Author: Oscar Stevenson & Renée Shen
Wouldn’t it be great if we knew exactly what was happening in each other’s minds?
What would it be like to be able to read each other’s thoughts? To understand the emotions of the people around us?
Mantis from the Avengers had the superpower of reading people’s emotions and controlling them, and while in real life we don’t have that superpower (and we sure as hell can’t control each other’s emotions!) there are still ways we can be more empathetic and pick up on cues as to how others might be feeling.
Not only that, but by knowing the proven signs a man has anger issues, we can identify patterns in his behavior and become able to see through the ways he may cover up his anger issues.
But before we get into those, it’s important to clear something up first…
Experiencing emotions is normal and necessary for our survival.
However, we are all conditioned by society to not only suppress them, but to behave in a certain way, including expressing the emotions that are gender appropriate.
Studies have shown that women seem to be more comfortable expressing sadness for instance, whereas for men, the go to emotion is anger.
Men also tend to act on their anger with aggressive outbursts; women tend to internalize and hold on to their anger for longer.
These gender based generalizations can explain the picture at large to us, but zooming in is essential, especially when trying to understand specific individuals around us.
So, look at the man in your life. Be it your father, your brother, your husband or your colleague and try to notice, are these men expressing anger or suppressing it?
Are they using it to define themselves and justify their behaviours?
Knowing to look for signs a man has anger issues can come in handy to protect yourself and others from aggressive outbursts.
It can also give you the opening to talk to him and figure out better ways of expressing how he’s feeling!
But before we talk about how to work with him to resolve these issues, let’s first look at 20 deadly signs a man has anger issues.
Generally speaking, physical, verbal and emotional abuse are linked with power struggles and compensation for low self-esteem.
However, abuse in all its forms is actually a display of lack of control over one’s emotions and are possibly one of the more obvious and dangerous signs a man has anger issues.
However, the challenge is that a lot of abuse can be seemingly harmless, especially if it’s not physical abuse.
Physical abuse is one of the obvious signs a man has anger issues, but often, the men who don’t act out physically but seem “nice” can do just as much damage emotionally and psychologically.
Some signs of seemingly harmless abuse are:
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A man who is always on guard and trying to prove himself could potentially be operating on the emotion of anger.
When men with poor anger modulation feel emasculated or challenged, they feel the need to dominate through aggression and outbursts.
Throwing a punch to defend themselves or shouting to be the loudest and most aggressive in the room might be their way of protecting their masculinity and feeling some kind of control in their life.
Sometimes when we have emotional outbursts, we tend to realize we were out of line and apologize for it later.
The same is true for men who have anger issues: they might be constantly apologizing for the way they all of a sudden started shouting or for making you feel bad in front of your friends.
This doesn’t mean that the guilt will last, it just means that they might be aware of their disrespectful behaviours.
One of the signs that a man has anger issues is that he will be so impulsive and disruptive in his relationships that it causes irreparable damage to those around him, and this behavior ends up pushing them away.
If you look at the man in your life and see that he’s had a string of past relationships that were toxic and short-lasting, or where his exes (and even his friends and family) don’t want anything to do with him, this could be one of the big signs a man has anger issues.
We can only tolerate so much in a relationship, and too many anger outburst tends to leave people traumatised.
Many men are great at hiding their anger, and you may not have had the opportunity to see his anger in action beyond the odd little outburst towards others.
Regardless, real anger issues are evident in a trail of burned bridges in a man’s life.
If your guy speaks about his family, friends and acquaintances as if they’ve always done something wrong by him, that they are “less than” him, or that they are always deserving of his hatred and condemnation, then that’s one of the strong signs a man has anger issues.
Often you’ll witness that these people he speaks negatively of no longer want him around, and have cut ties with him.
A lack of control of one’s anger might lead a man to be unruly and insubordinate in a working environment.
A man with anger issues may have problems working as a team player on projects due to disrespectful and disruptive behaviour.
Not only that, but men with anger issues tend to be triggered more easily due to a lack of control of their emotions and due to low self esteem.
It’s like they always have something to protect, even when there’s nothing that they visibly need to protect themselves from (at least to onlookers).
When you’re carrying around unresolved anger from your past hurts or trauma, you’re more likely to unleash it on the least suspecting people.
For a man with anger issues, it’s easy to feel threatened by innocent and minor comments, and use this as an excuse to explode in anger.
Furthermore, men are more likely to use aggressive forms of expressing anger, leading to more chances of getting involved in verbal or physical fights.
So, what is the man in your life like?
If there are signs a man has anger issues such as blatant disrespect for those around him or challenging others unnecessarily, you may be right to suspect he has anger issues.
Of course, others who are more emotionally balanced (but even other men who share similar anger issues) will not always just tolerate this behaviour.
Can you guess where this leads to?
