Tag Archives: anger

How I Healed My Boys High School Choir Bullying Trauma

I went to an all-boys high school where the first grade rugby team enjoyed the highest social status. Anyone who wasn't into aggressive body-contact sports got their head kicked in other ways, and boys on each level of the social hierarchy boosted their flagging self-esteem by bullying the boys on the level below. Any innate sensitivity in a boy was crushed both in the classroom and in the play/battle-ground.

Although I was highly intelligent and generally got good grades, this wasn't valued as highly as sporting prowess at my high school and being a thin, nerdy kid who was the youngest in my year, I didn't do so well at school socially.

I spent my lunch times singing in the school choir or hanging out in the computer room learning to use the new machines that the teachers didn't know what to do with. This was a couple of years before the computer revolution went mainstream and decades before Big Bang Theory made nerds hot prime-time-viewing commodities.

Childhood bullying can leave our adult selves feeling self-conscious and hyper-vigilant to criticism from others.

Since I was a late developer my voice didn't break until well after high school. It was embarrassing still being in the alto section of the all-boy choir as I headed into Year 11 so I quit and joined the lighting crew in the hall instead where I could feel good about solving technical problems backstage and wouldn't have to perform in front of people and end up feeling so self-conscious.… Continue reading…

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Using Music To Express Anger and Rage

Since the beginning of the year I've been studying Music Performance full-time at a local tertiary college, and the experience has been extremely healing for me. The interactions with teachers and other students have brought a lot of my unresolved adolescent insecurities to the surface: in some ways, going to college is like going back to high school. My fears about whether I would fit in brought up a lot of anxiety for me, coupled with a very strong desire to try hard to make other students like me. I often had to take a deep breath and remind myself to focus on what I was learning and just have fun participating instead.

“Full-time” at the college I'm attending is only 2.5 days per week; although I spend pretty much all the rest of the week doing homework of various forms: learning to play new instruments, practising songs for our performance night, writing my own songs and getting them recorded.

In the process I've found music an excellent way to express anger and rage. A lot of the songs I've been writing have a great deal of anger in them, inspired primarily by life circumstances and/or other people's behaviour. Writing, performing, recording and releasing these songs has been extremely cathartic for me and the feedback from the other students has been very positive and accepting.… Continue reading…

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How To Deal With Other People's Jealousy

An interesting thing happens when we get out act together, drop our victim stories, start taking responsibility for our lives and getting what we want in life: Other people's response to us change significantly. The majority of people treat powerful, self-confident men with respect; but there will always be people who respond with hostility because they are jealous of our success.

Don't Get Trapped By Other People's Jealousy

The only real downside to letting go of our insecurities and learning to live life on our own terms is that other people's insecurities can start getting triggered by us.

This happened to me today at music college when another male student walked up to a lighthearted group conversation I was having and suddenly said "Graham, you need to stop being such a cunt."

That didn't feel good to me: I immediately felt deflated. When I thought about it later, I felt angry; but when I interpreted what he said in the context of possible jealousy towards me, I could see that his comment was really about him rather than me.… Continue reading…

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How To Deal With Someone Who is Upset

Many men (and women for that matter) in our society don't deal with their emotions well. As a result, most of us are walking around carrying an ever-increasing accumulation of emotional baggage that can get triggered even in seemingly innocuous situations.

People who are upset need empathy, not judgement.

For an example where this happened to me, check out my recent story on Why I Got Upset In Guitar Class. I'll wait here while you do that...

... OK!

Dealing with people who are upset can be very challenging. Part of what makes this challenging is that other people's emotional upset is likely to trigger our own unresolved emotional baggage. This is why many people try to shut down expressions of unpleasant emotions in other people or resort to "rescuing" behaviors intended to stem the flow of another person's feelings that are making us uncomfortable. Naive rescuers often think they are "helping" because they see the upset person appearing less outwardly distressed; but the upset person is simply internalizing their emotional pain which has disastrous consequences for everyone in the long run.… Continue reading…

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How To Recover From A Narcissistic Mother

Narcissistic Mothers Turned Their Back On Our Feelings When We Were Upset

Growing up with a narcissistic mother can be a complete disaster for a growing boy's of self, self-confidence, and future adult relationships. Narcissists are essentially children walking around in an adult body, which makes them incredibly challenging to have as a parent. Even if your narcissistic mother does eventually grow up, her emotional unavailability and controlling nature when you were developing your sense of self can leave deep wounds in an adult man's psyche.

If you're wondering whether you had a narcissistic mother, check out my previous article Ten Signs That You Had A Narcissistic Mother.

