Today we’re going to talk about why guys tend to be mean to you after a breakup.
In my opinion, most guys are mean after a breakup because they find it easier to shift most of the blame onto you for the relationship’s demise. Doing so protects them from any culpability and grief they may potentially feel. In other words, it’s usually their coping mechanism.
And today we’re really going to look at why they act this way.
- We’re going to talk about the addictive positive effect of anger
- The altruistic victim mentality
- The societal role of men vs women in relationships
Anger Is An Addictive Almost “Positive” Feeling For A Lot Of Men
This is perhaps the weirdest take on anger that you’ll probably hear and I can’t quite claim credit for it as my partner in crime Coach Anna said it in this interview,
I believe her exact words were,
Anger is almost a positive, has positive characteristics, as weird as that sounds. What do I mean by that? When I say that anger has positive characteristics, I mean that when someone says, “You’re stupid,” they’re implying I’m smart. You’re selfish, you’re selfish means I’m generous. You’re behaving like a child means I’m behaving like an adult. Therefore, people get angry very easily and they stay angry because it feels good and it’s personally validating.
Seems like a breakup would be a good time to pull this out, right?
Rather than deal with the grief that often accompanies the fallout of a breakup a guy can latch on to something that makes them feel good and validates them.
You are familiar with my good feelings vs. bad feelings theory, right?
It’s super simple if you aren’t.
Good Feelings > Bad Feelings
It’s the same reason that Leonardo Dicaprio in Inception says,
No. Positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time. We yearn for people to be reconciled, for catharsis. We need positive emotional logic.
Exes will always gravitate toward things that make them feel good instead of bad. This is why so many exes go on the rebound.
Rather than dealing with the actual issue of processing their grief after a breakup they find it easier to distract themselves with another person.
They manufacture the honeymoon period, the good feelings in it, as soon as possible.
Anger works the same way as the rebound. It’s easier to be caught up in the anger cycle. To distract yourself from taking any responsibility.
This leads to what I call, “The Altruistic Victim Mentality.”
Men Can Be Caught In The Altruistic Victim Loop
One of the great debates in philosophy is the Altruism Vs. Egoism argument.
- Someone who believes in altruism believes that human beings are capable of moments of true selflessness.
- Someone who believes the egoist argument will argue that every act an individual takes is selfish in some way. Therefore, there are no selfless acts.
Without getting too deep into the weeds, I’m of the opinion that both arguments have merit.
You’ll never be able to convince me that a mother who sacrifices her life for her child is “selfish” in doing so.
However, I would say that is the exception to the average state of humanity which revolves around our own selfish desires.
The reason I bring all of this up is I’ve noticed an interesting trend among our clients’ exes. The tend to get caught in the altruistic victim loop.
One of the favorite coping mechanisms for the egoist.
Remember, an egoist is someone who only cares for himself. He/she thinks inwardly. Yet, no one wants to admit that they are an egoist.
It’s not exactly the greatest line to walk up to a woman at a bar, introduce yourself and say,
“Hi there, I’m incredibly selfish and really only think about myself. Date me please.”
So, the egoist lies to himself. He’ll convince himself that he’s altruistic. This is why we get the whole, “I’m breaking up with you for you. Really, it’s in your best interest that this relationship ends.”
The lie needs to be seductive.
Deep down, subconsciously the egoist knows he’s an egoist.
He knows he’s being selfish.
He knows he’s doing everything for himself.
But he can’t admit that to himself all the way, much less out loud.
So, what does the egoist do?
He plays the victim, an altruistic one.
If you are an avid reader of this website then you are probably familiar with my avoidant death wheel. Basically the trap that most avoidant exes get caught up in.
There are eight stages to it,
- They start out wanting someone to love them
- Then they find you, and at first, things are great
- But something about your behavior sets them off (we will talk about what that is in a minute)
- They use that as an excuse to think about leaving you
- Then they actually decide to leave the relationship
- Then of course they party and are happy they left the relationship
- But there is a loneliness in the silence and they start to grow depressed
- They ultimately sit and wonder why this always happens to them. Why can’t I ever find the one?
Look at stages seven and eight.
“I’m sad because of the breakup.”
“Why is this always happening to me.”
These are victim based things to say. The irony is that most of the exes we’ve studied are the actual offenders. They are the ones who initiated the breakup and when that fact dawns on them what do they do?
They lash out at you because it keeps them in their victim loop.
“Look what you made me do to you…”
It’s warped thinking but it’s right on que for that altruistic victim mentality.
The Societal Role Of Men And Women With Breakups
I’m going to use one of coach Anna’s posts in our facebook group for this last part since it’s so relevant to explaining why guys are usually so mean after a breakup.
She actually stumbled across this study by Psychology Today that reported,
“Men report more feelings of anger and engage in more self-destructive behaviors than women. Women, in comparison, frequently feel more depressed and participate in more social, affiliative behaviors than men. Women’s behaviors could be argued to be more constructive strategies as a result of their tendency to preserve the relationship, whereas men choose destructive strategies for maintaining their own self-esteem.”
Do you remember that famous meme around the early 2010’s talking about the major differences between men and women when it comes to breakups.
Give me a second I’ll see if I can find it,
Basically how at first men seem happy and then after time goes on they get more and more depressed. Women on the other hand are devastated at first but eventually cope with the breakup much better in the long run.
Turns out that meme is entirely true and it’s backed by science.
Why is it that men are more destructive and angrier after a breakup?
I think looking at the role society plays on the gender dynamics is something to pay attention to here.
Society tells men that they are weak for sharing their feelings after a breakup. We see this all the time with our male clients going through breakups.
They are ostracized by their friends for even being hurt or expressing pain.
Society tells men that they need to be strong.
Don’t talk about your feelings.
Fake it until you make it.
And so, after a while this is what the men start believing and putting into practice to cope but research shows us that it’s one of the worst ways to cope.
Though there might be some conflicting research with regards to rebounds helping “get over breakups” quicker in general the consensus is that getting angry and being mean and finding a way to maintain your own self esteem doesn’t do well in the long run.