Why Do I Cry When I Get Mad?

Medically reviewed by Majesty Purvis, LCMHC
Updated May 27, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Almost everyone cries sometimes. It’s human nature. However, you may wonder, "Why do I cry when I'm mad?" 

Anger can be a complicated emotion, sometimes expressed through crying. You may become overwhelmed or explosive when you become upset, or you may cry. Everyone expresses anger differently, and crying can be a natural response for you. 

In many parts of the world, including the United States, society can gender 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, while sadness may be seen as weakness and associate it with crying. It’s no wonder crying can be confusing. 

If you become so mad you start crying angry tears, you're not alone, and it doesn't mean you’re “weak.” Emotional tears are okay whether you’re angry, sad, happy, or feeling anything else.

People can experience anger differently

Crying can be a result of intense emotions

Some people can be overwhelmed by angry feelings and may lash out at others, expressing themselves through harsh words or yelling. In other cases, anger may be expressed through tears. Sometimes, it might be difficult to stop crying when you’re mad. 

Tears are often associated with sadness but may also represent feeling scared, relieved, happy, anxious, confused, curious, ashamed, or guilty.

Some people may have a challenging time expressing their anger, and instead of yelling, they become flustered or emotional when they’re feeling hurt. Their feelings can be so intense they let their anger out by crying angry tears. 

Research also shows that as adults, we often react differently to circumstances depending on how we were treated as kids. Professionals often encourage individuals or couples navigating a hard time to explore what they learned in childhood about expressing emotion.

Does crying make you weak?

When you cry out of anger, you may feel like you’re “weak.” Feelings aren’t facts, though. Crying when you’re mad may be a typical way for you to express emotions. 

However, if you would like to manage or express your anger differently, there may be helpful tools and coping mechanisms you can use when you’re having intense feelings. Some resources include meditation, deep breaths, therapy, and journaling. 

A potentially healthy expression of anger

Anger is considered a secondary emotion, with primary emotions hiding beneath the outward response. Many people may cry when they experience anger because they have bypassed the anger and gone straight to the emotion underneath. While this situation may sound like another example of “weakness,” crying can sometimes be a healthier and more mature coping mechanism for struggling with strong emotions.

There's nothing wrong with crying when you feel mad. It’s safe to express anger if you're not hurting yourself or anyone else. Angry tears are one way to let these feelings out safely and healthily. If you want to understand where this behavior may come from or tips for navigating it, a mental health professional can help walk you through it.

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

Helpful tools to manage anger

Crying is healthy. However, there are some instances where your angry tears might be inconvenient, and you may need techniques to stop them. Below are some approaches that may help.


Anger can be a healthy emotion when you know how to communicate it in a safe space without hurting others. However, persistent and frequent rage may hurt your quality of life and potentially result in high blood pressure. According to peer-reviewed studies from the journal Consciousness and Cognition, a single meditation and deep breathing session can reduce an individual's feelings of anger.

Anger triggers your sympathetic nervous system to release distress signals. Your breathing becomes shallow and your heart rate and blood pressure increase. Meditation may help to reduce these symptoms. Meditation can help calm the central nervous system, relaxing the body and mind. You may try relaxing your facial muscles to let go of the anger you’ve been feeling inside, which can help you keep tears at bay. Meditation may also help you cope with specific emotions.

Meditation slows your body's responses and can help you respond before reacting. By practicing 20 minutes of daily meditation and taking deep breaths, you can increase your control over your mind and body, training yourself to remain calm. Meditating at a specific time every day, such as when you wake up, before you go to bed, or during your lunch hour, can be beneficial,but so can meditating any time you start to feel angry tears.

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo


A structured thought journal where you practice expressive writing can help you understand and manage anger. Writing your feelings down can allow you to identify what triggered your anger and why, and how to respond to it. 

You can note situations where you are frustrated or struggle with anger. This practice can help you make a concerted effort to change your behavior. 

Here's an example journaling template:

  • Event: Write down the event that caused you to feel angry.
  • Thought: What was your immediate reaction to the event? 
  • Behavior: What did you do next? Did you yell back at your boss? Did you cry in the bathroom?
  • Feeling: How do you feel after your response to the event? For example, maybe you feel embarrassed or hurt.
  • Actions: It can be helpful to write down what you do when you become angry. Understanding why you're taking the actions you take can help you learn and grow. 
  • Consequences: What happens due to these thoughts, feelings, and actions? What are the potential consequences of your actions? Do they make you feel less alone in your anger? Do they help to address what triggered your anger in the first place? 

Anger: emotion or reaction?

One of the reasons people may struggle with crying when they feel angry could be that most people do not think of anger as an emotion but as a reaction. Anger can be interpreted as a distress signal prompted by a specific event. People may lash out when they experience anger, through slamming doors, shouting, throwing things, or, in extreme cases, physically assaulting someone.*

People may act in many different ways during an episode of anger, including with angry tears. They may lose sight of anger as a legitimate and authentic emotion that is a part of the human experience. 

*If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Support is available 24/7.

It's okay to cry

People who cry when angry probably also cry when they're sad or happy. Crying is a normal physiological reaction to strong emotions. Feeling like crying when you’re frustrated or angry can be healthy.

Anger is a human emotion, and crying can be a beneficial way of experiencing those feelings. If you worry about how others may treat you, you can try being honest and saying, "I sometimes cry when I'm mad.” You may feel shy or embarrassed about crying when experiencing anger, but it may be a physiological reaction you can’t necessarily control. And that’s okay.

Many people may have difficulty accepting that they are crying due to anger. If you believe your tendency to cry may be negatively impacting your life, a therapist might be able to help you understand your feelings and why you frequently cry. Your tears may stem from intense anger, but they could also indicate something more serious.

People can experience anger differently

Professional support can help

Anger and crying can be normal reactions to intense emotions. Still, if you feel angry or like you’re crying for "no apparent reason," you may need to talk to someone to help understand what could be happening beneath the surface. A counselor can help teach you ways to slow down and communicate what matters to you so you can get your point across, possibly without angry tears.

It can be challenging to find a therapist, especially if you live in a busy city or rural area. Even if you can find a therapist, therapy can be expensive. For someone struggling with strong emotions, these barriers to treatment may be too stressful. Online therapy may be a better alternative. With online therapy, you can attend internet-based counseling from the comfort of your home. It can also be more convenient, with appointments available around the clock. 

Online therapy has been the subject of much research in the mental health field. A recent study showed remote counseling can help reduce feelings of anger. Online therapy has also been found to help with stress management. 

Online platforms like BetterHelp can help you find a therapist from among thousands of professional and licensed therapists and counselors. If you find a therapist and later determine they aren’t right for you, you can meet with another one who may be a beter fit.


Everyone has a different relationship with anger and how they express it. If you find it hard to tell people you're mad without crying, an online therapist can help you explore those feelings. Your counselor can support you in discussing your feelings, including anger, and can help you express anger on your terms.

The counselors at BetterHelp understand complex emotions, including anger. Angry tears may stem from anxiety or depression; therapy can help you address these potential mental health conditions. Reach out to discover the source of your intense emotions and learn to manage them effectively.

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