Anger and Veterans: How do I deal with civilians who have no idea?

Photo of a man holding a coffee cup yelling at a woman wearing glasses and a tan apron

I feel so angry at civilians and their petty worries. People get mad in Starbucks because their coffee drink is not right. Really? How can I deal with non-military people who seem to have no idea what we have all gone through? I can’t avoid civilians forever but they enrage me.


It can be frustrating when the people around you do not have the same values and experiences. Feeling you cannot relate to people is isolating. You are right that you cannot avoid all civilians and being enraged is not a good way to live. There is no quick way to remove anger. If you are suffering with PTSD, then getting good treatment with Prolonged Exposure Therapy or Cognitive Processing Therapy can reduce your general anger so you can be less reactive to these situations. In addition, finding ways to engage in general stress management and coping through exercise, breathing, etc. can be helpful. Finally, using your social supports to talk through this can be helpful. It may be talking with other veterans or even civilians who you know and trust may be helpful. 

Posted on BrainLine September 2, 2021. Reviewed September 2, 2021.

About the author: Sheila A.M. Rauch, PhD, ABPP

Sheila A.M. Rauch, PhD, ABPP, is the Deputy Director of the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program and Director of Mental Health Research and Program Evaluation at the VA Atlanta Healthcare System. Dr. Rauch has been developing programs, conducting research and providing PTSD and Anxiety Disorders treatment for over 20 years. Her research focuses on examination of mechanisms involved in the development and treatment of PTSD and improving access to effective interventions.

Professional headshot of Dr. Sheila Rauch smiling at the camera, wearing glasses in a royal blue top