How fear leads to anger

Fear and anger are natural emotions that can be helpful in some everyday situations. For example, being scared of walking on the edge of cliffs can help stop you from falling to your death. At the same time, getting angry when someone threatens you can sharpen your focus and make you more vigilant to help you avoid harm.

But problems can arise when you frequently experience fear or anger in inappropriate ways. Instead of being healthy emotions that help you react in a way that could keep you safe, these feelings can make you feel isolated, develop into mental health conditions, or even put you at risk of physical harm.

How they’re connected

Fear and anger may sound like total opposites, but they’re actually connected. They’re two feelings that are based on four things:

  1. Control
  2. Purpose
  3. Conflict
  4. Regret 


When you feel scared or angry, it may be because you’ve lost control of a situation or person. In this case, losing control may have devastating consequences or, at least, leave you feeling uncomfortable, uncertain, and anxious. None of these feelings are pleasant to experience. 


Fear can help you avoid situations that could put you in danger, while anger can give you the motivation you need to fight back against something or someone. Fear and anger can both be useful feelings that help you avoid danger or even death. Your fight or flight instinct is a survival mechanism but it can also become triggered too easily which is problematic. 


There are many different types of conflict, but physical confrontations and verbal arguments are the two most common kinds people experience. Both of these situations can lead to fear and anger

In a conflict situation, you may give out threats as a result of fear or anger. At the same time, you make receive threats because the other person is experiencing fear or anger. 


Regret is a major link between fear and anger. You may regret lashing out in anger at someone you care about after the incident has taken place. Or you may regret being scared in a certain situation and wish you had been more assertive. 

Whatever the cause of your regret, use it as an opportunity to learn how to do things differently next time.  Instead of wishing you’d behaved differently, use the experience as a learning point and make a commitment to do something else next time a similar situation arises. 

How to overcome fear

Overcoming fear is difficult because it’s ingrained into our genetics. There are instances when you can use fear as a means of self-preservation and danger avoidance. However, there are also times when fear works against you and stops you from taking necessary action. This is what can lead to frustration.

One healthy way to overcome fear is to practice positive self-talk and thinking. The things you often tell yourself (“I’m no good in situations like this” or “I can’t do this”) are internalized and have a real impact on your thoughts and actions. 

You can counteract negative thoughts with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tool called  positive affirmations. These phrases can help rewire your brain and give you a boost of self-confidence. You may feel silly speaking them out loud at first, but over time, you really will notice the difference in which you feel and think about yourself.

Having a solid plan can also help you overcome fear. By thinking ahead and planning for the different situations which could occur, you can feel in control and avoid fear-inducing situations altogether.

How to overcome the inappropriate expression of anger

Managing and expressing your anger in a healthy and productive manner is something that people of all ages find difficult. Anger is an intense emotion that often results in powerful feelings and reactions. However, it can be controlled.  You can choose how to express your anger and there are many therapists who have advanced training in anger management and the health expression of anger. 

The next time you feel yourself becoming angry, think about the consequences before you speak or act. It’s easy to blurt out or do something in anger you’ll shortly regret. It’s often a better idea to physically and mentally distance yourself from the situation and return to it later when your feelings aren’t so intense.  You can’t un-ring a bell so be careful what you say and do when you are angry because purposefully hurting someone you care about with your words or actions is never ok.  I was angry, is not an excuse for poor behavior. 

When it’s time to ask for help

If you feel like fear and anger have taken control of your life, it may be time to reach out. While it’s normal to feel scared and angry, experiencing these feelings on a habitual basis can be an indication that there are some serious issues you need to address.

Online therapy can be incredibly beneficial for you if you frequently struggle with feelings of fear and anxiety. It can help you connect with a therapist when you’re ready from the comfort of wherever you feel safe.

Speaking to an online therapist can also help if you’re struggling with anger issues. Studies have shown that online therapy can be an effective means of anger management and can help people living in rural areas who don’t have great access to mental health services. 

When you’re ready to take back control and learn how to deal with your fear and/or anger issues in a healthy way, we’re here to help. Make an appointment today and take the first step on the road to becoming a more balanced and fulfilled version of yourself. 

About the author: Theresa Boswell

Theresa is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I relocated to California after a short period in Kansas in 2016.  Growing up in a large family has allowed her to develop unique experiences that she draws from to foster resilience and growth in her patients.

She has over 20 years of experience in counseling and in the field of social services.  She has recently been a leader with Federally Qualified Health Care (FQHC) systems leading change within Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) environments.  She received my education from the University of Wisconsin’s educational system, with obtaining her master’s in Social Work from UW-Madison and her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from UW-Milwaukee.

Read more about Theresa here >>

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741