Anger is something that men struggle with, but it is an essential part of a man’s emotional life. Anger can flow like a river from the site of a man’s wounds and cause him to rage. However, he may not feel it. He may also be unaware of what caused his anger. Despite anger’s destructive nature, it is important for men to recognize the healing side to anger. It tends to point at their deeper wounds.
Many men don’t know what their emotional wounds are and struggle to understand why they are angry. Robert Bly, the author Iron John, said, “The savage men is wounded and prefers to not examine it.” This says a lot about how early boys compartmentalize and stuff away negative emotions and painful experiences into a forgotten realm of their subconscious minds. Because the wounded boy wanders somewhere in the unconscious mind of the man, emotionally wounded boys become wounded men. Bly correctly pointed out the dilemma faced by every man who hasn’t worked through his boyhood wounds. Every boy is responsible for something that they have to regain later in their lives through their individual inner and outer pursuits. Anger serves as a reminder that the man is still on a quest to heal the boy who is wounded.
Where can an angry man start to seek healing for his wounds? Because they have forgotten the place they kept their wounds, men spend a lot of their lives trying to understand why they are angry. It would be easy to heal the boy inside and resolve anger. Men would surely line up to get the miracle elixir. Easy remedies will only make a man weaker and more ineffective. The quest to heal his wounds is what gives rise to his character strength, much like the search for the Holy Grail.
Men must accept their past traumas, failures, traumas, shame, guilt and victimization in order to heal their wounds. In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker was forced to enter a dark cavern in order to fight and kill Darth Vader. Only then did he discover that his face was hidden behind the helmet of his mortal enemy. This shows that even though they are fighting with other men, many of them struggle to heal their inner pains, shame, and guilt.
Many men in prison tried to heal their wounds with drugs, alcohol, or violence. But they were never released. Some men take their wounds out on the streets while others bury them in their work. Others seek to heal their wounds by religion but only to use it to harm others. Face the wounds and you can only heal them. That takes courage that very few men are able to muster. But, just as the caterpillar has to push itself out of its cocoon to fly, so must men do the same for their wounds. There are no quick fixes.
While love, forgiveness, and acceptance are powerful healing tools, they often fail to address the root cause of the wound. Few men are able to identify their original wounds. It is important to remember that anger acts as a road sign, pointing men to hidden wounds. By following anger back through the emotions, memories, and experiences of the boy inside, the wounds can be uncovered and healed.
The boy who is found lost in the subconscious forest of the mind is scared and confused. He often rages at his victims even years later. Although he knows the location of his wounds, he must feel secure as a pilgrimage back through deep emotional pain to the events or incidents that hurt him. A therapist can help at this stage. Therapy is a “witnessing profession” that allows the inner boy to feel validated by an objective, caring observer-guide.
Men with anger issues should know that there are options for healing and hope. In order to reach the “rejected, ashamed-self” of the angry man, therapists use “inner child therapy.” The best way to deal with anger problems in men is to connect with your inner boy and heal the wounds.