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Suppressed Rage

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Left: The outward projection of your everyday employee.
Right: The Hell-shattering rage she suppresses on a daily basis.
Image by i-am-not-a-muffin. Used with permission.

"He's internalising. I love it when he's Mister Volcano."

Alice is upset. She hasn't told Bob this, but he has a hunch. Maybe it's because she's chopping those carrots a little too hard. Maybe it's because she's pressing down on that pen so hard it's torn through the paper. Maybe it's because she calmly, but obviously explained how furious she is without showing it. Or maybe it's because she just gave her coworker a broken jaw when he asked how she was.

Everyone has a limit, but long before they reach that point, the seething anger inside them will begin to seep, then trickle out in increasing ferocity until they just can’t hide it anymore.

In short, this is where a character cannot or will not express their feelings, so they try to let it out a bit by being... overenthusiastic about whatever they're doing.

This may be because the person annoying them is their boss, or if they are trying to appear professional in, say, a law court to avoid Courtroom Antics. Alternately, our hero could be taunted by a villain who would gain from his anger, such as a certain Naboo senator and future galactic emperor.

Not exactly like Tranquil Fury. There, someone is being angry in a very calm way. Here, someone is trying to appear calm by suppressing their anger (though it is not necessarily anger; it can be any kind of emotional distress that causes destructive feelings), but doesn't quite succeed.

Related to Yanderes and Cute and Psycho characters, who look nice but are completely insane on the inside rather than simply upset, though they can have moments of this when the cracks in their nature start to show. Stepford Smilers have this long term and are much better at hiding their feelings. This can lead lead to an "Anger Is Healthy" Aesop where a character learns that expressing their anger is healthier than bottling it up.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The protagonist of Aggretsuko is a cute red panda Office Lady who secretly sings Death Metal to deal with her rage at her annoying coworkers, Mean Bosses, and anything else that upsets her.
  • In Air Gear, Ringo is upset that Ikki has a crush on Simca. She says the following line while furiously chopping carrots.
    Ringo: Angry? I'm not angry. Why do I care if Ikki wants to hang out with some skank?
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: You wouldn't recognize the homunculus Wrath by any open displays of anger. Instead, he keeps his fury tightly controlled. This is what enables him to blend in as the Bunny-Ears Lawyer Fuhrer King Bradley. When his hands shook at Hughes' funeral, it wasn't with sympathy but rage that Hughes' young daughter was being "noisy" while crying.
  • Naruto: Naruto Uzumaki may be a somewhat ditzy goofball on the surface, but buried beneath that is a significant amount of suppressed rage and hatred towards Konoha for spending the first 12 years of his life being ostracized and reviled for being the Nine-Tailed Fox Kurama's jinchūriki — leaving Naruto wondering if he could have turned out like the Ax-Crazy Gaara and the vengeful Sasuke if Iruka hadn't stood up for him at the beginning of the series. Prior to his Heel–Face Turn, Kurama tried to manipulate Naruto into succumbing to this rage; and Naruto eventually confronts an Enemy Without manifestation of it called Dark Naruto, who he defeats by accepting him as part of himself.
  • This is how Match the Gourmet Yakuza from Toriko fuels his Iaido attacks: he slowly "charges" his attack by suppressing all his feelings and his rage and then, when he's ready, he unleashes all that rage in an instant along with his sword.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man: The Venom symbiote notes that Peter is teeming with rage and hatred towards it that he isn't even consciously aware of. Following Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy, the involvement of Norman Osborn is enough to cause him to stop cracking jokes, causing Mockingbird and Tarantula to note he isn't acting like himself.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, Mei becomes angry at her mother for saying no to her request to go to a concert but realizes showing that anger would only undermine her argument of having achieved emotional control. This manifests as Angry Eyebrows, a strained smile and annoyed grunting as she packs up the presentation she had prepared to support her request.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Played for Drama. Batman harbors resentment and cynicism after 20+ years of fighting criminals and having nothing to show for it. Some characters even comment on the fact Batman is more violent than usual and his conflict with Superman only makes it worse, something Lex exploits to his advantage. For all his talk about saving the world from a potential dictator, it's clear Batman just sees Superman as a convenient target for his own shortcomings.
  • The Diary of a Wimpy Kid film:
    Greg: [writing in the diary] So what if Rowley has a new friend, it's not like I can't make new friends, as if I even ca—[his pencil breaks]
  • My Super Ex-Girlfriend: When Matt first mentions "needing space", his girlfriend's OK with it... until he mentions dating other people, when she slams the knife she is chopping carrots with into the board.

