Have you ever experienced anger as a response to anxiety? If so, you’re not alone. Many individuals, including myself, find that their anxiety manifests as anger. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the direct relationship between my anger and my anxiety, and it was like a puzzle piece falling into place.
Anxiety and fear are closely linked, and how we personally react to fear can explain our reactions to anxiety. Personally, when I feel scared or threatened, my immediate response is anger. It’s almost as if anger becomes a defense mechanism for me, a way to regain control over a situation that feels out of my hands.
Let me provide an example. I recently had a small procedure at the doctor, and my boyfriend offered to come along for support. Due to my anxiety, I wanted to arrive at the appointment early. However, my boyfriend, who tends to be fashionably late, caused us to run behind schedule. Anger quickly flared up inside me directed at him. I was frustrated with his choice of taking a cab instead of using public transportation. Thoughts about being late consumed me, and I found myself blaming him for our situation.
In this scenario, my anger was misdirected. The root cause of my anger was my fear and anxiety about the upcoming procedure. Rather than addressing those emotions, I directed my anger towards an innocent bystander – my boyfriend.
So, why does anxiety often manifest as anger? Anyone who deals with anxiety understands the racing thoughts, inexplicable fear, and panic that accompany it. The feeling of being out of control is terrifying, and anger becomes a way to regain some semblance of control. We lash out at what we don’t understand, including ourselves.
It’s essential to acknowledge this inclination to skew anxiety into anger and take steps to address both emotions. When feeling overly anxious, taking a step back and recognizing that the stress has boiled over into anger can provide perspective. Anger may feel empowering, but giving in to it can actually increase anxiety levels.
Instead, try healthy measures to control your anxiety. Meditation, yoga, exercise, seeking professional help, or engaging in relaxing activities like reading can all be effective ways to manage anxiety. As you work on addressing your anxiety, you’ll find that your anger also starts to diminish.
It’s important to remember that if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, help is available. You can reach out to SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text “HELLO” to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.
In conclusion, the connection between anxiety and anger is not uncommon. By understanding this relationship and taking steps to address both emotions, we can work towards a healthier and more balanced state of mind.