Depression and guilt.
Serious mental illness: paranoid schizophrenia.
Accident-proneness and self-defeating or addictive behavior,
such as drinking, over-eating, or drugs.
Vigorous, distracting activity (exercising or cleaning).
Excessively submissive, deferring behavior.
Indirect verbal signs:
"I just don't want to talk."
"I'm disappointed in our relationship."
"I feel bad all the time."
"If you had just lost some weight."
"I'm really swamped with work, can't we do something about
"Why does this always happen to me?"
"No, I'm not angry about anything--I just cry all the time."
It is obvious from these "signs of anger" that anger is frequently a
concealed or disguised emotion. And why not? Getting mad is scary... and
potentially dangerous. One common way of expressing suppressed anger has
been given a special name: passive-aggressiveness. It is releasing your
anger by being passive or subtly oppositional. For example, such a person
may be "tired," unresponsive, act like he/she "doesn't understand," be late
frequently, exaggerate others' faults, pretend to agree ("sure, whatever"), be
tearful, be argumentative, be forgetful, deny anger ("nothing's wrong"),
procrastinate, and frequently be clumsy or sick (Hankins, 1993). Many of
these traits and behaviors are listed above.
There is another related form of concealed anger: feeling like a victim.
Feeling victimized assumes that someone or some situation has mistreated
you. But a person who specializes in constantly feeling like a victim may not
identify or accuse his/her abuser. Instead, he/she generally feels that the
world is against him/her, that others vaguely intend to make him/her
miserable. Victims usually feel helpless; therefore, they take little
responsibility for what has happened to them. They think they were terribly
mistreated in the past but they now seem unable to accept love and support,
e.g. if you offer them help, they never get enough or if you try to cheer them
up, it seldom works. A victim is much more likely to sulk, pout, look unhappy,
or lay a guilt trip on something than to get angry. They play games: "Why
does it always happen to me?" or "Yes, but" (no one's ideas or suggestions
will do any good). The self-pitying, pessimistic, sad, jealous victim is surely
sitting on a mass of hostility.
Both the passive-aggressive and the victim are likely to be aware of their
anger, even though it is largely denied. In chapter 9 we will discuss "game
playing" in which the aggressor plays "You're Not OK" or put down games
without being aware of his/her anger. Anger expresses itself in many forms:
cynic, naysayer, critic, bigot, etc. Potter-Efron & Potter-Efron (1995) describe