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
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Overview

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

"The most important issue in a gay man's life is not 'coming out,' but coming to terms with the invalidating past where we learned that we are shameful...."

The gay male world today is characterized by seductive beauty, artful creativity, flamboyant sexuality, and, encouragingly, unprecedented acceptability in society. Yet despite the progress of the past century, our intimate relationships are generally short-lived compared to straight relationships, sexually transmitted diseases among us are at epidemic proportions, and depression and suicide occur far more frequently than among straight men.

Even though an entire generation of us has openly and freely come out of the closet, we still find ourselves asking, "Are we really better off?" Through bravely honest individual stories and compassionate analysis, The Velvet Rage explores how our contentment has been destroyed by lingering, deep-rooted shame-a shame that can be traced to our childhood experiences of feeling "other" and perhaps emotionally abandoned by the first men in our lives, our fathers. Most of us rage quietly against the shame we feel so acutely, masking it behind a faade of beauty, creativity, or material success.

It doesn't have to be this way. There is a way out of this emotional bind.

Drawing on contemporary psychological research, the author's own journey to be free of anger and of shame, as well as the stories of many of his friends and clients, Velvet Rage outlines the three distinct stages to emotional well-being for gay men. Offering profoundly helpful strategies to stop the insidious cycle of avoidance and self-defeating behavior, Velvet Rage is an empowering book you'll wish you read long ago.

It's not too late to begin healing now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738210612
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 04/28/2006
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(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.
 

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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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