Anger Iceberg (+3 Tips)

The current Blogspot will be based on the question “what is an anger iceberg?”. We will focus on the various aspects of anger iceberg, how anger is a representation of various other raw feelings and how to use anger to work through conflicts and other emotions.

What is Anger Iceberg?

The anger iceberg is a symbolic representation of anger in the form of iceberg. Anger iceberg represents anger at the tip of the iceberg whereas underneath the iceberg are other various negative emotional states that are unidentified, unexpressed and unacknowledged. 

The anger iceberg is based on the belief that anger among humans is an emotion that is often expressed because of other various suppressed feelings that make a person more vulnerable. The anger iceberg explains human beings’ anger as a result of lack of ability and skills to express the various emotional states and feelings like sadness, nervousness, irritability, aggression, despair, hopelessness, guilt and others.

An anger iceberg symbolically explains anger as a secondary feeling that is an expression of various underlying primary feelings. By exploring the feelings on the iceberg beneath the tip, the client’s can manage to identify the various feelings and develop insight about the suppressed feelings. 

For example, an individual may realize that his anger stems from being compared to his siblings and thus can benefit from cognitive restructuring about his own self . Similarly a college going student may feel angry because of guilt related to being in a secret relationship with a classmate that his family never knew. She can get over the guilt feelings through dialectical behavior therapy.

Anger as an expression of raw feelings

Anger is often a chosen expression for many raw feelings. The reasons of unexpressed feelings could be many with major ones being as follows :

  • In some societies anger is considered as a more acceptable feeling and is more related to as compared to other feelings like guilt, hopelessness and despair. Thus an individual might mask his true feelings behind anger.
  • As children, we grow up in families where anger is expressed more often than any other negative emotional states. Thus we learn to express anger instead of other unpleasant feelings.
  • Anger is fueled up by a different set of emotions that combine to make us feel angry. Often underlying anger are experiences of being humiliated, ignord, neglected, unappreciated and uncelebrated. 
  • Various triggers can often be associated with anger instead of being associated with a more primary feeling.

Thus the anger iceberg shows that anger is often just the tip of the negative and unpleasant emotional states that often lurk below the anger unidentified and suppressed. While anger is a valid emotional state in itself, often anger is a protector of various other raw feelings of individuals. 

How to use the anger iceberg to work through conflict and emotions?

Often in our routines, we get offensive whenever there is an anger expression and we tend to reply back with an even increased anger response that gives rise to conflict. During such scenarios if attention is given to the underlying emotions that are expressed in the form of anger, many of the conflicts can be resolved without reaching the worst outcomes. 

Following are some of the strategies to surface the raw emotions underlying the tip of the anger iceberg :

  • Avoid taking scenarios personally
  • Stop suggesting people to calm down
  • Identify the obstacles

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Avoid taking scenarios personally

An angry person often states things in a way that he actually never menas. In such a scenario, remind yourself that the situation is not about you specifically but it’s about their feelings that are lurking behind the tip of the iceberg. 

Emotional regulation is a strategy that can often help us to be less affected by someone else’s anger. Often being curious to find out the reasons behind someone’s anger also helps us to not take anger outburst of anger expression of other people personally.

Stop suggesting people to calm down

When we tell an angry person to not react to a situation we tend to stop him from expressing his feelings. By telling the other person to “calm down” we often give a message that their feelings are not being heard or attended to well. The main objective is to let the person express his anger while being on the tip of the anger iceberg and communicate it to them so that you understand and respect their feelings. Hence the chances are that the angry person’s anger will subside.

However if the anger gets out of control to  be attended to, there is a need to take the necessary measures.

Identify the obstacles

While being angry, we often miss the obstacle. We need to identify the hurdles that push us or others around us in an angry state. For example, if your mother wanted to feel special on her anniversary and nobody in the family remembered her anniversary, she would be expressing it out in anger. Identifying the obstacle would hence make it convenient for family members to overcome the scenario.

Following are some of the ways that can help us to make things more productive while being angry :

  • Identify, realize and understand your triggers from situations 
  • Learn to make meaning of what is happening underneath your anger iceberg. Try to get to the root of deeper emotions. This may often require you to validate your thoughts, to let go of a feeling or to leave behind a negative thought.
  • Do various things to help yourself feel more calm and relaxed. Talk to a friend, listen to good music, go for a walk or eat your favourite thing. 
  • Channelize your negative energies so that you have less chances of getting angry when feeling overwhelmed, confusing and nervous.


The current blogspot was based on the question “what is an anger iceberg?”. We learned about anger iceberg, the raw feelings beneath an anger iceberg, the ways through which anger iceberg can be used to effectively deal with the negative emotions under the tip of the iceberg and the various strategies through which our anger can be productive.

Frequently asked questions : Anger Iceberg

How do you use anger iceberg?

We can use the anger iceberg by :

  • Understanding our triggers
  • Getting in touch with the roots of underlying emotions
  • Feel more relaxed
  • Channelizing our anger
Image result for anger iceberg

What is an emotional iceberg?

Emotional iceberg is a symbolic representation of the fact that often the feelings and emotions we express are just an extension of a lot many more emotions based on our pleasant and unpleasant life experiences. This is called an emotional iceberg because we can not see on the surface the feelings that constitute the emotion being expressed.

What are the three types of anger?

The three types of anger are : 

  • Passive anger
  • Open Anger
  •  Assertive anger

What is the emotion underneath anger?

Anger in an anger iceberg is the representation of all the various emotions that lie underneath anger. The emotion underneath anger could be of varied intensity and nature. They include guilt, sadness, despair, hopelessness, regret and other such negative emotional states.


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

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