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How Fear Can Cause Anger

Learn how fear can cause anger from anger management expert Dr. J. Ryan Fuller in this Howcast video.


I'm Ryan Fuller. I'm a clinical psychologist. And I have a practice in New York City. I'm going to talk to you a little bit about how fear can actually lead to anger or aggressive behaviors. So, interestingly for years there were theories that lots, and lots of building frustration in fact would lead to aggression. And that still seems to hold a lot of water. It still seems to be the case that if we’ve lots of frustration aggression is likely to follow. We also know that other particular things can sort of wear us out where the threshold of that aggression might be lowered. It turns out one of those things are any other negative emotions. So while anger certainly overtime, if we experience high enough levels of it, can certainly put us at greater risk for aggression, it turns out that even fear, disgust, loneliness, embarrassment, shame, and guilt, any of these other negative emotions also put us at a greater likelihood of becoming aggressive. And so even though oftentimes people experience anxiety disorders for instance are usually seen as someone who avoids situations, who withdraws from situations and is not someone we'd think of having a temper, there is some evidence in fact that people who have generalized anxiety and are experiencing high levels of anxiety, frequently in fact are at greater risk for becoming angry and aggressive at times. So it's a really good idea if you're someone who may be having anger management issues that you really try to identify what other negative emotions are going on in your life on a regular basis. And it's important to address those as well. Because if you have ongoing anxiety, embarrassment, and things like that, it actually can put you at greater risk for having anger management issues.

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