Sometimes I get so angry I can’t even speak. How can I control my anger when my brain reacts like that?

man with his head in his hands

Sometimes I get so angry I can't even speak. How can I work to control that anger if my brain has reacted so much I can't put two words together?


When our emotions are heightened, especially anger, it interferes with our ability to think straight. That is why it is not usually a good idea to have discussions when emotions are that escalated. Better to wait until you have cooled off a bit. In times you are that angry, tell others you are really angry right now and need time to cool off before continuing. Just labeling and expressing that emotion should start to help a little. Leave the situation, with a promise to return. After you exit the situation, try to engage in things that will help cool you off that doesn't take a whole lot of thinking. What are your favorite relaxation techniques? Listen to music, workout, call a friend, meditation? Once you've calmed down, then you can start to think about the situation and process all your thoughts and feelings about it. Then return to the discussion with whomever the argument was with. To avoid the situation getting escalated again, plan out your communication. Approach it by calmly explaining to the other person why you got upset — what your thoughts and feelings were — without accusing anyone or placing blame. Refrain from starting off statements with "you" (e.g "You did this or that"). That automatically puts people on the defensive. Instead, start off with "I" statements (e.g. I was upset because it made me think/ feel xyz". If someone did something to upset you start off by giving them the benefit of the doubt. Give them a chance to explain their situation.   


This content is made possible by a partnership between the Indiana University School of Medicine and WETA/BrainLine. 

The contents of this expert answer were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research the Indiana Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems 90DP0036 and 90DRTB0002. NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this expert answer do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

Posted on BrainLine November 13, 2019.

Comments (3)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

My adult son, takes medicine, olazpine 15mg has been on this drug since mid 90s that's a concern Dr's just keep prescribing. He also takes Trileptal recently, and deloxintine 60 mgs for 3 years now, concern could it be causing mania? He gets very frustrated and negative thinking angery thoughts, angery talk, he gets angery alot practically everyday, few days he's OK, but something is wrong. He'll be OK then look depressed gets angery, he's gained a lot of weight too. I can't take this anger, lashing out at me, arguing seems to be a norm. No help from psycatrist doctors. Should I have him in voluntary committed? Because he does not explain in detail how he changes with rage. He acts like he is just fine. As a doctors appointment is only for 15 minutes, and the medical stay the same

My boyfriend and I had a serious argument and he was very furious.. After some few minutes he couldn't talk.. He started crying showing me signs that he can't talk anymore because the voice couldn't come out... I told him to cool off and rest maybe the following day his voice will be back but still....what can we do?

My husband is the same way as your boyfriend. When they can barely get words out, their whole body is in emotional crisis. Unchecked and unregulated anger is what led to my husband's stroke (fortunately, he's fine). If you are still with your boyfriend, tell him to get some help managing emotions. You can't do it for him, although your advice to cool off was excellent. He's got to see the physical risk and learn strategies before he blows his top.
Best wishes to you.