I know a man who continually tells me that he cannot control himself when he is angry. He feels he is pushed over the edge and that his partner should know better. Even feeling upset that the world should be different e.g. coffees should be bigger and the sun not quite as hot. Hopefully these 3 tips for managing anger issues will help clarify that they may actually be fear and hurt issues.
How Fear Becomes Anger
To me it sounds as though he feels powerless in a really big and confronting world. It looks as though he is scared and uses his physicality (even playing the field to feel strong again). I don’t really think anger management is his true issue – I think he has fallen into the trap of overusing his anger.
The same man will cry at the thought of hurting his partner or family – experience deep guilt, shame and regret. The emotional unholy trinity. Rather than show his pain to his family, he chooses to brood and withdraw and shut everyone out. His relationships have been a rollercoaster ride as a result, often ending prematurely and causing all the more pain for this man. He feels like he has no one he can share this pain with. But why?
Why Men Show Anger
In the ground breaking documentary (seriously, go watch it now) “The Mask You Live In”, the filmmakers explore how toxic masculinity has been passed down through generations, inhibiting men from talking about their true feelings with one another. Instead hiding behind masks of machismo and bravado. I am guilty of it myself and remember countless school yard fights which began over someone’s hurt feeling and ended up with someone feeling physically hurt.
I started asking why it is that men seem to have these issues while women appear so much more open and emotionally attuned. It struck me, that maybe men don’t have the same permission where it comes to being hurt. What if men aren’t really allowed to be hurt and scared because if we are seen as hurt or scared, society immediately judges that man as smaller and less capable. Could it be that I was guilty of that too? Either way, being in the therapy chair for all these years has taught me that expressing your hurt and fear and being with someone in your hardest moments takes courage and becomes a strength. People who can manage being scared while with other people, often feel less scared later as a result.
Tips for Managing Anger Issues
- Figure out why you are scared or hurt… or both! What is it that has prompted this feeling of anger? It didn’t come from nowhere and anger itself won’t make you feel any better about yourself.
- Allow yourself to feel angry, but then try to feel your hurt and fear. It is harder, but that is what true power actually is. Giving yourself true permission to feel your range of emotions is maybe the hardest part of this process.
- Do something different. Take this moment as an opportunity. A chance to change the world by changing your own behaviours. Apologise to someone. Tell someone you trust that you are feeling vulnerable. Write something down in a journal or on your phone. Or maybe, just don’t act out your anger – try acting out your pain or fear.
“Our anger has a function. Very often for men, it protects us from our vulnerability and makes us feel strong and sometimes safe in a toxic world. ” Ray Medhora
This Guest Post comes from Ray Medhora of Ray’s Room Therapy. Ray specialises in working with children, young people, men and families. He often works closely with families who have been through the trauma of separation. Ray is credentialed as a family therapist, as well as a social worker with over 15 years of experience. He also offers seminars and trainings for organisations. Visit his website to learn more about his practice. https://raysroomtherapy.com.au