Do you identify as someone with a bad temper? Someone who is angry more often than not? Someone with rage issues?
If you can relate to one or more of these statements, you’re likely someone who struggles with rage.
Anger and Men
Under normal circumstances, anger is a standard human emotion. It is not so much feeling anger as it is how one acts on it that can end up being damaging to the self and others. Issues with anger have no gender however for the sake of clarity; we’re going to focus this blog on men who struggle with anger.
Why am I Angry?
Anger is an emotion that was once very acceptable (and dare we say encouraged) for men. It was considered less appropriate for a man to express sadness and vulnerability. Anger on the other hand was considered a part of being a man.
Anger in men can be the mask or cover emotion for sadness and depression. Alternatively, it can also come from other areas such as PTSD, anxiety and even narcissism. In any case, one of the things most men struggling to overcome their anger and rage issues ask themselves is whether or not they will ever be okay.
The hardest thing about struggling with anger issues is the back and forth. As men, our anger can sometimes do serious damage. We may get verbally and even physically violent. We may traumatize our children, siblings, partners and others in our care. We can even land ourselves in life threatening situations through confrontation with potentially dangerous individuals.
Without exaggerating, issues with anger and rage can cost us our careers, our relationships and even our lives. Why, when we know the high price of what we’re contending with do we continue to lose it? Why do we continue to have outbursts? Why, despite having worked on ourselves do we still end up slipping and giving in to our anger?
The Non-Linear Process
It is important to remember that for the most part, when we’re working to improve ourselves or to heal psychologically, the process isn’t linear. It’s not like you improve in leaps and bounds from one day to the next. Realizations and insight do not guarantee change. Does that mean that we will be forever damned to our demons? Not at all!
Those of us struggling with anger and rage simply need to understand that the process is not linear. We need to be kinder to ourselves – the same kindness we may sometimes struggle with extending the rest of the world in a manner of speaking.
This is not to say that we roll over and give in to our negative behaviors. It simply means that we need to be open to the possibility of regression. Further, if we do regress, as opposed to wallowing in shame and guilt, the healthy way forward is to take ownership and continue doing the work we are in order to improve.
Consistency and Commitment
Working on anger is hard. Anger is scary. Anger can be ugly. Unlike, say depression, most people would rather keep their distance if you’re someone with rage issues. If you want to work on your rage, you need to commit to yourself. You need to be consistent. You need to understand that sometimes your actions will put people off and on such occasions; you need to extend empathy and forgiveness to yourself, because chances are the world may not— at least not immediately.
Another thing that works is keep trying not to give in to your rage. Practice anger management steps, keep with your meditation or exercise routines, and learn to express distaste and disagreement appropriately. The less you give in to your anger and the more you learn to contain feelings of the same, the closer you will be to having a handle on your rage. Will you ever be okay? Yes you will! Just do the work, stay consistent, and even if the world gives up on you, keep on believing.
It is sometimes hard to work on psychological obstacles like rage by yourself, which is why it helps to seek professional support or therapy. As a psychotherapist and counselor based in Palo Alto, working with rage, depression and anxiety in men, I have often come across individuals who have nearly given up on themselves but after doing the work have improved immensely.
If you feel your problems with anger are becoming difficult to handle and work with, don’t hesitate to seek support. If you put in the effort, take up therapy for your anger and believe in yourself, like many others, you too will change, improve and evolve!