Disputing the disputation

Dr. Helen disagrees with part of my previous post, unnecessarily in my opinion:

Anger is not always stupid, petty and irrational; sometimes it is a legitimate response, a way to tell us that something is wrong or that we need to become more aware of what we are feeling and why. Women are not irrational creatures, but actually very rational at times and their angry behavior, even in a passive aggressive form, is not always about being emotionally manipulated.

What I was saying in an admittedly unclear manner is not that anger stems from being emotionally manipulated, but rather that being anger-prone renders one vulnerable to emotional manipulation.

If I cannot reason with you, if I cannot appeal to your rational thought processes, then you leave me no choice but to manipulate your emotions. Once I determine that a woman is one of the anger-prone, I make no attempt whatsoever to reason with her unless I intend to humiliate her in public, in front of those who are capable of rational thought.

Now, there are certainly men who are helplessly ruled by their anger, but there are fewer of them and they tend to be more obviously choleric. It’s a little easier to steer clear of them entirely if one is not inclined to put up with the bluster and nonsense.

We ask so many times how anger is felt by women or how women are affected by men’s anger or the anger of other women, but I would really like to know how angry women affect men. It’s always funny in our culture to see women lash out angrily at men, hit them, call them names and act in passive aggressive forms towards kids, husbands and male colleagues, and many men take the abuse, but at what cost?

As is probably quite clear to most of my readers, I am openly contemptuous of those who are ruled by their emotions, particularly anger. This is often mistaken for misogyny, but that is a blatantly sexist assumption. Having seen far too many men virtually emasculated by their fear of women’s anger, my instinctive reaction is to confront it, either by attempting to gently defuse it or simply crushing it with an avalanche of icy contempt.

What’s interesting is the way in which many women who use the threat of their anger to bully men can sense this unwillingness to cower before them and openly fear it. It’s both amusing and a little disturbing to see how such women will not even dare to meet my eyes once they detect it.

The best way to defang a passive-aggressive individual is to bring the subtext out into the open. This is most easily done by asking a direct question: “do you really think it’s appropriate to talk to your husband like that in front of all of us?” Most women would rather die than have their bad behavior exposed like that, which is kind of strange because they have no problem exhibiting it in the first place.

Another approach is to take the negative reinforcement line, for example, an individual who habitually speaks in an inappropriately disrespectful tone will usually knock it off if you inevitably respond with calmly polite vulgarities.

“Yes, of COURSE I’ll do EXACTLY what you require of me, your Highness. (said in a voice dripping with sarcasm)

“Yes, I very much expect you will follow your fucking orders in the precise fucking manner I have given them to you.” (spoken in a polite, inoffensive tone.)

“You can’t talk to me like that!”

“I can, and I will, so long as you speak to me like that. It’s up to you.”

In such cases, you cannot meet fire with fire and passive-aggression with passive-aggression, as it only exacerbates the situation. Conflict is an excellent issue-resolver.