Everyone gets angry. Humans feel the full spectrum of emotions and anger is one part of this. Anger is a signal that something is not quite matching up to your expectations. It can also come from feeling threatened and feeling hurt. Men, or people identifying with a masculine identify, feel all emotions but often only feel comfortable expressing anger. This is for a variety of reasons. First, boys are often taught to “be tough” or “just deal with it” when they express emotion other than anger. This conditions them to associate any other emotion with weakness. Anger is also a “surface level emotion” meaning that anger is often expressed first when we feel other emotions like sadness. Men may not want to fully process the underlying emotions so anger is fueled and expressed. Our society in general associated emotionality with femininity and men can be afraid to appear “feminine” by discussing emotions.
Of course all of this is damaging to men; as it is human to feel other emotions along with anger. It is actually healthy to be able to process and reflect on all emotions including talking about them with others. It does not do any good to bottle them up inside. This leads to potential anxiety and depression as well as increased risk for substance abuse. Be on the lookout in the coming week for my next blog entry that will highlight some healthier ways to manage and express anger.
For now, men do not be afraid to talk about your emotions and your thoughts! It is normal to feel emotions and it is healthy to express them. Nothing takes more courage than being vulnerable and opening up. And true healing can really happen when you get in touch with all of your emotions.