Many women, who are now at midlife and beyond, were taught that angry feelings are not nice or ladylike. Expressing anger, was even less acceptable. But over the last several decades, attitudes have changed and more girls and women are encouraged to express their anger in a more direct and honest manner. That said, women still find anger challenging.
Let’s face it, anger can be a scary emotion. It can sneak up on you and explode when you least expect it. Some of us (not surprisingly women) are better at controlling it than others. If a woman is angry, she’s perceived as emotional, out of control or aggressive, whereas if a man is angry, it’s more acceptable.
Biologically, humans are hard-wired to feel and express anger as a way of ensuring our survival. We’re also hard-wired to control it, it just takes more effort. Bottom line, when it comes to expressing anger, there is no excuse for bad behavior, whether you are a man or a woman. We can do better and it just so happens, women usually do.
For women, the bigger challenge around anger is giving themselves permission to express it whereas for men, it’s around anger management. Women tend to be less at ease with their own anger. This is partly due to fear of how it may affect others. In the past, women didn't have as many role models for expressing anger in an assertive manner. They were expected to 'go along, to get along.' As a result, they tend to ignore or suppress their own anger.
For a woman, giving herself permission to be angry is about finding her voice. It’s about self-acceptance and self-respect. When a woman acknowledges her anger and expresses it in healthy and appropriate ways, she honors herself, builds self-esteem, improves communication and strengthens her relationships.
If you would like to learn more about how to be more comfortable with your own anger and express it with strength and confidence, check out my May 2021 newsletter, "The Trouble With Anger."
A Good Read:
"The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships," by Harriet Lerner
I coach women of all ages, but my specialty is coaching women at midlife and beyond.