Opinion: Understanding Anger In Men

Libby Shively McAvoy
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Understanding Anger In Men

Men suppress emotions for a multitude of reasons. They are told it’s not manly to cry or be sensitive from a young age. “Man up” is a phrase I often hear, which implies they need to be strong even in difficult times. They develop a pecking order in school, and if they appear weak, they get bullied. I have been told that carries on their whole life and that they eye each other and size each other up. There is a “man code.”

Later in life, when they become the head of the household, they do not want to burden their loved ones with needs, concerns, and emotions.

Anger is a normal emotion for men and women alike. Men do not experience anger more frequently than women, they just tend to express it outwardly more often than women. For some men, anger is a part of daily life. How they process and express their anger is what is essential.

Suppressing anger has many consequences. Some men turn to drugs and alcohol to numb their emotions. Sometimes, a man gets shaken up, and all the suppressed emotions bubbling up explode like a volcano in a violent outburst.

Often, anger is a mask for other emotions. Men who experienced childhood trauma or neglect, or adult trauma, are more likely to use anger as a shield to protect others from knowing they are afraid, ashamed, or sad. Showing those emotions is perceived as a weakness in males, so instead, they show an outward expression of anger which is seen as strong masculine energy.

Why Anger Is So Fierce

Anger triggers the fight or flight mode, putting us into survival mode. Adrenaline then pumps through the body, giving an extra burst of energy, which transpires into a rage for some men.

Anger is typically expressed in three ways: outward, inward, and passive.

Outward Expression:

  • yelling
  • cussing
  • punching walls
  • throwing things
  • verbal or physical abuse

Inward Expression:

  • negative-self talk
  • isolation
  • self-harm

Passive Expression:

Common Causes For Anger In Men

  1. Financial Pressure. If a man struggles financially, they feel inadequate, which lowers their sense of self-worth and may manifest in anger. If they support a family, their pride may prevent them from sharing with the family that they cannot spend as much money, so the financial trouble escalates. Their suppressed fears, guilt, and shame may explode in an outward expression of anger.
  2. Sexual inadequacy. Some men feel shamed by their sexual partners for size, performance, or other reasons. This can cause all underlying emotions to rear their ugly head as anger. It goes back to the man card and feels like there is a code they need to live up to.
  3. Nagging Partner. Ladies, stop nagging your partner, which sparks fire in anger. He may have more going on under the surface than he can cope with. Instead, ask him to join you in a rational conversation where you can voice your needs, concerns, and frustrations. Men are more logical than emotional, whereas women are more emotional than logical. When trying to resolve conflict, it may help if you appeal to his rational side.
  4. Other men. This goes back to those early days of establishing a pecking order. Dudes have to be cool with other dudes and respect the man code or anger will arise. 

Results of Unmanaged Anger

  • bullying
  • physical, emotional, or psychological abuse
  • suicide ideation
  • loneliness as a result of driving loved ones away
  • problems with work and co-workers
  • destruction of property like punching holes in walls
  • mandated anger management courses
  • arrest
  • physical health problems (high blood pressure, poor nutrition, diabetes, lack of sleep, migraines, and diabetes)

How to Manage Anger

Anger can affect those we love causing additional fear, low self-esteem, and helplessness, which then cycle back to more anger. Learning ways to manage emotions before they erupt and disrupt life is crucial.

Ways to Manage and Process Anger

  • therapy
  • Breathing techniques
  • use grounding techniques
  • time alone and self-study
  • exercise
  • knowing your triggers and learning to self-soothe when triggered
  • journaling your feelings, what led to those feelings, and how you coped
  • take boxing classes when you want to punch something
  • avoid substance abuse which likely escalates your emotions
  • raise emotional intelligence

The Role of Emotional Intelligence In Anger Management

Raising emotional intelligence creates empathy and confidence. It also allows us to process, express, and manage our emotions. We are better able to communicate respectfully, create stronger relationships, and reduce bullying and abuse. There are simple ways to improve emotional intelligence on your own, or you can contact me for personal coaching.

Final Thoughts

Notice what happens in your body when you feel anger bubbling up inside. When your heart rate speeds and your hands sweat, your body is signaling perceived danger. Perhaps that was triggered by a bad memory of the past or fear of the future, but regardless, you have entered the state of fight or flight and need to come back into present-moment awareness where you can control your words and actions.

Talking about feelings may be especially difficult for men. It is vital to approach them with empathy. Help them feel heard, understood, and supported. Provide a safe space where they feel open to discussing their feelings rather than suppressing them.

Men, you can channel that burst of energy into beautiful accomplishments if you are not destructive in expressing anger. It all begins with self-awareness and will lead to a more fulfilling life.

My Invitation to You

Writing is a wonderful way to express emotions, and when shared on a public platform, you can connect with like-minded people who are going through a similar thing and may also help someone more than you know. I invite you to join NewsBreak as a contributing writer! Once you meet the requirements, which do not take long, you will be paid for your articles. 

Peace & Light,

Libby Shively McAvoy




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Libby is a Personal Development and Relationship coach specializing in emotional intelligence. By blending motivational speaking, leading yoga and wellness retreats, and writing, she has mastered the art of living her best life while helping others.

Cincinnati, OH

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