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How anxiety can manifest as anger

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It used to take a lot to ruffle Anjani Amriit’s feathers. Then, seemingly out of the blue, she became irritated by “everything”. That irritation quickly morphed into anger.

During that time, Anjani couldn’t get behind the wheel without being consumed by road rage. At work, she snapped at her colleagues. “I was angry at everyone, and at life. I didn’t recognise myself any more.” Her loved ones didn’t recognise her, either. “Everyone started to be terrified of me, because any time I had a conversation with anyone I would end up having angry outbursts.” Anjani’s partner was often in the firing line.

Through therapy, Anjani discovered that the root of her anger was actually anxiety stemming from the death of her beloved brother from cancer two years earlier. Credit:Stocksy

As soon as an outburst subsided, Anjani was drenched in remorse. “I’d be constantly apologising and saying, ‘This is not me; I’m really sorry.’ ”

As a result of her constant fury, Anjani’s heart raced, her jaw clenched and she frequently had diarrhoea. At night, she was racked by insomnia, while her days were plagued by “extreme fatigue and brain fog”.

After many exhausting months, Anjani – who now works as a women’s empowerment coach, speaker and author helping people identify their blind spots – sought the help of a therapist to deal with her own “blind spot around anger”. Through therapy, she discovered that the root of her anger was actually anxiety stemming from the death of her beloved brother from cancer two years earlier.

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Anjani began to understand that his death had ignited fears over her own mortality. Instead of facing those fears, she’d buried them, hiding behind her anger as a protective mechanism.

Experiencing anger as a result of anxiety is “very common”, says Dr Adrian Allen, a clinical psychologist at Healthy Mind Clinic in Sydney.

He says anger can be understandable but if it’s causing distress to either yourself or those around you, there are ways to manage it.



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