How To Stop Crying When I’m Angry
I cry when I get angry, frustrated and overwhelmed. How can I learn how to stop crying when I’m angry? Read this post to find out!
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After a 12-hour shift, you get called into the office.
Not sure what’s going on, you come in hesitantly and sit across your boss, who peers at you with a smirk behind steepled fingers.
“We have a problem,” he says.
“We didn’t meet the quota for foreign language calls today and you were the only one on shift.”
Heart pounding in both fear and anger because you know you answered all those foreign language calls whilst you were there, you say, “I answered all the calls that came in.”
“But not when you were in the toilet,” he retorts, his smirk growing.
“Well, obviously. I am entitled to a bathroom break.”
“Yes, but you weren’t in a cubicle, were you? You were washing your hands and then putting moisturiser on, taking your sweet time in the toilet whilst customers were waiting.”
Flabbergasted that your male boss actually had you followed into the ladies’ room to see what you were doing and the blatant accusation that you deliberately avoided calls, you feel rage crashing against you in heated waves of pure emotion.
Your chest feels tight.
Your heart is pounding.
Your fingers are curled into tight fists.
You open your mouth to put him in his place and defend yourself but to your horror, nothing came out of your mouth.
Instead, you start crying angry tears that completely undermine your position.
To protect yourself (and your all but shattered reputation), you lift your chin up, do a 90 degree turn and walk out the room as fast as your legs can carry you.
What are angry tears?
Tears of frustration, of rage, of sheer emotion.
They’re the worst that can happen when you’re debating or trying to make a point in an argument, isn’t it?
Despite the fact that we now acknowledge that crying is healthy and is, in fact, not a sign of weakness, they’re still viewed that way in certain situations: when you’re at work, when you’re engaged in a debate about something, when you’re trying to defend yourself against an accusation.
And the list goes on.
These kinds of tears are psychic tears.
In other words, they only happen “when you experience strong emotions, stress, and physical pain,” which is fine when you’re going through a heartbreaking experience or a tragedy.
But, heaven forbid, you feel so betrayed by a person of authority (see sample scenario above) that you end up crying.
Have you ever experienced that?
Several times, I’ve experienced feeling betrayed and hurt – and obviously got angry as a result – that the urge to punch something was all but visceral.
Obviously, you don’t go around punching people because they hurt you (even if they deserved it).
Well, maybe when you were 3 years old but not when you’re 30.
In those cases, you reign in your emotions as best you can but if you’re like many, your eyes don’t necessarily cooperate with your efforts and you end up angry crying instead.
But why does this happen and what can you do to stop bawling like a baby?
Why do I cry when I’m angry?
I came across a post on Quora that basically asked, “Why do I cry when I get mad? I’m a guy. Why do I cry when I’m frustrated?”
So, the first thing I want to point out in this section is that crying when you’re mad or are experiencing extreme emotions is normal and does not discriminate based on gender.
There’s nothing wrong with a man who cries when he’s angry. Just as there’s nothing wrong with a woman who doesn’t.
It’s simply a way our bodies react physically to life’s stresses.
Of course, these stresses and the way we respond to them will vary from person to person. And what pushes such a reaction in me will not necessarily be the same for you.
That said, there is apparently a perfect recipe for angry tears, according to Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. in his Psychology Today post.
He writes, “But my main point here is to illustrate how sad—and at the same time, infuriated—you can feel when others, whether intentionally or not, gratuitously punish, or otherwise dishonor, you. When, with a lack of compassion I find almost inconceivable, they treat you without the basic respect that I think we all deserve—and leave you feeling helpless to do anything about it.“
In other words, when you are treated with disrespect, unfairness and lack of compassion, and you are unable to do anything about it, crying when angry is all but inevitable.
How to stop crying when I’m angry
So, what can you do when the inevitable happens and you find yourself so mad that your eyes are tearing up??
“How do I stop crying when I’m angry?,” you might ask.
Well, the obvious answer is to actually learn how to deal with anger and all the nitty-gritty emotions that are causing you distress.
However, this is a long-term solution that’s beyond the scope of this post.
Besides, you’re probably looking for something a little bit more immediate than counselling or therapy so, we’ve put together this list of quick and easy tips to help you deal with angry crying.
I recommend starting with Tip #1 ASAP.
Don’t wait until you find yourself in an aggravating situation.
Do it now.
And then, start practising Tip #2 with all the little emotions you feel throughout the day.
This is incredibly important because so many people nowadays are so out of touch with their emotions that they often can’t even name what they’re feeling.
So, do a little emotion check several times a day and determine (or acknowledge) your emotion without judging yourself.
You’d probably be surprised.
Practising these two will really help you when you have to use Tip #3 for the first time.
Just remember to be kind to yourself.
You won’t always be able to do it in the beginning, especially because it’s difficult to keep your presence of mind in the heat of the moment. But fortunately, practice makes perfect and repetition is the mother of skill.
Keep practising and keep going.
You’ll soon get there.
Side Note: If you do need help coping with anger, I would recommend that you seek assistance from a mental health professional.
How to stop crying when I’m angry
Tip #1: Journal.
