Navigating ANGER in the Masculine Journey, part 1….

Half way through the spin class, music blaring and everyone peddling at full speed, our leader James yells, “I AM SO ANGRY!”    Everyone laughs.   I’m not sure if James was really angry or just making a joke, but if he was angry, he was dealing with it in healthy way.

In the navigating the masculine journey, dealing with anger is one of the most challenging aspects of  a man’s growth, especially for those who experienced unhealthy doses of it in childhood. It can be scary to ‘go there’ and few people, it seems, are really good at dealing with it.

Yet, as difficult as it can be, anger and its more extreme form, rage, must be confronted and worked through.   Unresolved anger in a family, between spouses, parents and children causes serious breaks in family unity and often leads to the disintegration of the sense of self and well-being among its members.   In corporations, community groups, volunteer organizations, etc., unresolved anger leads to losses of productivity, job loss, high rates of absenteeism, and attrition.  As we know, unresolved anger leads to health problems and, taken to its extreme, can lead to violence among peoples and nations.

Yes, anger is a powerful emotion, and, naturally, many men – everyone for that matter – can find it a challenging emotion to deal with.      Because of its devastating effects on ourselves, our families, and communities, it behooves us to understand the  genesis of this powerful and universally experienced emotion.

Understood properly and dealt with maturely, anger is a source of protection, self discovery, and healthy creativity.  Channeled properly, anger can be used to create new beginnings, pierce through problems, and stop injustice.  Healthy explorations of anger and its root causes can lead to solutions and new understandings of ourselves and others.  But when handled inappropriately, as it so often is, anger often leads to levels of self destruction, the crippling of communities, and untold suffering.

Dealing with anger is not easy work, but if a man is to find healing, he must find the courage to deal with it.  Over the next month, we’ll take a look at anger, where it comes from and how men can use anger to find health and well-being for themselves and others.

10 Comments

  1. by Tommy Fulton

    On June 6, 2012

    Great blog. What I believe most important is that the angry person recognizes the problem ahead of time. Everyone experiences anger, but recognizing that a weakness in properly channeling, or effectively dealing with that anger is the first step in improving one’s emotional health.

  2. by Patrick O'Connor

    On June 6, 2012

    Thanks Tommy. You’re absolutely right about recognizing the anger ahead of time. People who are passive-aggressive have a lot of difficulty recognizing this. You’re right also about channeling it properly. That will be the 3rd or 4th part of the series.

  3. by Bill Jennings

    On June 6, 2012

    Love the insight about the positive sides of anger. Naturally the emotion gets bad press for all of the negative outcomes you identify Patrick. One of the big challenge for fellas (spot the Aussie!), is perhaps in the initial engagements with the residual angers that well deep within him. For example, a recent insight from personal experience is that in the effort to practice stillness daily… Attention to what lies in the deep underwater caverns of the unconscious doesn’t necessarily ensure an immediate life and existence of complete tranquility. The effort to be proactive can often mean that some of that deep seated anger can float to the surface and make for some tough days. Better out than in, as they say. Great discussion Patrick. Much gratitude. Bill J from Melbourne, Australia.

  4. by Patrick O'Connor

    On June 7, 2012

    Good to hear from you, Bill.
    You’re so right about practicing stillness and the residual anger that usually comes to the surface. So many people want to practice meditation and then realize it’s tough work. It was the Buddha who said the Fourth Noble Truth was that life is suffering – and he was the master of meditation.
    In my own life, having a safe place to express my anger (current and residual) is essential to clearing away the blocks to living in the present moment.
    Thanks Bill.

  5. by Celeste

    On June 7, 2012

    Patrick,
    It is such a blessing to see you back to writing and also to read such an important/much needed message. I truly believe that everyone can identify with what you have shared, or at least think of one person who would benefit greatly from this reflection on anger. I agree that it truly takes courage to be able to “tackle” ones anger and to seek healing. It takes courage to face oneself and enter into those places that have been closed off and wounded. However, with an honest investment made to healing, I strongly feel that anger can be dealt with and expressed in a healthy manner. I am so thankful to you for taking the time to reflect upon this matter.
    Blessings always Patrick.

  6. by Patrick O'Connor

    On June 7, 2012

    Thank you Celeste. It’s a tough issue to deal with, and we all have to deal with it in one way or another. I agree with you, it takes courage to face oneself and enter those places that have been closed, but it’s the only way to be healthy and happy.

  7. by Robert Falzon

    On June 7, 2012

    Gidday Patrick,
    Great to hear from you and to see you writing into mens lives so powerfully.
    Very tough and important topic.
    A mans ability to process/deal with anger will determine much about who he becomes and how he is able to love.
    Thanks Mate

  8. by Patrick O'Connor

    On June 7, 2012

    Robert, knowing the work you do with MenAlive.au, I welcome your comment. It is true, as you say, that the extent to which a man deals with his anger determine how he he loves and, consequently, how his life unfolds. Love is the organizing principle of our world and the path that we are seeking. Thank you Robert.
    P.S. God is love and all who live in love, live in God.

  9. by Jonathan Doyle

    On June 11, 2012

    Hi Patrick.

    Some great stuff there. Well done.

    Jonathan

  10. by Patrick O'Connor

    On June 11, 2012

    Thanks Jonathan, much appreciated.
    Keep up the good work with Choicez.au
    Patrick

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