If your ex-girlfriend is directly or indirectly showing you how angry she is at you, it’s a good sign she’s still emotionally invested in your relationship.
If you want her back, you need to understand why she’s angry. Understanding why she’s angry can help you figure out what you need to do while working on yourself during no-contact. Moreover, it’ll help you understand if your ex is over you or is just angry at you during the moment.
Getting to the root of why she’s angry can be complicated, but it’s worth doing because a woman who is angry at you is a woman who may still be attached to you. Most of the time, if she’s mad, she still cares. Double that if she’s actively showing you how angry she is.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
So sit back motherfucker, because today we’re going to take a deep dive into the science of anger and what it means. By the end of this admittedly massive article, you’ll have all the tools you need to understand if her anger is a good sign and if it is, what you need to do about it.
- 1 Why Do People Get Angry When They Break Up?
- 2 If She Gets Mad At You, Does That Mean She Still Cares?
- 3 If She’s Angry, She (Probably) Still Cares
- 4 She’s Not Angry At You Just To Be Angry At You
- 5 Is She Showing You How Angry She Is?
- 6 What’s Making Her Angry = What She’s Disappointed About
- 7 Why Is My Ex So Angry When She Broke Up With Me?
- 8 Is My Ex-Girlfriend’s Anger A Sign She Wants Me Back?
Why Do People Get Angry When They Break Up?
If your ex-girlfriend wasn’t an angry person during your relationship, you might be shocked if she suddenly lashes out at you after the breakup. Especially if she was the one who dumped you (more on this later).
But the truth is, anger is a common reaction for people to have when they break up. It’s part of the grieving process, even if it seems completely out of character. Perhaps you have experienced it as well.
Has your fuse felt shorter than usual? Have you felt angry at her for everything you feel like she put you through? Did you blow up when you checked her Instagram only to see a picture of her with a new guy?
If so, you have experienced 1 of the 5 stages of grief: the anger stage.
According to the Kübler-Ross model of grief anger is 1 of the 5 stages of grief that many people go through after suffering a breakup. Part of her anger may be due to her going through that grieving process. In case you aren’t familiar with the 5 stages of grief, they are:
The 5 Stages Of Grief (According To The Kübler-Ross Model)
- Denial – State of shock and denial, where nothing makes sense.
- Anger – Can be directed at you, herself, her friends, and many other outlets
- Bargaining – The “What if” or “If only” phase
- Depression – The “fog” of sadness and lethargy
- Acceptance – When the “new normal” is accepted
Grief aside, anger is one of our basic human emotions and appears in children as young as 2 years old. However, there are a number of other conditions that may intensify her anger, particularly after a breakup. They include:
Common Conditions That Can Intensify Post-Breakup Anger
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Intermittent explosive disorder
- Narcissistic Personality disorder
Does this mean your ex-girlfriend has any underlying mental health conditions? Of course not. Feeling angry on its own isn’t a sign of that. But if you know she has OCD or suffers from depression, that may explain some of her anger.
Now that we understand that anger is a normal part of the grief process, we can dive into a question I’m sure you are asking yourself.
If She Gets Mad At You, Does That Mean She Still Cares?
Back when I was in college, I was in a rebound relationship with a girl named Paige. I’ll be honest: my relationship skills weren’t great, and I was an asshole because I hadn’t done the work to move on from my previous relationship.
After I night of drinking with my buddies, I staggered back home to my apartment, wasted out of my mind, only to find Paige sitting in my room with a scowl etched into her gorgeous face.
“I can’t believe you forgot about me!” she cried angrily, “I’m so fucking done with you!”
In my drunken haze, I had forgotten that we were supposed to go out together that night. Whoops!
Being the dense bastard that I was, I quickly threw her out of my apartment so I could relieve the pounding migraine that was drilling into my skull. As I was showing her out the door, she broke up with me out of anger.
The next day she sent me a 15-page long novel of angry texts telling me how badly I had fucked up.
I shrugged and did nothing. I didn’t react. I didn’t have time to deal with an angry ex-girlfriend.
Because she was a rebound, I wasn’t emotionally invested or engaged in our relationship. It stung, and I felt guilty for hurting her feelings, but I had the grace to let it go.
While I was in no contact, she told several of my friends how pissed off she was at me. I ran into her a couple of times, and all she did was scowl at me like I had kicked her dog or something.
But I tried my best to stay non-reactive, and I was successful.
I would later realize that the lack of reaction was crucial to what happened next.
After about a month, she caught up to me after I had finished a workout at the gym we both went to.
“Can we talk?” she asked.
