Published on January 16, 2014
HELPING MEN DEAL WITH
ANGER HAS MANY FACES
Anger & Hostility • Hostility is not the only means of misdirecting anger • Anger not channeled consciously comes out in all sorts of ways • • • • being silent (passivity or avoidance) being negative and sarcastic exaggerate being upset over trivial irritations getting other people upset (to relieve one’s own anger).
EXPRESSION OF ANGER
EXPRESSION OF ANGER • The expression of anger seems more natural for men than expressing other feelings • In Aussie culture, men will sometimes find their other feelings of grief through their anger. Many times in working with men I have found that while a bloke is expressing anger (loudly, with movement of the body, etc.), he’ll suddenly be moved to tears. It is almost as if touching on that profound and deep feeling of anger brings a man in touch with his other feelings • A man's anger during grief can range from being angry with the person(s) who wronged them, to being angry at themselves, to being angry with God, and all points in between.
Men and the Protective Mode of Grief Men around the world seem to have developed various means to deal with their anger relating to their grief. Rosenblatt's study of cross-cultural grief points out that it is consistent across different cultures that men will express more anger than women during grief, particularly if it is focused outside the self. Rosenblatt, P.C. (2001). “A social constructionist perspective on cultural differences in grief” in M. S. Stroebe, R. O. Hansson, W. Stroebe, & H. Schut (eds.), Handbook of bereavement research: Consequences, coping, and care (pp. 285-300). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.
Definition of Grief Unfinished hurt (unprocessed pain)
Men and the Protective Mode of Grief • The denial of “unprocessed pain” is a dangerous thing and leaves most men in perpetual states of needing to live a lie • Living this lie has big effects on our psyche. It cuts us off from the world around us and limits our capacity to relate to others. If we are busy maintaining a false image, we will not be able to be fully in the present. Billett, K. (2007). “The Emotional Blanket” in Living Now Magazine [July], 97:10-12.
Are Men Dealing with their Anger? • Men with a high hostility rate (raging) are most likely not dealing with their anger • Due to this, men are misdirecting anger out to various targets that are only tangentially associated with the original feeling • By dealing with one's anger, we can avoid this dilemma of longterm hostility
Suffice it to say that pain unprocessed is transmitted! In men, this is most likely occur in the form of RAGE (hostility)
We hurt the ones most close to us
But there is another WAY… The Way of Weeping - to feel the tragedy of the things, the sadness of things
Weeping mode comes when: • We can’t fix things •We can’t change things •This is so unfair •How could this happen to me?
Only when we reach the end of our own resources, do we face our “crisis of limitations” Only, then are we free to move towards the weeping mode.
If we choose to store up our hurts we become “embittered” old men
A young man who cannot cry is a savage And an old man who cannot laugh is a fool
Helping men deal with their anger requires that they process unresolved grief (pain)
Men and women process pain very differently
•Women have a language and vocab to express their inner hurts •They allowed to touch one another.
•Men just go numb and close down inside. •Men go into their caves and sit by themselves, lost for words
Much that passes as male anger is actually sadness, loneliness or fear - and they don’t even know it!
“If I let myself go, and opened to my sadness, I’d cry buckets. There is so much sadness…”
•The act of a man's consciously dealing with his anger during grief is many times instrumental in his path toward healing •It can also have many other benefits. One obvious plus is that what you are on the outside is in harmony with what you feel on the inside.
Transformation is the way forward but: We’ve got to create the space and time to allow this process to happen
• Men overwhelmingly try to deal with life through their heads with thoughts, theories and theologies. The head is both their control tower and their downfall. • Another approach is to integrate body, mind, soul, and spirit.
•Men do not now how to grieve •They need to be taught
When we experience in our hearts what we try to resolve in our heads- only then can we begin to weep YOU CAN’T HEAL WHAT YOU CAN’T FEEL
Teaching Grief Work is Essential •Men need to know that this is a special place (sacred and liminal) •Its a place where we can’t risk getting rid of pain- until we have learnt what it has to reach us It always has something to teach us
If we don’t allow ourselves to grieve- we want to fix it quickly, control it, understand it- only to shut the process down
Grief work has done its work when:- •We don’t have to blame anyone anymore •Even yourself
•When I stop hiding it and denying it •Stop projecting it elsewhere •Acknowledge not only who I am •But also whose I am •And I KNOW that God has chosen to truly love me
Sooner of later life will lead you to a dark place “in the belly of a whale”.
