Do You Know Someone Who Hurts the Ones He Loves the Most?
He can Change His Life and Relationships NOW.
Know someone who frequently has volcanic eruptions? You know what I mean…shouting, yelling and insisting on being right…sound familiar? Well, he may be acting this way because he’s actually afraid of being hurt.
Anger is a Shield
It’s hard to believe, but he feels more frightened than you do…he just doesn’t realize it. His explosive behavior is designed to achieve two specific goals: protection and control. The bigger his outburst, the greater his fear. He needs you to change so that he doesn’t have to.
He’s afraid that you’ll find out that he doesn’t know how. Like a warrior donning his shield, he defends from his perception of incoming harm. Using his tongue as a sword, he verbally pummels and manipulates those he perceives as an emotional threat.
Anger Responds to Perceived Emotional Assault
Anger is a first responder for the angry man. Just like the police protect and preserve the public, anger protects and preserves the Angry Man. It’s a primal process for him… relying on the reptilian part of the brain for decisions of “fight or flight.”
The Angry Man has an unconscious need to be “special.” He rationalizes that what applies to you doesn’t apply to him. He’s convinced himself that he’s different from others… unique in a negative sort of way…and justifies feeling disconnected and misunderstood.
Control or Shame?
Beneath the Angry Man’s behavior lurks shame; waiting to remind him that he is “less than,‟ powerless and deserving of nothing. Unknowingly, he chooses angry behavior over rational thinking and self-control because it has always worked for him: helping him win and get his way. His verbal assaults give him feelings of heightened value, dominance and entitlement. Then, when he feels cornered, the Angry Man will choose either power or shame. It’s no surprise he’s learned to assume power. He sees no other alternative. If he doesn’t, he’s left with the shame that goes with feeling like a loser.
All of this man’s anger is fueled by fears of being hurt or exposed, so, “The best defense is a good offense” is a way of life for him. Aggressive types of Angry Men assert their anger through controlling behavior, sharp criticisms, name calling, the need to be “right” and more. Punching and kicking walls is another way for him to feel powerful and in control. Banging his head against a wall is a way for him to punish himself, while still feeling powerful and in control…even though he’s anything but “in control.”
The Risk of Exposure
You might be surprised to know that anger problems are not hereditary. Temperament is…but not the way it’s acted out. When clarity is lacking, the Angry Man becomes highly vigilant. His practice of distrust demands that he know where he stands at all times. This requires control, since controlling behavior makes him feel safe and less likely to be hurt.
Aggressive behavior is only part of what it takes to truly define the angry man. His ongoing need for dominance, power and control are the real tell-tale signs. He shields himself behind defensive behaviors to hide feelings of worthlessness, powerlessness and an intense need for validation.
What About Social Interaction?
Then there’s the aspect of socialization. Most people enjoy socializing, and having close friends. An Angry Man wants the same but the fear of being betrayed, exposed or belittled won’t allow it. He doesn’t trust others for fear they will get too close and see in him what he sees in himself. He’s convinced they will see him as the proverbial loser; since that’s what he sees. So by keeping his distance, he can maintain emotional safety.
Anger is destructive to the angry guy as well as to most of those around him. The Angry Man tends to hurt those he loves the most. Families and relationships suffer immensely from his self-centered needs and lack of trust. His need to maintain distance from others is fueled by fear that his belief of who he really is will be exposed.
This man’s fear is largely subconscious. It’s accessible, but not without awareness and insight. He’s usually aware of his inappropriate behaviors but has no idea how to stop. So he rationalizes that the behavior isn’t that bad, or that he was justified, or that “she made me do it.” Yet, it’s obvious to all those around him that his overreactions are based on his distorted perception of reality. What they don’t realize is that his fear of being exposed as inadequate is so intense, that he doesn’t know how not to defend it.
Angry Men Don’t Understand What’s Wrong or How to Fix It
Angry men can tell you when they are angry, but they can’t tell you why, or why they get angry so often. They also can’t tell you why they hurt the ones they love the most, or why they’re so self critical and overly critical of others. They are unable to explain why they can’t trust when there is no reason to be distrustful; or why they need validation from others when they really only need it from themselves. They’re oblivious to the emotional damage they cause others, but acutely aware of their own feelings being hurt and exposed.
I was the Child of an Angry Man
Want to know what happened? I became the Angry Man myself. I needed to change long before I actually wanted to. Need just wasn’t enough. To change, I had to really want it.
Once I did really want it, I had to accept my greatest fear…that I had to give up my lifelong cycle of anger. Letting go of that which I’d counted on to hide my fear was brutal….the hardest personal work I’ve ever done. But, in changing, I was freed from my fear of being me.
I’m here to tell you, there is no greater freedom than that.
This has been my experience, and it’s available to anyone who wants it. Remember: an Angry Man can be helped. If I can change, any man can. But, until he’s willing to be honest with himself, he cannot make permanent change. He can lessen the anger for a while, but the causal factors of fear and shame will remain forever. It just always keeps getting worse…never better.
A Look in the Mirror
Read through these questions and answer them honestly:
1. Has anyone ever suggested that you might have a problem with anger?
2. Do you sometimes wonder why you get so angry, and angry so often?
3. Do you stay angry and bitter at people who have treated you unjustly or unfairly?
4. Are you intolerant or impatient with yourself and others?
5. Have you been told (more than once) that you have an excessive need to be “right?”
6. Do you feel, more often than not, that you do not receive the respect that you deserve?
7. Do you have difficulty letting others get close to you? (difficulty trusting)
8. Does it feel like most of your intentions are misinterpreted or misunderstood?
Two or more “yes‟ answers indicate an anger problem. If this is you, seek out resources to help you change. On the other hand, if the answers to these questions remind you of someone you know, ask them to take this quiz. If they’re ready, they can change.
I’m the Anger Guy, and I guarantee it.
Our contributor is Evan Katz, M.C., LPC, MAC. To learn more about Evan please visit www.theangerguy.com.