Imagine a guy driving his speedboat down the river. It’s a gorgeous day, the water is smooth like glass, and he’s zooming along having a great boat ride. He thinks it’s the greatest day ever! When he turns around to see his family in the boat, however, he realizes that they’ve all flown overboard and he’s created a huge wake in the water that is destroying everything in its path.
A client once realized that this is how his anger had affected his wife and family. His anger wasn’t a problem for HIM, but it was certainly a problem for them! Unfortunately, most men don’t realize that their anger is a problem until after they’ve caused a lot of damage.
Anger is an interesting emotion. It gets attention, it expresses pain, it often produces results (good and bad), but it can also be downright scary! Anger certainly can destroy people, careers, and, of course, marriages. Do you know what you look like when you get angry? Even if you never raise your voice, the people around you know when you are angry. It can be seen in your pursed lips, narrowed eyes, furrowed brow, and crossed arms. It can be heard in your audible exhale, heavy footsteps, slamming drawers, or in your otherwise swift and huffy movements. Your anger is detectable in
your little verbal jabs, sarcasm, outright criticism or even name calling. And then there is outright loud, scary anger that, when unleashed, has wife and kids running for the hills. All of these forms of anger expression reveal the same thing. . . something is going on that is much deeper.
When someone only knows how to communicate his needs in one language – anger – that is equivalent to a newborn baby who can do nothing but cry when it needs something . . . food, sleep, comforting, or a diaper change. A grown man capable of being in a relationship has got to learn how to express his needs, wants and desires in more mature ways! It is not okay to scream at your spouse or your kids, it is not acceptable to storm off
to your room and be cut-off from your family the rest of the day. It is wrong to call your wife or kids hurtful names. It is unacceptable to get so angry that you pound your fist on the table just because your wife asks you a question. It is inappropriate and disrespectful to get in someone’s face and yell at them. And certainly, it is never appropriate to hit
someone in anger.
Why do we get so angry? Anger is a language often used to protect our sense of worth, our essential needs, and our personal beliefs and values. Feel like someone is criticizing you?
You yell at the person who made you feel unworthy. You’re starving or exhausted? You scream at whoever is standing between you and food or rest. Someone has a different perspective than you? You get angry because they don’t view it the way you do. If you are doing any of these things, I know there is something you are trying desperately to communicate. Just know that your point might be valid, but your approach will never get you the love and respect that you want. And who is most hurt by all of this unnecessary anger? The ones you love the most.
Many women will respond to this kind of anger by giving the guy what she thinks he wants – think like him, do like him, be like him. She scurries around like an anxious little gnat trying, trying, trying to please him. To both of their surprise, it doesn’t please him at all. She gives him what she thinks he wants, but not what he really needs. He is still angry because his true needs aren’t being met. They are both frustrated.
He will not change unless someone close to him is willing to hold up the mirror and demand more out of him. When he is forced to learn how to look deep inside of himself and discover what he truly needs, he will finally be able to get his needs met. This is where true joy and contentment live.
You may take a look in the mirror and say, “I don’t have an anger problem.”, but I challenge you. What would your wife say? Your children? Your coworkers? Ask them! If you really want to know the truth, that is the best mirror you will ever find to see the real you. If the truth reveals that anger is a problem in your relationship, a good counselor can help you get to the root of your anger and start you on your way to a more fulfilling life!