On (why) men are angry (and what to do about it).
Women think they are angry, but they are just throwing tantrums. Men are angry. They are not crazy enough to say it out loud, for that leads to the intrusion of the state and the removal of what liberties men still have.
This particularly applies if you live in North America and have children. Your family, your fortune, and your marriage are not merely held at the whim of your wife (or partner: in many countries men won’t marry, so the state deems you as such if you can be deemed to be the father of her children) asking you to leave, but her sanity as well is at risk because one complaint from a stranger can get the child protection agencies involved with you, and destroying your family from the outside.
The state is a jealous God, and does love its sacrifices.
Most Americans know from personal experience that the most direct and common threat to the family today is not the marriage of two homosexuals but divorce within families. Divorce now threatens most families and every society in the Western world. Not only is it multiplying single-parent homes among the affluent as welfare did among the poor; it now poses a serious threat to privacy, civil liberties, and constitutional government, as children are forcibly taken from their parents on a variety of divorce-related pretexts and parents who resist are taken away in handcuffs. Most people know someone whose children and private life have been placed under government supervision through divorce, very likely without the person’s consent. Yet even many who think of themselves as conservatives do not raise as a public issue this flagrant restriction of freedom.
Public debates over “family values” convey little of the traumas of actual families. Family-values advocates, eloquently denouncing same-sex marriage, say little of relevance to the fact that Uncle Bob now lives in an apartment (if not a jail) instead of with his children. Americans would be amazed and shocked if they knew what goes on today under the name of divorce: unprecedented government intrusion into private life, including the power to seize children, loot family savings, and incarcerate parents without trial. The divorce machinery of the state, comprising secretive courts and vast federally funded social services bureaucracies wielding what amount to police powers, may have become the most repressive governmental sector in Western society.
This is leading to changes in the behaviour of adults. Men have worked out that they have no power. The number of men who are despairing is not small, and the number of younger men who are choosing to disengage is higher. At the same time, young women are chasing credentials in the hope that they will thus be secure — even as they get so much debt from their education that men walk even further away because they do not want to acquire the debt of these women because they are deemed to be in a relationship with them.
Lower classes of men can just go ‘deadbeat’ — crossing state lines or just chronically under-earning — while the richer classes generally are less capable of evading the collectors. This can also happen to richer men, but there’s been less attention paid to the phenomenon.
For the women, because they can no longer rely on a man to uphold his part of the social contract, they’ll often be quite a lot more frantic about building up their careers to pick up for the deficit of men who want to be ‘providers.’ Because all educated men learn in college that being a bread-winner is sexist and immoral — and many of them believe it — they’ll tend to participate less vigorously in the labor force. This gets accentuated by the lack of women interested in being reliable, submissive, and pleasant wives.
Both sides of the gender divide in the middle class and better are mostly responding to incentives. Men want to avoid expropriation, and women work harder to provide themselves with the security that most men are unwilling to give freely anymore, lacking any sort of social security for that bond to be made.
Because the idea of the happy family has been roundly attacked by everyone in respectable society for a period of decades — instead encouraging a lifestyle focused around serving the state and the corporations that the state enables — the entire appeal of family life decays. Both become less attractive to the other, and the purpose of family life becomes muddled.
If these things do not make you angry then you are either not sober most of the time or a far better person than I am. But I see the casualties. At work. Among those I call family and friends. I see women afraid, damaged and scarred — not as much by their partner (the white ribbon campaign about male interpersonal violence misses the greater form of violence, which comes from the state removing parents — fathers, and now more frequently, mothers as well — because of the Duluth model of that states, against the research, that violence relates to male power) as by negotiating with the family courts, social workers, and schools that micromanage where they let their children play and eat and walk.
I was driving between jobs on Friday. And I saw something odd. A school group was walking back from the local pool to school. And every kid was in a high visibility jacket. They were not walking on the road, but on the footpath (sidewalk). As if walking next to the road, on a path designed for pedestrians.
There is a message her for kids: walking is dangerous. Far better sit at home. Exploring the world is wrong. And these things have consequences.
And yes, these things make me angry. But the anger has to go somewhere. It is unsafe to express it in public, or (in this politicized time) even among your friends unless your private conversations start a tweetstorm and your job implodes.
But we can turn to God, who minds far less about our anger than us pretending it does not exist. Here is some wisdom from men who have had to deal with wrath, on those front lines which are North America.
Men need to lead based on their desire to please God through His Scriptures. It is difficult to adhere to the Scriptures when all evidence to the contrary is right in front of you: unhappiness, discontent, and the like. It is hard to choose Christ over culture until you get used to it. Then it becomes second nature.
There were a few things that helped me get over the Anger Phase and not fall into the trap of the Bitter Phase. Here are a few of a more spiritual nature:Pray, and pray often. Sometimes small prayers throughout the day can be that extra something you need to get by. Read Scripture daily. I didn’t do that before, and do now. Also, I recommend reading and praying aloud a Psalm a day, and if you have time, two. One in the morning and one at night would work well. Read up on the early Saints. Learn about their lives, and read their writings. This has really been profound for me. So much of what is going on now is a repeat of errors made long ago.
The answer lies in the ability to reframe your thinking from worldly to godly. This will likely be difficult at first since you don’t have much experience with it. It will require going to God in prayer, praise, meditation, fasting, and the Scriptures. Part of this process is learning to empty your mind of expectations and thoughts and to live in the moment when talking with other people. My goal is not “attraction” but rather to help others grow in the Word. If “attraction” is at the forefront then you have made an idol of it already. The more I help others grow in the Word the stronger my leadership abilities grow, the stronger I can more easily facilitate social interaction, and the stronger and more confident I become in Him. The more I stand up for His Word as truth the more strength I gain and the more masculine I become. You start to care for Him above women. And that’s how it should be… when you take the focus off of women and place it onto Him things start falling more into alignment. Your focus shifts away from performance but to desire. If you’re not performing for women’s approval or attraction then you have nothing to be angry about because you can’t fail. There is no standard from which to falsely judge yourself. All you can do is learn how to love more.
Well, in my case waiting helps. By nature I get angry quickly, and calm down quickly: for I either work out how to solve the problem, or what I can do to manage it. I wish I had a more phlegmatic nature: it is a great advantage in my line of work where patients continually try to generate a response which well facilitate they get what they want, using whatever manipulations they can. And I have learned when it is unwise to engage.
Which brings me to a final point for those around men like me: particularly women. You think we are nice. You note that we generally are not violent. You think we are boring. But worry when we withdraw. For then we have decided that the emotional pain of confrontation is not going to lead to any benefit. It is then that we have chosen not to lead. Do not think you have triumphed when there is silence: it is merely that you have taken the ability to safely state opposition away. We will take our energy and passion and desire and wish to lead and take it elsewhere. We will leave that church and take our family and our support with us. We will no longer belong to that club. We will no longer have goodwill: we will not go the full mile.
Most of civilization is built by the sons of Martha: those who know that the bolt does not stay tight by itself. Worry indeed when we walk away. For the structures of your society will fall apart, and you will be ones found wanting.
Men are angry. We are taking this and offering it to Christ. For the world calls this hate, and condemns our anger.
In doing so, the world, this society, is damning itself. So do not be allied to this world, and do not be part of that elite, or like them.
Clarification on a sentence which in part is about countertransference.