When a person gets angry, the anger is obviously shown by the look he or she shows on their face, in their eyes, how they speak, etc. If you take a closer look, you can think of anger like an iceberg.

That is, the tip stands for the anger, which we can all see. But there’s 90 percent more of the iceberg under the water surface, and the tip of this iceberg is usually the symptom.

The larger part of the feelings that causes the symptomatic anger widely varies from one person to another. Generally, anger iceberg normally includes:

  • Insecurities
  • Fears
  • Frustrations
  • A feeling of disrespect
  • Hurt pride
  • Embarrassed
  • Scared
  • Grief
  • Tricked
  • Rejected
  • Trapped
  • Nervous
  • Helpless
  • Anxious
  • Exhausted
  • Offended
  • Disappointed
  • Uncomfortable and many other feelings.

If we imagine how an iceberg looks like, we can easily view its peak just above the surface of the water. However, the tip only represents 10 percent of the whole thing.

The larger part (90 percent) of the particular iceberg remains concealed under the water surface. This hidden part of the iceberg is potentially bigger, wider, and bulkier than the portion we can see on the surface.

In other words, there’s more happening down there and unfortunately, it’s invisible. The submerged part below the water line can be considered as many raw and underlying emotions that the anger feeds from. 

Anger as an Evolutionary Reaction to Threat

When a person becomes angry, their heart rate accelerates, blood runs fast to their legs and hands making them ready to either flee or fight. Our radical brains perform exactly what they were made for.

Nevertheless, it’s not necessarily the most important emotion to react to. Sometimes, it would help to let our anger percolate without acting on or responding to it.

In the present day life where many things are happening in our families, it’s easy to find ourselves pulled into and entangled into someone else’s anger. 

Our Anger as Symptomatic of Underlying Emotions

As mentioned, many feelings and emotions may be hidden in the submerged portion of the iceberg, including resentment, anxiety, frustration, loneliness, embarrassment, fear, depression, etc.

We can consider this hidden portion as a combustible mixture of over an emotion bursts into that angry outburst we normally see. The unexpressed emotions stem from our thoughts that we decide to think. 

Sometimes, it’s simpler to show anger instead of digging for those thoughts feeding these other feelings. A person will prefer to distance themselves from the underlying emotions since it’s so painful to accept what they find.

However, when someone better understands his or her default pattern of thinking can they gain winder understanding and have the willingness to let those underlying emotions come to the surface.  

Angry Accusations can take you Off-Guard

You might be expecting to see an anger outburst all along and have been trying to protect yourself from the potential attack.

So, how suitably can you react to the outburst from your partner or hard-to-deal with a family member and retain your self-respect and dignity? Well, here are a few essential tips to help you handle angry outbursts:  

1. Refrain from taking it personally

Someone’s display of anger can be considered as behavior that stems from their thoughts and emotions about you or a particular circumstance.

Surely, we understand that we all have little or no control over our feelings, thoughts, or behaviors. However, you should always choose to not allow someone’s expression of anger to bring harm to your life.

Remember that engaging in a fight could cause more harm than it would be tolerating ugly words. Additionally, you should recognize that a person’s words represent their state of mind and not yours.

You should remind yourself that you choose your thoughts on whatever is taking place and, therefore, it’s up to you to pick thoughts that add value to you and not bring you down. 

2. What lies under the tip of someone’s anger iceberg?

You should try being curious about the emotions and feelings that might be hidden under the tip of someone’s anger iceberg.

Though it’s easier to feel and become defensive, it would help more to consider the possibility of many feelings that could be lurking under what you can see – anger.

Considering that there could be other feelings that may be fueling the angry outburst will help to prevent an ugly happening. By so doing, it can make you discover a few underlying emotions feeding the anger.  

3. Mind Your Body Language

Your body language also matters. How you present your body can also accelerate someone’s angry outburst leading to a pretty ugly situation. Some of the body language you should refrain to include:

  • Crossed arms
  • Rolling eyes
  • Tapping feet
  • Sighing
  • Looking into your watch or phone
  • Showing a sign of disrespect and disinterest
  • Gestures that vividly communicate opposition or negativity

You should watch yourself not to respond with any of the above body languages. If you can, give the person time to process his or her anger without you reacting with either an equal or greater level of anger.

Moreover, if their anger outburst is threatening or potentially harmful and destructive to you, it’s important to separate yourself and walk away immediately for your peace. 

4. Try not to Tell Someone to Calm Someone Down and To Take it Easy

You might think that telling someone to “take it easy”, “calm down” or “stop overreacting” can communicate to them that their emotions are unacceptable or unimportant. Further, it can accelerate their feelings that they are being:

  • Misunderstood or misjudged
  • Dismissed
  • Disrespected
  • Discounted, etc.  

So, try to stop challenging, disputing, changing, or trying to fix someone’s emotions. It would be best if you only listen without jumping in to your angry reaction. 

5. Show them that you understand what they feel

This step will assist someone to feel that you’re hearing them, which can develop trust as time goes by. However, it doesn’t imply that you condone or accept their beliefs, worlds, or behavior.

Some of us might have grown up in an environment where anger wasn’t allowed or discouraged and when someone displayed it, you might have felt anxious or scared.

Perhaps, you might have tried to resolve their anger to lessen your discomfort but that might have cost you a lot. Emotional maturity implies that one can let the whole spectrum of feelings to arise, not only in you but also in others.

It means that you understand that both the good and the bad are part and parcel of human experience. You don’t resist emotion or dismiss it quickly.    

6. What are the Goals and Hindrances?

Anger might stem from a hindrance to achieving goals. If you’re able to identify the goals and the impediments, you’ll know about what hidden feelings might be feeding the anger.

There might be steps the person can implement to get rid or walk around the hindrance to be able to achieve the goals.  

Final words

You and your friend or partner can assist each other in recognizing that anger. But a valid feeling in its own right can be concealing or protecting an entire spectrum of other feelings that justify attention too.

As mentioned, trying to be a little curious and willing to explore together is important for you to better understand other emotions that might be feeding the anger.

Applying the concept of an iceberg when it comes to anger will help you better prevent harm or destruction that can stem from the underlying feelings and emotions.

And if you have a problem managing your anger, seeing a professional can be a wise move. 

You may also like to read:

Characteristics, and Rules to Follow for Successful Open Marriage

Why Do Couples Consider to Plan for a Trial Separation

The Best Types of Relationships That Last and Remain the Strongest

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About Atul Umarkar

Atul Umarkar is founder and chief editor of relationking.com. He is full time banker and loves blogging. He write blogs on Relationship, Breakups, Healthy Family, Children related topics to educate his readers.

View all posts by Atul Umarkar