The term ‘repressed anger’ poses two questions: Why would children feel angry? Why is their anger ‘repressed’? I will address the second question first.
Question 2: Why is anger repressed?
Children’s behaviour is subconsciously motivated by a need to be taken care of. Hence, the ultimate goal of children’s behaviour is to be valued by their parents so that they will be motivated to take care of their children. Therefore, any feelings or thoughts (such as anger and resentment) that might meet with parental disapproval or even alienation of parents, have to be concealed rather than expressed. We learn at a very young age to ‘wear a mask’ to hide our feelings. We also learn to ‘put on armour’ to protect our feelings and learn to ‘adopt roles’ which will meet parental approval and validation or avoid parental disapproval and alienation. This is what adaptive behaviour really is – the facade that parents see – the facade that says, “I’m not ok” – the facade that hides a child’s true feelings and thoughts of “I am not ok”.