Years ago, a public service announcement on television warned that high blood pressure was “the silent killer.” For adult children of divorce, anger is the silent killer. It kills friendships. It kills marriages. It kills one’s soul. But often anger is not the problem. It’s the parts that make up the anger. Adults with divorced parents wrestle with many issues that can create our angry reactions.
One powerful root of anger is fear. When we are afraid, anger is often our response. For example, fear that our spouse or friend is going to leave us—real or imagined—may trigger us to respond angrily. The fear of abandonment (a common issue among adults with divorced parents) is the actual problem. But it’s masked by our anger at what they did. Consequently, they get the blame for our problem and this strains the relationship.
Feelings of inadequacy are also fuel for anger. Though sometimes rooted in our inability to fix our parents’ divorce, inadequacy at the job, in social relationships, or as a spouse or parent can produce anger. Whether the problem is an uncooperative child, an overwhelming job, or an unhappy spouse, anger may be the visual response, but fear of inadequacy is the silent partner. Think of it as a paperbag puppet. The puppet is anger , but the hand controlling the puppet is fear.
Anger can be very destructive. The Psalmist wrote, “Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm.”1 The Bible also says, “Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires,”2 so it is important that our anger is dealt with.
It is also important to realize that anger will not just go away. If you are suffering from anger issues, (or people say you are,) take action to change by,
- praying that God will reveal to you the root causes of your anger
- reading scriptures that discuss anger and
- reviewing the resources for anger on our resource page.
We will look at other “faces” of anger in our next blog.
1Psalm 37:8, NLT.
2James 1:20, NLT.