April 3, 2014

Mad Men in the Modern World: Accepting Masculine Anger.

buzzkill guy yogi man shirt angry annoyed irritated

I read a great number of relationship articles that address how the modern man should be.

We should be sensitive, open, hard-working, great listeners, artistic, globe-trotting, child-rearing, emotionally-secure gods of everything masculine. Those are some traits communicated about men and what makes him available for a relationship.

The other types of lists are how to spot a man and avoid him because he will wreck your life. Close to the top of the list is emotional unavailability and anger.

These kinds of lists are saying that if a man is angry or working with emotional expression, he isn’t good enough to be loved. That makes me angry. Everyone is deserving of love. Everyone.

If you want a relationship with a man who is not angry, then welcome to the world of imaginary relationships.

There is a simple truth to face: all men have anger.

Every single one.

You will not find a man on this planet who is not angry about something. At times his anger will awaken in the most unexpected ways. Most men I know are not comfortable with being angry or the results of his anger. Being angry is not something a man is proud about.

Every man I know who recognizes his anger is also actively addressing its causes and finding resolution.

Men are angry about many things.

We are angry about how the world is falling apart. We are angry about how some women have treated us. We are angry at our parents for how they loved and did not love us. We harbor anger at our schools, friends, peers, co-workers, and what we have to do to be “a real man.” We are angry at society for so many reasons, and it is healthy to have such anger because it prompts action.

Psychobabble in the new-age spiritual community has been putting forth this idea that a person cannot have anger or rage. That a person who is angry has serious issues, is broken, isn’t spiritual, and in the case of relationships, unloveable and not-touchable.

The philosophies create false expectations of an entire gender to be a specific way and creates more separation as a result.

I think that the lists that spout about how men should and should not be are destructive to healthy, well-balanced relationships. Expecting your partner, the human man standing in front of you, to conform to ideals, philosophies and concepts presented on the internet is a massive disservice.

It’s about one of the most unloving things that can be done to a person for the simple reason that who that person is is not being recognized, honored and loved for who they are. Instead, one’s partner is being held up to an ideal and judged for not being perfect. What kind of person is going to feel secure enough to share their emotional depths with somebody they know is judging them?

Any regular man is going to become withdrawn and angry as a result.

And when that happens, honor him because he is being emotionally expressive and trusting. How? Because he is sharing his pain, vulnerabilities and sensitives in the only way he knows how.

Men have anger. Learn how to work with it rather than judge it.

Anger is a result of pain from the past.

When in relationship, the heart and soul opens. The deepest wounds will eventually bubble to surface awareness for healing. Often times those bubbles will contain anger, and a host of other emotions. When you want to have a deep relationship, then anger must be faced, looked at, and addressed.

The man who is willing to work with, express, honor and accept his anger is the true warrior.

This type of man is facing an internal battle on the scale of the Bhagavad Gita. Support him with love, honor his spirit and stand fearlessly by his side. In doing so, the strongest and bravest of companions may be discovered.

Consider how it feels to be waging that kind of intense internal struggle, and then judged for being angry, cast aside, talked at and psychoanalyzed at the time when love is most needed and turn the tide.

Always remember that love heals.

To discard somebody for being angry says a lot more about the person doing the discarding than the one cast aside.

It reveals one’s own personal methods for working with emotions on the inside. The judgments, emotional patterns, expectations, demands and belief structures held within are revealed. New-age psychobabble becomes the weapon of choice, wielded with righteous fury to cast aside the filthy pagan who just cannot live up to perfect spiritual standards. In less colorful language, the other person is blamed and kicked out of one’s own life.

The same goes for emotional expectations. Expecting anybody to meet one’s own emotional standards reveals a major disconnect in reality.

Live up to your own emotional standards before judging somebody else for not living up to your own emotional standards.

Remove the emotional triggers, not the person who triggers the emotions.

So next time you want to discard somebody because they have anger, take a moment to contemplate how the anger within is being addressed.

Have compassion.

Recognize that anger has a time and place and is not evil or cause to claim that somebody is not available for relationship.

Some quotes about anger to tickle your mind:

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. ~ Maya Angelou

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

Anger is just anger. It isn’t good. It isn’t bad. It just is. What you do with it is what matters. It’s like anything else. You can use it to build or to destroy. You just have to make the choice. ~ Jim Butcher, White Night

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it. ~ Marcus Aurelius

Whate’ers begun in anger ends in shame. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. ~ Mark Twain

Writer’s Note: Yes, I am writing this from a masculine perspective and realize that there is a great deal more to communicate about this topic. Yes, the same things can be said about women. Yes, sometimes anger is so over the top and its expressions can be dangerous in many ways—it’s wise to protect oneself and family. Yet to just have a blanket-statement about men being “emotionally unavailable” or “angry” and thus unavailable for love or relationship remains short-sighted and does nothing to integrate our world and the strengths between our sexes. 


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Pixoto

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