image of a man of color sitting on a couch who is crying and in distress

How Anger Issues Present Differently In Men Than Women

Everyone feels anger and that’s a good thing. It’s an emotion that can protect us and guide us to a deeper understanding of what we think and feel. Without regulation, anger can be destructive and self-destructive. This is the kind of rage most often associated with men. However, things are more complicated than that. Men and women, generally speaking, express anger differently.

Put simply, women more often rationalize their anger and will aim it inward. Men usually opt for more obvious expressions like hostility and aggression. These differences grow out of genetic differences and due to socialization. Either way, if left unaddressed, anger can have a very negative impact on our lives.

There Are Different Types Of Anger — And Many Causes

When someone lets loose with tantrums and abuse, this is called outward anger. There’s no doubt what’s going on. As noted above, there is also inward anger. Unable or unwilling to express their emotions openly, some folks will choose negative self-talk and perhaps even self-harm. A third variation is passive (or passive-aggression). This happens if the person opts for indirect methods of displaying how mad they are, e.g. sarcasm, silent treatment, or sulking.

Regardless of how it’s expressed, anger has common causes for both men and women. For example:

  • Troubles at home, work, or school
  • Relationship issues
  • General stress and frustration — from traffic jams to not getting a parking spot
  • Money problems
  • Feeling unappreciated or being treated unfairly

Do Men Have Unique Anger Triggers?

Short answer: yes. To elaborate and sum up, at the same time, a real or imagined threat to their masculinity is the most prominent, general cause of male anger. If this is a rare occasion, you can probably work on it on your own. However, as you’re about to see, there are some signs that anger is becoming an issue for a man.

image of a man of color sitting on a couch who is crying and in distress4 Red Flags For Male Anger

If any of the below signs are present, it could very much mean a man in your life would benefit from talking to a professional.

1. Others Are Walking On Egg Shells

Take a good look around whenever you’re with this man. Are people relaxed? Do people avoid him to keep the peace? How do you feel in his presence? Do you find yourself appeasing him rather than risking a tantrum?

2. Defensive Behavior

Does he take things personally? Watch closely to see what happens when he receives constructive criticism. If this man appears to feel threatened, pay close attention if his response includes any of these:

  • Raised voice
  • Aggressive posture
  • Short temper
  • Shifting toward cruel or mean replies

3. Burned Bridges

Some people are loners, and that’s fine. But if the man in question seems to burn bridges, take note. Can they maintain long-term friendships? Are they on speaking terms with at least one ex? Is his resume five pages long because he doesn’t stay long at jobs?

4. Passive Anger

We touched on this above, but because it’s so insidious, it bears repeating. Be on the lookout for:

  • Stonewalling
  • Claiming to be “just kidding” when they insult you or use sarcasm
  • Blaming everyone else
  • Gaslighting
  • Silent treatment and withholding positive energy

Navigating Your Way Through The Anger

You might be a man who recognizes what’s described above. Perhaps there’s a man in your life that fits the profile. The good news is that anger can be effectively managed. The tricky part is asking for help. To streamline this process, we invite you to reach out to learn more about therapy for men. This will give us a chance to talk about what’s going on and ease you onto the path of healing.

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