Why Do I Cry When I Get Mad?

Updated September 25, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

We all cry sometimes. It’s human nature. However, you may be wondering, "Why do I cry when I'm mad?" Anger is a complicated emotion, sometimes expressed through crying. When you get upset, you may become overwhelmed, explosive, or even cry. Everyone expresses anger differently, and crying is a natural response. In many parts of the world, including the United States, society has a way of gendering emotional states, attributing different values to some emotions as opposed to others. We tend to think of anger as powerful and associate it with yelling and violence. Meanwhile, we may think of sadness as weakness and associate it with crying. It’s no wonder then that crying can be confusing. 

If you do find that you get so mad that you start crying angry tears, you're not alone in this, and it doesn't make you weak. Whether you’re angry or sad or happy or anything else, emotional tears are okay.

People Experience Anger Differently

It Is Common To Get Tearful When Angry

Some people  get overwhelmed by their angry feelings, and they may lash out at others. It might come out as harsh words or yelling. In other cases, anger may be expressed through tears.  Sometimes, it can even be difficult if you can't stop crying when you’re mad. Tears are often associated with sadness, but they can also represent feeling scared, relieved, anxious, confused, curious, ashamed, guilty, hopeless, helpless, or worthless.

Some people have a difficult time expressing their anger, and instead of yelling, they become flustered or emotional when they’re feeling hurt. At these moments, the feelings are intense, and they let their anger out by crying angry tears. Research also shows that even as adults, we often react differently to circumstances depending on the treatment we've had as kids. Professionals often encourage individuals or couples navigating a hard time to explore what they learned in childhood about expressing emotion.

Does It Make You Weak?

When you cry out of anger, it may make you feel week. Feelings aren’t facts, though. Crying when you’re mad can be a normal part of expressing your emotions. However, if you would like to manage or express your anger differently, there are helpful tools and coping mechanisms that you can use when you are having intense feelings. Some of these include meditation, deep breaths, therapy, or journaling. 

What Lies Underneath Anger?

Underneath anger lies hurt. That’s why many people cry when they are angry. They’ve bypassed the anger and gone straight to the emotion underneath the anger. While this may sound like “weakness” again, it’s actually a healthier and more mature coping mechanism for dealing with strong emotions. You can cry from feeling wonder, fury, joy, love, comfort, or contentment.

When you're mad, you may also be hurting because of something a person has done to you or a situation that life has thrown at you. There's nothing wrong with crying when you are mad. Any expression of anger is okay, as long as you're not hurting yourself or anyone else. Angry tears are one way to let these feelings out in a safe and healthy way. You don't need a diagnosis for this, but if you want the ability to understand where this behavior is coming from or tips for how to navigate it, a mental health professional can help walk you through it.

Tears can be healthy whether they’re angry or not, and a therapist can help you to ensure that you’re dealing with your emotions in healthy ways.Some people are more in touch with their emotions than others and may have stronger feelings compared to others. If you are one of those people, you might cry when you get angry or are feeling overwhelmed, but this doesn't make you weak. 

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo

What Are Some Helpful Tools To Manage Anger?

Crying is okay. However, there are some instances in which your angry tears might be inconvenient, and you may need to utilize some techniques to stop the tears. Here, we’ll discuss some approaches that you can take on your own that may help. 

Meditation Instead Of Crying

Anger is a healthy emotion when you know how to communicate it in a safe space without hurting others. However, being persistently and frequently enraged can hurt your quality of life and may even result in high blood pressure. According to peer-reviewed studies from the journal Consciousness and Cognition, even just one meditation and deep breathing session can reduce an individual's feelings of anger.

When you're angry, it triggers your sympathetic nervous system to release distress signals. Your breathing becomes shallow, your heart rate increases, and your blood pressure increases. The best course of action to combat this might be to meditate. Meditation helps you to calm your mind and central nervous system, thus making it easier to relax. You may want to try relaxing your facial muscles to let go of the anger that you have been feeling inside. This can help you to keep tears at bay, and it may also make it easier to cope with specific emotions.

Meditation slows down your body's responses and helps you to respond before you react. By practicing 20 minutes of daily meditation and taking deep breaths, you can teach yourself to have more control over your mind and body, training yourself to remain in a calm state. Meditating at a specific time every day (i.e., when you wake up, before you go to bed, on your lunch hour, etc.) can have benefits, but so can meditating any time that you feel angry tears coming on.

