If we are asked to describe an angry person, few of us would include ‘afraid’ or ‘fearful’ in the description. In fact, we probably think of anger and fear more like opposites: the angry person is powerful and raging; the fearful person is cowering and weak.
Surprisingly, anger and fear are much closer to each other than we think. For often, inside that larger-than-life angry individual is one who is deeply wounded by fear. It may be the fear of a small child who was abused and never healed. It may be the fear of a traumatized adult, faced with the inarticulate terror of war, disaster, pain or loss.
Whatever its cause, fear makes us question our strength, our judgment and our ability to act confidently. As we become more responsible, we do our best to manage our fear, putting on a ‘good face’ and tucking away the worst of our feelings for our private moments.
But sometimes, our fear ‘wins’ in spite of our efforts to conceal it. Maybe something in our life reminds us of the situation that made us fearful. We experience that familiar helpless, powerless sensation. Without knowing quite what the problem is, we feel anxious and nervous. We feel the need to show our bravery and strength, even if it’s not called for. We feel defensive and quick to blame others for our difficulties. We may lash out, verbally or physically.
We are angry.
To break the connection between fear and anger and to manage our fear and anger, we need to understand the complexity of what’s happening within us and to recognize our hidden strengths. We need to heal old wounds and create positive, new habits. A skilled and compassionate counselor can help.
For a free phone consult, call Dr. Fibus at 818.395.2831.