Anger and guilt are two states of mind that can have a profound impact on the well-being of individuals. And even though these two emotions may appear opposite at first glance, they are connected in several ways. Why should an individual be aware of any triggers or an excess of these two emotions?
From a cognitive standpoint, it is worth noting that anger is a natural and adaptive emotion serving as a defence mechanism against any threats to one’s self or one’s goals and values. Unresolved or excessive anger can lead to anxiety, chronic stress, and physical health problems. On the other hand, guilt stems from a sense of responsibility or remorse for a transgression of moral standards. Although guilt can become in certain cases, an internal motivation to restore positive social interactions and behave in accordance with their internal compass, unaddressed guilt can lead to a downward spiral of low self-esteem, difficulty forming healthy relationships, and depression.
Unresolved guilt can fuel anger. Anger can trigger feelings of guilt if the expression of anger leads to harm. Techniques like cognitive restructuring, narrative therapy, and self-compassion exercises are beneficial in dealing with guilt and repressed or excessive anger.
Furthermore, these emotions can be cultivated as a result of early childhood traumas and attachment styles, making them particularly challenging to navigate. Understanding triggers and the underlying causes of excess anger and guilt can not only contribute to promoting emotional resilience and growth but also enhance emotional well-being.