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Tag Archives: anger
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.
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...
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…
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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…
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…
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.
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…
The problem of domestic violence has been in the news again, as it seems to be every few months or so. Out come all the stereotypes of battered women suffering at the hands of evil men, along with tasty sound-bite comments from mostly-female spokespeople working at the coal face in vastly underfunded community organisations.
Not all violence is committed by men; women are sometimes violent too. And violence is not the only form of abuse happening behind closed doors in our society: emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse can be equally damaging. Nor is the simplistic innocent-victim/evil-perpetrator model always the full truth. But for the sake of simplicity, let's roll with the stereotype for a moment since it tends to cover the majority of domestic violence cases, and I primarily work with men anyway.
Despite the excellent work done on a shoestring by the various organisations working to prevent domestic violence, the problem of men's violence towards women and children continues to hang around like an offensive odour.
How can this be, when it's in the news so often?
I believe it's because we aren't tackling the root cause of the problem. When domestic violence is in the news, I very rarely hear commentators asking the obvious, basic, underlying question:
Why are men violent?… Continue reading…
I grew up in a home where anger wasn't handled well. Let me take you back there:
Now, don't get me wrong. My mother lets her anger flow freely, but she rarely uses the actual words "I am angry". Instead, her anger comes out as hurtful criticism, put-downs and emotional bullying.
My dad isn't any better. He bottles his anger up so badly that he often seethes with resentment so loud that I can hear him muttering under his breath when I'm playing in the next room. It's frightening.
All it takes is for mum to walk in and say, "What's wrong with you, you stupid creature?" and, bang, next round of World War III is back on again.
What I learned from all this was the idea that anger was somehow a bad thing, that it was a bad emotion that I should never feel, because it always seemed to be expressed destructively around me.
As a result, I learned to push down my anger very hard, to suppress it. In fact, I pushed it down so hard that in the end I barely even felt it.… Continue reading…
Hi, I'm Graham. I had 18 years of formal education - that's 12 years of primary and high school, and then another six years at university studying engineering - and during that time, I learnt a lot about how to think but very little about how to feel or how my emotions worked.
In fact, I can't remember in that entire time a single class where I sat down and had a teacher teach me how my emotions work.
Now, possibly maybe in art classes or in music classes or maybe even in English they might've come close, but really nothing all that direct and concrete.
And that's a shame because, fundamentally as humans, we're all driven by our emotions. All our behavior is an attempt to either move towards pleasure or move away from pain.
So emotions are absolutely key to getting what we want in life. They're also the key to a successful relationship, especially with women.
So in the rest of this article, I'm going to give you a quick introduction into how your emotions work.
G’day, guys. Today I want to talk about how to cut the emotional umbilical cord with your mother. Now, you may wonder why you want to do this or what I’m talking about. So the emotional umbilical cord is a metaphor to refer to that ability that your mother has to control or dominate you or influence you in ways that you may not like.
Now, the origin of the emotional umbilical cord goes back to when you were an infant, when your ability to comply with what your mother wanted was kind of essential to your survival since you were totally dependent on her to feed and clothe and house you. And at some point during your development, you need to cut this emotional umbilical cord if you want to grow up from being a boy into being a man.