When discussing anger, I find it useful to think of volcanoes.
In more active volcanoes, we are aware of their volatility. At the surface, we might see fumes of irritation, searing outbursts, and even aggressive and violent explosions.
Some volcanoes are dormant: they sit silently and seemingly serene. Unbeknownst to the casual observer, these volcanoes build pressure over time. It often comes as a great surprise when all that pressure finally erupts into a searing explosion.
Similar to the volcano, anger is almost always much more that what we see at the surface.
We know that volcanic eruptions are the result of immense stressors and turmoil building beneath the surface. The intensity of these eruptions is generally determined by whether pressure is released in smaller, more regular intervals, or if it quietly accumulates over time to create a more volatile explosion.
Similarly, distressing feelings, when not vented and processed as they occur, can build and intensify until a trigger pushes beyond one’s capacity to contain long-held back feelings. This can lead to disproportionate responses: angry or enraged outbursts that seem out of scope with the trigger they respond to.