Many people cry as a response to stress, confusion, and anger.
I’ve noticed that whenever I cried due to anger, it was always because of issues piling up. Those unresolved issues would catapult me towards lacking a sense of control then the lack of control would move me to cry because I was so angry and frustrated.
In a way, angry crying is something like (1+1 = 4). Essentially, when we angry cry, it can be because we feel our problems growing in a nonsensical way.
Over the course of my life, I’ve really only come across 3 main reasons for angry tears.
1. Feeling humiliated
As a teenager, I was as angry as anyone could possibly be. I used to slam doors, punch walls, and scream until my voice turned hoarse like sandpaper being rubbed on more sandpaper.
At the time, I thought I was above my peers and that I was always onto something that nobody else was. Essentially I had a superiority complex.
"When we are humiliated, we can almost feel our heart shriveling… We may react with anger…We may also internalize the trauma, leading to fear and anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, sleeplessness, suspicion and paranoia, social isolation, apathy, depression, and suicidal ideation." -The Psychology of Humiliation – Neel Burton | Psychology Today
My first encounter
When I was a kid, I found out my Dad was cheating on my Mom. After finding out, I told my Mom about what I’d seen and heard. After that, things quickly started to spiral out of control.
When my parents’ relationship ended, I thought I was the reason for it because I was the one who first found out about my Dad’s affair. I remember always blaming myself whenever I used to hear my Mom crying early in the morning and well into the late night.
“I wish I wouldn’t have told her, maybe we could still be together.”
Fast forward a few years into junior high: My group of “friends” at the time used to always leave me out whenever they went places so I kept on feeling sad that I was being left out. I thought I wasn’t good enough and that something must have been wrong with me for them to not want me around.
I kept trying to think of ways to change myself. From my clothes to my hair and even to my cologne, I tried it all but nothing worked. Still being left out of the circle no matter what I did, I felt humiliated.
Piled on top of the years I spent bottling up my emotions from my parents’ divorce, I became completely imbalanced. I lashed out at family members, never listened to a word of advice, and spent most of my free time being a grumpy little monkey.
By the time I was 12 or 13, I had a ton of anger issues that just kept getting worse as time went on.
2. Feeling overwhelmed
When I was around 13 was when I first started getting really overwhelmed by my emotions. Some days I’d wake up in a daze and not even know what was happening.
Looking back, it felt like my body was on auto-pilot and my mind was just going along for the ride. It was like I knew what was happening but I had no control over my actions.
More than that, I was amplifying my fears and torturing myself about how life would have been different for everyone around me if maybe I’d never been born in the first place.
Would they be better off if I disappeared right now? At the time, the answer I came up with was yes.
I was angrier than ever. Angry that I “caused” my parents’ divorce a few years back, angry that I was just a little kid without any money, angry at my Dad, angry at my Mom, I was angry at everything and everyone without really even knowing why.
"Have you ever looked at the role stress has in anger? Many people say that stress is more prevalent today than 20 years ago. Likewise, others say there is more anger (road rage, workplace violence, and so on). Stress can certainly create a variety of problems. If you are prone to anger, then stress will likely increase your angry behaviors." -The Link Between Anger and Stress – Buck Black | MentalHelp.net
As the days kept blending together into one big pot of mixed up memories, I eventually hit what most people would call “rock bottom”.
3. Feeling tired
With less rest, we become easily irritable and very snappy. Even more, we get triggered much easier and can get overwhelmed by our problems at the drop of dime.
Ever seen a grown woman angry crying just because the barista made them the wrong drink at Starbucks? I have. Not a pretty sight.
If you’ve noticed yourself working too much and find yourself getting irritated more easily, maybe you just need a bit of a break. Take some time off and get yourself sorted out.
You’re no good to anyone in an irritable state. After all, who really wants to deal with an emotional time bomb?
Ways to address angry crying
Tying into the lack of rest mentioned before, sleep is one of the most important factors that comes into play when we want to live healthy, balanced lives.
"Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety." -Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency – National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Meditation is also a form of rest like sleep. However, instead of dozing off and having our subconscious minds take us to the castle of our dreams, meditation allows us to resolve our issues and re-affirm our values in a way that sleep doesn’t allow.
Some people feel better when they write down their problems in a journal as a way of venting to one’s self. In my experience, this doesn’t really work for me at all because I find it much easier to re-center myself through sleep and meditation.
Hobbies are great for unwinding. We can pursue our passions to our hearts content and be free of our problems for the duration of time we spend on our hobbies. In my case, I love making music, reading books, and playing with my pets.
Anger is a completely natural emotion, don’t shun it.
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