That’s right: a higher likelihood of getting into unnecessary brawls.
That’s what you’d naturally expect for someone who is out there looking for a chance to “prove” himself unhealthily, and to the detriment of others.
This is one of the more puzzling signs a man has anger issues, at least when you initially observe it.
Because sometimes you can confuse people walking around on eggshells or just looking scared to mean that they are nervous or insecure people.
But if you happen to notice that a man’s family, close friends or even colleagues seem to have nervous body language or appear to fear him (whilst they act comparatively relaxed around others), this could be because the man they’re dealing with has a history of angry outbursts!
Anger in men, and especially in young men, can be seen through defying behaviour even when it comes to the law.
Men with anger issues are more likely to get into problems with the law and are arrested more frequently as well.
Everyone has their fair share of problems in life and for most, life isn’t a walk in the park.
So, if your guy is someone who’s likely to add to that by being emotionally and physically disruptive, naturally, people around him will pull away and not want to socialize with him.
A man with anger issues can cause deep resentment in others with his damaging behavior. This leads to him losing out on friends and colleagues who potentially could have been there to connect with him and even ameliorate any of his pains or problems.
I’ve seen even the calmest men punch a hole in the wall (or door), because they were pushed to the edge by a nasty and abusive mother, father or friend.
If a man has punched a hole in a wall once, or banged some cupboards and drawers around a couple of times, this doesn’t always mean he has anger issues.
Instead it could mean that the person they are dealing with has been abusing them and pushed them to breaking point.
However, if your man is one to resort to damaging property regularly and even during minor disagreements, then this is one of the more obvious signs that a man has anger issues.
Examples could be:
These are all signs that a man has anger issues and that he is unable to regulate his own emotions.
It’s also possible that he has attachment issues and needs to heal to have a more secure attachment style.
(Why is this important? It is because your core attachment style largely dictates and influences what happens in your relationship. Thus it’s imperative you understand your core attachment style!)
Anger as a feeling also manifests physically in impaired health. The continuous dysregulation of emotions can have an adverse effect on our bodies.
Men with anger issues can develop a variety of different health problems in their brain and body such as:
If you find that your man is highly aggressive towards himself - ie: he self harms or is verbally critical of himself, that’s a good sign that he may have bottled up anger, perhaps emanating from self hatred.
Studies indicate that men who have anger issues might show signs of self-sabotage and even self-harm as a result of uncontrolled anger outbursts.
What are examples of self sabotage?
Due to the fact that anger tends to run these men’s lives, they tend to always use anger to deal with day-to-day situations (that would be better off without it).
This includes situations in which they want to look like the top dog or where they want to exert their authority.
They don’t actually realize that real status and influence (on others or in the workplace) comes from a steady calmness and the ability to treat others kindly.
One of the subtler signs that a man has anger issues is that he will frequently use a passive tone to communicate it and let the anger out.
Many people with anger issues know deep down inside that their anger is usually unfounded - especially when they express it. In other words, their expression of anger is usually way out of proportion to the current event or threat.
So instead of directly risking seeming like the bad guy, he will use subtler methods like passive aggressiveness to take out his anger (unfortunately, on you and others).
How does passive aggressiveness manifest?
The above are all examples of passive aggressiveness, and if you notice these signs you should definitely be wary, and also investigate his childhood further if possible.
The most important thing is to not fall into the trap of blaming yourself when he is passive aggressive, because a lot of feminine women do fall into this trap and it’s a vicious cycle.
When a man has anger issues, it’s hard to be emotionally present and calibrated with those around him.
People who are pathologically angry tend to not be able to value connecting with others first. Instead they try to protect themselves (sometimes from invisible and unfounded threats).
As a result of perpetual anger, his nervous system is always stressed rather than relaxed. As a result, he won’t be geared towards being in connection with you, and hearing you out.
You may find that he is not willing to listen to yours or another’s perspective, resulting in arguments that repeat themselves, and the same problems that never go away in his relationships.
Anger is also a way of maintaining control in one’s life, and if a man cannot seem to resolve any conflicts or take into account another person’s feelings, this is possibly a sign that he is trying to maintain some semblance of control in his unpredictable and tumultuous reality.
Anger doesn’t always translate to externalised behaviours. Sometimes it can be internalised, leading to built-up anger over many years, and later being released like an avalanche, usually on unsuspecting victims or on themselves.
So how could you tell if a man bottles up his anger?
Usually you can tell someone bottles up their anger when they respond to situations that would normally make other people angry with a strange silence, passiveness or avoidance.
When people think anger is wrong, they’re often liable to bottle it up - but you cannot bottle it up forever.
It always comes out later on - and how long it takes to surface depends on each individual. It could take days, weeks, months, years or decades!
Humour has always been seen as a mature and healthy way to cope with difficult emotions like anger, but sarcasm is not.