One of the best ways to stop crying when you’re angry is to actually figure out what your trigger points are.
What makes you cry in the first place? And why?
And perhaps, most importantly, what can you do to mitigate this reaction?
Would you prefer to avoid such situations? Or gradually expose yourself to more and more of them, strengthening your muscles, as it were, until you get to the point where you no longer feel the urge to cry when you go through similar experiences.
This kind of self-awareness requires a careful study of your own self and nothing can help your self-discovery better than a journal.
According to Jim Rohn, “A journal is a textbook for life. Use it to capture the full range of human emotions that you continuously gather from your experiences.“
Obviously, all this inner work needs to happen well before a trigger event takes place so if you’re looking for ways to cope with the event as it’s happening, then read the following tips.
If you’ve never used a journal before, then please read the resources below:
How To Use A Journal – Learn why you absolutely need to start a journal habit, how to start so you actually make it into a habit and what you need to pay attention to when you’re journaling.
The Value of Reflection – Discover why you need to start the process of reflection, when you should engage in it and how to use your journal to facilitate this.
Journal Prompts – If you’re the question and answer type of person, these journal prompts will help you learn more about who you are and can definitely lead you to a greater awareness of yourself, your dreams and your life purpose.
How to stop crying when I’m angry
Tip #2: Acknowledge the emotion.
This will be a big ask and will take a lot of practice because you need to acknowledge, not just the anger, but the underlying hurt.
Especially as this is really what drives you to start crying when you’re angry, mad or frustrated – when you feel hurt because you’ve been treated unfairly and there is nothing you can do about it.
So, if you want to stem the potential flood of tears, you need to develop the ability to acknowledge what you’re feeling.
Once you can accept that you’re anger stems from hurt – whether from a sense of betrayal or something else, you can then accept the information that your emotions are trying to convey.
According to Noam Shpancer Ph.D., emotional acceptance offers several advantages.
First, when you accept your emotions, you also accept the truth of your situation. This, in turn, means that you can then choose to respond to the truth of the situation, rather than the negative picture that your hurt feelings are painting for you.
Second, emotional acceptance gives you a chance to learn about and from your anger and eventually handle it a lot better. You won’t be able to cope with something if you don’t (really) know what that something is.
In fact, that is point number three. Anger does not necessarily have to be destructive. Frustration is normal. And crying because of either is nothing to be ashamed about. Acknowledging the emotion frees you to also acknowledge that negative emotions aren’t actually so bad.
Finally, when you accept your feelings of hurt, betrayal, powerlessness, anger and fury, they will eventually lose their destructive power. It almost feels like it runs out of steam when you really look at it. As Neale Donald Walsch once wrote, “What you resist, persists. What you look at, disappears.“
How to stop crying when I’m angry
Tip #3: Breathe, step back and relax.
According to Jerry Bubrick, Ph.D., taking a step back can short-circuit the usual onset of angry tears.
If you’ve not tried it before, now is the time.
This is basically a shortcut to the common advice that you remove yourself from an aggravating situation (before you dissolve into an angry puddle of rage-fuelled tears).
Yes, it’s best when you can just up and leave, cry your heart out without feeling somehow shamed for succumbing to your negative emotions and try again another day.
But sometimes, you can’t just pivot and run.
Sometimes, you have no choice but to stand your ground.
Of course, it doesn’t really look or even feel as if you’re standing your ground effectively if you’re sobbing your way through an explanation, does it?
But what’s an angry or frustrated crier to do when the emotional onslaught is swamping even your best intentions?
Take a deep breath as you step back.
You don’t even have to go too far – even a foot back will do the trick.
Then, relax the muscles in your face, your neck and your shoulder. It’s not as hard as you think.
Just focus on each muscle and consciously loosen it, you’ll notice that these muscles get really tight the more angry or frustrated you get.
You’d be amazed at how this simple trick – breathe, step back and relax – diffuses your reaction to the situation.
It may not diffuse the situation itself but it can certainly alleviate your own physical response to it.
I hope you can see by now that it’s completely normal to cry when you’re overcome with such negative emotions as anger, hurt and frustration.
Being an angry crier or a frustrated crier is nothing to be ashamed of.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female.
The compulsion to cry can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate your tendency to tearing up.
First, you can start doing inner work to understand your own trigger points. Diving deep into the source of your anger can help you either avoid potentially triggering situations or actively seek them in order to learn how to better manage the emotion.
Second, acknowledging your emotion instead of avoiding it can help you dissolve the negativity a lot quicker.
Third, breathe, step back and relax.
Work on these three things and you’ll notice that you’re starting to develop drier eyes and a more unshakeable composure.
What do you think? Do you have any additional tips that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments section below!
My son has real issues crying often over any type of frustration. I wonder if some of things techniques could help him. I have been talking with him about practical things he can do besides counseling to help. I think keeping a journal trying to figure out how the triggers and how to deal with those triggers is a good start.
I can personally vouch for the value of starting a journal! Thanks for commenting. 🙂
This was a GREAT article for both men and women! Thanks for all the tips!
You’re welcome! Glad you like it. 🙂