Anger and Fear: What’s The Difference & Similarities?

Among all the human emotions, fear and anger are the most widely discussed by experts. It is because these two emotions are linked with each other and have subsequent consequences. If you are looking forward to dealing with either fear or anger or both then you must understand the relationship, the difference and similarity between them.

Both anger and fear are negative emotions that are experienced in emotional, hostile and stressful conditions. It is very rare to feel these emotions in a pleasant or agreeable event. Managing these emotions can feel like a rollercoaster ride if you are doing it on your own which is why opting for anger management courses by experienced faculty is the best way to deal with anger.

But before we proceed towards how to manage anger issues let’s discuss how fear and anger related and what are the similarities and differences between the two.

Fear and Anger

A common motivational factor for all of us is the need for physical and mental stability. However, fear and anger are two emotions that arise when we fail to achieve this safety goal or when we perceive a threat to this goal.

You may also experience these two emotions when you perceive a threat towards your loved ones, or your overall physical and emotional well-being. The word we are using here is ‘perceive’. There is a difference between an actual great and a threat that we conceptualize in our head due to our physiological and distorted thoughts.

Both the emotions of anger and fear are similar to each other but at the same time different from each other as well. An emotion that keeps us away from what we are anticipating to experience or are currently experiencing whether imagined or real can be described as fear. We may be fearful of both internal forces as well as external ones. External forces may involve many things whereas internal forces may include our sensations, thoughts, feelings etc.

In many cases, one of the major contributors to interruptions in your emotional health is the fear of your emotions. It is one of the major reasons for emotional avoidance that further leads to resilience and emotional flexibility constriction.

The Link of Fear and Anger

Now that we have understood what fear is, it is important to understand how fear is linked with anger. Fear is a negative emotion which is why it can trigger anger in many people. For example, when somebody cuts in front of you when you are driving, you feel fear and anger at the same time. It is the fear that triggers the anger.

Another example is when you are financially distressed you can feel anger towards your partner who is not earning or is a spendthrift. There are many day-to-day examples, where people feel anger which is triggered by some sort of fear.

Similarities Between Fear and Anger

Anger and fear both works as motivators. This is what is common between these two negative emotions. People use fear as a motivator to advertise their products, campaigns etc. For example, a company first generates a fear among its target audience and then shows how its product can relieve it.

Similarly, politicians use fear in their campaigns and their words if they will not get the vote then they will pose a threat to the audience. This is why most people become aggressive towards political leaders.

Anger and fear are interlinked and act as motivators but still have a lot of difference between them. For example, you may like to feel fear when watching horror movies or indulging in thrilling activities such as scuba diving, skydiving, cliff jumping etc. But would you deliberately want to feel anger? No right? If you would, you would have to seek professional help because that is not normal.

Both the emotions have some common themes such as regret, conflict, control and purpose. They both involve control. A person who is experiencing fear may feel as if they have lost control over something or someone which would aggravate feelings of anger.

Differences between Anger and Fear

No matter how correlated fear and anger are, they both are very different from each other. The table below will share light on how both emotions are different:

ControlAn angry person would fight to regain control.A person who is fearful would hesitate to fight back.
PurposeAn angry person would be motivated to retaliate against someone or something.A fearful person would avoid situations that would cause someone’s demise.
What is perceived?Anger is perceived as a strength.Fear is perceived as a weakness.
CharacteristicsIncreased energy levels, increased blood pressure, raised body temperature, hiked muscle tension and increase in hormones like noradrenaline and adrenaline.Chest pain, chills, dry mouth, nausea, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, upset stomach.

Both the emotions have common themes but are different from each other. In most cases, fear causes anger. An angry person would act differently in circumstances where a fearful person would hesitate to act. For example, in the case of experiencing loss of control, a fearful person would be devastated but an angry person would try to regain control.

In many stages of our life, we may face conflicts which may trigger anger. In many cases, fear may be a common reason for anger. In order to be successful in our personal and professional life we must learn to resolve conflicts and manage our anger.

How to manage your anger that is caused by fear?

Conflicts are a part and parcel of life but what will make you successful is how you effectively deal with conflicts and resolve them. When you are facing conflicts two most common emotions that you will encounter are fear and anger. Most people become angry when they are in a conflicting situation and this is because they feel fear.

This fear can be experienced when they feel they are losing control or feel a threat to their self-respect. But how can one manage their aggression in such circumstances? Follow the tips below and find out how:

1. Take a moment to think before you say anything.

If you realize you’re feeling angry, the best way to manage your anger is to take a pause and think before you spill out anything from your mouth. This is the best tip for your professional life as well as your personal life.

When we are fearful of losing a project or authority over something we often say the wrong things and regret it later. Instead, take a moment to think and then speak wisely.

2. Express your concerns calmly.

Whether in your personal relationships or your professional career, you must explain your concerns. If you are angry then wait for yourself to calm down and then mindfully explain your point of view so other people are able to understand what you are trying to say instead of judging you as an aggressive person.

3. Take a break.

Excessive stress and fear can trigger emotions of anger in a person which might lead to unfavorable circumstances. Whenever you feel you are feeling a lot of anger, you should take a break and indulge in a relaxing exercise or just take a walk to calm yourself.

4. Don’t hold grudges against the other person.

The most common thing that most of us do is that we hold grudges against the other person or identity. This leads to a lot of conflicts which never get resolved. If you want to manage conflicts and your fear which leads to anger then you must remain positive and not hold grudges.

5. Seek professional help before it’s too late.

If you still feel that your anger is not manageable and you might need help from someone who is an expert in this field then you can head straight to professional anger management classes by experienced faculty.

There are several anger management classes that would help you manage your anger that is caused by fear or any other factor.


Anger is a common emotion that is felt by everyone. However, everyone’s way of expressing it is different. Likewise, fear is also a common emotion and it is interlinked with anger. In most people anger is triggered by feelings of fear and needs to be managed effectively. Follow the above-mentioned tips and learn how anger and fear are similar yet different from each other.

Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC

Dr. Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC specializes in anger management, family conflict resolution, marital and premarital conflict resolution. His extensive knowledge in the field of anger management may enable you to use his tested methods to deal with your anger issues.


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