idea that we could possibly go to “hell” for these feelings. We would therefore be rejected by God and cast out.

It all sounds very extreme and is initiated by such prehistoric religious ideas  (in my opinion) that are still circulating today.

(My idea of God is now very different- a belief in a loving, forgiving God who would never abandon any one of us. It is only us who can abandon Him.)

Suppressing Anger As A Coping Mechanism

We suppress our anger as we view it to be so dangerous to our wellbeing. It is the way we have learned to cope with our deep-seated fear of rejection.

To move forward we need to address and question this belief. Is it still relevant in our adult lives? Are we capable of taking care of ourselves? Do we love ourselves enough to take on challenges ourselves? Why do we feel we NEED other people so desperately for our basic survival?

We could identify situations we have handled on our own and feel a sense of accomplishment in that. Or challenge ourselves to participating in something just a little scary, but fun, to increase our confidence in ourselves.

Inner Child Visualization.

It is also helpful to travel back through our memories of childhood and identify times where we felt desperately abandoned. What happened? How did it feel?

Imagine your little-self and how you would comfort yourself if you could travel back and be with her/him now to support them. As your little self, imagine that love and support coming to you. If spiritual, you may like to imagine a beautiful guardian angel enfolding you in her/his protective wings.

Stepping Into Our PowerID-10021637

We are powerful beings, though it may not always feel this way. We have choices in life- choices in how we deal with emotions, situations, challenges, how we perceive things, etc.

By increasing the feelings of confidence in ourselves, we can rely on ourselves more and feel less fear of abandonment. Potentially we will then have no need to suppress our own feelings of anger as we step into our own powerful selves. We will learn to embrace our own anger as an emotion which can teach us about ourselves, and one that we can eventually become comfortable with. It will not cause our loved ones to abandon us. It is safe to feel angry. It may not feel this way yet, but imagine your own confidence growing as you experience and deal effectively with it. We are powerful enough to take charge of such a powerful emotion and use it to initiate healthy change in our relationships.

Related Posts

Bipolar Disorder- Repressed Anger

Bach Flower Remedy Consultation: Anger and Low Motivation

Take Back Your Power

Changing The Mind- Programming

Little Me and the Angel

Resources & Links

What is Suppressed Anger?

Cognitive Distortion: How Does Black & White Thinking Hurt Us?

Subservient Anger in Bipolarity

What is the Relationship Between Anger & Depression?

Highly Sensitive Person Self-Test.

Borderline Personality: Diagnostic Criteria

Photo Credits: Storm by dan; Sun by graur codrin; Lonely Girl by Sira Anamwong; all via

17 thoughts on “Suppressed Anger & Fears of Abandonment

  1. prideinmadness

    I’ve told my parent many times that my rages start with me being mad with him and very quickly turn into me being angry with myself for becoming so angry and not being able to turn it off. It’s easier for me to angry with myself because I’ll hold myself accountable but also because ever since I can remember people where telling me that it was my fault bad things were happening. They still do. I feel like I am blamed for everything, I’m always apologizing. It makes me angry.

    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      I think this is one of my major challenges too. Maybe feeling angry about people blaming you for everything is a step closer to healing than believing YOU are the one to blame. I think you’re doing an amazing job of channelling your emotions into your blog- particularly fighting stigma & injustice. You’re shining your light!!

  2. Sandy Sue

    I’m pretty much angry all the time. It’s the form my agitation takes, which, I’ve read, is fairly normal for folks with the mixed state form of BP. Still, it sucks. AND I’ve learned not to take it too seriously. When I get mad, and it’s out of proportion, I try to remember it’s just the illness and let it spin in the corner. I’ve learned it’s better to keep my mouth shut and not act on it. “Wait” is my mantra, because like everything else about BP, it eventually shifts.

    The good thing about anger is all that energy it provides. Sometimes, if I’m very lucky, I can channel it elsewhere–like cleaning my apartment or finishing a project.

    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      I’ve had mixed states too where I feel very angry, agitated and aggressive towards myself. I think these were probably some of the most difficult episodes to get through.

  3. mommymystic

    This is such a wonderful, helpful article. I work with energy healing and meditation, particularly for sexual trauma and abuse survivors, and this is such a common issue. Energetically I try to work with anger as an energy we can nurture instead of fight, and through that transmute it. It is helpful for some, but not others. You’ve added some great insights here, particularly for those struggling with bipolar disorder.

    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      Thank you so much- your positive comments mean a lot!

      I love the idea that anger is an energy we can nurture and transmute. I always think it is such a powerful emotion, with so much energy, that we should be able to create big change, for the positive, from it. Of course doing this is never so easy ;).

      I’m learning lots about meditation and energy healing at the moment- love it!

  4. Jenny Wagstaff

    I do love the honest, thought-provoking nature of your posts. In particular, today, the part about religion, black & white, good & bad/evil. I hate the fact that (some) religious groups feel the need to create a judgemental society when we are young. More to the point, the notion of what is good or bad is as ill-defined & ephemeral as trying to give an absolute definition to the terms themselves. Religion, education and mental health ‘care’ (or maybe just social manipulators in general) have an awful lot to answer for, in regard to preventing people questioning things for themselves by pretending to have answers.

  5. Pingback: The Power of “No” | Bipolar Lessons

  6. paulillidge

    Hi Rachel:
    Just read your piece on Highly Sensitive People at All I could think as I read was, “Hey, how did Rachel get inside my head?” Your thoughts and experiences didn’t just echo my own, they WERE my own. What a gift you have for openness and expressing things in a clear, honest and illuminating way.

    I came to your blog and this post on self-anger and abandonment came through exactly the same way: true, from the heart and reassuring that I don’t have an “anger problem”, as many have made me feel when I’ve confronted them about principles, ethics, lies, hypocrisy and hurts being inflicted on others. It’s not anger, I’ve tried to explain. It’s what the Quakers (the Society of Friends) call “righteous wrath.”

    I like the way you see through to the essence of emotions: their sometimes confusing energy.

  7. Jipsi Harris

    Reblogged this on Jipolar and commented:
    Great write up that is pretty much me in a nutshell.

    To have long term PTSD from abuse and abadonment, bipolar 1 disorder and anxiety and being a highly sensitive person, anger is a serious problem for me as it’s always been there and it is constantly growing and getting harder to control.

    Suppression of my anger all of these years for fear of abandonment and judgment, and having a career in customer service, where you HAVE to maintain composure at all times, has completely turned me into a ticking time bomb.

    The fears of abandonment have now become real due to having a hard time controlling my outbursts of anger and friends and family slowly faded away completely.

    I personally feel that “Anger Management” would not apply to me as I have “managed” my anger for too long. Anger management has actually caused more damage, heartbreak and lonliness than if I were to have just express it naturally all of my life.

    I am currently in therapy and am hoping to find my way through it.

  8. Pingback: I Am Angry and It’s Okay. | Emotional Wellness

  9. Pingback: Receiving a Diagnosis | Emotional Wellness

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