I haven’t looked to see if that’s actually a word. If not, I made it up.

I wanted to take a minute to talk about angerizing emotions. For men who struggle with sexual integrity issues, there are usually 2 ways emotions get dealt with – Sexualizing or Angerizing.

When the integrity issues or addiction are/is active, emotions that should get appropriately felt and expressed are stuffed and stunted. Instead, they end up getting turned into sexual energy. This happens in the form of fantasy, masturbation, the pornography viewed, the women flirted with, or the escort ads perused. It is especially true of what we would typically categorize as negative feelings – hurt, fear, failure, shame, disappointment, loneliness, rejection, boredom, injustice (feeling falsely accused) or feeling misunderstood. It can also happen with positive emotions too- some guys act out as a reward mechanism, in effect not knowing the experience of healthy celebration and recognition.

During active addiction or struggle, the sexualization provides a relief; a temporary reroute of the emotions, diminishing their intensity and thus the perceived negative impact. For some guys the acting out doesn’t take enough of the edge off, so the residual emotional churn becomes irritability, frustration and general snarkiness ( I may have made that word up too).

Often though, when the addiction ends and someone stops acting out, the release valve is removed and the emotion gets turned into serious anger. Sometimes it is intense – rageful, out of control, scary. It can even scare him! When that low level anger is present, the angry feelings are familiar. But when that’s not the case, the newfound rageful experience can feel like a monster trying to escape. The chemical, endorphin release of acting out provides a soothing or calming effect, but without it the anger can be raw.

If you experience that anger after you stop acting out there are 2 things you need to do.

  1. Get the feelings out. The more you can purge, the better. Journal, text, type, talk and, when you’re alone in your vehicle, scream, yell and pound the wheel. Get that stuff out of you. Don’t do it where someone will be scared (kids, wife, coworkers); but in a place you can feel unrestricted.
  2. Cry. Sound cheeseball, I know. But its important. Much of that angry energy, at least for guys in my office, is rooted in fear, failure, shame and disappointment. The appropriate emotional response may be some righteous anger, but it is probably also tears.

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