I remember when my son was really young, he often broke out into a high fever. As a single dad and first time parent, this was incredibly worrisome with a lot of restless nights checking into his bedroom to make sure he was alright. To make matters more difficult, if there was anything worst than eating vegetables, my son had an even harder time taking his medicine. With all the coaxing and airplane noises I made fluttering my lips, while holding a dripping spoon of syrupy elixirs, getting him to eat his medicine was perhaps one of the most feeble jobs I ever did as a dad.
Comparatively when I was told as an adult that I had to deal with my anger problems, I sternly stood my ground and denied any such issues even remotely existed. And most definitely, no airplane noises were ever going to make me go to counselling at the time.
One of the things that made it so difficult for me to initially face the truths about my anger was the embarrassment, shame and fear that ran up and down my spine. Who in their right mind would ever want to admit to an anger problem? That was a non-negotiable topic for me and you would have had a better chance opening a pickle jar with your teeth than to get me to talk about my anger.
What Helps open up those Difficult Talks about Anger?
I’ve often looked back and wondered what would have helped me address some of my issues long before my major angry explosions. I concluded that if I had some smaller gentler doses of those anger talks, I likely would have been more receptive. Definitely not head-on discussions about my anger, but almost like water cooler conversations at the office; something casual, something normalized and something painless, yet subtly effective. What if tiny seeds were planted in me about anger so that there was less focus on me being the problem? Instead, what if the seeds allowed me to discover on my own through introspection and echoing soliloquies (as I imagine Hamlet might say….tis true?? Doth mine anger behold-eth me??!) maybe, this softer approach would have been easier to digest.
What Steps did I take towards Healing?
Ever since publishing Living with the Dragon, my goal has been to find ways to break the barriers men face when seeking help, especially if they’re struggling with their anger. I can speak first hand that it’s extremely difficult and painful to face that reality, but here’s the X-treme Cole’s notes of what I went through when I realized I had a problem with my anger:
First, came the admission…y-e-s, I have a problem with my anger.
Second, came the reality that punched me in the gut….ugh, I’m disgusted with myself. I can’t believe I hurt so many people.
Third, came the aggressive action steps…ok, I’m gonna find a counsellor and begin to deal with this shit ASAP. I’m tired of hurting others and I think this is connected to my past. Oh, if there’s a bookstore or library nearby, I’m going to make a stop there…several times.
Fourth, came practice, practice, practice…I need to rewire the tangled web in my head filled with unhealthy beliefs…i can do this…i can do this…i definitely can do this…forgiveness, self-worth, love, kindness, compassion, acceptance….got it!
If there was ever a fifth step for me, I’d say I wanted to share with people around the world about my journey, knowing that there’s others out there with similar or worst experiences. Hence I published a book, began speaking, blogging and educating others about mental health and childhood abuse. I read a great quote that keeps me filled with purpose:
If you want to know where to find your contribution to the world, look at your wounds. When you learn how to heal them, teach others – Emily Maroutian.
How the Mangry Podcast came to Life.
I thought about hosting a podcast for quite some time now and after I was interviewed by the delightful Teri Wellbrock of The Healing Place Podcast, my mind was made up. Yup…I’m gonna host a podcast, I said to myself. Teri is what she calls a trauma-warrior, a survivor of childhood abuse and trauma. The road has been long for her, but her golden smile and encouraging words of wisdom tells me that she’s on her way home from her incredible journey. Now, she connects people around the world who experienced violence, abuse and trauma growing up. She’s an amazing inspiration and a light for fighters, warriors and survivors. Yes, you might say Teri nudged me over the edge to start my own podcast.
I wanted to do a podcast that’s focused more on my specialty which happens to be anger (maybe there’s some irony here). Even more so, I wanted my podcast to connect with men who experience anger much like how I did; the type of anger that comes from a place of hurt and from the past. What would I call this podcast? Men + Angry = MenAngry?!?! My friends laughed out loud when I told them that, so back to the drawing board I went.
After days of fiddling around with a name that’s catchy, I decided to press pause for a bit. One day after work, I came home and I was feeling extremely irritated. I didn’t have any lunch because I was just too busy, so when I arrived home I told my son how hungry and annoyed I was. He replied, you’re hangry!
That’s it! My podcast will be called, Mangry and I’m going to redefine men’s anger!
Mangry™ (adj): motivating men to become more self-aware of their anger in pursuit of having a healthier relationship with themselves and others.
It’s a podcast that’s fun, humorous and silly where I talk to everyday guests about anything from retro-pop culture, work-life, relationships to parenting. Plus, I inject small doses of anger talks to stimulate, provoke debate, challenge beliefs and provide introspection.
I suppose in a lot of ways, it’s sort of like sugar coating the message to make it easier to swallow, or in the case of my son, it’s like mixing his medicine with juice.
The best part about doing the podcast is that I get to share some great conversations with so many wonderful people like Teri and I thank her sincerely for getting me there.