The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World

The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World

by Alan Downs

Paperback(Second Edition)

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A groundbreaking examination of the psychology of homosexuality, why it leads to shame over one's identity, and how to overcome it

In The Velvet Rage, psychologist Alan Downs draws on his own struggle with shame and anger, contemporary research, and stories from his patients to passionately describe the stages of a gay man's journey out of shame and offers practical and inspired strategies to stop the cycle of avoidance and self-defeating behavior. The Velvet Rage is an empowering book that has already changed the public discourse on gay culture and helped shape the identity of an entire generation of gay men.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738215679
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 06/05/2012
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 53,883
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Alan Downs, PhD, is a clinical psychologist practicing in Beverly Hills, California. The former CEO of Michael’s House Treatment Center, Downs now maintains a thriving private psychotherapy practice and an intensive outpatient addiction program.

Table of Contents

Preface to the 2012 Edition ix

Introduction 1

The Roots of Rage 7

Chapter 1 The Little Boy with the Big Secret 9

Chapter 2 Ugly Truths & High-Fashion Dreams 19

Chapter 3 Out&Raging 31

Stage 1 Overwhelmed by Shame 39

Chapter 4 Drowning 41

Chapter 5 Bewitched, Betrayed 55

Chapter 6 The Real Me: A Crisis of Identity 63

Stage 2 Compensating for Shame 71

Chapter 7 Paying the Piper 73

Chapter 8 Stuck in Shame: The Vicious Cycle 85

Chapter 9 In the Mood for a Man 93

Chapter 10 What's It All About? A Crisis of Meaning 103

Stage 3 Cultivating Authenticity 107

Chapter 11 Mighty Real 109

Chapter 12 Healing Relationship Trauma 121

Chapter 13 The Road to Contentment 155

Chapter 14 Skills for Living an Authentic Life 167

Epilogue: This Peter Pan Grows Up 221

Notes 239

Acknowledgments 241

Index 243

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The Velvet Rage 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book more then I intended. I myself am a gay male in soceity. The book is aimed for older audiences but being that I'm only 17 it provided much insight on what I should prepare for and what to expect in the future. I think teenagers would highly benefit from this. I didn't feel if I was reading what a doctor wrote. I felt he was just a typical gay guy living his life. But the fact that he has studied in that field makes this book worth much more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While elucidating the experiences of invalidation experienced by gay men, Dr. downs also illuminates the toxic landscape of shame of many other wanderers. He explores the emotional dynamic that 'quakes even the most stable part of our soul.' This isn't just a social commentary or self-help book aimed at a minority population. The reader will journey through cultural values about human flaws and perfection to arrive at a place where real authentic human relationship may be found. And this isn't a therapist's case study, viewed from a distance. Dr. Downs writes with compassion and insight about his own life as well as the lives of his friends and patients. Read this book if you have any interest at all in intimacy, relationship or honesty!
kabussey More than 1 year ago
I've undergone many of experiences outlined in this book; many weren't new or foreign to me. What served as several "ah-ha" moments were the explanations Dr. Downs provided for why I have behaved the way that I have and how I've deal with such behavior from other guys. This book made me feel a lot less "broken" and "stuck." I was able to put into perspective my ways of thinking and behaving, no longer carrying around guilt and shame for why I thought and behaved in any particular way. Again, this book should be read by every gay man, provided as a birthday gift, Christmas gift, or just something to read when a friend is having a hard time navigating the very treacherous gay waters.
ExplorerNE More than 1 year ago
This book is excellent for anyone that is LGBT. It offers insight and advice that is compelling and very educational.
1Atomic More than 1 year ago
As a therapist working with individuals who are gay, straight (especially those questioning identity), bisexual, transgender and/or uncertain, I highly recommend this self-help book. Clients, professionals and lay people should enjoy this book. It is highly useful and even enjoyable. It is perhaps the best easy to read and understand resourse to help a friend, family member, co-worker, one's own self, or merely to become a far better individual. This book moved me. I worry about teen suicide amongst all segments of the population; this book is a MUST for any one dealing with a gay or questioning child, teenager or young adult, especially. This great text should help ensure the rights of others through its "knowledge is power" approach - without being political. There are many facets of an often homophobic society that are addressed here. A great read for all. It is suitable for youth above age 15 in my opinion. I have purchased dozens for patients and as gifts. Enlightening!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a gay male, this book really will change your life. This is no book of pop psychology, but rather the boiled down, collected skills you need to survive in this word emotionally as a homosexual. Buy it now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a good helper for any gay man. I'm glad I found it while I'm young and can use it to help me in life.
Aspblom More than 1 year ago
It deals with what people do not want to face, shame; not guilt, but shame.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
As self-help books go (and I will admit that I am not a fan of the genre), The Velvet Rage is actually quite good. The problematic issue with many self-help books is that the underlying philosophy (or approach, or methodology, or treatment, etc.) is based on the assumption that everyone who reads the book is suffering with or struggling with the same condition (e.g., obesity, addiction, unhealthy relationship). This kind of essentializing or pathologizing of a condition usually results in overly generic (i.e., pretty much useless) strategies for correcting the condition. This book, however, is based on a more solid foundation—the belief that most gay men face similar challenges during the course of their development. These challenges result in deep-seated shame that often precludes any ability to maintain healthy, loving adult relationships with other men. And on this point, Dr. Downs pretty much gets it right. I recognized more of myself than I care to admit in Downs’ descriptions of men crippled by a shame that dooms any attempt at a loving relationship with another man. The book is therapeutic and enlightening without being overly patronizing. In other words, Downs explains how and why our contemporary culture (20th century America, to be exact) makes it well-nigh impossible for a gay man to grow up as a healthy, self-actualized person, yet he does not excuse any of us for our failure to overcome these obstacles. He uses clear, frank language and relates anecdotes from his private practice to illustrate the various ways in which gay men sabotage their own relationships. (Unfortunately, Downs’ practice seems limited to middle-class or upper middle-class white men, so there is not much diversity within the stories he tells. We do not get, for example, a clear idea of what it might be like to grow up poor and gay or black and gay or Latino and gay or Asian and gay…). More importantly, he offers practical, specific advice for overcoming the various stages of shame many of us grew up with. Downs never explicitly draws the comparison, but the shame-redemption process he describes seems to closely parallel the coming out process in general. And for many gay men, coming out is merely the first step on the long road toward mental, emotional health and self-acceptance. 
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