If you’ve ever dealt with a man with anger issues you’ve probably wondered why he can be set off so easily? When even life’s minor inconveniences send him into a rage frenzy you might find it childish and if you do, you’re not entirely wrong. According to psychologists anger is a secondary emotion meaning that there is another emotion lying under the surface and the most common underlying emotion for men with anger issues is fear. As children we lash out in angry tantrums when we are feeling insecure, sad, or unhappy. Most of us learn to recognize these underlying emotions for what they are and focus on fixing the issue. Men with anger issues haven’t mastered that process and mask their true feelings behind a wall of anger.
Why do men resort to anger
For many generations, anger was the only acceptable form of expression for men. They were called weak or unmanly if they showed sadness or fear. Women were considered the more emotional sex because anger wasn’t considered an emotion.
Anger is so all encompassing it can be impossible to determine what it’s fueled by and most men with anger issues never try. They call themselves “hot tempered” and when the anger subsides continue about their lives until the next inconvenience causes them to lash out again. Their emotional issues never get addressed and they live their entire lives under the rage cycle which damages their relationships, careers, and overall health.
Why does this happen
Psychologist Avrum Weiss said that anger is often the result of an underlying fear in men. He gave the example of a man getting angry when his partner texts her friends late at night. This anger may be fueled by the fear that his partner doesn’t enjoy his company and that his relationship may be in trouble. Rather than communicating his fears and seeking reassurance, he lashes out in anger and demands that his partner change their behavior.
Clinical Psychologist Thomas J Harbin speculates that most male anger comes from a feeling of inferiority. Masculinity was once defined as the ability to earn an income, to work hard and support a family. Today, women can do virtually every job that men can do and don’t need to depend entirely on a man for support. So, where does a man gain his identity? What makes him feel worthy?
Physical abuse in childhood also causes feelings of inferiority in men. Emotional and physical abuse lead to feelings of unworthiness that can last a lifetime. For some, beating their chests and screaming is the only way they feel powerful and though rational people see this as emotional immaturity. They make themselves believe that their behavior brings them respect.
Many men with anger issues are truly remorseful for their behavior and wish that they had other outlets for their feelings. If you’re dealing with a man who never sees his anger as a problem, this is cause for concern.
How to deal with men with anger issues
Listen and try to demonstrate an understanding. Often validating one’s feelings is the best way to diffuse an emotionally charged situation. This doesn’t mean that you should allow your male partner or family member to abuse you. It just means understanding that someone who is consumed by rage is incapable of thinking rationally or responding to logic until after their feelings subside and putting forth an argument may serve to escalate the situation.
When the anger has subsided, calmly express how their outbursts effect you and ask them to reflect upon the reasons that they were so angry then, direct their focus to solving the problem.
Never allow yourself to become the victim of abuse. If their anger becomes physical protect yourself by removing access to you from the abuser.
Anger becomes a habit for some men and old habits are hard to break. If they are incapable of redirecting their emotions, they may need to seek professional help. If they are unwilling to see their anger as a problem, you may need to distance yourself from them.