  • Isaac Asimov's "The Watery Place": Sheriff Cameron is already annoyed by trying to do his taxes. Then a couple of foreigners start talking oddly to him. He grows sarcastic, then red-faced, until he finally explodes at them, yelling for them to leave and never come back. It isn't until they're out the door that his deputy can explain how he had just botched First Contact.
  • In the sixth Harry Potter book, Hagrid is said to be chopping some things up "as if each had done him a great personal wrong" because he's angry about Harry et al (and everyone else) dropping his class, though he's actually upset that Aragog is dying.
  • One of Hercule Poirot's short stories: A rich man was murdered in his study and people from his house were suspected. The wife, who was a bit of a loony, and had a violent argument with her husband on the night of his death, kept putting the blame on the man's Butt-Monkey assistant, but couldn't quite tell how. Finally, she was hypnotised and then she remembered seeing him write, while his employer ranted, trying to look calm but pressing the pencil so hard it broke.
  • Ravensong: After a Not In Front Of The Kids moment:
    "Cathleen. The children," Mr. S. chided. He stared down at his plate, his hand holding the dinner fork balanced as he fought to bring reason to his anger. Stacey could see him fight with anger but she couldn't figure out why. She watched him recover, plunging himself into the conversation with dispassionate vigour. Somehow the fork had helped him. Curious, Stacey picked up her own fork, balanced it on her hand exactly as she had seen Mr. S. do—it did anchor her somehow. Holding the fork in this way made it easier to contemplate his underlying thoughts: Mrs. S. had messed up and would likely do so again if he didn't get the conversation back on track. "The company...."
  • In So I'm a Spider, So What?, Ariel hates the world and everyone in it, believing none of them are worth the sacrifice Sariel made to save them. After merging with Kumoko's soul fragment she smiles and laughs more, but that's just a veneer over her bottomless anger. It's bad enough that she came very close to naturally acquiring the Wrath skill.
  • In The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Demane collects quite a bit of suppressed rage because he doesn't get the desired quality time with Isa at Mother of Waters, and also because he feels that Isa is keeping secrets from him. It gets to the point where he snipes at the other band members for no good reason and even becomes violent.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy is in this state during "When She Was Bad", having been traumatized by her temporary death at the Master's hands. While mostly sullen, moody, and having Took a Level in Jerkass, moments such as her beating on a training dummy until it breaks and finally smashing the Master's bones to bits with a hammer show just how not okay she really is.
    • In the episode "Ted", Joyce ends up in a relationship with the eponymous Ted, who acts like a nice guy in front of Joyce and Buffy's friends, but is an ass to Buffy herself and threatens her when they're not around. Even before this, Buffy takes an instant dislike to him and spends her time taking her anger out on vampires. When Ted reads her diary and slaps her, Buffy unleashes all of that suppressed rage, happy that Ted finally gave her an excuse to hit him.
    Buffy: [smirks] I was so hoping you'd do that.
  • In Combat Hospital, Bobby gets cut off mid-procedure by fellow surgeon and has to suppress his anger. It boils over very strongly later on in the episode. The shows suggests that it's a personal problem of his that he's trying to cope with, possibly from his time in prison.
  • Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor has a lot of this, either due to all the trauma he's been through or because he's Scottish. On one occasion he uses his psychic paper for phony ID as usual...
    Chang: Another government inspection? So soon? Why is there all this swearing?
    The Doctor: Oh, I've got a lot of internalised anger.
  • The Australian comedy series Full Frontal, in a spoof of a popular cooking show, had the female host mutilating various phallic-shaped vegetables while ranting about her cheating husband.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ser Loras Tyrell's body language cannot disguise the utter disgust and frustration that he feels at having to bend the knee to King Joffrey in "Valar Morghulis".
