What causes a man to be angry?

Anger is a normal emotion that both men and women experience. It is often misunderstood and can affect your emotional and mental health.

Anger is sometimes called a secondary emotion, meaning it happens in response to another emotion like fear or sadness. Some experts suggest that anger and aggression might be one way that men cope with depression.

At its core, anger is a reactive emotion that is an attempt to reclaim your independence and your sense of self. Your subconscious calls it in when someone crosses your boundaries or seems to hurt your honor. This can happen when you feel:

  • Abused
  • Threatened
  • Exposed 
  • Vulnerable
  • Like you’ve failed

Your inner self uses anger to gain a sense of control when things feel unfair. Anger also helps you negotiate conflict and counteract feelings of shame and vulnerability.

Societal expectations often teach men that being masculine means dominance, control, strength, and not showing emotion. If you try to follow these expectations, you might feel negative emotions or have trouble expressing your emotions in a healthy way.

What are the 4 types of anger?

You learn how to express anger from your family. In some families, anger is expressed through yelling and aggressive behavior. In other families, anger isn’t expressed or allowed but is bottled up and ignored.

Everyone responds to anger differently. There are 4 general types or styles of anger. These are:

Aggressive. In this style, you express anger in a way that violates others. It’s a form of abuse and can look like:

  • Threatening others
  • Intimidation
  • Blaming others
  • Violence and rash behavior

Passive-aggressive. In this style of anger, you're agreeable on the surface but show anger indirectly. It often looks like:

  • Muttering under your breath instead of directly saying how you feel
  • Sarcasm
  • Being cooperative but doing things to annoy and cause problems
  • Sabotaging to get even
  • Constantly criticizing others
  • Putting others down
  • Being highly cynical

Passive. In this style, you tend not to express anger. You bottle it up instead. If you have a passive style of communication, your anger and hurt might build up without you even realizing. This can lead to outbursts that don’t match the event. This can also look like:

  • Resentment because your needs aren’t met
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Not addressing real issues

Assertive. If you assertively express your anger, you firmly state your feelings and defend your needs without violating anyone else. You manage your anger in a healthy way and communicate what you need if it’s necessary. This is the best way to express your anger and can look like:

  • Taking a timeout to cool down
  • Clearly stating your feelings and needs without hurting others or trying to control them
  • Feeling and being in control
  • Knowing when to let things go

You might switch between anger styles sometimes, especially if you feel it's unsafe to fully express yourself.

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What are signs of anger issues?

Anger is a normal emotion. The key to managing anger is in expressing it appropriately. Anger can become a problem when it is uncontrolled or unmanaged, or turns to aggressive and violent behavior. This is sometimes called anger issues.

Some signs of anger issues include:

  • Intense anger
  • Being hot-headed and getting angry easily
  • Always irritated and grumpy
  • Hiding and ignoring your anger and then scheming to retaliate
  • Explosive outbursts
  • Sulking
  • Violently acting out anger
  • Insulting and hurting others
  • Trying to control others
  • Trouble with relationships

Anger can also cause health problems when it’s not expressed in a healthy way. Problems can include high blood pressure, heart disease, and peptic ulcers.

What are anger control tips for men?

Anger control for men is important for personal health and satisfaction, but also for your relationships. The key to control is to learn how to be calm and to express your anger rather than shoving it down or being explosive.

You can:

  • Channel anger into sports or art
  • Take a timeout
  • Calm your body with a walk
  • Practice deep breathing in a tense situation
  • Reframe dramatic thoughts and feelings with logical thoughts
  • Find ways to solve the problem
  • Use “I” statements to say how you feel and what you need once you’re calm

It’s also important to know when to get help. If you feel out of control, you’re having relationship problems, or you’re tempted to harm yourself and others, it might be time to talk to a counselor for help.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/15/2021
References
American Psychological Association: "Controlling anger before it controls you."

Frontiers in Psychology: "Anger as a Basic Emotion and Its Role in Personality Building and Pathological Growth: The Neuroscientific, Developmental and Clinical Perspectives."

Mayo Clinic: "Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper," "Anger management: Your questions answered."

Mental Health Foundation: "Unmasking men and anger."

UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Center: "The Four Basic Styles of Communication."

University of California Berkeley University Health Services: "Understanding Anger."