People Experience Anger Differently

Journaling When Mad

A structured thought journal where you practice expressive writing can help you with understanding and managing anger. It works by helping you to identify what makes you angry, why, and how to respond to it rather than react. 

You can make a note of situations where you feel frustrated or struggle with your anger. This can help you make a concerted effort to change your behavior if you're not getting the results you want in life. 

Here's how it works:

Event: Write down the event that made you angry.

Thought: What was your immediate reaction to the event? Describe your immediate, reactionary thoughts to the event.

Feeling: How do you feel after your immediate reaction to the event? Maybe you feel dismissed or overlooked, for example.

Behavior: What do you do next? Do you yell back at your boss? Do you cry in the bathroom?

It's important to note what you do when you become angry. Understanding why you're taking the actions you take will help you learn and grow.

Consequences: What happens as a result of all these thoughts, feelings, and actions?

Perhaps you internalize anger from events in your personal life and end up crying angry tears at lunch. Consider the outcome of this behavior. For example, it might make you feel less alone in your anger but may not solve the problem.

Anger: Emotion Or Reaction?

This happens to many of us: we cry when we're mad. We become so angry with a friend, family, or a situation or person at work that in the midst of stating our case, the tears start to roll down our face. You feel flushed and your face may even turn red. You may find yourself crying when you’re having difficult conversations and begin to feel angry. 

Crying When We Are Mad

One of the reasons we may struggle with the fact that we cry when we're angry is that most people do not associate anger as an emotion, but rather a reaction. Anger is seen as a reaction or distress signal to something someone else has done. When angry, there is often an action that takes place like slamming  doors, shouting, throwing things, or even physically assaulting someone.

There are so many ways people act during an angry episode, including with angry tears. We lose sight of the fact that anger is a legitimate and real emotion; it is a part of the human experience. It would not be normal or healthy if we never got angry.  The issue becomes how we choose to express it.

It Is Okay

People who cry when they are angry probably also cry when they're sad, and even when they're happy. Crying is a normal physiological reaction to feeling strong emotions. It isn’t unusual to feel like crying when you’re frustrated or angry.

It is okay to feel angry because anger is a normal human emotion. Crying is an acceptable way of dealing with your feelings. Tears of rage can sometimes be healthy for you. If it bothers you, or you worry how other people will react, you can be upfront about it and say matter-of-factly, "I cry sometimes when I'm mad”. There is no need to be shy or embarrassed about a physiological reaction that you can’t necessarily control.

There are many people who have a hard time accepting that crying out of anger is okay.  If you cry a lot and you think that it’s negatively impacting your life, then it might be best to seek help. You can come to understand your feelings and why you’re crying so much with the help of a professional. Your tears may just mean that you’re angry, but they could also be indicative of something more. 

A Professional Can Help Answer This Question

Even though both anger and crying are normal reactions to feeling intense emotions, if you find that you are angry or crying for seemingly "no apparent reason," you may need to talk to someone to help resolve the issue. 

Sometimes, we feel feelings so intensely that they are hard to express. A counselor  can be helpful in teaching you ways to slow down and communicate what is important to you so that you can get your point across, possibly without crying  tears of anger.

The Benefits Of Online Counseling

If you're not sure why you cry when you're angry, counseling can help you figure that out. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find a therapist. It may be impossible in some areas. And, once you do find a therapist, it can be even harder to pay for one. For someone dealing with strong emotions, these barriers to treatment may prove to be too much. Online therapy could be a better alternative. Internet-based counseling can be accessed from the comfort of your home. It’s also convenient, with appointments available around the clock. 

Online therapy has been the subject of much research in the field of mental health. A recent study showed that this type of remote counseling can help reduce feelings of anger in some populations. It has also been shown to help with stress management. 

BetterHelp is an online platform that helps you find a therapist from among thousands of professional and licensed therapists and counselors. If you find a therapist and later determine that they aren’t right for you, it’s easy to find another one.


Each person has a different relationship with anger. If you find it hard to tell people that you're mad without crying, your online therapist can help you explore those feelings and get to the source of why you're angry. You might be at a loss as to why you break down when you're mad. Your counselor will support you in talking about your feelings, including anger, and finding out how to express anger healthily.

The counselors at BetterHelp understand complex emotions, including anger. It's possible these angry tears stem from other feelings like fear or anxiety, and therapy can help with that as well.  Reach out today to discover the source of your intense emotions and how to manage them effectively. 

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