15/444 Healing from Infidelity: Fallen Ideas About Gender
17/444 Healing from Infidelity: Gender Messages

16/444 Healing from Infidelity: Anger Management

We're talking about Gender. A man's primary sin is avoidance or being passive. I showed the classic signs of this by not entering into difficult situations.  If I couldn't smooth over a situation, I was out of there. 

My friend, Lindsay wrote about his journey as a man. His avoidance isn't classic like mine. In fact, it appears to be the opposite in the form of anger and agression. Yet it is still avoidance. Whereas my avoidance was primarily with others, Lindsay's was more avoidance of dealing with his own heart. He kept people away from it through his anger.  

We both battled feeling like we didn't have what it took to really be a man.  With his permission here is Lindsay's story.  

Anger Management

Things I have learned from taking anger management classes.

So much of my anger issues are tied to self esteem. Being threatened tends to make people mad, and feel like fighting. People with self esteem issues tend to get threatened more easily or over specific issues that they are sensitive about. If someone with low self esteem is walking down the street, and a stranger drives by and yells "hey stupid", the low self esteem person might actually consider it a valid comment - how did they know I am stupid?  A person with healthy self esteem will realize that the problem rests with the person who is yelling.

This is harder to do with the people closest to us. Unlike the stranger in the car, we might place more weight on their comments. We might be more likely to believe them if they say we are stupid. The comment cuts deeper. We may place so much weight on their opinion that even a look can set us off.  Really in 2 seconds that situation will be over, but its hard sometimes not to get angry. The guy honking seems disrespectful, having the girl/date there you are trying to impress, and having only role models on TV who teach us that real men deal with stress and threats by kicking A**. This makes for a bad situation where low self esteem men are ready to prove they are  real men by kicking butt, to impress a date - which then is actually counter productive to what the guy really hopes to accomplish.

My ex came from an extremely wealthy area of the country. She grew up with some of the Marriotts, and other very wealthy people. I grew up in much more modest circumstances. The other day my ex noted that when we first married I got angry with others at times, but not with her. Then in the latter years I was angry at her. It dawned on me how threatened I was by how little money I made. She never rubbed in my face that I had gone from owning a successful business 15 years, to struggling with various forms of teaching income. She never did. But I felt it. I felt the huge FAIL.

My ex never tried to compare me to her dads income, or the guys from where she grew up. But I felt like such a failure for not supporting the family better. It didnt matter that I supported the family WHILE going through 4 years of medical school. It doesnt matter that I was the sole source of income for 2 of the 4 years (my ex worked 2 of the years). It doesnt matter that one of the years I earned $100,000 while doing 40-60 hours a week of clinical rotations. What mattered was NOW and at that time I was failing financially.

And I connected my income fail, I connected her as the wealthy little girl who had a pony on her property and whose dad took them on cool vacations all the time, I connected my inability to provide well for my family - and she became the threat. If it wasn't for her wealthy background, if it wasn't for her privileged upbringing, if it wasn't for her - I wouldn't be SUCH a big fail. She never said a thing, but she became that guy in the car honking the horn - but instead of a BEEP the horn was screaming at me YOU LOSER, HOW COULD YOU LET THE FAMILY DOWN? And I reacted with anger....anger at the threat : my ex wife.

I never hit or punched, but the words cut her deeply. Her mere existence provided the harsh light that made me aware of my failure. I personally can be happy sleeping on the floor, with a TV that has a coat hanger stuck in it for an antennae. But I cannot tolerate letting my kids and my ex down. I still try to give her more than is court ordered every month. I still wish I could provide much more for her and my kids.

But the point being in regards to anger management : If I had better self esteem, I would have had the attitude of "Honey, we dont have much now; but as long as I have you and the kids I am truly wealthy." Instead I felt the FAIL, felt my ex was the source of the fail and was threatened. And when threatened men tend to lash out and ready for battle like the Greek god Mars.

Self esteem can be intimately tied with anger. The healthier our self esteem - the more patient and kind we are. I met my ex doing missionary work for the church. My self esteem was at a high because I truly felt I was God's kid. And when I felt that way nothing angered me. My ex fell in love with the guy always ready to push a stranded car out of traffic, the guy who would give to the homeless, the guy who always did his home teaching because he really cared about people. She divorced the angry guy who was quick to lash out, and ready to hurt.

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