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Woodshop Wisdom #1 – Handling Anger

by | Woodshop Wisdom

Welcome brother! If this is your first time reading Woodshop Wisdom, this is a place where, every Monday, we answer a specific question from men in the community. 

We give straight-forward answers to a variety of relationship problems and the challenges men face everyday as a provider, father and husband. And often we will challenge you to go much deeper in your understanding of the problem and how to think about it more effectively. 

This is a place where the knowledge we share with each other strengthens our minds, hearts, and bodies. A place where a simple craftsman like me, with sawdust running through his veins, will share my ponderings about life and my thoughts about relationships. My intention is to help you create the pieces for what will be a beautiful, personally handcrafted masterpiece. A new you. And like in my custom cabinet shop, each project always starts with the question, “What do you want to build and how can I help you?” 

Let’s get started. 

Question: 

I want to tell her to pack her shit and leave tonight.  I am in super rage mode right now.  I texted her a few times and no reply.  I just need a simple answer about dinner for the kids.  I am so pissed off right now and sick and tired of this constant disrespect from her.  Grrrr….how hard is it just to text me back?

Brother, I can feel your anger in this message.  It’s not hard to miss.  I’m sure she can feel it too.

I used to pester my wife all the time. What should we do for dinner? Where should we go to eat? What are we doing this weekend?  I was constantly relying on her to make the decisions and make the plans.  Ultimately, I was asking her to take care of me. 

When she wasn’t able to respond they way I needed, or fast enough, I made up stories in my mind about how she was disrespecting me.  I was frustrated and coming from a place of resentment. “If only she would ______ (fill in the blank) life would be so much better.”

The resentment and constant neediness showed up in me as anger. Very much like how you are feeling now.

Do you want that feeling to stop?

That change occurs when you decide to cease giving away your power of choice to someone else.  It is when you realize the way you feel is totally in your control and in your choices.

My life drastically changed in a positive direction when I finally took 100% responsibility for everything in my life.  Every decision was mine to make.  I was responsible for it all. I gave up managing what other people wanted.  I just started declaring what I wanted and acted upon those desires.  I felt free. 

I will say I still took other people’s advice and their own desires into consideration, but I wasn’t relying on anyone else to make the final choice for me.  It was just more information I could use to guide me.

Ultimately, it’s just dinner man.  Make the decision for yourself on what to eat or what to feed the kids.  You are a grown man, you got this.  Everything after the lone fact that she didn’t respond quick enough is just you creating a story to justify your anger.  If you made the decision about what to eat there would be no perceived disrespect and then there would be no anger.  Do you see your power in this now?

Start with this small act of personally responsibility and build from there. When the time comes again, make the next decision for yourself, after that, another one.  Build upon this one choice at a time. You will see your reliance on her and her power to “make you feel angry” will slowly start to fade away.   This is liberating because at this point it’s YOU who is in charge of how you feel.

And get this…she will love you for it.  She will respect you more for it.  She will be able to relax for a moment when you start taking care of yourself, for yourself.

I understand you are angry. You have every right to feel how you feel.  Please pause for a moment and ask yourself why this made you angry.  What are you thinking is happening to you?  Where have you given away your power to decide for yourself?

Thoughts from the Woodshop

I spent a good 18 years getting my ass chewed on the regular by one particular building contractor.  He hammered me on price, he tore apart the quality of my work, he complained constantly about my timeliness. All the while, I got every single one of his projects.  His customers loved the finished product and they loved working with me.  But I could never make this guy happy.

I used to come home at night to my wife and kids, usually late, cranky and whiny.  I always had an excuse as to why I was “forced” to stay late once again. I always had an excuse as to why I was sulking and angry. I always had a reason why somebody else was to blame for my lack of presence when I was with my family.  Looking back, I am embarrassed to say I was being pathetic and child-like for not owning my part in it.  I was looking for pity.  I was looking for someone else (my wife) to let me know I was okay and I wasn’t wrong.

It all changed when I finally opened my eyes to what the truth really was.  I wasn’t taking any responsibility for my actions.  I wasn’t doing anything different.  I was doing the same stupid thing over and over again expecting the world to give me a different result. I know (now) that is the definition of insanity.

It all changed when I took 100% ownership for everything occurring in my life.  I was the only one with the power to make a change and I wasn’t going to live one more day blaming anything around me for what was happening.  If I didn’t like it, it was time for something new.

That contractor and I had a heart-to-heart talk.  I explained how I expected to be treated and how this working relationship needed to look going forward. He saw it differently than I did.  It was time for me to make a decision.  I had to let him go. 

He decided he didn’t want to treat me with the respect that I felt I deserved so my decision was to cease working with him.  The atmosphere at the shop immediately made a positive pivot towards being a more fun and enjoyable place to work again.  Finally owning my part in the process gave me the power of choice.  And it was about time.

Where to go from here? 

I see you man. I see that you are ready to engage, you are ready to create something new. I see that you are ready to pick up the tools we have available and get back to building something in your life that is beautiful, impactful, and meaningful. I look forward to seeing it.

It all starts with a question – what do you want to build?

Most of us men spend a lot of time in our heads.  We have conversations with ourselves but never show that thinking and feeling side to anyone else. 

The question and answer example above is exactly like the wise conversations we have every day ALL day in the Mentoring Men Community.  This is the smartest, strongest, most caring and courageous group of men I’ve ever known.

We meet weekly for group coaching calls and have deep conversations with men around the world 24/7.  This online men’s group is like none other out there.  This is what we hear.

“Thank you, Thank You, Thank You for reminding me of who I really am and helping me kill that annoying hummingbird. My wife has seen an immediate change in my attitude and outlook while she has struggled to make progress of her own. She has even made the statement that “I want to be where you are and want to find something that I can connect with and that will make me a better person.”

Join us and start changing your life faster than you ever thought possible.

Matt Epsky

Matt Epsky

As Co-Founder of Mentoring Men and a Certified Goodguys2Greatmen Men’s Coach student, Matt picks a question from the men’s community each week and uses the collective wisdom of the men's community to give an insightful response. Talk with Matt Epsky about making positive changes in your own life.
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