    • The abrupt and rude manner in which Loras storms away from the wedding feast in "Second Sons" is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the true depths of his anger over his current situation (i.e. his forced betrothal to Queen Cersei, his inability to mourn for his lover Renly Baratheon in public, etc.).
  • Horatio Hornblower: Captain Sawyer decides to teach Lieutenant Hornblower a lesson by having one of his men flogged when they're shortening sails on Hornblower's order. The last one down gets the cat. This causes panic and one kid gets splattered on the deck. Sawyer then orders Horatio to throw the body over the side without ceremony. Hornblower is seething with rage and answers with almost-sarcastic "aye aye, sir".
  • Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger: In the flashback of #42, when Dagded unveils his responsibility for the catastrophic "Fury of the Gods" incident that claimed his father's life and countless others across Tikyū, young Racules is visibly trembling with rage. However, he exercises restraint, refraining from impulsive actions and instead initiates a strategic plan aimed at orchestrating the downfall of Dagded.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: While trying to enjoy a nice meal in Armenelos, Halbrand is accosted by three bullies. He is fairly chill, but in the moment one of them mentions that Galadriel might prefer someone of a better breeding, he stops eating and stares angrily at a blank point. His entire face screams "I wanna murder those guys". But he decides to control his anger and invites them to drink with him just to please them and get a shot at stealing a blacksmith guild emblem.
  • During one episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm swallows so much criticism and frustration at being Surrounded by Idiots that he starts coughing up blood and forms an ulcer in his intestinal tract. After being hospitalized for the ulcer, he resumes ranting about everything around him.
  • In Seinfeld episode "The Serenity Now", Kramer uses the eponymous mantra to calm himself down while being tormented by the neighborhood kids. As mentioned by one character on the impracticality of the mantra, Kramer's anger is just bottled up until he blows and trashes the computers that George had stashed at his apartment.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: From the episode "Lights, Camera, Danger!":
    Jimmy: Seems I've won the contest. Anything you'd like to say, Cindy.
    Cindy: I'm very happy for you.
    Ms. Fowl: Cindy, stop clawing your desk!
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In "Joker's Millions", the Joker (apparently) inherits millions of dollars from a deceased rival. When Batgirl suggests that maybe he'll give up crime now that he's rich, Batman snaps the gadget he's working on in two.
  • LEGO: This is how Unikitty in any of her appearances handles her anger, only to burst like a tea kettle on top of a furnace.
  • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Velma is seen writing on her blog about being alone on a Friday night, and how she feels that there is nothing wrong with that, but as she does, she gets angrier and proceeds to type so hard, she breaks her keyboard. She then discards the busted keyboard and replaces it with a new one as if this is a regular occurrence for her.
  • The Simpsons: Homer Simpson pulls a funny one in "Bart on the Road". Bart is stuck across the country after renting a car without permission and Lisa has to tell Homer, but first, she makes him promise not to get mad. After she explains, Homer manages to say "My, that is quite a pickle" calmly, as a Luminescent Blush forms on his face... until he excuses himself, puts on the mask of his hazmat suit, and starts ranting and raving incoherently until the mask is all fogged up. Then, when he's finished, he says (completely deadpan):
    Homer: Okay, I've thought this through. I will send Bart the money to fly home. Then I will murder him.
  • One Teen Titans (2003) episode features two of these when a Daddy's Little Villain blackmails Robin into taking her on a date. Robin's face is frozen in a twitching manic grin, while Starfire occasionally bursts into flame or has her mouth melt away and her head turn into a nightmarish Venus Flytrap-esque maw.
  • The Tick: The Superman Expy is frequently angry with The Tick while in his Clark Kentish disguise, constantly quietly crushing typewriters in annoyance.