How can anger stem from fear?

Some people claim anger stems from fear on the internet for instance urban dictionary. I do not understand it. I think anger stems from confidence and big ego. If you don’t have respect for others around you and you think yourself too important you can easily get mad. But if you can feel the power to surpass others, you can dare to get angry.

What do you think? Where does anger stem from?

Anger stems from people pissing me off. Fear stems from people scaring me. To connect the two is fortune-cookie philosophizing.

Of course it can. People often redirect their emotions, and often they redirect them to anger. Fear, grief, loneliness, rejection, disappointment, are often rechanneled into anger.


This reads like the sort of rambling sentence that a Miss America contestant would awkwardly throw together during the question-and-answer segment.

Fear can elicit a flight response but it can also elicit a fight response. It’s very easy to turn.

“I’m afraid that those Mexicans are going to come over here and steal my jobs”


“How dare those Mexicans come over here and steal our jobs!”

I think that was Yoda


I’ve said it for a while. Anger stems from Fear, Fear stems from Powerlessness. Anger is a tool to reclaim power.

Not true 100% of the time, but perhaps most of the time.

Think about when people are angry over politics. Why? Because there are “stupid” people who don’t think they way they want them to. They’re powerless to change that. They’re afraid of what those people want or think or do, and anger comes out to help them regain their sense of power over the situation. False power, but somewhat comforting nonetheless. Feels better being angry than afraid. Fear is too close to weakness (lack of power) Anger is “power”.

When a parent gets angry at a child, or a boss at an employee, why are they doing so? Because they’re trying to regain power over the situation, because they’re afraid that they won’t be obeyed, that their power will be usurped, because they’re afraid what might happen (kid gets hurt by not listening, worker doesn’t do their work, etc).

Yeah, people pissing you off, DrF. How so? Now I’ll be the first person to admit that I get pissed at people too for doing stupid shit. But I recognize that at some level, it is a power issue. I can’t make them do the right thing, I can’t make them not be stupid, I can’t make them stop doing whateverthefuck they’re doing that makes me uncomfortable or unhappy.

So yeah, Anger comes from Fear, but Fear is only a middle step. Anger comes from Power, or the lack thereof.

The big problem with Anger as a tool is that it isn’t a hammer, it’s Fire. It is just as hard to control and just as easy to get burned. Anger has a funny way of completely overriding our moral codes and our personal integrity and telling us it is perfectly ok to do nasty shit to punish the other person and force them to recognize our power.

What do you mean? In my country, Miss Turkey is known stupid and know make overly stupid statements. My sentence structure gives a sign of the fact that it is said by a stupid people? :confused: :smack:

These contradict one another. (OK OK I got it.)

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Haight leads to Ashbury. Once upon Ashbury, forever will it dominate your destiny.

The dark side clouds everything. Impossible to see the future is.

Fear is a primary emotion, but anger is a secondary one. There is always some underlying emotion to anger. As someone with an anxiety disorder, this underlying emotions is often fear.

How? Well, fear is something you don’t want to experience, and one way of covering up fear is to get angry. Anger feels good, at least until after the fact. As pointed out above, both have the same physiological changes, so one is easy to convert to the other.

I’d link you to more on the subject, but I didn’t find a single good source in my preliminary googling. Just google anger secondary emotion and read what you find.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

I and my anger, that is.
Then it’s time for whup-ass.

Fact is, there are times to be angry(1), and times to be afraid(2).

Being Human, we should forgive ourselves if we sometimes give into them when it isn’t the right time.

(1) If this happened to your kids and you’re not angry, you’re not human.

(2) If you’ve got a large carnivore chasing you and you’re not terrified, there’s something wrong with your brain.

There’s a person in my family who recently admitted she gets angry because she’s afraid someone might be just about to ignore her.

For her, anger is a strategy that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, as we all do try hard to ignore her when she’s angry, because she’s irrational and loud then, and can’t be reasoned with.

So you can say in that case that fear is the root cause of her anger.

I have a bad temper myself, and it usually stems from a sense of powerlessness (why must it always be me who cleans the toilet around here?).

The number of times anger has served me well are . . . . I can’t remember any times anger has served me well. But I guess it beats out the feeling of powerlessness, huh?

Carnivore chases you into a dead end. Your back’s to the wall but you find a heavy club nearby and pick it up. How do you feel about Mr. carnivore now?

I think you want to see that fucker’s blood. Anger can stem from fear.

Anger is just misdirected energy. Your brain sees that something is amiss and gives you a huge rush of chemicals to help you out. But you have to learn to direct that big rush into the format appropriate for the situation. If your instinct is to solve problems by yelling or smashing then it will come out that way. But if you give it some thought you can focus it in a way that is more effective at changing the situation.

The extra nervous energy will go whichever direction you choose to focus. And how it manifests depends on how you interpret the issue. If you see it in a confrontational way then you’ll be inclined to be forceful. If you see it as a puzzle then you’ll be inclined to analytical means. And so forth.

Fear is one of the signals the brain uses to figure out something is wrong, and so can lead to anger. But it’s not the only signal. A better generalization is that expectations and attachments lead to anger.

If you don’t give it thought, and you haven’t established an instinctual response, then the rush of energy just basically gets all directed into a big emotional plume of pure angry feelings. Assuming that you are inclined to see it negatively and resist it. If you accept it or embrace it, it manifests as excitement.

People become angry only when threatened or frustrated. If you’re capable of eliminating a stressor or irritant you’ll do so long before you reach the point of becoming angry over it. Anger only occurs when you can’t eliminate an irritant, either because the irritant is a threat you can’t readily eliminate or for some other reason (i.e. ramming the idiot in front of you driving 30 mph on the freeway is highly illegal).

It’s the basic fight or flight response. Fear leads to flight, but your mind redirects it to fight once you decide that you can’t/won’t get away from the situation. Then anger.

The hypothalamus tells the adrenal gland to secrete epinephrine into the bloodstream. This causes fear. Due to conditioning or inherent constitutional differences, some individuals will secrete norpinephrine in with the epinephrine This changes fear to anger. But chemically, rage is still many parts fear to a few parts anger.

According to Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman, the emotion of anger results when you don’t get what you want. It’s an evolutionary mechanism for getting rid of road blocks to limited resources. The more you feel you “must have” something, the angrier you’ll get at anything that prevents you from having it.

Fear can help produce anger when you become scared that you might not get something you want.

This is a common reaction among abusive spouses. Lets say a couple is having money problems because the husband isn’t earning enough, and the wife wants to bring up the issue with her husband. As soon as she says something the husband will become scared of being seen as a failure. He will then try to avoid the topic, but his wife will persist. Once she doesn’t do what he wants - stop talking about the issue - he’ll get angry in order to prevent her from making him feel like a failure.

This doesn’t happen consciously. Emotions have triggers; and can happen so fast that people will often not know what triggered them in the first place. The husband in the example above would probably blame his wife for his anger, and would not even realize that it was driven by fear.