Men and Anger

Men and Anger

What do men do when they get "triggered"? (modern language for any kind of emotional upset or discomfort, i.e. feeling angry, hurt, ignored, pressured, stressed, etc.) Sometimes the end result is that they are required by law take a court ordered anger management class or seminar.

We might get angry and take it out on someone or the dog. Some of us just pretend we're not triggered at all and brush it off. Even more commonly, we suck it up and get all quiet and won't talk about anything. We "eat it" and mull it over internally, maybe with an unpleasant conversation with ourselves about what just happened. Whereas this can be a useful way to deal with raging emotions when we're out in the forest by ourselves, or maybe working together with a couple of guys, but court ordered anger management hardly produces much resolution inside a relationship, where there is a partner, wife, and kids to interact with.

Often, we men actually prefer to just mull it over in silence while we go out and do some physical work in the yard or the shop. The flip side of that strategy is that it's mostly unconscious, it's not a deliberate choice of "I got some court ordered anger management raging in me, let me go chop some wood and then come back and have a calm conversation", which, incidentally, would be a vastly more useful reaction.

The thing is, when we react to stress or hurt by going into our own silence and leaving the family, whether physically or just by withdrawing our presence, our wife and kids do not know that it's just our "natural" thing to do. What they feel is that we're mad at them for some unknown reason. They all of sudden feel unsafe because the man who they know instinctively is their protector is now mad - what will he do? Is the question in the back of their minds. What would their reaction be to the husband/father taking a court ordered anger management class?

Men, do you know how powerful your anger is, and how it can permeate the entire house? If you haven't noticed, pay attention to it next time you're angry. Ask your partner, wife, and kids how they feel when you're triggered? The answers should be enlightening, even if you do not need to comply with a court ordered anger management activity.

Good news in all of this is that there is nothing wrong with us for having our reactions or for wanting to go into ourselves to mull it over. In my experience, there are just other court ordered anger management strategies that will allow us to have our feelings and still keep our families feeling safe and not needing to worry. And which will allow us to study ourselves for the purpose of changing our "natural" ways, if we so desire.

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