Sunday, February 04, 2007

Why some men rage at women

Because they can! I never realized this until my boyfriend pointed this out, but men who rage at women do it because there's no man around to interfere, at least that's what I find. Last night I was asked to speak at a meeting at a club where I go twice a week when it's non-smoking. I started attending before my transplant because it had a noon meeting and I didn't have to spend the entire day alone. It's sort of my quasi-home group, but I belong to another home group.
Having said all that, I came in the door early last night and the local smoking crusader saw me and lit into me like 90 going north. My crime? I had written on their blackboard to repost the local area meeting time. It's always on their board and I noticed that it wasn't so I wrote it in.

This is about the dialogue that occurred (bear in mind I'm venting here!). He sees me, his eyes light up red like a bull charging a toreadora and yells "You're the one I have to see!"

"What did I do?" I asked, since I could see he was madder than a wet hen.

"This ain't your group and don't you EVER write on our board and if you do I'll hunt you down and . . . . " Well, you get the idea.

I apologized, stating I shouldn't have written on their board. (I guess I feel so comfortable there that I would write on their board and not think about it, but that's my stuff, not his.) Then he followed me into the meeting room in front of a bunch of newcomers and kept yelling and screaming and ranting. Then he went into the kitchen, where I followed him and said "Is there something besides this between us?" I could almost sense that this wasn't about writing on their board.

"No," he said, winding up again. He started yelling about "We ran that SOB away from here because he kept hitting on the newcomers and now he's up at your group f----- it up so you go up there with your anti-smoking bullshit and f--- that place up but stay away from here."

"That has nothing to do with me," I told him, and walked away. He followed me into the meeting room and started in again about a controversy at my home group over smoking that occurred two years or more ago and I said, "Yup," allowing that had happened, like it was any of his business. Then he said "Yeah, and you lost a lot of membership, too!"

"Yes, we did lose a few members," I said. I turned around, walked outside and waited for my friends to arrive who were chairing the meeting. I told them what happened and stood with them to calm down for a minute and so I wouldn't cry. I hate when asses make me cry. I refuse to give them that much power.

I guess this is my point. These ------ who won't rant at women when there's men around to intercede are really pathetic. Second, people who rant like that in front of newcomers have way more problems than whether I had the audacity to write on the group's precious board.

It's funny, when this stuff happens to me, and it rarely does, it really does throw me for a few minutes, I guess because it stimulates a whole bunch of pre-clean bull that occurred in my life. The other thing that is truly scary is that I absolutely will not back down from rage like this, or at least I never have. I refuse. I didn't back away from bullies when I used and I'm not going to back away from bullies now. I do understand the untreated rage aspect of it. I just today feel sorry for him and hope that he gets some help. I wonder if he yells at his wife of many, many years that way? Probably.
I'm not saying (adding this after dear Meg's post) that all women should stand up to those who rage. I think it depends on what your gut tells you. I've been around people who I can tell are psychotic and truly dangerous and when they rage and I leave.

My friend Wendy who arrived a few minutes after this incident and she has worked in male prisons for years and truly understands batterers, emotional or otherwise. She was really supportive and as I recall as I was in a major adrenalin dump at the time she arrived, said, "They do this because they CAN."

She's right. I'll just wager if my boyfriend had been there it wouldn't have come down that way. Also interesting is that one of my home group members, another man, sat through the entire ranting incident and said not one word like "Calm down." After he watched the entire incident, he just got up without a word and left.

Anyway, I managed to pull myself together because I had to speak, but believe me if I hadn't had that commitment I would have left and gone home. That member stayed the entire meeting smoking about two seats from me and interjecting from time to time, listened to me share and seemed to calm down. After the meeting he explained that while he's 3/4 Irish, the 1/4 German won't let him forgive people. Hm, I guess that was the closest to an apology I'll ever get.

So, I'll go there tomorrow to the noon meeting, talk to some of the other officers of the club to make amends for writing on the board, and that's that. (I do admit to my fantasy amend -- I will write my amend on their bulletin board!) But I can guarantee you this. I have one more poor soul on my prayer list!

There's one thing, though, that I really like about myself. I am almost unable to stay mad at people. It just doesn't seem to be in my nature. So when it's over, and I've processed it often through my own venting and sometimes sleepless nights, then it's over.

I would be interested to hear from you on this topic. Perhaps you've noticed or experienced this sort of thing and if so, how did you handle it? Until tomorrow, stick with the winners (you'll know which ones they are after you observe their behavior for awhile).


lushgurl said...

I have had similar experiences in my life... I had a boss once who raged like that. One day he was yelling at me for something his son had done...I promptly burst into tears, and then he yelled at me for crying...
I agree though that this stuff can only happen if we allow it. I am learning today to be more assertive and confident...bullies don't seem to pick on 'stronger folk'

Meg Moran said...

First, congrats on staying and speaking..takes focus & willingness to pull it back together after that.

I would love to say that I stand up to people who rage. But the sad fact is that I only stand up to them in my mind while I am driving home thinking of what I might have said.

I have beaten and battered by an ex..and although the heart and soul have moved on, the "reflexs" and survival instinct have not, you know? I involuntarily flich at loud male voices, when men get angry I get fearful. This may never go away, but I work on it. I refuse to be a victim, but sometimes my adreniline won't co-operate ya know? Best I can do is best I can do. Thats ok today.

lash505 said...

I am with you on the rage of men. Being a man I think the rage is part of our caveman days still locked in our brain. Maybe its that hunters and gathers concept, gut what the hell do I know.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Cool post. Well done for speaking back, and maintaining your dignity! I have to admit that I am really shocked at how 'normalised' most aa's are to (what I see as being) unacceptably high and antisocial levels of anger. it's like they don't even SEE it. They LAUGH about the fact tha they find themselves 'losing it' on a regular basis. It would be funny except i just KNOW that their anger is REALLY interfering with their lives, and making them 'rebel' against life. I hav encountered 'nutty' men at work on 2 short occasions that 'lost it' and ranted at me, but on one occassion there was a stunned, embarrased silence from the other guys, and on the other occasion, it was away from the others and caught me off guard. But I think it is safe to say that in the 'normal world' it's considered VERY NAFF and LOSER-Y to act like that, wheras in AA, there can be a sort of 'faith' in anger, as if they are being 'honest' or something, or they are RIGHT and this gives them the right to get really weird with you. If I had a pound for every nutcase I'd met in AA, I'd be a VERY rich woman! I gave up trying to figure these people out a LONG time ago. Life i*s SO much simpler when I 'stick with the winners'. ESPECIALLY in aa, as there are SO many damaged and oversensitive (and zero impulse control) people in there!! I LOVE the nice aa people, but I stay away fom the 'odd' ones as much as possible, except when I really think I might be able to make SOME sort of a difference. Otherwise I am just wasting my time and pissing them off!

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

i must add, i find women's anger just as poisonious, even though it is rarely expressed in 'rant' form. Because I invariably approch new people when I attend meetings, I have on more occasions than I would have liked, (!!) been on the recieving end of fairly poisonous resentment from women.


There are jerks in all walks of life we just have to deal with them and it certainly looks like you have :)

Anonymous said...

Good for you for getting yourself together and going on with the speaking, my dawg.
As for the rest of it....I can smell any kind of perpetrator a fricking mile away and that's where I stay -- a mile away from them.

woof said...

Scout makes an excellent point...nuff said.