A man, in stemming his aggressive force (where aggressive is used in the broadest sense to mean the energy that stems from passion or feeling strongly that something needs to change), kills his own life energy.
Aggression is a specific kind of energy, one of the most powerful, but in our society it is often misunderstood, condemned and therefore hidden and suppressed. This leads to depression, anxiety, a sense of purposeless, a sense of floating without energy or without power to move. Aggression, when suppressed for too long, can be triggered by any kind of perceived injustice - children dying in foreign countries, your boss exerting undue authority over you, your wife nagging you one too many times. Suppressed aggression, when triggered, will explode into the space around you. It has a power that is terrifying to those near you. Once it is released, you will feel better, but in doing so you will eventually destroy everything in your environment.
Aggression, when allowed to emerge naturally and in an appropriate time, is the most powerful catalyst for change. Voice whatever it is that feels unfair in a calm and measured manner (or as calmly as you can). Explain how you feel and why you feel this way. Ask for what you want instead or say what it is you will do differently. It might not be easy the first time - sometimes you might need to take five minutes time out to breathe before you can have this conversation. Sometimes you might need to go and punch something first, or take a cold shower to get some perspective. The first time you allow this powerful force to emerge, it can be frightening and it takes practice.
It is easier for a child to learn to rein in and express his anger because a child is small and feels relatively unthreatening to others. When a man learns, for the first time, it can be frightening to himself and others around him, which is why counselling can be so valuable, because the man can learn in the safety of the counselling room with a counsellor he trusts, without fear of damaging or hurting those he loves or those that he needs to maintain good relationships with.
Men have an inner innate aggression that, when channelled in the right way, is a powerful force for good. It promotes change. It provides security and safety for his family. It allows him to be a 'man'. It gives him a sense of purpose and focus. It unleashes his passions and his joy of life and living. It gives him a sense of vitality. He becomes more who he is and therefore becomes more stable and trustworthy. He becomes a safe person to be around, rather than a volatile and unpredictable volcano.
I say 'man' throughout this, but many women also have difficulty acknowledging, allowing and expressing their aggressive force. I say 'man' throughout this, because I am focusing specifically on men at the moment and their need to be men in a society that increasingly asks men to be something they are not. I am not saying that some women do not have a similar experience.
Related articles from our experts
- The 'gem' of a gift in accepting your own anger
Paul Roberts Embodied Psychotherapeutic Counselling RMBACP12th October, 2017
- Anger and our behaviour
Heather Shipley, CBT and Emotional Therapeutic Counsellor DipFETC MFETC MNCS3rd September, 2017
- Anger: It's better out, than in!
Lucas Teague PGDip; MBACP (Reg) UKCP registered Psychotherapist12th August, 2017
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