Overwhelmed Anger: Symptoms, Causes & How To Deal with It?

Do you get overwhelmed and angry over minor issues, or sometimes for no reason? Do you shout or scream and later feel guilty about your actions? These are all signs of anger.

You need to take the necessary steps to manage your overwhelmed anger if you don’t want to hurt your loved ones. Even though there are different types of anger, overwhelmed anger is most destructive as it directly affects your mental, physical, and emotional health.

People usually associate anger with fear or sadness. However, it’s essential to differentiate between anger and experiences of overwhelmed anger. Burying anger can distort people’s personalities and bend them out of shape leading to long-term mental and physical suffering.

This type of anger is less understood and often goes untreated. If you’re struggling with overwhelmed anger, read on to learn more about it and how to manage it.

What is Overwhelmed Anger?

Overwhelmed anger, as the name suggests, is caused when it becomes impossible for the individual to cope with the circumstances. This type of anger is associated with frustration when the person gives up on the situation or feels helpless.

For instance, if you find your job too demanding or have tight deadlines and multiple things to do. Also, when you struggle in your relationship, raising kids, or life, these situations lead to overwhelming anger.

Symptoms of Overwhelmed Anger

It’s natural for individuals to feel overwhelmed in certain situations, which can lead to stress. However, sometimes stress can be helpful as it helps in motivating us and making us more productive.

However, on the other hand, chronic stress causes anger that can severely affect your mental and physical health.

When a person is overwhelmed, his mind is flooded with emotions, thoughts, and situations other than the physical sensation throughout the body. As a result, you become so stressed that it becomes difficult for your mind and body to function, leading to overwhelming anger.

Before proceeding to how to overcome your anger, let’s briefly understand the primary symptoms:

  • Irrational thoughts: You inflate a problem in your mind and perceive the worst-case scenarios while dealing with challenging situations.
  • Paralysis: Sometimes, you experience a freeze response and feel completely paralyzed. Also, it becomes impossible to perform the simplest day-to-day life tasks. If you cannot function properly, you simply avoid the stressful tasks or postpone them.
  • Irrational reactions: You overreact to minor situations like finding keys, opening the door, or a jar.
  • Withdrawal: You may not be able to understand when overwhelmed, so you withdraw from family and friends and don’t hurt them with your overwhelmed anger.
  • Pessimism: You feel hopeless or helpless about how to get out of a difficult situation.
  • Mood swings: You feel anxious, stressed, irritable, overwhelmed, angry, and even cry.
  • Fatigue: Cognitive fatigue causes confusion and the inability to concentrate, make decisions, or solve a simple problem.
  • Other physical symptoms: You may also feel physical symptoms, such as dizziness, headaches, palpitation, increased heart rate, cramps, and an upset stomach.

The symptoms mentioned above must persist for more than a month to accurately be deemed as the primary cause of overwhelmed anger.

Causes of Overwhelmed Anger

There can be different types of anger issues and multiple reasons behind them, such as difficult decisions, poor mental health, uncertainty, or a precipitating stressor. Some other reasons include:

You can feel angry or frustrated if you don’t feel good enough. For instance, if you don’t have a job, required skills, enough money, or a college or company rejection letter.

One of the most significant causes of anger is you live in a hostile world. For example, if people around you act selfish, ignore you, lie to you, or are unfair to you, you may become a pessimistic person and suffer from overwhelmed anger.

  • If you can’t remember or think logically about what made you angry.
  • Having unrealistic expectations in your life leads to anger. Higher expectations certainly inspire you; however, sometimes over-ambitiousness leads to frustration and anger.
  • If people don’t act what you want them to do and you become frustrated, it’s a sign of overwhelmed anger.
  • The negative feeling can put you in a constant bad mood.
  • Sometimes your body is too exhausted, and you have zero energy to deal with a difficult situation. Hence, you scream out of anger.
  • Being in a constant hurry when every task is urgent that consumes all your day causes anger.
  • Your bitter or traumatic past experiences affect your present, making you feel angry without any logical reason.

How to Diagnose Overwhelmed Anger?