The only sign He would give us was “the sign of the prophet Jonah” That sooner or later, life will lead us into a dark place, into the belly of the great fish, into something we can’t fix, can’t control and more than likely can’t even understand
In hindsight… We recognise that the very things that we lamented over were the very things that brought us to God So, then We begin thanking Him for them
THE TREE OF LIFE
Jesus used a tree to explain many spiritual things: Mat 12:33 "If you grow a healthy tree, you'll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you'll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree. •Mat 24:32 "Take a lesson from the fig tree." •Luke 6:43 "You don't get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. 44 The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own lifegiving lives. 45 It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds. •Luke 13:6-9; Luke 21:29-32; Romans 11:16-24; Rev. 2:7; Rev. 22:2 • (The Message) The Tree of Life TREE METAPHOR:
•ONLY 10% OF TREE’S OVERALL BIOMASS (60-70% of profile, area, space used) •MOST CONSPICUOUS PART OF THE TREE •ANY ‘ODDITIES’ MOST OBVIOUS IN THE CROWN (GALLS, BLIGHTS, INSECT DAMAGE, DEFORMED BRANCHING / TOP, ETC.) •PROVIDES ‘NESTS FOR EAGLES’ (Mark 4:32); FRUITS; PHOTOSYNTATE FOR TREE GROWTH, VIGOR, REPRODUCTION, ETC. The Tree of Life THE CROWN
•UP TO 45% OF TREE’S OVERALL BIOMASS •STILL CONSPICUOUS BECAUSE IS ABOVE GROUND •AFFORDS STRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT SYSTEM TO THE ROOTS (XYLEM / PHLOEM); OFFERS STRENGTH AND SUPPORTS THE CROWN, FRUIT, ETC. •SUSCEPTIBLE TO WOUNDING, INFECTION COURTS, INSECTS, DISEASES, ETC. The Tree of Life THE TRUNK (bole)
•OVER 45% OF TREE’S BIOMASS •UNSEEN; HIDDEN BENEATH THE GROUND •PROVIDES FOOD (NUTRIENTS) FOR TREE’S SURVIVAL •ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL FOR CONTINUED PROPAGATION, ANCHORING IN THE WIND, STABILITY, AND HEALTH/VIGOR. •SUCEPTIBLE TO TOXINS, DISEASES, PESTS IN THE SOIL MATRIX. The Tree of Life THE ROOTS
COMPARISON OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE TO THE ECOMODEL: LIFE IN THE CONSCIOUS 10% OF WHAT WE PERCEIVE, FEEL, EXPERIENCE LIFE IN THE SUBCONSCIOUS < 45% OF WHAT WE PERCEIVE, FEEL, EXPERIENCE LIFE IN THE SUBCONSCIOUS < 45% OF WHAT WE PERCEIVE, FEEL, EXPERIENCE The Tree of Life TREE METAPHOR:
THE CONSCIOUS 10% OF WHAT WE PERCEIVE, FEEL, EXPERIENCE IS WHAT WE SPEND MOST OF OUR TIME TRYING TO “FIX” COGNITIVE, BEHAVIOURAL, RATIONAL THINKING i.e. “THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING” LANGUAGE; THE SPOKEN / WRITTEN WORD i.e. Scripture, lectio divina, etc. WE TRY PRUNING THE BRANCHES & BUDS; WHEN THAT FAILS, CURSE THE TREE & THE FRUIT (Mark 11:12) The Tree of Life WHAT DOES THIS METAPHOR TELL US ABOUT OUR OWN SPIRITUAL JOURNEY?
