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I’m So Angry, I’m Crying

I'm So Angry, I'm Crying

Why do I cry when I'm angry?

Siyu Peng
7/15/2020

Do you know the feeling when you’re in a heated argument with someone and your eyes begin to water? You do everything you can to keep the tears at bay because you can’t possibly cry in an argument, right? I know that feeling, too, and today we’re going to take a quick look into why some people feel the urge to cry when they’re angry.

Before we begin, let’s talk about what’s so wrong with crying when you’re angry. You could pin it on the societal pressure, that crying would be a sign of weakness and by doing so when you’re angry and in an argument, you’d be handing power over to the other person. You wouldn’t be wrong. If you were in a professional setting, at work or at school, it would be seen as very unprofessional if you were crying. You would be seen as someone who couldn’t control their emotions. 

Though these are all very valid reasons, they aren’t the reason why I hate the fact that I cry when I’m angry. Picture this:

Let’s say that a certain individual, say Emma, is very angry at a loved one (why a loved one? More on this later) and she has all this pent-up anger inside her. She’s the type of person who would bottle up her frustrations whenever someone did something that would tick her off, but right now the bottle blew up. Emma wants to express her anger and she wants to say some very nasty things to express just how angry she is. She wants to get her point across. Emma takes a deep breath… and starts crying. She struggles to say the words that she wants to say through her tears. Emma’s loved one, who was also quite angry, realizes that Emma was crying. They immediately stop feeling angry and go to comfort her. Emma calms down and the two of them make up. 

The problem with this is that Emma still hasn’t said to whoever she was arguing with what it was that was making her angry. She got a few words out there, but they probably forgot because the other person was probably fixated on the fact that she was crying. Since the other person probably has a heart, they won’t let Emma just stand there, crying. Even if the other person did remember to ask Emma what was bothering her, she would merely brush it off because she’s cooled down (remember the fact that Emma is the kind of person who likes to bottle up her emotions). Now that’s another issue we’ll have to tackle later. We’ll start with the actual article now.

So why do we cry?

There is still a lot that we don’t know about emotional crying. Charles Darwin thought that emotional tears were meaningless and that they had no evolutionary advantage. Humans are the only animals to cry emotional tears. What we do know is that crying soothes you. It’s the body’s reaction to intense emotions. Other than that fact, the reason why we cry is still up for debate. There are multiple theories competing and we simply don’t know. 

One theory suggests that it’s a cry for help (pun unintended). Much like how babies cry for attention, older humans might as well. Humans are one of the most social of animals and that might explain why we have evolved to cry with emotions. 

However, there are no clear links suggesting that crying does much long term good for the body. Most articles you can find on crying states that it is good for the mind and body and that holding back tears is bad. The truth is that there isn’t any conclusive research showing that that statement is correct, so feel free to take everything you read here with a grain of salt. 

Crying When You’re Angry or Frustrated

I personally think that people cry more when they’re frustrated than just plain angry. There is more emotion in being frustrated than angry. If you’ve experienced tears when you’re angry, is it frustration? Though the two are related, they aren’t completely the same. 

Imagine a child throwing a tantrum. They’re frustrated about something, so much so to the point of tears. Perhaps crying when you’re angry is a more eloquent way of throwing a tantrum. The difference is that for adults and young adults, they know how to hold in anger and frustration for the most part. 

However, sometimes you will feel the urge to cry. Here are some tips to prevent tears from coming:

  • Try and stop the tears by calming down. If the reason you’re crying is because you’re angry, then you should try to calm yourself down, enough so that you’re not pushed over the edge. 
  • Tilt your head back. It’s pretty weird but it works. It will stop the tears from falling and also help you focus on breathing and not on the situation.

After a situation has calmed down, address the issue. You need to get your feelings across to prevent future incidents with the same person over the same thing. Holding back tears is all fine and dandy, but you shouldn’t do the same with emotions. 

https://time.com/4254089/science-crying/

https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/archived/bodysphere/features/4837824

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