I agreed, and we walked back to her place which was about 5 minutes away.
We talked for 15 minutes before her eyes met mine. She had smart eyes, and I knew exactly what she was trying to tell me.
We got back together that night, and after I understood why she was angry and put in the work to fix it, she never mentioned it again.
So what can we learn from this?
If She’s Angry, She (Probably) Still Cares
In my case, Paige was angry at me because she felt like I didn’t care about her. She felt ignored, neglected, and unimportant, which she was completely justified in feeling. Leading up to missing our date, I had done a poor job of making her feel important to me.
As the saying goes, if you don’t date your girlfriend, someone else will.
As I’ve talked about before, when a woman has truly given thought you leaving you, she generally will leave you quickly and cleanly.
On the other hand, if she’s yelling at you, telling you how angry she is, or complaining to your mutual friends about you, she’s still invested in you, even if she was the one who dumped you.
How can I be so sure? Let’s dive into the research.
Exhibit 1: If A Girl Gets Mad At You, Does That Mean She Cares?
The answer is yes, and multiple studies agree.
A 2005 study by David Sbarra and Robert Emery showed that on average, there was a sharp decline in anger after the initial breakup followed by a gradual decline over time, as seen below.
On its own, this doesn’t tell us much. But when we layer in research by attachment theory pioneer John Bowlby, a clearer picture emerges. Bowlby’s attachment theory suggests that when taken together, anger and love act as approach motivation systems, which can drive her towards a potential reunion.
Sadness, on the other hand, is considered a withdrawal state that she may retreat to once she realizes that getting back together isn’t possible.
In other words, if she is still actively angry with you and showing you her anger consistently, it’s because she still cares.
So if you’re reading this and thinking “Great! I still have a chance to get her back” I want you to take a deep breath for a second and pump the breaks.
At Men’s Breakup, we treat getting her back much differently from your unfriendly neighborhood ex-girlfriend recovery guru.
To put it simply, it’s not about getting her back, but about getting back your self-confidence and your self-concept, and then giving her the opportunity to walk back into your life if she chooses to.
In order for your relationship to be successful the second time around though, you need to understand the deeper meaning behind her anger, and your role in it. Otherwise, you risk the same result happening twice, and I know you don’t want that.
She’s Not Angry At You Just To Be Angry At You
Anger is almost always a cover for something deeper. This can include feeling left behind, disregarded, devalued, unlovable, rejected, or powerless.
These are painful feelings for both men and women. That’s why it’s so easy for your ex-girlfriend to lash out at you. No matter who or what caused the breakup, ending a relationship is extremely painful – for both sides.
Now, do you notice what each of these feelings have in common? They’re all different forms of vulnerability. That’s what anger really is. Her anger is a cover for her feeling vulnerable.
Think about it for a second. Do you ever see someone who’s on the top of his or her game get angry?
If you’re a football fan, think about Tom Brady in the clutch. Or Kobe (RIP).
They’re cool and collected under pressure because they don’t feel vulnerable. They know they can handle the situation because they’ve completely mastered their emotions.
On the other hand, people that are vulnerable are much quicker to lash out in anger because they haven’t built the confidence and self-worth to be able to cope with the prospect of being vulnerable.
Take Paige for example. She got angry at me for leaving her behind because she felt like I had completely disregarded and devalued her by forgetting about her.
Instead of communicating that to me, she used anger to save face and show me that she was “in control” of the situation. She didn’t want to seem vulnerable. But when we talked about it, and I apologized for being an asshole, the walls came down.
Anger can be a defense mechanism. Like with most defense mechanisms, it’s almost automatic and unconscious. You do it without thinking.
The key takeaway here is even if she’s showing you anger on the outside, you have to remember she’s not really angry. She’s hurt, and something you did or something she’s feeling has made her feel vulnerable.
Is She Showing You How Angry She Is?
If your ex-girlfriend is actively showing you how angry she is, what she may be trying to tell you is “hey, you hurt me. You need to fix this”.
In other words, she’s might be giving you an opportunity to get to the source of the problem and save your relationship.
Here’s the thing though: you might not realize that she’s showing you her anger. When you think of anger, what comes to mind?
If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind is what’s called outward anger. It’s the type when people scream and yell and go completely red in the face.
Sometimes beds are thrown:
Or chairs and trashcans.
Outward anger is certainly one way your ex-girlfriend might express anger towards you. This can take the form of:
- Arguing with you
- Yelling at you in person/over the phone
- Talking about you negatively on social media
- Constantly bickering
- Badmouthing you
- Talking negatively about you to friends or family
- Not giving your shit back
- Trying to get revenge (like dating your best friend)
- Cheating (prior to the breakup) or flaunting a new guy in your face.