THE SUBCONSCIOUS 45% OF WHAT WE PERCEIVE, FEEL, EXPERIENCE IS MOSTLY TOTALLY IGNORED REACHED THROUGH IMAGERY, RITUAL, REFLECTION, MEDITATION, CONTEMPLATION BEYOND LANGUAGE, AND THE SPOKEN / WRITTEN WORD – KEY WORD = INTUITION WE ALLOW THE HIDDEN UNCONSCIOUS TO SURFACE AND TO BE ‘NOTICED’ WE CAN’T GET TO THE SACRED PLACE OF HEALING EXCEPT THROUGH THE TRUNK The Tree of Life WHAT DOES THIS METAPHOR TELL US ABOUT OUR OWN SPIRITUAL JOURNEY?
THE UNCONSCIOUS 45% OF WHAT WE PERCEIVE, FEEL, EXPERIENCE IS UNSEEN, HIDDEN FROM VIEW… In this place we are mostly UNAWARE BEYOND THOUGHT, WORD & DEED -- CAN ONLY BE REACHED THROUGH SITTING WITH THE FATHER No ABSOLUTES here KEY WORD = LIMINALITY The Tree of Life WHAT DOES THIS METAPHOR TELL US ABOUT OUR OWN SPIRITUAL JOURNEY?
THE UNCONSCIOUS IS LIKE: THE SOIL SUBSTRATE IT CONTAINS HIDDEN ANXIETIES, FEARS, FEELINGS, ETC. “TOXINS” TO BE NEUTRALIZED – JUST LIKE THIS POGO CARTOON VERY OFTEN THE ‘TOXINS’ ARE US… The Tree of Life WHAT DOES THIS METAPHOR TELL US ABOUT OUR OWN SPIRITUAL JOURNEY?
The Awareness Pyramid Conscious Mind Deeper Awareness (Why does the fruit die?) Intuition (experiential via ritual) Epiphany (hearing the voice of God)
The Intention is to: Develop a consistent “approach” to explore from the shoots to the roots MAKING THE UNCONSCIOUS – CONSCIOUS
Stage of Descent-Needs to rest in God’s promises and model the wholeness/holiness for other The Male Spiritual Journey Stage of Ascent- Needs to make and keep promises Doesn’t get it; tries to keep ascending despite the evidence and the invitation; the shallow male Old Fool Male Crisis of Limitation 30-50 Initiation Early teens SELF IDENTITY Heroic Journey 1-32 Necessary Period of idealism. Healthy young man needs to experience his own power and possibilities. Necessary egocentrism: not in love with God, but in love with the idea of being in love. Angry Young Man Never gets to experience his own power, goodness or potential (in some cases a head start on the spiritual journeyearly initiation- if he can see God in it and comes to a deep sense of self) Normally a negative acting out. Appropriate sense of one’s boundaries, a sense of self adequate to let go of self: The grain of wheat must die or remain just a grain of wheat (John 12:24) Young Fool The mid-life crisis: a time of inner loss of meaning, sometimes accompanied by failure, falling apart and “acting out” to regain power and control. Confrontation with one’s limits, with paradox and mystery- with the cross. Heroic virtues don’t work anymore, nor do they always help. Needs humility, honesty. Early movement from self-control to the beginnings of god control Embittering Journey Confrontation, but no enlightenment. Wounds did not become sacred wounds; Wisdom Journey still looking for something to blame. The negative and cynical man Needs Holy Fool Spiritual guidance because rules no longer work in their old form. Letting go, trust, patience, surrender, holy abandonment, compassion, the dark night of faith, the Abrahamic Journey from what you have to what you don’t have. Finally secure enough to be insecure. Time of painful insights and major surgery. Painful redefining victory and success; putting on the Mind of Christ. Cannot fake prayer anymore. The shadow is not just tolerated, but embraced and forgiven and seen as gift. Mercy instead of sacrifice God’s beloved son, mellow “grandfather” who can hold together the paradoxes because God has done it in him. God is finally in control. Return to simplicity, to the garden beyond judgements, “reason” and control to wisdom. Being human more important than selfimage, role, power, prestige or possessions. He has it all
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