Anger management is a term loaded with baggage. All across the western world men are forced, usually by family courts, to attend anger management training. Many of the men who are coerced into the classes don’t need to be there. Often, the ones that do need it get more shame than service.
It is a classic symptom of a world which easily embraces the idea of “The Angry Man” as the identified problem; the boogeyman of PSAs and campaigns to save women — who never have anger problems of their own. It is a purely ideological problem that now expresses itself through our courts and our mental health industry.
Without ideology in the way, the path to looking at true anger management problems is both simple and challenging. Generally speaking people, including men, are angry for reasons. There could be any number of things at the root of the problem. Childhood abuse, relationship abuse, employment difficulties or none of the above.
The key to helping people with anger is found in helping them first figure out what it is they are angry about. The next step is in helping them view those circumstances in a different light, in keeping with a different narrative of their life.
It can be difficult work, but most men can make great progress in resolving those issues. Among the first things they have to learn is that the fact that angry men are not a problem in need of being “fixed.” Anger is a healthy, human emotion, not a pathology, and it is not an excuse to throw men into shaming programs designed to make them “behave.”
Those who want to help men don’t shame them, they help them identify why they are angry and assist them in coming to terms with it.