Can an empath get angry? (A complete guide)

In this article, we will answer the question ‘Can an empath get angry?’. We will do that by initially describing an empath and the experience of anger for them.This will follow up by describing signs of empathic rage. We will move on to discussing the way to process anger. Finally, we will discuss anger management exercises that an empath can employ. In the end, we will answer some frequently asked questions related to empaths and anger.

Can an empath get angry?

Yes. An empath does feel angry and all other emotions as well. They feel emotions more deeply than other people. Particularly, the experience of anger can be quite intense for an empath. Signs that an empath may be angry include silent treatment, avoidance, walking out, isolation, snobbish attitude, exhaustion, pointing out faults of others, anger outbursts, crying out and self-destruction. There are healthier ways of processing anger and anger management techniques exist as well that empaths can use. They are discussed as follows. 

Empath

An empath refers to an individual who is sensitive and able to feel the emotional pain of other people.  They have a good awareness of another person’s thoughts and feelings. They can put themselves in another person’s shoes and understand their perspective and worldview. Such people are driven to help and heal others.  Usually,  they hold the other person’s feelings and help them process it together. 

The Experience of Anger for an Empath

For empaths, the most strong and destructive emotional experience is of anger. It is because they tend to feel first and show their reaction later. Whenever an emotion is intense, it is connected to a deeper level. So, for anger, empaths react in an equally forceful way to it in the form of an outburst or running away from the triggering situation. Often such people may burst into tears suddenly due to being overwhelmed by anger. 

Although, empaths are aware of their emotions, thoughts and feelings most of the time, anger holds a different story. It is because whenever they have underlying feelings of anger, empaths continue to try to be understanding of others and give them benefit of doubt. Ultimately, this turns into a landmine for their loved ones that can hit out on random occasions and completely out of context on small triggers. This can happen with a family member, friend, romantic partner or coworkers.

An empath under extreme stress and anxiety may just be sitting, ready to attack anyone who gives them even the slightest opportunity. They also start to exhibit physical symptoms in their unhealthy processing of anger. This includes headaches, depression, lack of sleep, blood pressure and even digestive issues. 

For anger, empaths go deep into experiencing the unpleasantness of this emotion. This turns into bitterness and resentment especially if feelings of anger have been sitting there unprocessed for a long time. In contrast, if the anger is fresh it will be more intense and reactive in nature.

Signs of en Empathic Rage

When empaths get enraged, they may turn seethingly angry. The following are manifestations of their anger:

  • Silent Treatment: They purposefully don’t answer or talk to people to prevent causing a bigger fuss and inconveniencing other people. At times, their words may fail them. So, to stop risking that they keep their thoughts and emotions to themself. 
  • Appearing snob: They can become cold and harsh as a way to protect themself from further hurt and embarrassment. They don’t bother with the other person and don’t engage with them by being their usual best self.
  • Exhaustion:  They feel really exhausted and tired as a result of feeling many emotions of self and others. Anger being added to this set of emotions just drains their energy. They may withdraw to preserve their energy and engage in stress eating, binge watch or oversleeping as a way to cope. 
  • Pointing out faults and wrongs: Empaths point other people’s faults when they are angry and reach their limit.
  • Walking out: They may leave the room or situation and walk out of it suddenly due to being overwhelmed by anger. 
  • Avoidance: They may avoid the person who caused their anger as they may find it difficult to stand them. Avoidance is basically a manifestation of their anger at them.This is usually a flight type response.
  • Isolation: They establish distance between themself and other people. They try to engage in solitary activities as a way to process their emotions away from people.
  • Crying out: They may let out their rage by crying and getting sad. This allows them to let out their feelings of being hurt without hurting others in the process.
  • Anger outbursts: Empaths may smash things or hit people if they are triggered enough. 
  • Self-destruction: They may turn to endangering themself to avoid burdening others. They may resort to self-harm and require external help upon reaching such a point. 

How to Process Anger

Empaths need to understand that anger is linked with fear. Through introspection and reflection, they can try to see that their anger may be connected to pain or fear. Whereas, anger just acts as a protective shield to prevent further hurt from happening. To cater to it, it is important to see anger as something that cannot harm you unless you feed it further. 

A calm reaction to anger can have a beneficial effect on both the empath and other people in the surroundings. So, after recognizing feelings of anger, the first step is to calm yourself and step back in order to objectively observe your thoughts and feelings. Try to find out the source of this anger and calmly process it. 

Anger management Exercises

Apart from this, there are certain anger management exercises that can be employed to deal with anger. These include the following:

  • Deep Breathing: This can be done by breathing through the belly rather than the stomach by the 6-4-6 technique. 
  • Progressive muscle relaxation is another way to release tension from the body when one is feeling angry.  It involves tensing and relaxing each muscle of the body as a way to release tightened muscles and calm the body.
  • Visualisation of yourself in a calm and relaxing place can help reduce feelings of anger. Thinking about sensory details in your imagination including sights, sounds and smells can really help the imagined place become more real and assist in the calming process.
  • Exercise and walking can help in reducing pent up stress and aggression. 
  • Identifying personal triggers can help in avoiding and dealing with them ahead of time.
  • Whenever you feel very angry, try to step back from the situation and really listen to what you are saying and figure out whether there is an effective way to say it without making the situation any worse. 
  • Address your thoughts by neutralizing thoughts that are too extreme and unrealistic. Try to balance your perspective.
  • Catch yourself when you are dwelling and ruminating on the same things that add to your anger. Shift to distracting yourself through other activities. 
  • Notice your body signals. If you find yourself with a high heart beat, blood pressure, high breathing rate and increased body temperature, then these may be a sign of anger. So, step away and try relaxation techniques to reduce such feelings.
  • Seek external help for anger management by a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Try to come up with an individualized treatment plan if your anger is extreme, regular and starting to effect your functioning.

If you’ve enjoyed the ”Can an empath get angry?” mentioned above, I would recommend you to take a look at ”Are empaths dangerous?” too.

FAQs: Can an empath get angry?

Can Empaths be aggressive?

Yes. Empaths can be aggressive. Certain circumstances suggest that empathy and compassion can predict aggressive behavior.

How can empaths protect their energy?

Empaths can protect their energy by setting healthy boundaries. They can journal to figure out and process their thoughts. Mindfulness practice and visualization strategies can also be helpful in regaining lost energy. Finally, going back to nature and planning the first-aid plan for emotional overload can help empaths protect their energy.

What does it mean to be emotionally drained?

Emotional exhaustion is a state of feeling emotionally worn out and drained due to stress from daily personal and professional life. It can be a sign of burnout as well.

Why should you never mess with an empath?

One should not mess with an empath because they can tell when people are lying to them and manipulating them. They detect the faulty words of other people and know when people are trying to double cross them.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question ‘Can an empath get angry?’. We found that an empath does feel angry and all other emotions as well. They feel emotions more deeply than other people. The experience of anger can be quite intense for empaths. Signs that an empath may be angry include silent treatment, avoidance, walking out, isolation, snobbish attitude, exhaustion, pointing out faults of others, anger outbursts, crying out and self-destruction. There are healthier ways of processing anger. Anger management techniques also exist that empaths can use. 

I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 🙂

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/health/anger-management-exercises#bottom-line

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.