What Is the Fear of Anger?

Causes, Symptoms and Complications Related to Angrophobia

Screaming man
Getty Images/Noam Galai/noamgalai.com

While everyone gets angry, some people have better control of their anger than others.

But when someone suffers from angrophobia, or the fear of anger, they truly fear getting angry because their anger is often so out of control that it's frightening.

The term angrophobia refers specifically to the fear of becoming angry rather than the fear of others becoming angry with you. Like all phobias, angrophobia varies widely in both its symptoms and its severity from one person to the next.

However, not everyone who is afraid of losing their temper suffers from angrophobia. Those with the phobia will go to extremes to avoid getting mad. In many cases, this causes the angrophobic to avoid social situations and become reclusive.

Causes of Angrophobia

Although angrophobia does not always have a demonstrable cause, in most cases it is related to a traumatic past event. People whose parents were frequently angry and those who suffered from child abuse may be at increased risk for developing this fear. Those who were punished for expressing anger may also be more likely to develop angrophobia.

Symptoms of Angrophobia

In general, people with angrophobia tend to go out of their way to avoid conflict. Many become passive and quiet, allowing others to take the lead. Those with a more severe fear may intentionally isolate themselves, avoiding social situations that they perceive as having a chance for conflict.

Dealing With Conflict

When conflict arises, people with angrophobia tend to look for escape routes. Leaving the house, walking out of business meetings and deserting friends at a restaurant or bar are common reactions. If escape is impossible, those with this fear often withdraw into themselves, cutting off communication until the crisis is over.

Complications of Angrophobia

Anger is an unavoidable human emotion. Although many of us express anger in unhealthy ways, choosing not to express it all is just as dangerous. People with angrophobia tend to bottle up their feelings, pretending that they do not exist. However, bottled-up feelings generally turn inward over time. Increased feelings of fear and anxiety, hopelessness, depression, and guilt are common results. Suppressing these feelings can then lead to self-doubt and even self-loathing. Eventually, those who suppress their feelings are at an increased risk for "snapping," unloading their pent-up emotions on themselves or others in destructive ways.

Treating Angrophobia

Angrophobia is largely rooted in erroneous thoughts and beliefs about anger. Treatment generally focuses on working through the original conflicts that caused the fear, and exploring anger as a more neutral feeling. Psycho-education is often an important part of treatment as clients learn new ways to express anger in a healthy and healing manner.

Battling a phobia is never easy, and confronting deep-seated feelings may take some time. With hard work and a skilled therapist, however, it is possible to conquer angrophobia.

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American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

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