A shift in aggression: What we need to do to stop young dudes from being so pissed off


The following sentence has been typed out by me a lot of times in this blog: I’ve anger issues.

This sentence is new: I’m a lot better now.

But indeed, the journey has been tough. I think I’m like most guys, with an inflated ego and all. My main source of anger comes mostly from having to deal with critics and their ignorant words, unfair treatment and other people who think they can take out their anger on you.

If that sounded a little too vague for you, then I’m pretty sure you can recognize the symptoms. They include:

– Looking at some random guy you’ve never met before and you think, “I can take him.”

– Having thoughts of wanting to beat up somebody; to “floor” them. You can create entire scenarios how this would play out in your head.

– Dealing with the dilemma that you’re a “good” guy, that means to say, you’ve never gotten in a fight before, but because of that, you wonder if you’re a real man; you wonder if the lasting anger of doing the right thing is actually worth it.

– Feeling the rage eat you up inside because somebody fucked with you, and you hence think it should be your life agenda to make sure people don’t fuck with you anymore.

And of course, it doesn’t feel good at all.

I’ve personally never gotten into a fight before and I don’t wish to. Yet admittedly, I do wonder whether that has been a good thing for me in my life.

I’ve a lot of friends who have gotten into fights before. They regale to me their tales of violence and how they seem to have won all of them.

I do wonder if my level of manliness, if such a thing exists, is too low because I’m trying too hard to be this nice, sensitive guy who wants to stay out of trouble.

I’ve wondered and analyzed for a long time. Alas, though I’ve stayed out of trouble, I’ve spent too much time and energy being angry in this lustful battle.

Nature or nurture?

The question begs to be asked: Is excessive anger in dudes a problem inside them i.e. their own damn fault or a result of society and people unleashing the wrong values on them?

In between trying to figure out if I’m suffering from some form of chemical imbalance (dramatic, I know. And that’s arguably only a theory by the way. Google it) and whether I’ve been surrounding myself with the wrong things, my guess is that it’s a mix of both.

Life is tough. That’s a tough fact. At the deepest, we can’t always blame our problems on others or our surroundings. The onus is always on us. The fault is within us. If any dude harbors angry thoughts on vengeance and violence, it’s always your problem.

Yet, looking at our culture today, one cannot help but wonder whether is it really the guy’s fault alone.

Ignorant guys are talking about violence, fights and bullying as a ritualistic trial for real manhood. Social media is filled with uncensored videos of morons getting into fights. Here’s an alternative page for HD videos. Television and movies practically fuel their drama with violence-filled action scenes. People in general, except your parents probably, are always flippantly saying the solution is to always get violent and fight. No chances given.

And then to say that it’s your fault for being sucked into any of this bullshit would only further aggravate the guy. Allow me to digress a little, but looking at how some politicians are blaming female victims of rape, saying it’s their fault is a grand reflection of this unhealthy culture.

At this point, I’d expect some “third” voice to start saying we’re only human. In that sense, we can’t be blamed for the way we are, but we can also blame a lot of things.

I say, since we’re only human, we’re all brought up to think and act a certain way largely because of the construct around us.

It’s time for a major shift. We can make these big changes if we’d just start.

We need to start educating people on consequences thoroughly

The reality of violence is not a simple fight where you either win or lose and the former does not mean you’d attain glory.

The reality of violence is about lawsuits, court orders, hospital stays and jail time.

The reality of violence is about the extremely fragile nature of the human body. Here you can read about a 21 year-old who killed another 21-year old with a single punch. Here you can read about a 17-year old who did the same with a 43-year old. One punch. That was all it took.

And since most guys like to think in a rational and logical manner, that should get them to really think if it’s worth it.

I find it fucking dumb to always read up on news about how there was a fight between two drunk morons at some place. And that was it. No real result from what happened. You might as well have the headline say, “Hey guys, be prepared to be disturbed by reading this. Fuck your intelligence. We don’t care.”

We need to drill it in people to do the right thing and make it cool

We all know we should “walk away”, “ignore them” or “not stoop to their level.”

