RAISE YOUR EMPOWERMENT BY HOW YOU HANDLE MENS ANGER

Wendy Stebbins
Posted February 21, 2019 from United States

While I have not had the horrific experience of physical abuse, I see that it has been and is a factor for many World Pulse She-roes. I lived with a man who seemed to get my anger going. And even without his help, I was angry myself often. I went to a therapist and worked on techniques and exercises to change the person I was inside: Here is some of what I learned and changed:

ANGER IS A SECONDARY EMOTION!:  What?   Yes. This means that there is always a primary emotion underneath it at the core. So when you work on eliminating anger or getting your man not to be angry, you can't win. You might get a temporary fix but it keeps coming back. You are not free and POWERFUL.My therapist explained that under anger is always another emotion either hurt or fear. Often, but not always,  in men it is fear of losing control. That primary emotion is what you have to change.

So, what  you have to do to get over anger is: the next time you are angry ask yourself "Am I hurt or scared". You deal with the hurt or fear and you will get over the anger. It takes time but just the identification of this in me, excited me. Gave me hope and I was determined to make it a priority.

I had a lot of "displaced" anger also,  meaning I was angry at my neglectful, invalidating husband but I took it out by yelling at my kids for little things (like not picking up their toys). Why? My therapist explained that it is safer to get angry at someone else than to have the courage to directly confront my husband. As soon as I learned this I stopped ALL displaced anger at my children and everyone else. I didn't immediately start confronting my husband but I felt powerful in my new knowledge, decision and plan.

Often a man has a lot of built up anger in himself. It is common for a man to get you angered and when you do, he then may say "You are so emotional. Can't you control yourself." In other words, he is using YOU to handle HIS anger because he does not want to take a look at himself. Too scary for him. 

So, my therapist taught me a technique NOT to continue being the victim in this. He said the next time he says something to stir up your anger , just answer him by saying "Oh.". You take the wind out of his sails. Then get out of the room so you be sure not to say anything else. Go to the bathroom. Historically, people don't follow you in there. Haha.  You have answered him, so you are polite. But you haven't said anything. And he has nothing to pick up and continue the fight with.

Sure enough, the next night he opened the refrigerator and said something like "You never clean this out."

Typically I would list all the reasons like I have 4 kids, I go to school, I work, this and that.

This time I said "Oh.". His mouth literally dropped open. And he didn't say anything. I ran into the bathroom and shut the door.  Looked at myself in the mirror, gave a victory sign and whispered "Yes."

I kept this up. I would either say "Oh." or :Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings." His "response: mouth open." Say it then walk away so you don't be tempted to justify yourself. Which by the way you never have to. 

There are many techniques and situations that need other ways to handle it. But one thing is for sure. You have much better control over your anger. Changes in this will make you a new person. 

If someone gets angry, that is their stuff. I don't have to make it my stuff. Say nothing, or what I said or walk away.

Often, when someone gets angry or criticizes me, instead of triggering negative emotions, I try hard to understand the person, where they are coming from, what is important to them, what makes hem feel that way (with no judgment, just the desire to understand them). Yesterday I got a message from a Zambian taxi driver who was angry because one of my older street orphans had gone into a deep puddle and damaged his car and time is money. He was going to have him put in jail but realized the boy is honest and reliable. I wrote back and the first thing I said was "If I were in your position I would have been hugely angry too."  In otherwise, I normalized his initial feeling. This made him feel I understood, I cared and he felt comfortable then going into problem solving dialogue.

There is a lot more to this, many more ways to handle anger. For sure, learning techniques to change your anger, must be part of your empowerment program. I am here for you. 

So you ask, what if he keeps getting angry. He won't. It's a training period. But he will change one way or another. Would you keep pushing a doorbell that doesn't ring? He will stop and may try other means, but that is another story for another day. One change at a time.

Here's another scenario: "Anger is a temper tantrum"!  haha. When does a child have a temper tantrum?  When he can't have his own way. I sure had a lot of work to do on this scenario. 

There are times to be angry and it is good: like Rosa Parks, Winnie Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, women's rights leaders. Anger can be a springboard to justice. But I am talking about you and me. We are working on empowerment. Once we get this anger thing taken care of, our soul will never be the same. Initially, you can be like me, put some magazines in the bathroom, because you may be spending more time in there. 

