Why Do We Sometimes Cry When We're Angry?

We don't always express our anger through yelling, violence, and aggression. Sometimes, we cry when we're angry. Learn why this happens in this article.
Why Do We Sometimes Cry When We're Angry?

Last update: 29 August, 2021

In today’s article, we’ll explain we sometimes cry when we’re angry.

Every day, we face situations that can trigger emotions, like anger. However, in those moments, when we feel an urgent need to defend ourselves, tears sometimes will start to flow uncontrollably. That puts us in a vulnerable and disadvantageous position. Has this ever happened to you?

We feel so helpless when we’re unable to argue because we can’t control our crying and sobbing. And, although this reaction is natural, it makes us feel weak and unprotected from the person we perceive as our enemy at that moment.

So, why do we cry when we really want to scream, demand respect, and assert ourselves? The truth is that emotional management isn’t always as easy as we’d like it to be.  

Why do we sometimes cry when we’re angry?

A woman crying

First, it’s important to understand that many of us cry when we’re angry. If that happens to you, it doesn’t mean that you’re out of control or weak or that you have any problems.

The truth is that it’s totally possible to experience several emotions at the same time. Therefore, although you may feel angry, you can also feel pain and sadness at the same time. That can result in a unified emotional expression that manifests in the formation of angry tears.

For example, a comment your partner has made may outrage you and make you angry. However, it’s likely that you’ll also feel sad about your partner saying such harsh words because you have an emotional bond with them. Feeling humiliated, hurt, or rejected can cause great emotional pain. 

However, it’s also true that socialization plays a fundamental role in the way we express our emotions. Therefore, women are more likely than men to cry when they’re angry.

That’s because the male sex is generally restricted from expressing these types of emotions. On a social and cultural level, it’s often considered better for men to express anger, raise their voices, or hit objects. On the other hand, women are expected to be submissive, sensitive, and vulnerable. 

In addition, excessive and frequent crying may be indicative of a deeper emotional problem. For example, it can be a manifestation of a latent anxiety disorder, a possible depressive episode, or past emotional pain. You may have locked away those feelings, but they’ve been triggered by certain situations. 

Can crying be beneficial?

Make no mistake: Crying is a natural, necessary physiological function that has multiple benefits. For example, when we cry, we release oxytocin and endogenous opioids. These are substances that help reduce our heart rate and help to calm us down. 

Because of that, crying can help reduce our stress, release psychological tension and even eliminate toxins. However, crying isn’t always beneficial.

If you’re constantly crying and thinking ruminative thoughts, your emotional distress can increase. As a result, you’ll end up even more distressed and congested. 

In addition, there are several circumstances where crying isn’t appropriate, like a work meeting. Therefore, although it’s a valuable emotional management tool, it’s important to make positive use of it.

Other effects of feeling angry

Although many people try to rationalize their emotions, they’re closely linked to bodily effects. We feel our emotions in our bodies and express those emotions through our bodies. So, although we often cry when we’re angry, anger has other effects on the body.

For example:

  • The body releases large amounts of cortisol and adrenaline. We feel stress and we put ourselves on guard to face any possible danger.
  • Blood pressure and heart rate increase.
  • Tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, speaking, or swallowing.
  • Body heat increases and the person may get red.
  • Muscle tension.
  • The field of view may narrow.

Tips for managing anger on a day-to-day basis

Women doing yoga

Anger is a human emotion. However, if you don’t know how to manage it properly, it can lead to personal, social, work, and other problems. Therefore, you should follow some guidelines to help manage this emotion:

  • Learning breathing techniques is an excellent emotional management technique. Deep breathing can reduce your physical and mental activity. As a result, you can calm down and regain control of your actions.
  • Assertive communication is essential. If you’re able to express your opinions, requests, and needs appropriately, you’ll be able to avoid conflicts and painful situations.
  • Learn to express yourself appropriately. It’s important to let your emotions out. To do this, you can share your feelings with someone you trust or try therapeutic writing.

Why we cry when we’re angry

Anger is a natural and necessary emotion. It alerts our bodies that someone is violating our rights or that our physical or psychological integrity is in danger.

In addition, it mobilizes our defenses so we can solve the present problem. However, if we cry when we’re angry, we might not be able to do that. Or, we might not do it at an appropriate time and place. 

Remember, you have every right to cry, collapse, or scream. These are liberating actions. Because of that, it’s important to do so at appropriate times. For example, do it in a private place or in the company of someone you trust. 

If your emotions start to overwhelm you when conflicts arise, the best thing to do is leave the situation. Take some time to calm down and then resume the conversation. That way, you’ll feel much more prepared to successfully resolve the situation. 

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