These are cliches, but important. Yet, cliches are not cool. That’s why people ignore them.

We need to elevate and even glorify the person who walks away and only uses his words. Imagine whole movies and TV series where we dramatize the act of walking away and avoiding violence and still making it a damn good show to watch. I’d gladly watch that.

We also need to condemn the violent one and shame them for their behavior. This means calling out on their bullshit when they say shit like, “I’m only human” or “I just couldn’t help it that one time you know?” No excuses. We have to cut the laying of blame.

We need education on empathy, not results on victory and loss

A fight happens. What do we want to find out after? Mostly, who won? Who got schooled? What happened? Is he alright?

All these questions are fucking useless. They’re fuel for gossip and at most a temporary sigh of relief.

We need education on empathy, in which we’d look into both parties and wonder, or even study why they acted out in anger. On the issue of bullying, we need everyone, especially the victims and bullies themselves to know why they’re acting like that. We need a show of cause and consequences to downplay the aggression in bullies.

This would serve to show how uncool being a violent idiot really is.

We need to stop saying it’s okay

No it’s not okay act out in anger and be violent.

It’s not okay to tell someone, who got beaten up to simply man up and get over it. And then we watch this happen over and over again.

It’s not okay to think that it’s justifiable to dish out the same, physical pain on your wrongdoer and say, “Well, he had it coming.”

It’s not okay to stay angry all the time while others say, “Well, at least he hasn’t done anything stupid”. That’s how depressed people end up taking their own lives while nobody saw it coming.

We may be human such that we should always take responsibility to improve our own lives. Sure. But we’re all human in the sense that we only have each other.

We should all take responsibility for each other and start caring a little more. Just a little. And I bet it will make a huge difference.

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  1. shirley - September 2, 2014 11:05 pm

    Hey Alden,
    This is such a profound blog!!! May I print it off and pass round in my training sessions – I sometimes work with what I call “Young Warriors”. The angry young unemployed guy who comes in at war with the world and inside…well inside, he’s lost, scared, and holds deep sense of hopelessness. Your piece would be so effective in bringing things out on the table and opening up discussion.

    I always send people to your site (think I’ve said that before!!)

    Here’s a thought: Have you ever considered running workshops for young (and not so young) guys??


    • alden - September 3, 2014 6:34 am

      Hey Shirley,

      Of course, go right ahead.

      Nah never really considered it. But I might if the opportunity arises.

      Hope those young warriors get something out of it.

  2. Sebastian Aiden Daniels - September 5, 2014 11:22 pm

    I love the image choice. It made me laugh.

    I definitely had friends in college who went straight to the I can take that guy. What would often happen is they would get angry at something and then after that other person left they would say that they could take that guy in a fight. I always found it weird.

    I always had anger at myself because I would compare myself to others and feel like I was never enough. I also had anger at women for a long time which was probably a mixture of chemical inbalance (now on medication) and because I had shame and weird feelings for my sexual attraction to women. I also use to be addicted to porn so that could possibly have been a reason too.

    I think you are right that we have to change how society approaches the way we show violence. It is more honorable, in my opinion, to control yourself and not get into a fight when someone is trying to get you into one.

    I use to work at a bar and guys would sometimes fight. It was over the most idiotic shit.

    Keep up the honesty in your blog. Good shit mate!

  3. Kelley H - September 8, 2014 4:14 pm

    Well said.

    We need to stop using violence as a badge of manliness. The other side of that is labeling traits like compassion, empathy, kindness, and sensitivity as “girly” (and not in a good way)

    Beating up people is not being a man. Bullying is not a show of masculinity. Street harassment of women is not studly.

    Violence tends to snowball. Like a drug, we need more and more of it to get the same shock. It is bad enough to take out another guy with one punch, but when that anger is turned on women, children and small animals, and then bragging about it on Facebook, that is when culture has become really really sick.

    Something definitely needs to change. Thanks for this post Alden. Thanks for being so upfront about your own experiences and feelings.


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