Why are You REALLY Angry? Secondary Emotion

We all get angry, right?  Anger is a normal, God-given emotion just like sadness, happiness, fear, jealousy, and guilt.  However, the interesting thing about anger, compared to the other emotions, is that anger is often referred to as a “secondary emotion”.  This week at Imagine Hope we will be discussing the role of anger as a secondary emotion.  We hope this week’s blog helps you discover why you’re REALLY angry.

Signs of Hidden Anger

Anger is often called a “secondary emotion” because we resort to anger to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.  When someone hurts us, we may feel rejected, disappointed, sad, etc.  These are our “primary emotions”.  But when we react to how we are feeling by showing anger, anger becomes our “secondary emotion”.  Sometimes it’s easier to show others our anger, but it feels too vulnerable to show them our hurt or sadness.

When I discuss anger in session with clients, I often draw a picture of an iceburg.  When you look at an iceburg, you often only see a small percentage of it sticking out of water.  What is under the water is typically massive and deep.  Anger works in this same way.  Anger may be the tip of the iceberg—the small part that others can see.  But underneath the water there can be a whole variety of emotions—hurt, sad, fear, abandonment, etc.

Check back this week as we talk more about why you may really be angry.  Thanks for stopping by! 

Guest post written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW a licensed therapist at Journey To Joy Counseling.