It’s a difficult task as you need to consider many factors to diagnose experiences of anger. The key is to understand and analyze the instances that trigger overwhelmed anger, such as:

  • Stress
  • Family issues
  • Inability to communicate and express yourself
  • Financial issues
  • Challenging or stressful job
  • Underlying conditions, such as substance abuse, depression, alcoholism
  • Depression
  • Grief, shock, guilt
  • Loneliness or fear
  • Sadness
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Conflict in home or office
  • Health concern
  • Traumatic experience
  • Major life changes
  • Trouble saying no
  • Odd sleep patterns
  • Stress eating
  • Loss of appetite

There are other symptoms of overwhelmed anger, such as difficulty compromising or understanding another person’s viewpoint. Also, if you take different opinions as a personal challenge to your ego or authority, you’ll get angry to make others agree with your perspective.

Also, you need to pay attention to the anger warning signs in your own body, such as fast breathing, headaches, pounding heart, knots in the stomach, hands or jaw clenching, and shoulder tension.

Similarly, you need to understand the negative thought patterns that trigger anger. For example, overgeneralizing the situation, jumping to conclusions, blaming, and always being right are some symptoms of overwhelmed anger.

Example of Overwhelmed Anger

Getting into a silly argument for no reason is a classic example of overwhelmed anger. If you cannot meet a work deadline or have a demanding boss, you take your anger out on your family. Anger masks your genuine feelings of vulnerability, hurt, shame, insecurity, or embarrassment, and you act like a jerk.

If you are brought up in an environment where you are discouraged from expressing your feelings, you’ll probably suffer from overwhelmed anger as an adult. But on the other hand, people get angry to mask their anxiety, fear, and depression and exhibit rather aggressive behavior.

If you have seen your family screaming at each other while growing up, you’ll most likely exhibit the same behavior and express your emotions with overwhelmed anger. Difficult communicating your thoughts or conflict resolution are the critical triggers of anger.

Finally, anger can also be a symptom of an underlying health issue, such as chronic stress, trauma, and depression.

4 Successful Tips To Deal with Overwhelmed Anger

Whether you are a couple, parents, or individuals, you must implement the following tips to overcome your overwhelmed anger.

1 – Online Anger Management Classes

Enrolling in online anger management classes is the most effective way of managing overwhelmed anger. This way, you can learn healthy ways to deal with stress, frustration, and anger to improve your professional and personal life.

Anger management classes offer the right tools, guidance, and skills to people struggling with overwhelmed anger. Also, these classes are a form of behavioral therapy conducted by therapists and licensed counselors.

You can enroll in one-to-one sessions or self-paced courses and download documents, resources, quizzes, e-books, and other resources about anger. These courses improve your well-being, mental and physical health, conflict resolution, and communications.

2 – Take Five Minutes Break

It’s a vital technique to control your emotions and physical actions. For example, if you feel overwhelmed by anger, first, you need to take deep breaths and count to ten.

It only takes five minutes of mindfulness to control overwhelmed anger and clear your head. Also, you give yourself time to think rationally and decide how to respond.

3 – It’s All About Balancing Your Emotions

It seems very simple; however, it’s a helpful technique to acknowledge your emotions and understand your true feelings. The key is to explain what you are thinking without being judgemental about it. This way, you improve your brain’s language capability and try to establish its connection with the raw emotions.

4 – Recognize Triggers

All human beings have different triggers that set them off. Therefore, you should identify the exact instance or event that triggers the anger.

For instance, it can be criticism, high-pitched or humiliating tone, or a feeling of being ignored or unimportant. Of course, these annoying events happen to all of us; however, the anger’s response and intensity vary from person to person.

Once you recognize the triggers and the associated intensity of the anger, you can apply the relevant techniques you learn in the anger management classes to control anger.


According to an anger study by Harvard, 10 percent of individuals under 25 years of age have experienced explosive anger episodes thrice during their lifetime. However, the good news is that 75 percent of the affected people improve with appropriate steps and intervention, according to American Psychological Association  (APA).

Anger is one of the most misunderstood emotions we need to understand. Yet, if not handled properly, it can affect your daily life. The takeaway is to calm us in situations that trigger anger. Understanding anger takes time, patience, meditation, deep breaths, and explaining your feelings to deal with overwhelmed anger.

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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