For a lot of us men (and many women), anger is a natural reaction. In fact, it’s considered one of the most “masculine” of emotions. Men are TWICE as likely to suffer from rage disorders as women. This may have something to do with our different brain structures and higher levels of the aggression-producing hormone testosterone, but the truth is that it goes a lot deeper than that.
One article on Psychology Today gave a simple yet succinct list that explains why people are angry:
- I am scared
- I feel hurt
- I am frustrated
- I feel rejected
- I feel insecure
- I feel lonely
To sum all of these things up in one simple sentence “I am vulnerable”.
Vulnerability is absolutely terrifying. For many people (not just men), the idea of being weak and “hurt-able” is something their minds cannot process. Subconsciously, they go through a process like this:
Step 1: I’m feeling emotions that make me feel weak.
Step 2: I don’t want to be weak, so I don’t want to feel those emotions.
Step 3: I need to replace those emotions with something else, something that makes me feel strong.
Step 4: I can use anger as that emotion because anger makes me feel powerful (by releasing adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline).
Thus, the anger is unleashed upon whoever is nearest or the cause of the feelings of weakness.
Understanding this concept is the first step to overcoming it. It’s important that we all—men and women alike—realize that anger isn’t our true emotion. Anger is actually our psyche’s response to an emotion we don’t want to feel, usually one that shows how vulnerable we are when we want to believe that we’re tough.
Before you lash out in anger, try to trace the emotion back to its root. Find out what’s really going on underneath, whether you feel scared, hurt, frustrated, rejected, insecure, or lonely. Once you find the source of the problem, it’s easier to treat the “cause” rather than just using the placebo of anger to manage the “symptoms”.