At 52 years of age I have dealt with enough boys and men to have been affected by them – both positively and negatively. Yet anger tends to be more of a masculine trait: Reacting, yelling, controlling, flying off the handle in many shapes and forms, etc. Now, I know some really nice guys who may have (almost never) done this. But that, in my world, has not been the norm.
Both men and women have had their share of trauma. And it doesn’t always end “in the past” no matter our age. Trauma can ignite anger. In my husband’s case, he wasn’t nurtured enough and so he can tend to lash out. He still feels hurt and his ego fights back. So he got in a lot of fights when he was younger, until he learned that is wasn’t all about him. This brings me to narcissistic behaviors and attitudes. I have some too. I had to learn the hard way that it wasn’t actually “all about me” either.
Throughout time men have tended to be protectors, hunters, violence inducing, etc. Some of that we can appreciate, some of that not so much. But none of us should be a slave to our past. We should have evolved enough to step out of certain roles that may have always existed, or at least still be trying to; the roles we have always believed we had to remain in or let ourselves be trapped by.
And yet, then there is brotherhood, sisterhood, partnership, compassion, creative solutions, communication, respect, and awareness of both our personal speech and behavior. Reactions at times can be deadly – to others’ lives and to our relationships. I have cut off certain friends due to this. Friends I once loved and still miss.
If we are not aware enough how our behavior or words may affect others, there is going to be some toxicity within the relationship. Those who realize this will draw boundaries in order to keep them feeling sane and safe. But we are all capable of hurting others… mostly because we ourselves are still hurting in some way.
[Please stay tuned for our series on ‘Softening Around Anger’]