I came across this article on Why Anger is the New Sex by Joanne Chen. It speaks of the growing trend towards anger and suggests it is a good thing. While I do agree it is important for people to express their feelings, anger is an emotional choice we make to express our feelings and I do not agree it is a healthy nor a desirable outcome to subject someone else to your angry tirade.
There is nothing sexy about anger.
People who are angry all of the time have a serious problem. Having someone in your life who is constantly erupting and picking fights where you are pushed to defend yourself is like taking a blaring television set with you that turns itself off and on without warning to a retreat. Only it is worse because the at least the television is autonomous. An angry person makes the tirade personal and is usually someone we have an emotional investment in. Either way, each flare up puts us into our fight or flight mode with adrenaline pumping through our body … flooding our brains with messages that set a series of chemical reactions into place that make us age, sick and unbalanced. It is someone else making choices about the quality of our life.
Often these angry people become addicted to the drama. They do not know effective ways to manage themselves and they take no responsibility for what they are feeling, so they hurl themselves at others. They feel engaged, justified …..and then the ensuing makeup session reinforces their behaviour as if the road to reassurance is through anger. The “reassurance” is usually a result of the bewildered victim being so relieved to be out of the hurricane that they almost try to hold the angry bully there in the peaceful moment of reconciliation as if to say “here, see how lovely this is, let me reassure you I care and please lets just stay here.”
The problem is the victim ends up living a life as unbalanced as the angry bully where they will eventually be forced to engage in the raging war just to defend themselves. Their choice of calm and joy is gone.
This is not healthy.
When we are angry it is the first sign to you that you are out of balance. What is happening around you is not in sync with your inner and emotional needs. There is no sense getting angry at the world around you. While the world may have brought you to this present situation, they did not create the emotional block within you that REACTS in this way.
Look at rush hour traffic. Most people drive in it every day, they know it will be there, they accept it is part of working, and they take it on with calm, often finding something else to do while they wait to move again. The angry person is screaming and ranting and raving, swearing at drivers, causing more trouble than the backed up traffic ever did. THIS is often the catalyst for the accidents which really do take the jams into a whole other level. They make a situation worse and again, put onto other people THEIR reaction and view of the world. In this case, the outcome could even be death.
Once you realize you are reacting with anger, STOP. Figure out what you are angry about. As you explore your own emotions and feelings you will most likely find that what is currently happening and causing you to be upset, is a pattern. Let’s say that someone, as you are talking to them about a work situation, makes the comment that the company expects everyone to behave “responsibly and with maturity.” Suddenly you find yourself enraged, hating the person, and arguing with everything they say.
You stop and ask yourself, “why am I so angry? We were just having a conversation. I know John, he is a great guy, he likes me. We get on well. He doesn’t say things to hurt people. What is it he said that set me off?” As you go through what was said you will instantly know the hot words when you go over them. “Maturity and responsibility. Wow, why am I reacting like that .. Look how tense I am, my fists are clenched. I want to kill someone.”
Step back from yourself, become the witness to your reaction. Realize that part of the processing of the computer that is our brain is like a giant search engine. We input our experience and the brain automatically searches for possible matches. Once it finds them … in this case, anything to do with maturity and responsibility … it pulls them for us from the archives of our minds and delivers them onto the front page for us to consider. The big difference is that it is not just information, it is ALL the emotions tied to those past experiences.
So, in this case, our brain says, “ahhh yes .. maturity and responsibility . … I have found some experience matches! Here is the time your grandmothers compared all the grandkids and told everyone that your cousin was her favourite and that you needed to be more mature and responsible and that she never thought you would amount to much.” You were 14 at the time and no-one knew you overheard and you wanted to die. And then there was your dad who never loved you. When he used to beat you he always said you were a worthless no good and would never understand what it takes to be a man with responsibilities. “Here .. Have all THOSE emotions.” Your sensitivity to those two words have followed you through your life, burning with super sensitivity and every situation involving them gets pulled into immediate fuel to add to the fire so that all THOSE emotions end up flooding this new experience you are having and escalating it even though they have nothing to do with the current conversation.
Now you have two choices … you can take out this whole mess on the unsuspecting John and upset the entire office with a tirade none of them will understand or appreciate, or you can deal with the issues you have just discovered about yourself. Your unresolved past that now fuels your out of control emotions has the potential to take away your immediate happiness, possibly cost you your job in this situation. You have allowed what other people said and did to you, years ago, to influence your entire life. You have given them the ability to make you exactly what they predicted. There has to be a point where you decide to do something about your anger and no-one else can do that for you. Expecting someone else to fix you, as an adult, is not an option.
YOU have the power to take back your own personal power. It has to begin with recognizing there is a problem.
If you are a victim of an angry bully … understand that YOU cannot fix them. Part of the reason this person is so angry is because they have developed it as a habit and pattern for dealing with life, but mainly because they refuse to take any responsibility for themselves. In fact, your willingness to lie down and let them drive the bus over you again and again … actually enables them to continue to abuse others. Sometimes the kindest thing we do for someone else, and certainly for ourselves, is to draw a line, say “no more,” and walk away.
Never get caught up into the argument that because someone else chooses to have a miserable and off centred life that there is something wrong with you if you do not stay and help them fix it. The very fact they ask that of you is a strong indication they are not even capable yet of dealing with their anger. The fact anyone else suggests to you that is the “right” thing to do, tells you there may be other people you should not have in your life.
Choices. We all have them.
You have as much right to happiness and peace as they do to their anger and chaos.
It will get better when they decide they want it to get better.
Not one moment before.