Attributes of The Velvet Rage By Alan Downs PDF
This groundbreaking and empowering book examines the impact of growing up and surviving as a gay man in a society still learning to accept all identities.The Velvet Rage By Alan Downs PDF
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
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Alan Downs, PhD is a clinical psychologist and the bestselling author of seven books. His work is acclaimed internationally and has been published in more than twenty-seven languages. He is a sought-after conference speaker, workshop leader, and frequent media commentator on the psychology of gay men. He has more than 25 years of experience in working with individuals from all walks of life, and is currently in private practice in Los Angeles, California.
Currently, he consults with individuals and couples in his Los Angeles office as well as over the internet worldwide. In addition to his expertise in working with gay men, he is an intensively trained Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) therapist who has worked with individuals as well as therapists who are seeking to learn the mindfulness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance skills which are so effectively taught within the DBT therapeutic framework. Most recently, Dr. Downs has been quoted in Vogue, The Guardian, and The New York Times.
Proportions of The Velvet Rage By Alan Downs PDF
- Publisher : Da Capo Lifelong Books; 2nd ed. edition (June 5, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 272 pages
- International Standard Book Number-10 : 0738215678
- International Standard Book Number-13 : 978-0738215679
- Item Weight : 8.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.75 x 8.25 inches
Reviews From Customers
The “Gay Man” profile is much more diverse than the author suggests
June 21, 2018
I’m still reading this book, so perhaps I’m being unfair in writing this prematurely. Some of the author’s insights may be accurate and generally helpful. However, he writes in such absolute terms about what the “gay man” experience is like that I find it gets in the way of his credibility. As another reviewer commented, he writes about the successful, urban, educated, sophisticated man whose life is outwardly “fabulous,” summering in Key West or Fire Island or Provincetown. There is so little nuance about the diversity that truly exists within the demographic group labeled “gay men.”
For example, the picture he paints suggests that the average gay man in America is wealthier and has more disposable income than his straight brothers. Data indicate otherwise. Ironically this is likely so because of the higher rates of depression and other socially-linked obstacles that gay men often face.
So … I wish he had an editor who helped add a little nuance and moderation to the stereotyped picture he paints.
Out of Touch
February 6, 2021
Like other reviewers, I’m seriously puzzled about the world this book describes. The author states early on that gay men love to surround themselves with beauty, lead fashion trends, and long for exotic vacations — all designed to cover up their inner shame. This is called stereotyping. I agree that shame is a very real and difficult aspect of being gay that should be utterly expelled. But seriously, if your view of gay men is that they are — as a group, as the author suggests — chomping at the bit to wear couture, travel to Paris, and can’t wait to redo the living room, you need new friends. Gay men can also read Proust, prefer Brahms to Cher, take pride in themselves, dislike pop culture, and even dress badly, i.e., be as diverse as any other group of people.
Peter Pan Grows Up
October 30, 2015
Psychologist Alan Downs` guide to authentic living for the gay male, ‘The Velvet Rage,` is a valuable self-help tool for gay men struggling to break free from a life of insecurity, self-loathing, and most of all, shame. Downs` central thesis, one he presents convincingly, is that gay men start off life far more emotionally crippled than most other people.
Downs makes the argument that we gay men suffer the effects of a toxic self-image, one that stems from a pit of shame embedded deep inside. He argues we must systematically and assiduously destroy this cancer if we ever entertain the notion of maturing into emotionally healthy adults. This deep-seated and long-enduring sense of shame inhibits us from showing our most genuine feelings and from being our most authentic selves. As a result, we develop a set of theatrical tricks to hide our true selves, to shield us from any chance of honest emotional disclosure. In short, we become master dissemblers, actors, actresses adept at the art of giving others what they want to see and hear from us. All this comes at a horrible cost. Downs states, “…we must hide, presenting to the world a fabricated version of ourselves until the day that we are free to express our sexuality and step out of the closet of shame.” Downs explains in great detail how we ‘compensate for’ rather than ‘confront’ our shame. We become obsessed with out-performing others in our chosen professions, obsessed with physical beauty above all, and perhaps most dangerously, become obsessed with the thrill of seemingly endless sexual conquest.
Our ‘velvet rage’ comes out when these compensating strategies begin to weaken and crack, leaking out ferocious and foul bouts of poisonous rage, often directed at innocents. Downs provides a lot of first-hand testimony from other gay men as to how these compensation tactics work and yet, ultimately fail. These quotes are oddly placed in sidebar boxes adjacent to the text body. For the most part, these testimonies do little to strengthen the psychological points Downs strives to make. Rather, they are too general and not always well-fitted to the topic at hand. Furthermore, Downs frequently repeats many of his points throughout the first three-quarters of the book.
Downs` shame thesis could have been delineated in a more engaging and meaningful way had he examined the roots of our toxic shame. Does it stem from feeling ‘different’ at an early age? Is it the fear of not fitting in? Is it internalized homophobia or fear of sex with men? Or perhaps is it the fear of being emotionally and physically vulnerable with another man that drives this shame? Or maybe it stems from all of these factors combined? Sadly, Downs never really analyzes this question to any great depth. His book could have been even more helpful and empowering had he done so. Finally, most of Downs` clients share experiences from relatively ‘problem-free’ coming out processes. Those who have struggled with both internal and external self-acceptance might not connect with the experiences presented here.
These criticism`s aside, ‘The Velvet Rage’ finishes on a strong note. In fact, the last quarter of the book is the best part, worth the other three- quarters combined. Additions to the second edition, these ‘Skills for Living an Authentic Life’ impart some valuable life wisdom to the reader. Downs shares from his accumulated years’ worth of psycho-therapeutic experience for all to learn from. Each skill is succinctly presented in a short paragraph and then explained in greater detail. Even the titles themselves sound off as tiny snippets of healing help, “Inner peace above all else,` ‘Contentment over approval,’ ‘Accept reality on reality`s terms,` ‘Walk your way out of distress,` ‘Embrace ambivalence,’ ‘Default to forgiveness,’ are all just some of the practical, life-changing tips Downs gifts his readers. While gay men especially need to ‘do and live’ these lessons, anybody, straight or gay, could profit immensely from their common sense wisdom.
While “The Velvet Rage’ is not quite the gay bible to life, it does go a long way in helping us understand why we are the way we are. Most importantly, it sheds light on why we ‘behave’ the way we do. Combined with his practical skills section, ‘The Velvet Rage’ is helpful therapy for the gay male. Understanding is the first step towards full self-acceptance and Dr. Alan Downs has done much to help us recognize the face in the mirror.
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