Are You An Angry Man
Or Is It Someone Close To You?
Authored by William G. DeFoore, Ph.D.
The angry man doesn't decide to become angry. He just ends up that way after enough things go wrong for long enough. In other words, anger control issues develop unconsciously, and angry people don't realize it until the problems are pretty extreme.
Whether it's you or some else that's angry, you'll find the help you need here. First we'll look at what causes anger in a man, and then we'll move on to solutions to the problem.
By the way, all of this happened without you realizing it was happening. I've never met anyone who consciously planned to become an angry person. Now you get more control of how you feel and what you do about it.
You want solutions because you're a good person who wants to do the right thing. Let's get started!
What Makes An Angry Man Angry?
Again, angry people don't decide to be angry all at once. It happens a little at a time over a long time, for many reasons you may not even be aware of. Here are some of the unique reasons for men's anger from childhood:
- Being a victim of physical and/or sexual abuse
- Being abandoned, neglected, rejected and ignored
- Being spoiled as a child--which includes being the favorite, or just being favored because you were male.
It's pretty easy to see why abuse, neglect or abandonment would cause anger.
What's not so easy to see is how being spoiled or favored can cause problems and create an angry man. A sense of entitlement often comes from being spoiled as a child. You just feel like the world owes you something, and this can be a huge cause of anger.
Another result of being favored over your siblings is a false sense of self-importance.
What about adult experiences that cause anger?
Even though childhood issues are behind most adult anger control problems, there are adult experiences that can certainly cause major problems. Let's take a look at some of those:
- Being a victim of racial, ethnic, gender or age discrimination
- Being treated badly by an employer
- Being fired or laid off in an inconsiderate or abusive way--or for the wrong reasons
- Marriage problems can be a tremendous source and cause of anger
Keep in mind that any or all of the above adult causes of anger control issues can result from or relate to childhood experiences. One of the biggest mistakes an angry man can make is to think his anger is all about the current situation and he'd "be fine if those other people would just act right."
You've got to always be willing to look at your part of the problem and take responsibility for it.
Sometimes...anger can come straight out of loneliness. Listen to this NPR podcast about "The Lonely American Man."
What Help Is There For The Angry Man?
That's the most important part, right? We want to focus on solutions here! By the way, this entire web site is devoted to the "what to do about it' part.
If you're the angry man...
Here are some pointers to get you going in the right direction:
- Tell your story using these journaling techniques--this is the place to start, so don't leave it out.
- Use these imagery techniques to do the emotional healing work that will get to the heart of your anger problems.
- Practice anger management techniques daily until you've mastered them.
- Do the anger journaling exercise in the above journaling link regularly, to give your anger a safe, healthy outlet.
- Finally, practice the positive journaling techniques in the journaling link to access your good heart and shift your focus to what is good, right and working in your life.
Above all, believe in yourself and the goodness inside you--that's who you really are.
If you're close to or dealing with an angry man...
This can be tough! But you can do it, by tapping into the goodness inside you. Here's what I recommend:
- Be sure that you are clear with your own anger, by going through some of the above exercises yourself.
- It will also be very helpful for you to learn empathy and listening skills, which will help you avoid conflict with the angry man in your life.
- Although it may feel like a stretch, it's a good idea to focus on the positive aspects of the other person.
You absolutely must take care of yourself. Your primary job is to do your best to create as much contentment and satisfaction in your life as you possibly can.
What Is A Healthy Man With Healthy Anger?
Here is a description of a healthy man. Take what is useful here, and try to make it your own. The following is an excerpt from this Anger book, which will give you all of the knowledge and tools you need to manage your anger.
- He laughs easily. His smile is relaxed as if it belongs there on his face. He is at home in his body. He may not be in perfect shape but he is not extremely out of shape, either. When alone or lost in his own thoughts, he looks interested and thoughtful, not worried or afraid. He takes care of himself.
- He works hard when he works, but he knows how to stop. He is successful at what he does, and he enjoys doing it. He wouldn't do it if he didn't enjoy it.
