Anger and Depression

Posted on August 8th, 2015 by admin

Anger is an integral part of depression. Depression is the outer mask or veil that conceals the inner, hidden anger. The anger that underlies depression accumulates and becomes reinforced over time. It has to do with overdependence on other people for one’s self-esteem and experiencing rejection and failure over a lifetime. Now, anger can be either expressed, suppressed, or repressed. When expressed, it can cause a variety of interpersonal and other problems if not properly handled. When it is suppressed or repressed, some measure of depression always results. Either way, the anger is problematic and can do serious harm to self or others.

Everyone experiences problems of one type or another. Everyone experiences rejection and failure. The person who has an anger and a depression problem is someone who is very sensitive to life’s setbacks and disappointments. And the reason most likely has to do with unfavorable early life circumstances. Childhood neglect, rejection, abuse, etc. by significant others is probably the major cause of emotional vulnerability. The anger from those and from subsequent failed relationships (and multiple adverse events) builds up over time and becomes a major issue. Now, the way that a person chooses to deal with the anger determines whether one acts out his/her angry feelings or becomes depressed. In either case, some degree of behavioral maladjustment occurs.

Anger and depression are the two main responses to rejection and failure. The more dependent someone’s self-evaluation is on other people, the more sensitive he/she is to rejection and fearful of failure and the more likely he/she is to react to rejection and failure with either anger or depression (or both). How someone responds to rejection and failure depends on the circumstances and the extent to which guilt and fear control his/her emotions. A person who is fearful of others and guilt-ridden will react to rejection and failure primarily by becoming depressed. On the other hand, someone who is defiant and blames others for his difficulties will respond mostly with anger.

The best preventative for both depression and anger is self-esteem that does not depend on the esteem of others. And the best cure for the harmful affects of life’s past offenses is forgiveness. However, complete forgiveness is, perhaps, impossible without independent self-esteem. As long as self-esteem depends upon the approval of other people, every wrong done will reverberate within the mind, resulting in either depression or anger (or both). Anger is the primary obstacle to forgiveness. It is hard to forgive someone while one is angry at him/her. Yes, one can tell oneself to stop being angry and forgive the offending person(s). However, the usual result of doing that is not real forgiveness but temporary suppression (control) and, ultimately, repression of anger, with its disappearance from conscious awareness. But the anger is not really gone. Because it is still exists somewhere within the mind, true forgiveness does not occur. From time to time, anger at others resurfaces into consciousness, disturbing the illusion that one has totally forgiven them.

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One Response to “Anger and Depression”

  1. Kathy Farrey says:

    Interesting. I always thought of it the other way around. People overlay their depression with anger, because they see depression as weakness. Justified anger is much easier to handle.

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