Ubuntu,

Wendy

Comments 12

Log in or register to post comments
Kay Link
Feb 21
Feb 21

'Anger is a secondary emotion' - so true! This resonates with me. Anger, to me, is such an uncomfortable feeling, both within myself and from others. Taking the time to reflect on emotions, recognize them, and get at their root is so crucial for understanding oneself/others and how to have a more positive experience within this unpredictable world.

Wendy Stebbins
Feb 21
Feb 21

Thanks for your input, Kay. interesting. Once I employed the techniques I mentioned I didn't get angry anymore. It wasnt about anger.

Thank you for writing this, Wendy. I will have to reflect about anger being a secondary emotion. I must identify what my first emotion is when anger is triggered. Very helpful article.

Jill Langhus
Feb 22
Feb 22

Hi Wendy,

This is a great post and advice. I've written down the "oh" technique for the next time it happens, and probably not just with my hubby either. Luckily I don't have nearly as much anger as I used to. It took quite a lot of work to get where I'm at today, but it was definitely worth it, and it's never too late to add additional tools to our chest, for sure.

I found it curious that you said, "Often a man has a lot of built up anger in himself." Why do you think this? I have my own theory because men are suppressed and it isn't socially acceptable for them to be emotional, or express themselves. It's bound to have a backlash, and when most forms of media not only condone, but promote aggression, well, then we have a problem, basically.

Wendy Stebbins
Feb 25
Feb 25

Hi Jill,

Just saw your message. Let me know how the "Oh" thing goes. The fun part is you do not have to say or do ANYTHING. You are off the hook. Just watch how they look, if he needs a haircut. Anything but getting dragged into the possible cesspool.
I like your reasoning as to why they are this way. Because of my years of working in my private practice with men, I know what you say is true. I got a new appreciation for men. They have it tough when they are born. As you said, there are expectations put on them at birth. Don't cry, don't talk about feelings as it is sissy, etc. They are taught from a young age to "act like a man". If men communicate with each other it is a slap on the back. So, just as we would do, they have negative feelings, hurts, etc. but it is stuffed down deep. It is like watching a pot of water you put on the stove to boil. As it get more intense it bubbles more and spills over eventually. I get it. That's why I do NOT believe that the way for women to be equal to over overpower men is to fight back and be harsh. Firm yes. Harsh no. I have seen time and time again, that when a woman gets a man to talk about his feelings, she can't get rid of him. It feels so good to him. I get along well with men. I think it is because I see them (and us)as people. No labels. It's becoming more acceptable for men to talk about feelings, but those men from undeveloped countries, I don't know. A young adult African man recently told me that the men in Zambia don't see me as a woman. They just see me as a person. That is quite an accomplishment. But I think it is because I am too stupid to know I should see them as men out to beat me. I just see them as people like us women. Didn't mean to go off so long, but you raise an interesting curiosity and question, Jill. Thank you. What do you think?

Jill Langhus
Feb 25
Feb 25

Hi Wendy,

Okay. I will. I keep thinking I will do this next time, and then I don't, but it's on my mind now so I will remember it.

Exactly. Have you seen "A Mask You Live In?" I finally watched it the other night since I've been meaning to and I've literally thought these same principles in my head my whole life, i.e., socialization is the cause of the gender disparities that exist, etc. I think you would appreciate it, if you haven't seen it already.

I quite agree with you. It's good that it's finally becoming more acceptable for men to talk about feelings, for sure. I'm glad. I like in depth discussions that get us thinking.

Have a great day/evening.

Katalina
Mar 08
Mar 08

Thanks for sharing!

Wendy Stebbins
Apr 07
Apr 07

Thanks Katalina. Great to hear from you.

J Brenda Lanyero
Mar 14
Mar 14

Hi Wendy,
The therapist is right and has really been so helpful and is helping some of us here. Thank you for sharing it here with us.

Wendy Stebbins
Apr 07
Apr 07

Hi brenda,

Great to hear from you and glad things are moving along nicely.

Feka
Apr 03
Apr 03

Thanks for sharing these great tips.

Wendy Stebbins
Apr 07
Apr 07

Thanks Feka. Good luck. Great to hear from you. Keep in touch.

Related Stories

righarose
Kristine Yakhama