If you ask a man to describe in two words what kind of partner he wants to be, you will most likely get words with positive values like: loving and protective, safe and supportive. If you ask men what kind of fathers they want to be you will get similar words: fi rm and patient, calm and steady. If you ask a man what kind of person he wants to be you will also get similar words: stable and understanding, loving and fi rm, careful and caring, trusting and present. But when you look at his day-to-day temperaments and behaviors, you might fi nd something that is very much the opposite of these intentions. Many men react to normal everyday family confl icts as if they were life-threatening situations . They yell, scream, throw objects, shame, blame, frighten, or hurt people, physically or emotionally. These explosive behaviors are not what they would want to do if they could plan it ahead of time, but they come out that way and happen faster than they can think. Men’s intentions to love, protect, teach, and care can become so distorted when strong emotions arise that their behavior looks like anything but these intentions. Consider the following:
• Did you ever do or say something that later seemed way out of line and an extreme response to a situation? For example, yelling “I brought you into this world and I can take you out too” at your teenagers when they talk back to you in a disrespectful way, scaring them with the intensity of your anger.