There are a lot of men out there who are angry. If you’re one of them, then you might be wondering what to do if your man turns into one of these men.
We all have angry husbands, sons, brothers, friends, neighbors, coworkers, or co-workers. There are many types of angry men, but most of them are pretty easy to deal with. It is when the angry man becomes the President of the United States that we need to be especially careful.
When President Obama was elected in 2008, many men started preparing for the worst, but they should not have worried so much. Our President is a rational man, and he is not a threat to our safety or our economy. However, there are certain things that he is able to do that angry men cannot, and he would be able to accomplish them with little in the way of accountability. If he wants to do something crazy, he can do.
My wife should probably write this article, but she’s too busy enjoying her life to do so, and she’s grateful that the furious guy she’s been living with for 36 years has healed enough to be able to write about it. For me, the healing started when she went to the doctor and sought treatment for her depression. As she began to feel better, it became clear to her that I, too, might benefit from seeking treatment for my depression.
Of course, I maintained that I was OK and didn’t need any assistance. My furious outbursts (rage attacks) were ascribed to a natural response to her cruel conduct. Occasionally, I’d have an argument with her, and she’d shut down for weeks or months. I didn’t realize, like many other angry men, how devastating my anger was, how it affected my wife, or how terrible and long-lasting the trauma of rage was.
Normally, I wouldn’t erupt; instead, I’d give her that look. “You have that beady-eyed stare that chills me to the bone,” she would remark. I didn’t understand a word she said. I convinced myself that I was a good person. She wasn’t witnessing a beady-eyed monster.
She wasn’t really witnessing a monster. She had just encountered an enraged guy who was both self-destructive and dragging her down with him. The creature was something I had seen in my nightmares but was scared to face in real life. It was much simpler to have inner monologues accusing her of being the source of my rage. “Who wouldn’t be irritated,” I’d tell myself, “when their wife is always whining and nagging?” It’s like being slammed in the head with a 2 X 4. I’m not going to let her get away with it.”
We term the type of thinking I was doing “delusional” in the professional world, of which I’m a long-time member with a Ph.D. in International Health and a clinical license to prove it. It’s referred to as “stinkin’ thinkin’” by Twelve Step rehabilitation organizations.
My wife was beginning to realize that either I needed to seek some assistance or she would have to quit the marriage. Of course, I was completely unaware of the situation. How could she possibly consider abandoning me? I was a decent person. I’d never struck her before. I didn’t consume any alcohol. I was able to make a decent livelihood. I arrived home on time (mostly). A few rage outbursts here and there couldn’t possibly be that terrible. I was afraid to look at my wrath and anger because I was afraid I would discover a monster.
My wife never forced me to get assistance. I’m sure I would have declined if she had. “No one is going to tell me what to do,” says the narrator. I’m a free guy who makes his own choices.” She was tough yet kind, stronger than I was at the time and much more loving. She kept telling me I needed assistance, but it was up to me whether I went or not. When I eventually got there, it was like a dam had broken open.
Finally, I had someone to speak to about what was going on inside of me. The therapist was knowledgeable and supportive. I developed my own scale of aggressiveness and sadness with the assistance of my wife and therapist. I would keep track of my emotions and behaviors, which allowed me to see when I was sad and when I was manic and furious.
I started reading literature on mental illnesses including depression and bipolar disorder. The professional books were intriguing, but Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind: Memoir of Moods and Madness shattered my spirit and shook me to my core. I had read her bipolar illness text book and was surprised to learn that she had bipolar condition herself. These were the remarks that had such an impact on me. They nailed it when it came to expressing how I felt. They reflected my fear as much as my sorrow.
“You’re angry, anxious, humorless, lifeless, critical, and demanding, and no amount of reassurance will suffice. You’re terrified, and you’re terrifying, and everyone says, ‘You’re not at all like yourself, but you’ll be soon,’ but you know you won’t.”
I reasoned that if she could seek treatment and speak about it, I should be able to as well. It’s been eighteen years since I sought assistance. I first resisted taking medicines, believing that I could manage things on my own with the help of talk therapy. But I did take them, and they were very helpful. Mood disorders include a physiological component as well as psychological, interpersonal, and societal components.
Things gradually improved. I’ve experienced setbacks, often when I’ve been overworked or coping with a major loss. My first setback came when I lost my job, and my second came when a buddy committed suicide. But, with the assistance and support of my wife and a competent therapist, I’ve been able to become healthy through the years.
When we’ve dealt with mental illness, fought it for years, and finally received effective treatment, we can see the pattern in others. “You’re impatient and anxious, humorless and lifeless, critical and demanding, and no reassurance is ever enough,” I thought to myself. I think about Donald Trump and say to myself, “You’re scared, and you’re scary.” I’m not making any kind of prognosis here. The guy is someone I’ve never met. But there’s a resemblance to my own experiences, and I sense kinship with an enraged guy who hasn’t dealt with his own problems.
I published an essay on Mr. Trump in which I offered some of my thoughts on his physical and mental health. “We know from Mr. Trump’s own writing that he was an angry and violent kid growing up, that he was sent to military school at a young age, and that he struggled to manage his temper,” I wrote in the piece.
Only those who are close to him are aware of his rage. However, as a voter, I would not want him to have access to weapons of mass devastation unless he receives real assistance. In terms of politics, I’m reminded of another Republican presidential contender who was nominated some time ago. Barry Goldwater was his name.
“In your heart, you know he’s right,” was the Republican campaign slogan. The Democratic reaction was, “You know he’s crazy in your guts.” I never thought that applied to Senator Barry Goldwater, but it does when I think of Donald Trump. We still have the option of abandoning him if he does not get assistance. It will be considerably more difficult if he is elected.