- He is motivated by a sense of purpose, by his own values and ideals. He is not governed by the demands and expectations of society or even those close to him. He is sensitive to what is required to be a part of a functioning society, and he does not break the law. He is also sensitive to the emotional needs of loved ones and responds skillfully and effectively.
- He is devoted to becoming a master of expressing love and appreciation, for his own health and for the health of his relationships. He does what he feels is right for himself and others concerned, based on the situation at hand. If he's healthy, even an angry man has his standards and principles.
- He is capable of feeling desire and following this feeling. He trusts his own intuition and judgment, and also takes full responsibility for his mistakes. He is guided by a profound sense of spiritual purpose that emanates from deep within his being. He knows where he is going, and is constantly re-working and expanding his plan.
- His friends and associates consider him reliable. They know he would not agree to something if he did not intend to follow through. He knows how to say no. He is consistent and flexible at the same time. No one really thinks of him as an angry man.
- Some aspects of his life are structured and disciplined, while there are times when he seems to be a totally new and different person. He is capable of surprising even those who know him best. He is always growing and changing. He is not afraid of change and the challenges brought about in transition.
- He can lead and he can follow. He does not seem to care which he does, but he does want to move. If the available leadership is ineffective, he will not follow. If no one follows his own leadership, he will re-evaluate his direction and focus. If he finds that he is still committed, he will continue alone. Whether he's perceived as an angry man by others or not, he keeps his focus.
- He is fully and completely an adult man. He is learning from his childhood and past experiences and uses them as a resource for self-knowledge and understanding. He knows how to meet his own emotional needs, yet is able to receive emotionally from others. He feels no guilt or shame. He can talk openly, when appropriate, about his own pain, fear and need for love. He expresses his love openly for those who are important to him. He also expresses his anger, but he's never just seen or described as an angry man.
- A healthy angry man becomes clear and precise in his communication. He may raise his voice, but only slightly, so the listener will get the message. He always combines his expressions of anger with a positive emotion. He can be smart and angry at the same time. He can be angry and respectful at the same time. He can even combine his anger with humor in a way that serves his purpose but harms no one. The person on the receiving end of his anger always knows that he means what he says.
Unhealthy Anger Is Isolating
- If his anger builds and he feels tense and irritable, he withdraws to a safe place and works out the physical tension and mental turmoil in a way that suits him. Then, when he is calm and clear on what he wants to say, he goes back and expresses his feelings verbally to the appropriate people. He does not blame others for his feelings or his problems. He takes full responsibility for himself as a person and for his needs and feelings. He is fully aware of both his personal freedom and his responsibility. The healthy angry man has very high integrity.
- He is creative. Being creative is a spiritual process for him. He believes creativity is something that flows through him, using the resources he has available for expression. His creativity comes out in his conversation, his clothing and routes he takes to get from one place to another. He enjoys many forms of creative expression through music, art and verbal expression. He is creative because he loves the energy of new life and meaning, and is only moderately concerned about others' opinions of his outcomes.
- He is spiritually focused, though he does not talk very often in spiritual terms. He may be a part of an organized religion, though if he is, he does not restrict his beliefs to the confines of the organization and its doctrine. His spiritual faith is a private matter to him, although he does share his views with a select group of people. He has nothing to prove, and he has no need to convince anyone of anything. He respects the right of everyone to believe as they choose and expects the same respect from others. His spiritual life is the center of his existence. His deity is loving, all-knowing and all-powerful. He does not see his God as an angry man. He is aware of eternity.
- He knows how to play and be childlike when the time or mood is right. A sense of joy periodically and regularly rises from within him. He is comfortable with children and with animals, and they enjoy him as well. He can feel at home in the penthouse of a New York skyscraper or alone on top of a mountain. The world is his home and he is comfortable in his own skin. He is glad to be alive.
So, you can see here that a healthy man is the kind of person you want to be, and the kind of person you want to be around. Likewise, most people don't want to be an angry man, or to be around an angry man.
You can be a healthy man instead of an angry man! Take a look at our anger control products and counseling services to see how we can help.
Learn even more about men and anger management on WebMD.