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February 2, 2010

I guess it’s pretty coincidental that John G-W’s latest entry has to do a bit with anger, but tonight, after going into a rage in a huge gym that made me look like a totally uncouth and undisciplined spaz in front of everyone, (and then leaving to avoid the further awkwardness), I had a lot of time to think about rage.

I can’t say there’s much in common beyond that though. My anger really works in a different way, I think. Just to go through the “checklist,” 1) I have been well-rested for the past few days (basically being in a coma to recover from a cold. Today’s been a smashing recovery day.) 2) I have been having a healthier than normal diet (to recover from the cold…man, orange juice is so good. So are bananas. Ever just have a few bananas?) 3) Well, today’s explosion was at fencing practice, and I’ve been going to that for the past few days (had a tournament this week).


Maybe point 4 is the problem. I could see people raising that up, “GOTTA SAY YOU’RE THANKFUL!” Nevertheless, I don’t think that’s it.

And I could see other people saying 5 is the problem too. Haha, those angry ex-mormon atheists…Naw, I don’t think that’s the issue.

The weird thing about my anger is this…it comes quickly and unpredictably…it’s not a gradual boiling…it’s not necessarily even ’caused’ by anything…but when it comes, everything goes out. I try to get louder to make my points as cutting and stinging as possible.  You can tell when I’m really mad because that’s the only time I curse. The problem? Most people curse all the time, so no one gets the effect of my doing it. And that enrages me more (why can’t I cause real harm with words alone?!?)

But…here’s something I’ve known for a long time. My anger dissipates within seconds. So even while I’m yelling, I know I’m ridiculous, I know I sound ridiculous to everyone, I know I don’t even feel it anymore. This is the worst part. Even as I’m storming out in a huff (I did that tonight), I reassess the situation. Geez. Now everyone thing I’m a total spaz. Oh…that’s because I am. Hmm…I used not to be like this. I used to say I never was so undisciplined. I used to just wait out the three seconds of rage while it evaporated.

Do I…do I apologize? Or do I pretend nothing happened and hope everyone else also pretends?

I’d have no problem with that latter action. I probably should say a lot more apologies, along with lots more thanks. But the thing is…when I go about as if nothing ever happened…for me, that’s real. There aren’t any ill feelings for me after an explosion of rage. The thing is, I realize that that is not the case for others. I feel like these kinds of outbursts always cause great damage to relationships that — even if no one ever mentions it again — will always be remembered.

I have a similar problem with the idea, “forgive and forget.” For me, forgiving and forgetting seems natural. But I always sense that I’m just a bit different from others…and that others have a thousand-year memory. No matter how much people may forgive, I don’t suspect they ever forget.


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  1. Anger is human and natural. It’s a feeling. Didn’t you once argue that we can’t change our feelings or beliefs?? (Am I misremembering???)

    How we deal with the anger, that’s another story. Finding outlets for anger and healthy ways to express anger are also important.

    I understand what you were saying in your cog. dis. post – but I think what’s going on here *is* worth paying attention to. No one can *stop* being angry. You can figure out what your triggers are, and find a new ways to react. And to identify when you’re getting angry, and to remove yourself from that situation.

    Sometimes there are perfectly legitimate reasons for being angry. I think about the four men who sat at the lunch counter in SC 50 years ago – they had the right to be angry. And they found a productive outlet for their anger – which helped lead to greater change.

    PS. I think it is absolutely appropriate to admit you were angry and that you said (or did) something inappropriate. And to also try not to do it again (saying or doing something inappropriate). That’s (IMO) maturity.

  2. aerin, I agree, and I did argue (and still do) that we do not consciously choose our feelings and beliefs.

    But what we do consciously choose are our actions. In other words, what I’m grappling with here is not the emotions but the inappropriate action — blowing up at people — that I take. I am searching for exactly what you say: new ways to *react*.

    I fully agree that there are justified times for anger….not sure if this was one…but obviously, it happened.

    Instead, what I’m thinking is that very rarely is it appropriate, productive, or constructive just to yell at someone. I know if I get yelled at, I generally only want to yell back, which isn’t good for the situation.

  3. Hrm…are points 4 and 5 missing? I’m confused…

  4. for points 4 and 5, you’ll have to click the link to go to John’s blog.


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  1. Can you smell the cognitive dissonance? « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

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