Anger Coming from an Insecure Attachment

Many people who had an insecure attachment in childhood carry anger as adults, some of it intensely evident and some latent. I have, however, met people who suffered neglect in childhood, who assured me that they did not feel anger and I believed them. Sometimes during a counselling session the anger emerges, but not always. Generally, I have found that children who suffered physical abuse show anger in adulthood.
Before looking at the nature of anger, its management and healing, it is worth considering that anger is strongly influenced by culture. It should be noted that culture affects all the themes in this book and it also dictates how people are socialised. For example, women may feel as angry as men, but it may be culturally forbidden for them to show the anger and they have to hide it beneath a meek and obedient fa├žade. Similarly they may be socialised to show a soft and gentle nature that conceals a different inner emotional state. This is true in societies where males exercise dominance.
Apart from the existence of such abusive societies, we now live in an increasingly multicultural world where we travel widely and intermarry with other races, so failure to understand what provokes the emotional reactions of other cultures can cause misunderstandings, confusion and sometimes conflict, particularly in relation to anger triggers. Likewise, emotional reactions taken from Irish culture may come across as deviant to other cultures. The Japanese psychologist Junko Tanaka-Matsumi offers some interesting research on anger in a cross-cultural context. Basically different cultures, particularly in Eastern countries and among Eastern immigrants and refugees, cluster different words associated with anger. In the United States anger is clustered with such words as fury, wrath, hostility, and resentment. In Spanish culture there are precise words for different levels of anger.
Some studies have found that in various European countries personal and intimate relationships were the major source of anger. This was followed by being treated unjustly and poor behaviour by strangers in a locality. In Japan, however, interacting with strangers was the principal reason for anger, possibly because of the hierarchical nature of relationships there. Some people, such as the Japanese and the Utku Eskimos, forbid expressions of negative emotions such as anger, especially in public, lest they disrupt social harmony. Facial expressions, which are often used as gauging the presence of anger, also differ from culture to culture.
Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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