Why are young men angry?

by rodney on January 19, 2015

Angry-manDarkOften one question I get asked by parents is, “why is my son so angry?”

Men, young men in particular, are synonymous with anger, and they always have been.  It’s a problem that’s getting worse.

One example, the rise in damage caused by “coward punch” attacks. These are often caused by young men who get into some sort of argument. A lot of the people going over to Syria to join religious extremeist groups are also young men, angry and looking for somewhere to belong and something to believe in.

This is something that I have also had personal experience in. When I was a teenager and in my twenties, I was also angry. I wasn’t violent or featured in the news, but I had a brooding anger that made my life unenjoyable. For every minute we’re angry, we lose 60 seconds of happiness.

So why are young men so angry, is it natural? Is it environmental? Is it social? Do we just have to live with it or can we do something about it? Here are 5 reasons why young men are angry

Alcohol

In just about every single “coward punch” attack, alcohol is involved. In fact it’s involved in a lot of angry violent outbursts.  Alcohol is a depressant, so it actually makes us feel worse, intensifies emotional pain and thus we become angrier. It also interferes with our decision making abilities, that’s why we do stupid stuff when we’re drunk.

Social Identity

It’s socially acceptable for anger and aggression to be part of the male identity. We grow up thinking that expressing any emotion is a sign of weakness. We’re told boys don’t cry and to man up and get on with it. We’re also taught that anger is normal and acceptable for men. This is also helped by the fact many role models for young boys such as footy players are often aggressive on the field, a lot of the time ending in brawls during a game.

Lack of coping skills

Because it’s unacceptable for men to be emotional, biys are often not taught proper skills to cope with emotions. Anger is a mask that protects people from painful emotions, so if we don’t cope with them in a more healthy and constructive way, we’ll cope with them by getting angry. Then we often don’t have the skills to manage the anger so that gets out of control.

Increased Testosterone

Testosterone, the male hormone, increases aggression. During puberty, males have increased levels of testosterone which stay in our early adulthood. This does decrease as we get older, which would explain why older men can be more mellow than younger men.

Mindset

Ultimately, everything starts with our mindset. Our attitudes, values and beliefs plant the seeds that our emotions and behaviours grow into. If we feel that our values are being attacked, we will become angry.  Certain attitudes will also cause us to become and remain angry (ever been told you have a chip on your shoulder?) Same with our beliefs. It is primarily mindset which cause anger in religious extremists.

Anger is a normal emotion. As much as we try, we can’t eliminate it, nor should we. What we can do is manage it so it is non destructive. If you or someone you know has issues with anger, contact us.

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