Men, Why Are You SO Angry?

By: Brian M Murray, MS, IMH

Okay men, how many times have you been accused of being angry? How many times has a person you respect such as your wife or good friend become hurt after an impulsive outburst only to feel guilty later for the outburst and come back apologizing? While anger is a natural emotion, how we handle it makes a big difference. This isn’t about long term anger problems; this is about sudden onset and short term anger that has come on in the past few months or so. I’ll address the long term stuff toward the end.

Men when expressing their emotions often show them in a different ways than women. Anger in men can often be characterized as silent and distant until provoked followed by an outburst. Men when growing up often culturally learn their way in the world is to be tough and to “buck up.” Unfortunately what often happens is as an adult nothing much has changed. Men continue to “buck up” and feelings get stuffed down and suppressed without being expressed. This happens until pushed to the tipping point and then the angry outburst occurs.

While there can be multitudes of reasons that can lead to anger, there are a few that occur more commonly than others. Here are a few of the most common issues leading to anger.

·         Stress and anxiety; sometimes stress can cause a person to feel anxious about issues that are going on both at home and in work environments.

·         Lack of respect from spouse, family and coworkers. Examples of disrespect include speech tones that are condescending, rejecting and hurtful such as name calling or using undertones that dismiss masculinity.

·         Depression. Depression in men is often manifested as anger. The reason for this is often the stuffed feelings of anger. Depression many times is anger turned inward and when the pressure cooker can’t take it anymore the lid pops. Depressed anger can also lead to self destruction methods such as alcohol and substance abuse or dependence which only further aggravate the situation.

Long term anger problems often are the result of learned behavior or possible other underlying conditions that may be contributing to the problem. As previously mentioned, depression in men is often manifested as anger. Dysthymia which is long term mild grade depression can go undiagnosed for months or even years before the affected person seeks help. Hormones and changes in the body known as menopause in women occur also men with one of the main culprits being lower testosterone. In men it can lead to significant changes in their mood and can decrease sexual libido. Lower sexual desire can lead to feelings of being inept causing frustration.

While this is not a comprehensive list of issues leading to anger they are very commonly found with men. If you are a man and feel that a source of anger may be related to some of these issues a physical from your medical doctor can be a good place to begin. Psychotherapy is also beneficial to discuss some of the problems associated with anger and how it affects your life.

Brian M Murray is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with the Lifeworks Group located in Winter Park Florida.

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