Henry Kellerman, Ph.D.

Henry Kellerman Ph.D.

Thinking Matters


Anger Is the Key (Part2)

Can you cure your own psychological/emotions symptoms?

Posted Oct 28, 2009

Anger leading to psychological/emotional symptoms (cont.)

Okay, so to recap in 4 short steps:

1. Your wish for something is thwarted;

2. You feel disempowered about that and of course angry about it (because anger is a reempowerment, and that's what you need - a reempowerment);

3. But, rather than express the anger, you suppress it, or more accurately, you repress it;

4. Because of this repression you will necessarily pop a symptom.

Now what? How do we cure this symptom? (The symptom could be anything from a sudden phobic reaction to something, it could be a panic attack, it could be an intrusive thought that you can't shake, etc.).

So, in order to understand how to cure the symptom, we need to know a very very few things, the most important of which is this:

1. When anger is repressed, it will attack the self. Why? Because anger is an attack emotion that only responds to one internal command - attack! That's all anger knows. So when it's expressed to others, then the anger wants to attack the other person. When it is repressed (turned inward) then of course the self will be attacked. Remember, anger knows no civilization and doesn't even know you, (Yes, that's even true of your own anger). Anger will simply attack.

2. What this all means in a more general way is that for any primary emotion like anger to be fully realized as an emotion, it MUST take an object - that is, it must attach to an object (and an object is never a table or a chair; it's always a person [even the self]).

3. Therefore, when you repress the anger, it will attack you and it will force you to have a symptom - whether you like it or not! Therefore, again, the anger searches for a ‘who' in order to attach to that person. In the case of repressing the anger, you become the ‘who.'

4. And here's the absolutely genius Freudian thing. That's right Freud was an absolute genius even though not everything he said was law. But here it is: Every symptom is a symbolic achievement of the original wish that was thwarted that led to the anger in the first place. That's why Freud said: In the psyche, no wish will be denied. THE SYMPTOM IS THE WISH GRATIFIED ALTHOUGH IN PERVERSE OR NEUROTIC FORM. And therefore, the wish is not ever denied as long as you have a symptom.

5. In view of this, the key to unlocking your symptom is to take it on faith that when you have a psychological/emotional symptom you are harboring repressed anger and by definition since it is repressed, you can't feel it and therefore you're not aware of it. BUT BELIEVE IT, IT'S THERE.

6. Therefore, you need to become a bit of a detective and try to identify the ‘who' who pissed you off - who shot down your wish, and who therefore made you angry.

7. When you identify the ‘who' and begin to feel the anger toward the ‘who,' your symptom will in every likelihood, lift.

8. To reinforce the cure of the symptom it is usually very helpful to also do something related to the original wish although not necessarily in a way that will get the wish gratified. Just do something related to it.

And that's it folks!

All of it is specifically detailed in two of my books:

1. This one is a book for the professional shrink:

The Psychoanalysis of Symptoms

Published by Springer Science,

New York, 2008.

1. This one is a book for the reading public:

The 4 Steps to Peace of Mind:

The Simple Effective Way to Cure Our Emotional Symptoms

Published by Rowman & Littlefield,

Lanham, Maryland, 2007.

P.S. Keep in mind the two axioms:

1. Where there is a symptom, not only will there be repressed anger,

there MUST be repressed anger.

2. Where there is repressed anger, not only with there be a symptom,

there MUST be a symptom.

On each of my Blog entries, there will be section titled: The Dictionary Corner, where I will define terms and phrases that are relevant to emotions, personality, and disturbances of the mind.

The Dictionary Corner*

Enosiophobia: The certainty one has of being guilty of an unlawful act even though it isn't true. This is a delusion. The symptom will not listen to logic or reason or even evidence to the contrary.

Holiday Syndrome: The period between Thanksgiving and New Years Day sees a significant increase in psychiatric hospitalizations and suicides presumably resulting from repressed rage and a corresponding upsurge of anxiety and depression. Theoretically attributed to a reconstitution of early nuclear family unfulfilled wishes and trauma.

Oceanic Feeling: The sense of being at one with the universe. Can be seen as reflecting omnipotent feelings or even megalomania, and is associated also with delusions of grandeur.

*All definitions are from my book:

Dictionary of Psychopathology

Published by Columbia University Press,

New York: 2009