Men and Anger: It’s Good to Talk

Men and Anger: It’s Good to Talk

November 4th, 2011 @

Anger is a theme that is often discussed in relation to men’s issues. Yet anger is not something that is exclusive to men. So why is it that anger and ‘anger management’ are so often associated with men?

Could it be that women generally are more comfortable and more able to express their feelings than men?

From my experience working with both women and men, men are less likely to talk about their stuff. Even men with large networks and circles of friends find it hard to have deeper conversations about what is really going on for them in their inner world.

Men’s conversations can often tend towards the external elements in life, such as cars, sport, as well as sexual interests. However, there seems to be an invisible and hidden wall. As long as the conversation remains focussed on those ‘external’ or ‘outer’ worlds then everything is ok. There are times when it may edge closer towards the internal world. When this happens, I have often witnessed a level of discomfort that appears in the conversation fairly quickly, usually followed by a very blokey, masculine comment … with the purpose of getting the conversation ‘back on track’.

Does this mean that men aren’t able to talk about their stuff?

I don’t believe so.

I have witnessed men of different ages, nationalities, backgrounds and demographics open up and talk about their inner world (in private and also in groups) in a meaningful and engaging manner, and as a result begin to change parts of their lives.

So where is the gap? If men are able to talk about their stuff, then why don’t they?

In simple terms I believe that men don’t talk about their stuff simply because they have, in many cases, not yet learnt how to express themselves in relation to their stuff. The ongoing stereotype of men having to be ‘tough’ and ‘strong’ and ‘manly’ continues to suggest that talking about how we feel may make us lesser men. One of the consequences is that men have not learnt how to talk about their emotions and feelings.

Historically, the education and social system (and in most cases still today), has not taught men to express themselves and there has not been a ready supply of older male role models/leaders to learn real Menstuff from. This lack for some men of male mentors and emotionally-intelligent male role models means that they tend to learn about how to be men from anywhere they can, in many cases just their friends or mates – possibly novices themselves.

Because men are less likely to express their emotions and feeling, these feelings will sometimes build up inside. And, like anything that is under pressure for too longer, eventually the feelings and emotions will burst out. However, unlike a ‘conversation’ which is a way to express ourselves in a controlled and ordinary way, when the pressure builds and our stuff bursts out, it is usually in an explosion of sorts … an uncontrolled release of pressure such as anger or rage.

We all know what a trigger is. It’s associated with a weapon or the setting off of an explosion. However, there is also a concept such as an emotional trigger.

An emotional trigger is when something happens in our world that connects us with an emotional vulnerability within us. For example if someone close to you has died recently and you hear a friend talking about death it may connect you back to those feelings of loss and grief, causing those feelings to re-appear more strongly for you. Feeling loss and grief for someone who has died recently is a normal response. It’s when the emotional trigger connects us to an unresolved issue from our past that we can sometimes lose control.

When you have unexpressed emotions and feelings you usually cannot control when or how they express themselves. If you are triggered emotionally, and cause yourself to re-connect to some unresolved issues within, you can simply explode. This expression of anger can happen at any time, sometimes when it is least expected. And when it does, one can feel ‘out of control’. Often the response to the situation is an overreaction. Many men have said to me that sometimes after the ‘explosion’ they feel embarrassed, ashamed or even regretful about what happened.

And, that is completely understandable. Because usually these outbursts of emotion are not intentional. Even though we may not have meant to hurt anyone, someone else usually does affected.

Ongoing and persistent outbursts can begin to affect men’s lives in detrimental ways.

There are many ways to deal with our stuff and with our anger. You may have heard about anger management classes or anger management workshops. There are a variety of ways to begin to address the issue. You could talk to your doctor or begin to discuss it with your partner or those who are close to you.

Or, to address anger issues, you could talk to a counsellor or therapist. Talking to a counsellor or therapist about anger issues will also allow you to begin to explore what is happening for you in a confidential and non-judgemental way.

No matter what your anger is about, or how it is affecting your life, one of the first steps you can take is to talk to someone.

It’s good to talk about Menstuff.

Disclaimer: This article is meant to provide men with general information about anger, anger issues and anger management. This article should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan or course of action. Before making any decisions about your health, you should consult a qualified health professional such as a counsellor, therapist or doctor.

Category : Anger &Blog &Compulsive Behaviours

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