The thing is, outward anger isn’t the only way your ex-girlfriend might be showing you that she’s angry.
There’s also inward anger and passive-aggressive anger.
Inward anger is as the name suggests when someone turns their anger at themselves and keeps it inside of them. It can be incredibly hard to spot. People suffering from inward anger tend to be withdrawn and distant.
If you’re smart and you’re following the no-contact rule, it’s almost impossible to spot inward anger. And that’s probably a good thing because inward anger goes hand in hand with more serious issues like depression and poor self-worth.
In other words, not the best type of woman for a long-term relationship.
The final type of anger is passive-aggressive anger.
- Use of words like “fine” or “whatever” followed by heavy sulking and withdrawal
- Subtle verbal barbs that seem okay on the surface, but are laced negatively.
- Hot and cold behavior
- Ghosting you for a date (although she could just be flakey)
- Being mildly confrontational
- Frequent complaining about the things you do, who you are, etc.
- Complaining about little things like the shorts you’re wearing, or how she doesn’t want to eat at a certain place
If you see her displaying any of these signs of anger at you, pay attention. Look for the specific triggers. They’ll give you a world of insight into what she’s thinking.
What’s Making Her Angry = What She’s Disappointed About
We’ve already established that anger can be a cover for vulnerability, especially after a relationship ends.
If you want to get right to the root of what’s bothering her, pay attention to when she gets angry.
Does she get angry when you use no contact correctly? She’s disappointed you haven’t texted her because it’s making her miss you, which makes her feel vulnerable.
Is she passive-aggressively dissing you when you throw a picture of you and some ladies on the gram? She may be hurt because she’s jealous of what they might mean to you. Alternatively, she might be pissed that you never showed her off in the same way.
Although you shouldn’t be contacting her, you can keep track of what she’s doing in your journal. It can help you understand her pain points if she decides to walk back into your life down the road.
Why Is My Ex So Angry When She Broke Up With Me?
Your ex is angry even though she dumped you because she is still attached to you. Don’t get it twisted, just because she left you doesn’t mean it was an easy decision.
Moreover, she made have made the decision to leave you after a momentary flash of emotion, much like Paige did with me.
While I can’t tell you for sure why your ex is mad, I can help you make an educated guess.
She’s angry because she’s hurt, and she’s grieving that hurt. The first time I got dumped, my girlfriend at the time didn’t want to dump me. But after giving me so many chances to get my shit together, she finally had enough and dumped me.
Afterward, she was incredibly angry with me for a litany of slights, many of which were real. Without getting into all of my dirty laundry here, the core theme was she was hurt, and her anger showed during the grieving process. She was angry at me for not changing and angry at herself for waiting on me as long as she did.
Moreover, my bad behavior also reinforced some of the negative stereotypes she had about men as a result of some of the male figures in her life – which I’m willing to bet made her even angrier at herself for not recognizing that I was going to let her down.
Again, this is far from an exhaustive explanation, but I invite you to ask yourself this: how did your breakup hurt her?
Did it destroy the future she wanted? Did she look foolish in front of her friends and family? Were you another failure in her long line of relationships?
Think about it. Look in your heart. I know that in there, you can find the answer.
Is My Ex-Girlfriend’s Anger A Sign She Wants Me Back?
It’s a sign that she is thinking about you. That doesn’t mean she wants you back though.
However, if she has a rational reason for being angry, getting to the root of the problem can give you a much better chance at reconciliation.
That being said, her anger can also be a shit test. The best way to deal with shit tests is to completely ignore them.
Never respond to her just because she’s angry about something. The best way to deal with anger is to wait until it cools off.
Too many guys see anger as a chance to get into an argument with her. Your ex may have also told you “I want you to fight for me!”
She doesn’t mean that literally. Fighting her is going to accomplish nothing. Pay attention to what she’s saying though. She may have legitimate concerns you’ll want to address if you get back together.
Wait until she cools off and speaks to you more rationally. Chances are, if she’s angry, she’ll reach out to you again.
When she does, follow the plan I’ve outlined and you’ll be in good shape.
Just make sure to avoid any trigger points that you know will make her angry. If you get back together, you can talk about it then (and hopefully fix it).
Ultimately, handling what’s she angry about when you two are back together will signal that you’ve thought about what she’s angry about and reflect well on you and your relationship with her going forward.
Talk soon my friend,
PS: Want to get to the root of her anger so you can get her back? Click here to learn how I can help you.