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Lost and Clueless? 22 Signs That Hidden Anger May Be a Problem


“The stress of it all is wearing me down. All I’m looking for is just one small slice of ‘happiness,’ and I can’t seem to find it. I work so hard on my depression and anxiety, so what am I missing?” Let’s make sure those bases are covered, okay? Have you considered hidden anger?

To keep life on a supposed even keel for ourselves and others, we keep anger locked away within (that would be the “hidden” part – again). And it’s as though we’ve swallowed a slowly ticking time-bomb.

And so it often goes for those enduring mood and anxiety frustrations. We do all we can to manage “front-page” symptoms and their fallout. But then a back-page symptom comes along and knocks us on our keister.

Anger is one such symptom, and it can pack a wallop. And the thing is, most don’t take it into account (that would be the “hidden” part), much less acknowledge it’s a major misery player.

Tricky thing about anger is it can be so destructive, yet it isn’t rage – so it’s often not given its due. No, anger – within this particular context – is more about being chronically irritable, annoyed, and “Dang, I’m ticked-off.” And that’s an unfortunate way to live.

So how do things get to the point where we become lost and clueless? Well, most of us learned early-on that feeling – expressing – anger isn’t the thing to do. And guess what happens. To keep life on a supposed even keel for ourselves and others, we keep anger locked away within (that would be the “hidden” part – again). And it’s as though we’ve swallowed a slowly ticking time-bomb.

Sooner or later it’s going to blow. Boom!

22 Signs of Hidden Anger

I was doing some article research recently and came upon a great list, which I’m thinking has been floating about for a long time (duh, and I finally bumped into it). As much as I tried, I couldn’t find the author’s name to credit. Nonetheless, I’m bringing it to you.

That list of 22…

  1. Procrastination when it comes to completing tasks
  2. Perpetual or habitual lateness
  3. Enjoying sadistic or ironic humor
  4. A preference for conversational sarcasm, cynicism, or flippancy
  5. Frequent sighing
  6. Ongoing over-the-top politeness, cheerfulness, and “grin and bear it” attitude
  7. Hurting like heck, yet smiling all the while
  8. Frequent disturbing or frightening dreams
  9. Over-controlled monotone speaking voice
  10. Difficulty in getting to sleep or sleeping through the night
  11. Enthusiasm turns into boredom, apathy, and loss of interest
  12. Slowing down of movements
  13. Being more easily fatigued
  14. Excessive irritability over things that truly don’t matter
  15. Getting drowsy at inappropriate times
  16. Sleeping more than usual – perhaps 12-14 hours a day
  17. Waking-up tired rather than rested or refreshed
  18. Clenched jaws or grinding of the teeth – especially while sleeping
  19. Facial tics, involuntary foot movements, habitual fist clenching, and similar repeated physical acts performed unintentionally or beneath awareness
  20. Chronically stiff or sore neck or shoulder muscles
  21. Persistent depression, extended periods of feeling down for no apparent reason
  22. Stomach ulcers

Okay, so I’m sure there are all sorts of “grading” angles out there. But how ’bout we go with this? If 10+ are a factor in your life, you may well have an anger problem you need to do something about. If five hit home, you’re average on the anger scale, and management techniques would make you more comfortable.

Catch this, though. If even one of numbers 19-22 ring true, your anger situation may have hit the danger zone. And that means it’s time to do something about it immediately – before it consumes you (and others).

That’s All, Folks

What do you think of the list? In my opinion it’s excellent. I mean, it’s a great point of reference we can use to gain insight into personal dynamics we may never have considered. And, of course, if we see the warning light on the dashboard, we’re called to action.

If you’re a mood and/or anxiety disorder sufferer and find yourself worn to the bone by stress – and feeling lost and clueless – you have to consider all possible contributors. Your anger may be a “happiness” barrier you’ve never taken into account – ’til now.

But now that you have, it’s time to examine and implement needed change.

And how do you do that? Come on back next week and we’ll toss it around…

A Chipur consultation is always a good idea when you’re lost and clueless. And reading what’s behind 600+ Chipur titles will help, as well.

  • Hi Bill, This list is excellent! Some of these symptoms of hidden anger are definitely new to me and of course good to know. It is helpful to have a clearer understanding what is really going on, so that you can get some help. Anger emerges, I believe, when people don’t have a thorough understanding of themselves and how they interact in the world. They don’t get the response the want and they don’t understand why. Great topic – thank you!

