When Our Anger Covers Our Pain


When Anger Covers Pain

Many of us got hurt during our childhood. And some of us were not able to talk about our pain to our parents or the people who cared for us. So when a young person gets hurt and there isn’t another person to help them, some of us turn toward our anger to get attention.

We Lash Out Because We Don’t Know We Have Better Options

We lash out in anger because we feel like we have no other options, like the worried man pictured.

This is how I grew up. I got hurt, but didn’t have the skills to talk about what was bothering me, so I resorted to yelling at the person who hurt me. This is common when some of our needs are not met.

It was for me and other members of my family. I didn’t like yelling at people, but I didn’t have any other way to communicate my dissatisfaction, frustration, disappointment, or whatever I was feeling.

It took me a long time to learn that my feelings of being hurt mattered and after I learned that, I began the process of learning how to say what happened to myself and ask for what I needed.

Anger Doesn’t Help Us Get Our Needs Met

Lashing out in anger, even when we feel as upset as this woman, doesn't get us what we need.

This is a crucial technique for successful couples. If you live with someone who yells, then you know there is very little you can do about their anger. If you are the person who does the yelling, let me help you find another way.

I know that if you are yelling and getting mad, you have been hurt. I know that your anger is a response to the hurt feelings you are experiencing. Your anger is the second thing that happens. First there is the hurt, but it has probably been such a long time of getting mad that when hurt happens that it is now your habit. Like it was for me.

I had a fixed habit of getting mad that jumped out of my mouth in seconds after getting hurt. I didn’t even know I had pain underneath. And that’s what I want you to understand. You got your feelings hurt. And here is the good news, you have a right to let the person know they hurt you.

Unfortunately, no one can understand anger. All the other person knows is that you are angry and no one wants to communicate with someone when they’re that upset.

Expressing That We’re Hurt Is a Good First Step

Expressing that you've been hurt, like this woman talking to her partner, helps you get what you need and heal.

It didn’t dawn on me until much later that what I really needed when I was upset was for someone to say, “It will be OK. I see that you got hurt.” What I was after was so simple, but I was ill-equipped to ask for it. All I could do was raise my voice and point a finger. If you are the one getting mad, take a moment to understand that you deserve to be heard.

The challenge is finding a way to speak in a normal voice and say what happened to you so you can begin to get healed. Because when we get the healing we have always wanted, we feel so much better. Really better.


Grow Beyond Lashing Out in Anger

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Learn how to reduce conflict and heal from pain in your relationship by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help you show more empathy and compassion, helping you move past hurt and feel truly loved. Give it a read.

Get Couples Counseling

Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.

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