Here's how to recover:… Continue reading…

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Do You Feel Guilty About Being Angry With Your Parents?

I grew up in a family where emotions weren't expressed cleanly; especially challenging emotions like anger. Everyone feels angry from time to time, but growing up I got the sense that there was something wrong with this basic human emotion because nobody talked about it. My parents never seemed to say directly that they felt angry; but it was obvious when they were and their anger came out in ways that I found very frightening and destructive.

It's OK To Be Angry With Your Parents

It's OK To Be Angry With Your Parents

Everyone around me seemed ashamed of their anger. Over time, I learned to feel ashamed of my anger too. I denied, suppressed and internalized it as though I was doing something righteous and noble. But the repressed rage built up inside me until eventually as an adult I developed overwhelming anxiety, panic attacks, depression and even a physical illness.

This forced me to wise up and realize that there was nothing noble about denying my anger. But with poor role models for expressing anger constructively in my family of origin and in society at large, who was I to turn to for help?

My answer came in the form of enlightened therapists who understood that anger is a perfectly normal emotion whose purpose is to motivate us when our needs aren't getting met.… Continue reading…

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How To Heal Your Mother Issues

Many men have mother issues that undermine our self-confidence by stopping us from really growing up and fulfilling our true potential. Unresolved mother issues cause us to remain emotionally and developmentally immature; a boy in a man's body. If we had a critical or controlling mother we're particularly prone to having mother issues. Add in a passive father and a lack of tribal structure with initiation rituals in modern society to force us from the cozy comfort of our mother's breast, and it's easy to slip from childhood into adulthood without ever actually growing up.

Unresolved mother issues can leave you stuck in a permanent state of adolescence.

Unresolved mother issues can leave you stuck in a permanent state of adolescence.

This leaves us forever unconsciously seeking comfort and reassurance from our mother, and our neediness ends up projected onto any woman we come across; which is a disaster for our relationships with women.

In normal human development, we individuate from our mothers during adolescence as we grow into being our own man with our own set of values different from hers. This is a time of rapid brain rewiring and emotional upheaval as we alternate between feeling emotionally connected with our mother, and separating from her to explore the world and our place in it.… Continue reading…

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How To Turn Your Anger Into Assertiveness

I've noticed a consistent pattern among myself and my coaching clients: we all have a history of not standing up for ourselves when other people behave in ways that we don't feel good to us. Most of us had parents who weren't willing or able to teach us how to deal with our emotions, to self-soothe our nervous system when we were in distress, or to stand up for ourselves when our emotional or physical boundaries were being violated. Often the person we most needed to stand up to was one or both of our parents themselves, and that rarely goes well when you're a distressed child trying to stand up to an adult who is being unreasonable because their wounded inner child is running the show.

Turn Your Anger Into Assertiveness

Turn Your Anger Into Assertiveness

All of this is a recipe for ever-increasing anger, resentment and frustration. We end up overcompensating in a desperate attempt to get our needs met. Internalise that toxic cocktail and it's no wonder we end up anxious, depressed and lacking self-confidence.

Behavior patterns learned as a child tend to stick even if they never really worked well, and coping strategies learned as a child rarely work well in the adult world.… Continue reading…

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Are You An Angry Young Man?

Anger is one of the emotions that I have found most difficult to deal with in the past. I grew up in a house where anger was handled in ways that I found very frightening, leading me to become very afraid of conflict. This meant that I made a decision fairly early on in life that anger was a "bad" emotion that I should suppress at all costs. I became very ashamed of anybody knowing when I was angry.

I ended up internalising a lot of rage and unhappiness. I just didn't know how to let anger go and how to get it out of my system. It wasn't until the last few years that I even realised just how angry I was deep down.

I now know that anger is not "bad" emotion; it's just a signal that our needs aren't getting met. Anger provides energy for us to act assertively in situations where people are treating us in ways we don't like. If we've learned to be passive in the face of our anger, that energy gets trapped in our nervous system.

Because I have many years of internalising my anger, the situations where I would have liked to act assertively have long passed.… Continue reading…

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How To Deal With Angry Women

I get my fair share of hate mail on the Internet, which I find unpleasant but not entirely surprising. Many people aren't good at expressing their anger cleanly, and some of them choose to channel it into hate mail directed at me.

Being on the receiving end of somebody else's hostility can be stressful, so it's important to be assertive with these people to stop their stress from entering our emotional boundary.

Use assertiveness to stop other people's anger entering your emotional boundary.

Use assertiveness to stop other people's anger entering your emotional boundary.

He's an example from a few weeks ago: I got an email from a female ex-friend who I initially met through a blog I run, which began:… Continue reading…

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