Anger, Emotions, Love

Love and Anger

“Can you be angry with someone and love them at the same time?”  That was the question someone posed on an internet forum the other day, and I think it’s an important question.

It might seem odd, but I think, under certain circumstances, we can be simultaneously angry and loving.

To me, it depends on what motivates the anger. If we are angry with someone because they are betraying themselves — not being true to themselves — then, yes, we can love and be angry at the same time.

But if, for instance, we are angry with someone because they are doing something we feel might result in our loosing them, then we are ultimately thinking of ourselves.  Our anger does not seem then to be motivated by love of them, but by fear of some loss to ourselves.  And in that instance, I don’t suppose anger and love are felt at the same time.

What do think?  Have I nailed an important distinction here?  Or should I quit waking up in the middle of the night to make half-awake blog posts?

13 thoughts on “Love and Anger”

  1. Been married 21 years, love and anger are part of a healthy marriage or any relationship. If the emotions no longer are intense, then maybe love is no longer intense either.

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  2. I know from my own experience it is definitely possible. I think the key is separating our perception of what the person is fundamentally like from their behaviour. Which relies on being in a state when we can see the good in them rather than being driven by our fears etc.

    I still feel love towards my ex because I believe him to be fundamentally a good and lovable person. But I recognise that he has been deeply damaged by his life and has therefore behaved in ways that I have been rightly angry about, and which make a relationship between us impossible.

    But although I am – or at least have been – furiously angry about the way he has treated me, I don’t really regard that as what he is really like.

    I hope that one day he will overcome the pain and fear, and realise the potential that I have seen and loved in him. The person that he might have been had life been less difficult.

    Of course it may never happen, and even if he became that person today I don’t think it would work out for us because our history has too much pain.

    The emotions are now fading with time – but a mixture of love, compassion and anger precisely describes the way I felt towards him.

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  3. I think love and anger can be felt at the same time. Love to me is something more lasting- it is something that comes on slow and should stick around awhile. It should take more than a couple of tiny things to really hurt it. Whereas anger can happen in an instant and hopefully vanish just as quickly. I can be angry if my girl does something, though the love should still be presence. I always think if in moments of anger you find yourself denying love then maybe it is worth investigating how much you really love the person.

    Of course, we could really use more than word for love in English since we use the same word our deep abiding affection for our friends and family that we use for passionate romance that may burn itself out.

    @lirone- I think I feel the same way about my ex as you do, most of it seems to be about their issues were bigger than their ability to love so I can’t completely be angry with her. There is this strong element of compassion. I like your use of that word.

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  4. We can put it simply like this, a father might be angry at his son, but he will remain loving for his own son no matter how his son caused him to be angry. So, i think there is nothing wrong with being angry at someone, while having that deep love for them in order to validate our relationship with them and shape it.

    There are so many types of anger, and i don’t seriously see how anger would be related to love, because we might be angry at someone for something they did “an action” or something they have said, etc. We might be angry as well because we want them to be better, but that might be more like sadness, not real *anger*.

    Well, at the end of all what i have written, i think i’m going through giant circles. Oh my! or did i …. oh, just forget it!

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  5. But if, for instance, we are angry with someone because they are doing something we feel might result in our loosing them, then we are ultimately thinking of ourselves. Our anger does not seem then to be motivated by love of them, but by fear of some loss to ourselves. And in that instance, I don’t suppose anger and love are felt at the same time.

    Then again, if you don’t love them, why would you fear losing them?

    (We’re pretending that there’s not a basic monetary, social or otherwise material advantage involved here. In which case, you’re a total selfish barstard and don’t count for the purposes of my profound and insightful question. 😉 )

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  6. Good question, but you may want to blog about it when you’ve slept well… 😉

    The nasty thing of love is, it’s reciprocal -or supposed to be at least- it doesn’t work in one single person, it works between people. It’s an interaction (just like anger BTW).

    So you might disect it and say ‘then we are ultimately thinking of ourselves’, but that doesn’t do justice to the complexity of it all.

    Not an answer, just and expansion of the problem…

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  7. Then again, if you don’t love them, why would you fear losing them? Dana Hunter
    That was my immediate reaction too.
    If someone I do not care about does something to upset me, I’d be irritated and I might not bother to have anything to do with them. But with someone I love and cannot walk away from, I’d be angry , a stronger passion because of the love.
    I feel the same way as lirone above with some people I love who I know behave in a certain way because of their history or because they are driven by fears beyond their control.

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  8. I don’t think love has to be reciprocal. I still feel love towards someone who hasn’t spoken to me for over six months. (and silence was in some ways an improvement over the last things he said to me!)

    I think that fear of loss comes from attachment rather than love – I think when we’re afraid of losing a relationship the thing uppermost in our minds is how we will cope without that relationship because of the things it did for us, the ways it made us feel. It’s entirely natural, and it is always tangled around our love, and I think a lot of the pain of heartbreak comes from the attachment.

    Perhaps it’s only when you’ve got over losing that relationship that you can disentangle all the attachment, and what you’re left with, if anything, is the love.

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  9. I can’t imagine anyone married having to actually wonder if you can be angry at someone you love. I love my husband, truly and deeply. However, when he refuses to clean the bathtub week after week because he’s too busy playing video games, it makes me angry. I’m sure there are plenty of things I do that make him angry. It’s a rule when you live with someone else that even if you love them, they will periodically drive you stark raving bonkers at times– it’s a side-effect of being human.

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