Most experts agree that sarcasm is usually based on resentment and unresolved anger issues.
If you notice that a man goes to sarcasm a lot - he may be carrying a chop on his shoulder and it would pay for you to ask him how he’s feeling.
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Road rage is a very common way of expressing anger in a lot of people.
But young men are more likely to use road rage to display their anger, as it allows them to be reactive towards those who they might not fear losing or hurting.
Men who don’t have anger issues will still feel anger of course, but they will be less likely to act it out in road rage, as they are emotionally healthy and able to regulate their own anger.
They know intuitively and logically that expressing road rage doesn’t usually benefit them.
Using drugs is a common way of coping with unresolved emotions like anger.
Men with anger issues can also use drugs to numb out the constant negativity and chaos in their life.
It becomes a reliable way that makes them feel calmer even if it is just for a little while.
Interestingly, the reverse can also be true: drugs can also cause anger issues due to the way the drugs affect the brain.
Although it’s super easy to dismiss people with anger issues as “lesser” people (and surely their behavior makes them seem so), if you want a relationship with this man, it will be helpful to look beyond his behavior and answer the question as to why he has anger issues.
Most of the time, anger issues occur because of to the following reasons:
Knowing this, it becomes a little easier to look beyond his behavior and attempt to connect with him.
Playing the blame game or feeling resentful can further the gap between you two, so why not try to bridge that gap?
By being empathetic you can show him that you are in his corner and willing to understand and accept him, allowing him to feel safe enough around you to open up and possibly address the deeper issues causing the anger within him.
There are many ways you can help the man in your life overcome his anger issues. First I will give you the 2 most important steps for approaching and helping an angry man, and then we’ll talk about the 4 C’s.
The first thing to do is to calm your own nervous system first, because you cannot help him if you’re both angry.
So you first want to calm yourself and get yourself into a state where you won’t be easily triggered or upset.
To do this you can use helpful tools and resources like:
In order to get an angry man to trust you and open up to you, first you’ll need to remove his defences, so that he won’t be triggered.
Here’s how you do this…you say to him:
“I want you to know that this is not your fault, I totally support you and I love you. I just wanted to ask you about/talk to you about [insert topic here]”
Now, to take action on helping him with his anger issues, we have the 4 C’s. These are the tips you can focus on for anger management!
So let’s discover the 4 c’s that will help you help a man with his unresolved anger.
Confrontations can sometimes backfire, resulting in arguments.
That’s because unlike productive conversations, confrontations may give off the vibe that the person being talked to is being attacked or their point of view is being shot down.
Instead of doing that, try to hold a healthy conversation where you allow him to:
With a healthy conversation, you can then consider communicating to him the hurt he may be causing you.
This can bring you both closer and help him realise that there might be better ways of expressing his emotions.
We’ve already talked about the adverse effect on our physical beings of anger, but what if we could use that anger to promote a better lifestyle?
Anger triggers our fight or flight response resulting in an adrenaline rush.
Helping him realise that this extra burst of energy can be channelized into sports such as swimming, martial arts or exercising will improve his way of letting out the pent-up energy anger creates, and also make him feel happier as exercise releases happy hormones!
Sometimes our patterns of response are so fixed that we are not able to snap out of our fixed reactions.
Try suggesting to him that instead of reacting or being impulsive, why not try taking a pause and acting in a way that would be more productive or helpful?
Better still, lead by example! Consistently model this behavior when you are feeling angry.
If your man really loves you, he will see this high value behavior and be inspired by your sensitivity and commitment to bring the best version of you to your relationship.
That teeny tiny pause that you take (or inspire him to take) can give our brain the time it needs to quickly come up with alternate ways of responding.
Maybe this helps him see that there is a better way of communicating how he’s feeling.
Since anger is associated with increased physical arousal, one of the most effective ways to reduce it is to try and reverse that by focusing on the following things:
At the end of the day, we all tend to have at least a little anger in life. Many of us have had outbursts and have lost control of our emotions every now and then.
But that doesn’t mean that these outbursts are good for those around us. In fact, outbursts usually do far more damage to those we love than good.
You don’t have to control your emotions, but rather, find a way to allow yourself to feel them and/or channel them.
We should strive to manage our emotions for a healthier life and to help the people around us do the same.
Anger issues in men can be managed given they have someone who is willing to be empathetic and understanding towards them (the way we would like someone to be for us).
We might not have superpowers, but I like to believe that through the power of empathy and connection, anything can be achieved, including an improvement in his ability to manage his anger!
Oscar Is a freelance writer living in Sydney, Australia. He Is a father of one and a former magazine editor. He loves hiking and kitesurfing in his free time.
Author & Editor For National Council for Research on Women. Founder of the popular women's dating & relationship advice website, The Feminine Woman.
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