Male Anger

This newsletter will concentrate on anger in men.

Anger is an emotion, an emotion that can either be healthy and normal or incredibly destructive. Dr. Thomas Harbin, author of Beyond Anger: A Guide for Men, refers to the expression of anger as adaptive or maladaptive. The adaptive expressions of anger are constructive and help people to overcome obstacles in their lives; they give people the energy and determination to accomplish their goals. On the other hand, maladaptive expressions of anger are out of control and usually end up hurting people.

The problem of anger is not limited to physical abuse and the damage is often more extensive than just hitting someone or something or breaking things. Anger is often a reaction or a result of shame or embarrassment. Often times, the angry man has deep-seeded feelings of inferiority. Angry men also tend to be very controlling.

In his book, Dr. Harbin identifies different types of angry men: the Hostile Man, the Stuffer, the Whiner, the Debater, and the Abusive Man.

The Hostile Man is the type of angry man that gets verbally abusive towards those whom he is angry at. He insults, curses, and harasses people who make him angry. The Hostile Man knows that he is flying off the handle at every little thing and he apologizes to the reciprocating person. The Hostile Man truly tries to change his ways but he just can’t seem to. He feels helpless in changing and dealing with his anger.

The Stuffer is the man that seethes with humiliation, frustration, and anger silently. He often replays scenes in which he was humiliated or berated in and thinks about the different things he could have done or said, such as defending himself or hitting the other guy. This course of action only manages to make the anger renewed and intensified in the Stuffer.

The Whiner is just that: a whiner and a complainer. He feels as though he is cheated; he feels like he doesn’t get what he truly deserves in life; everybody else seems to have a better life than he does. The Whiner feels unappreciated, poorly rewarded, and unloved. He has no ambition to change the things in his life that he complains about. Instead, his passivity has become a crutch and a constant reminder of just how awful his life is, and this feeds his anger.

The Debater is the guy that has a bunch of great one-liners and comebacks. He is also the guy that nobody likes talking to because he berates others and is rude. The Debater tirelessly argues every detail of every issue and won’t let anything go unchallenged. The Debater is a master of evading any conversation issue which he does not want to discuss with diversion maneuvers, making the other party feel guilty about bringing up certain topic, and making it so the other person is arguing on several topics all at once rather than the one they brought up initially.

The Abusive Man, fortunately, is a minority. The Abusive Man is consumed with rage and tries to beat his way over and through anything and anybody that frustrates him. His inability to handle frustration and his desperate attempts to stay in control lead him to violence, sometimes before he even realize what he is doing.

Click here for further information on Dr. Harbin’s book, Beyond Anger: A Guide for Men.

Click here to view A Discussion with Dr. Harbin about Male Anger.

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