Why Do I Cry When I Get Mad?

Updated April 11, 2024by Regain Editorial Team
There is no reason to be ashamed of crying. It’s so important that we’re able to express our feelings and do so without judging ourselves."- Nicholas DeFazio, MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC

Have you ever gotten so mad that you started to cry? Why does this happen sometimes? Our involuntary responses to our emotions can tell us a lot about how the human mind works. Crying when you're mad may seem counter-intuitive, but our emotions are not mutually exclusive from one another, and often they are trying to tell us something. Let's investigate some of the possible reasons behind this phenomenon.

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Why do I always experience angry tears?

Hurt often hides behind anger

When we are angry, it can stem from feeling hurt. Anger that leads to tears may have been building for some time, perhaps without you realizing it. You are not crying for no reason; it may be a result of pent up frustration or other feelings that need to be released. This can look like crying over a betrayal, or not feeling understood by a relative or friend. But tears can also develop because there is hurt behind that anger. Crying is your body's way of releasing both the sadness and the anger. 

Tears show that you care about something, and that you feel. Having an emotional response to is very normal and very human. If you've ever been in the middle of a conversation and found yourself saying, "I don't know why I'm crying even though I’m angry," take a deeper look inside of yourself. There may be some hurt that needs to be addressed.

You’re in a situation that feels unfair

Usually, when kids cry out of anger, it's coming from a feeling of a situation being unfair. When they're told “no,” or asked to do chores, you might hear a kid cry out, "It's not fair!" As adults, we can still experience similar feelings. When we feel wronged or betrayed, we can get angry and upset. But there is sometimes also real hurt behind the anger. Perhaps what we expected of our friends, family, coworkers, or even ourselves didn't happen, and we are left to pick up the pieces. Tears seem like a natural reaction to this mixture of emotions. What we feel needs to find a way out. It's harder to bottle up how you feel when you feel it so strongly. That's why tears often accompany anger. You feel so much all at once that you can't help but let it all out.

Crying isn’t specifically related to sadness

Scientifically speaking, crying isn't just for feelings of sadness. Our brains don't know how to differentiate between our emotions that well. Dr. Robert R Provine at the University of Maryland notes that our tear ducts are just not that smart. We don't start producing tears as infants until we are around three months old, though vocal crying starts at birth. This leads scientists to think that tear production has evolved more recently for humans. Because it's so new (evolutionarily speaking), our tear ducts don't know the difference between feelings of hurt, sadness, anger, or even happiness. Therefore, we might cry whenever we feel something immensely, whether it’s sadness, anger, or happiness - in that sense, it means that you're alive; that you can feel something huge and overwhelming. When you cry as a result of anger, your body is just doing what it thinks it needs to do to help you feel better. Tear production is a natural response to feeling overwhelmed and full of anger. 

Crying is cathartic


Dr. Suzanne Degges-White, the department chair of counseling and higher education at Northern Illinois University, suggests that crying is a way to release emotions. It's a form of catharsis, a coping mechanism to deal with and work through our intense feelings, whether they be frustration, anger, or profound sadness. She even goes so far as to say that crying is a form of self-soothing. Crying forces us to control our breathing. We take deep breaths to return to a state of calm. This causes our heart rate to decrease, allowing us to calm down from an agitated state. Crying is a natural way for our bodies to manage our emotions.

Crying is involuntary 

Often, tears of anger come when we don't want them to, such as when we're at work or in a fight with a loved one or frustrated by a situation we can't seem to control. The crying comes because we're overwhelmed, and our body responds naturally. It isn't a contrived reaction. Our bodies know us well. They know what we need even if we don't want to admit that we do. We often feel better after a good cry, don't we? All the emotions that have built up are spilled out through tears. And while the situation might not be resolved just by tears, you may be left feeling a bit more levelheaded and ready to take on the challenge afterward. Crying is also a signal to yourself and the outside world that you are hurting. 

A healthy release

Crying is, unfortunately, often stigmatized in our society. It may be looked at as a sign of weakness or immaturity, though this is inaccurate. We may often feel the need to apologize when we cry, don't we? As if our involuntary emotional moment is some inconvenience. But the truth is, if we're crying, we have a real reason to be doing so. And sometimes we need a safe space to let all that we're feeling out. 

How therapy can help

Therapy is one such safe space. Whether you talk to a friend, a relative, or a professional, finding a person who will listen and be there while you let your emotions out can be important for our mental wellbeing. And there are ways to get that help without having to spend a lot of money or sit face to face with a stranger. 

Why do I always experience angry tears?

Regain.us is an online counseling platform that allows real mental health professionals to take clients online by utilizing mediums such as phone calls, video chat, and messaging. A short survey helps to match you with a therapist who is most likely to meet your needs and preferences, though you can switch therapists at any time. 

The best part? This isn't just real-time therapy. You can send a message to your therapist at any time of day, and they will only respond at an agreed upon time or when they are available. This means you don't have to take unnecessary time out of your day or worry about the reactions on the other end of the computer. You send what you need to say and move on. If you would be interested in speaking with your counselor full time, you can arrange for a video chat or phone call with them directly.

Have a partner whom you think would benefit from the Regain platform? You can use the chat room together as a couple, both gaining from the expertise from the counselor without having to make separate appointments or accommodations. 

If you would like more information about Regain or are ready to sign up, go to https://www.regain.us/start/.


Angry tears are a normal part of life. There's no need to be ashamed of them or to try and hide them when you are feeling emotional. Your body knows what it is doing, even if it can't differentiate between happy and sad when it comes to tears. That release of emotion and tension can lead to better discussions and healthier outlooks on your situation. So, the next time you feel like you are so angry you could cry, just let it out. You do what you have to do, so in case you feel like crying pour it out to help you feel better.

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