    • Glad to have you back, Cathy. Thanks for the visit and comment. Yeah, some list, for sure. Wish I could say I wrote it, but what the heck. It’s important to have resources like this at our fingertips – especially when all seems to be going so wrong. Anger can be one tough opponent. However, it becomes a whole lot easier to defeat when it transitions from hidden to daylight. ‘Course, then it’s about taking indicated action to deeply examine and repair.

      Keep coming back, Cathy. It’s appreciated…


  • Well, thank you, Dr. Chaban. I appreciate your visit and participation. Chipur readers – the link in her comment directs to her website. I tapped the link and all seems to be safe. So if you live in Chicagoland and find yourself in a jam, check her out. For the record, I don’t know her…


  • Patricia Miller

    So I tune in for the fresh article on a day I’m carrying a sack of identified and unaddressed cranky around, and then I read this article. It continues to ring really true for me when I get to the killer list and I discovery that 11 of the items fit me. Sigh. It isn’t “nice” to be angry and I like being NICE. ARGH. I’m sure I will be back next week because you are correct this wouldn’t be anyway to live, though I’ve been living this way a long time.

    • Hey, nice having you back, Patricia. Thank you for visiting and participating.

      Well, wouldn’t you know it! Funny how we unexpectedly come upon just what we need when we’re in the midst of some personal ick. ‘Course, there’s two sides to the coin. Okay, we bumped into what may be at the foundation of a problem. Uh, but we come to realize we have some work to do. Well, that’s alright – because at least what’s eatin’ us will no longer lurk beneath the surface – undetected. And I know how it is wanting to be “nice.” Yet, sometimes we have to leave what we want behind for a time, while we face present reality and take care of internal biz.

      Thank you for sharing so personally with us, Patricia. And please keep comin’ back…


  • Thanks for this post, Bill. Anger was the “elephant in the room” during my son’s addiction. He was angry. I was angry. It got us nowhere. Once I realized that anger was making the whole situation worse, I worked hard to calm myself down and approach things differently. What a difference that made!

    • Hi, DeanDD! Welcome to Chipur. Appreciate your visit and participation.

      No doubt about it, anger is often the “elephant in the room.” Thing is though, all parties are so emotionally elevated they typically don’t spot that big ‘ole animal. And on and on it goes. Guess I don’t have to tell you that, though. My biggest take-away from your comment is “…I worked hard…” Effecting positive change takes a lot of it. And all too many don’t want to accept that, or don’t want to put forth the effort.

      Hoping things are good between your son and you. And thanks again for stopping-by…


  • Beth Wilson

    You know, Bill, I was in a meeting the other day and the topic was anger. My first thought was how there have been two or three times during my recovery that I have done what I call 0-60mph red-hot rage. Scary stuff.

    Today it occurs to me that perhaps even scarier is this 22-point list. I recognize several of them and live with many. As I was told a long time ago, the “As” in AA also stand for Awareness and Action. I figure so long as I’m aware of my potential for the hidden signs of anger, I’m more likely to take action when they begin to crop up. And if I’m not . . . oh man, I sure don’t want to experience that rage thing again.

    Tremendous post! Keep ’em coming! You know I’m a HUGE fan!

    • So nice having a “huge fan” like you, Beth. Means a lot, as do your visits and contributions.

      The list really grabs one’s attention, doesn’t it. And, sure, the results can be scary; however, better to identify things now and get ’em handled v. letting things continue status quo and allowing something nasty to occur. As you said, awareness is a huge personal advantage. And willingness to take action is the biggest advantage of all.

      Thanks for your faithful visits and comments, Beth. And Chipur readers – check-out her great work at


  • npeden

    Bill, it is so helpful when you help me contact my anger in our sessions. Yes, I have many of these symptoms and I had heard that sighing was one of them. Thanks for this.

    BTW when I get angry, without really blaming, I feel tremendously more in my body, more strong. Thanks again.

    • Well, Hi, Nancy! Glad you stopped-by. Happy to provide the resource material. You know, regarding feeling body-stronger in the midst of anger – no doubt about it, anger = energy. So it’s a matter of harnessing that energy and using it for positive purposes. Stay tuned – will have some management notes posted no later than Wed p.m.

      Thanks, Nancy…