Our greatest fears are the result of what we do not understand. Our minds have the capacity to create the worst scenario possible for a given situation. This creates fear. Fear, more often than not, creates anger. Fear of the unknown is akin to the fear of loss. When we don’t understand something we fear that it will in some way rob us of things we hold important. For example, suppose that a strange man calls up wanting to talk to your wife and he refuses to explain why or identify himself. This unknown typically generates fear in your mind. You will think of the worst possible scenario that is based on the possible loss of your wife or her affections to a strange man.
This will lead to anger. The reaction of this husband’s anger is based on his fear of loss. Because he fears the loss of his wife in some capacity-physically, emotionally, or even that of not being good enough for her-he will react in anger.
Jealousy is perhaps the best example of this relationship between fear and anger. Jealousy is the desire of something that is thought to be yours where there is a fear that you’ll lose it to something or someone else. I pastor a Church, and as such I counsel many marriages and relationships. I’ve yet to see where jealousy doesn’t express itself in anger in some way.
Few people know how to deal with fear. Our internal defenses are not well equipped to deal with fear well. It can paralyze you. It can rob you of the ability to think. It can create fear upon fear. For most people, the only effective means of combating fear is with anger.
Anger provides us with a weapon to use against the source of our fears. We hope to destroy, in some way, the basis of our fears and therefore be freed from our fears. In effect, we combat a strong, negative emotion with another strong and often negative emotion-anger. This is a very dangerous combination.
I’ve learned that angry people also have many fears. They feel, in some way, vulnerable to others. Their defense is to lash out in anger. This does succeed in keeping people at arm’s length, true, but it destroys nearly every meaningful relationship as well.
Thus, you could say, insecurity produces fear and most people combat fear with anger. Indeed, insecure people are the most prone to anger. In the many years that I’ve counseled relationships, the most secure individuals were also the least angry. They also were the most understanding and accepting as well. And in this realization are the keys to controlling fear and therefore anger.
Seeking to understand a situation will invariably reduce your fear and anger. Being secure in yourself and in what you have makes you much more accepting of others, their problems, and their own fears. This security means you are less inclined to defend yourself-or even see the need to defend yourself-attack others, and react with anger or fear.
When I see an angry person, I also see a fearful person. They fear something. It could be the loss of prestige, fame, money, relationships, being alone, being disliked, being rejected, or even the loss of more mundane and material goods. Either way, an angry person is also a fearful and insecure person. There is indeed a very close relationship between fear and anger.
To learn more, or to get the Author’s book, Fitly Spoken, a book on developing communication and social skills for relationships, visit: www.fitlyspoken.org