Dissecting the Modern American MaleIRRITABLE MAN SYNDROME – PART TWOYoav Fisher

A while back, I wrote about interesting idiosyncrasy in The Modern American Male called Irritable Man Syndrome (see Part 1).  I noted how many guys exhibit the tendency to misplace their frustration and lash out inappropriately.  These guys, or I’d say about 60% of them, don’t really know what the root of their frustration/anger is, and therefore they never deal with the core issues.

The remaining 40% of guys (I fall into this category) exhibit the opposite tendency.  They know exactly what is frustrating them, but they never purge themselves of their anger.  Instead, they let it stew and percolate internally while they become increasingly more pissy and moody.  In other words, they are passive-aggressive.

Passive-Aggressive guys avoid confrontation at all costs, choosing instead to mask their anger with stubbornness, resentment, sulking and making excuses for their emotions.  Dealing with these types of guys in a relationship can be taxing because you know he is holding in his anger and you wish he would just talk things out and let off steam, but instead he just avoids conversations entirely and walks around with a sour-puss face all day, ruining everybody’s good time.

Passive-Aggressive guys also love to play the victim.  Their favorite words are “I told you so”, and they just wait for things to go wrong so they can have more fodder for their frustration.  Here is a typical situation:

You:  That restaurant really sucked, I can’t believe we wasted $80 there.

P-A Guy:  See, I told you we should have gone somewhere else.

P-A guy didn’t want to go to the restaurant in the first place, but instead of being upfront with his preferences, he set you up for the fall and made himself out to be the victim.  How manipulative!

So how do you deal with these types of guys?

One of the easiest ways is to turn the tables.  For things that are fairly mundane, like which movie to see or which restaurant to hit up, make him decide.  Then he can’t harbor frustration if he is unhappy with his own decision.

You can also turn the tables on them emotionally.  Ask him why he thought the restaurant sucked.  Most likely he will concede something like “I guess the restaurant wasn’t so bad, I am just frustrated with work”.  Then dig a bit deeper and ask “why” questions about his work.  Eventually you will find the core of his frustration and he will feel comfortable letting off steam.  The one good thing about passive-aggressive people is that once they release the tension from the root cause of their anger, their disposition immediately improves.

Most importantly, don’t get sucked in to the downward spiral of his behavior.  Coping with a P-A guy can be emotionally exhausting, so try not to fall into a power struggle of He-Said-She-Said.

In summary, the overwhelming bulk of guys have some form of Irritable Man Syndrome.  Either they are Misappropriate-Aggressive, as described in Part 1, or they are passive-aggressive.  Fortunately, there are ways to deal with these types of guys to smooth out the bumps in your relationship.

Thoughts?

(Self-Aggrandizing side note:  I recently released an updated version of my self-published novel, and it is FINALLY available on Kindle as well!  So go out and support your HG writers!  And if you know someone in the book industry, hook me up!)

Passive Aggressive Man image via ImpulsivityJim

comments

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  1. Meefo -
    You are correct, my wording is a little off.
    It would have been stronger had I written:
    P-A Guy: See, I knew we should have gone somewhere else

  2. You: That restaurant really sucked, I can’t believe we wasted $80 there.
    P-A Guy: See, I told you we should have gone somewhere else.
    P-A guy didn’t want to go to the restaurant in the first place, but instead of being upfront with his preferences, he set you up for the fall and made himself out to be the victim. How manipulative!

    This part makes no sense at all. By saying “I told you we should have gone somewhere else” he’s referencing a previous conversation in which he clearly was up front about his preference not to go there, but his partner ignored his request.

  3. “instead of being upfront with his preferences, he set you up for the fall and made himself out to be the victim.” This really sums it up. Reading this post and the first I completely agree with the strategies for handling it. Stay calm and interested, even if inside you just wanna scream. Counter striking never gets you anywhere, it just escalades their insecurity. Ive realized I’d much rather put my pride aside and get back to a happy loving husband as fast as possible.