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The relationship between anger and fear

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Anger and fear

Yesterday I was taking a friend of mine to the bus that will take her back home in another city that is four hours away. Since she was going to spend 4 hours without food I had to go and buy her some things to eat while being in the bus but a lady who works there suddenly shouted at me and told me “Its not allowed to bring these things into the bus and if you are going to give them to your friend I will let her leave the bus in the middle of the road”

Suddenly I became very angry and I shouted at her, I told her “Give me your name and the bus number, I will call your boss and show you the consequences of talking to customers like that”

The lady then came and apologized and told me that we she was just kidding and since my friend is an expert in lying detection she told me that the lady was honest.

I was angry because I was afraid

Behind anger always lies fear, Even if the angry person appears to be strong and in control fear will always be the reason behind his anger.

I was afraid that the lady does what she said which is leaving my friend in the middle of the highway alone. My fear that my friend gets treated badly made me angry and so anger was there to protect me from my fears.

If I knew that she was kidding (even though she didn’t) I would have just said “what a weird way to joke” but since I was afraid my anger exploded.

The relationship between anger and fear

Whenever you find yourself angry just ask yourself one question, what am I afraid of?
If you found yourself shouting at another driver then you might find that you were afraid of the damage that was going to happen to your car.

If you found that you are angry at a lazy employee then most probably you will find that you were afraid that your company performs bad or that your own manager evaluates you poorly.

If you were angry at someone who made fun of you then you might find that you were afraid of what people might say about you if you didn't take strong actions. (see Dealing with bullying)

Anger and depression

One of the main causes for depression is suppressed anger. If your rights were constantly violated and if you didn't manage to channel the resulting anger correctly you will end up depressed. In my book, The ultimate guide to getting over depression i explained how suppressed emotions can be one of the main reasons causing depression. People who manage to channel their suppressed emotions in a timely manner are less likely to get depressed.

Anger management

Anger management is deeper than controlling your breath or counting from one to ten because unless you have a deep understanding of your fears you might be wasting your time on techniques that will never work. One of the vital steps for controlling anger is learning how to control your fears.

If you found a person angry and shouting then try to understand the reasons that are behind his anger so that you can comfort him. For example If your boss told you “you are always late” never tell him “I understand that you are afraid that people might say that you are a weak manager but instead say “I am sorry, I know this might affect my scorecard and I will be on time starting tomorrow”. Instead of shouting at him and saying that he is bossy just understand his fears and comfort him and he will become calm again in minutes.

In summary, anger is sometimes caused by fear, control your fears and you will manage your anger effortlessly

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