M – Mostly Mad About Much

English: A metaphorical visualization of the w...
English: A metaphorical visualization of the word Anger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was an angry kid. Like, pissed off at everyone for everything.  In grade school I beat up the boys and from the ages eleven through thirteen I refused to smile.  In fact, there isn’t a picture of me smiling during that time period.  I hated my home life, my gangly legs, my parents and pretty much everything else.

At thirteen, I discovered Pink Floyd and slit my wrists in my bedroom.  Looking back, it was an unheard cry for help.  The boy I liked said, “you didn’t do it right.” My family swept it under the proverbial carpet.  My angry cries remained unheard.

At fourteen, I still hated myself, but in the summer of 1987, things were finally looking up for me. I was filling out, getting attention from boys and finally finding myself (yeah right).  I started smoking pot, skipping school and conveying my messages of hate to my high school chums.

Anger became a good friend.  It blanketed my fears, worries and insecurity.  I hid behind anger like an unblemished mask never realizing how it destroyed me. Married at sixteen, I learned from my then mother-in-law and her mother, that anger was normal.  These two women were angry about everything. They taught me passive-aggressive behavior and oh how I loved that!

I became an expert at passive-aggressive behavior as I “made people pay” for the “unjusts” they caused me.  But I noticed something.

My scowled face, harsh words and bitter mannerisms fell on myself while everyone went on with their days, blind to my rage.  How could they not feel my rage?  No one gave a damn about my anger.  No one stopped me from self-sabotaging, self-harming with drugs, alcohol and promiscuity.

In fact, I scowled so much in my younger years, I have a permanent frown line between my eyebrows.  People ask me “why are you mad?” or “what’s wrong?” or say, “you always look mad.”  It’s annoying, but some things cannot be helped.

These days, I’m not angry… really. I just have a stark reminder printed on my face of the anger I felt for so long.  These days, I give it to God.

What do you do with your anger?

A – Anger: External and Internal

Straßenschild Anger
Straßenschild Anger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A raw emotion that sucks the life out of us, anger is a byproduct of one of the two core motions: hate. The other core emotion is love, but that does not apply here. Oh yes, people will cry “anger!” in the name of love, but alas nothing could be further from the truth.   I read a lot of self-help books and (as you know) attend meetings to help me in my recovery from alcohol. One of the emotions touched on a lot is anger.Internal anger:  that rage you feel when you perceive an injustice.  Oh how could they do this to me!  Those bastards!  You get that knot in your stomach, your heart races and it takes all your mental strength not to resort to tactics of passive aggressive neanderthalism.  Now, for a drama junkie (or a former one like yours truly) this is prime pickings for digging deep down in the crevices of justification so the gnashing teeth of self-righteousness can prevail. And if you are a true alcoholic or have anger management issues, this leads to external anger.

External Anger:  not always beating the crap out of someone.  External anger comes in the form of violence (against others and/or self-harm), breaking things, driving recklessly and silent scorn.  External anger stems from unchecked internal anger.  Think about it.  If you weren’t so pissed off inside, you wouldn’t feel compelled to exude physical forms of anger.

There are a lot of ways to deal with that seething, inner rage:

  • count to ten or twenty.
  • go for a brisk walk.
  • run.
  • write (careful with this one – it can keep you in the anger).
  • find a place (alone) to scream, yell and cry.
  • listen to music.
  • clean.

After you’ve calmed down, if you’re angry with someone, and you’re able to talk it out, be sure to come from an “I” place and not an accusatory “you” place.

How do you handle anger?

Anger: The Truth

Angry Talk (Comic Style)
Angry Talk (Comic Style) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I noticed something about myself yesterday and it wasn’t one of those, “oh wow, this is so cool!  I didn’t know I could do that!” epiphanies.  It was more like an, “are you freaking kidding me, why do I do this?” glaring defect.

Sometimes I act a certain way, think a certain way or feel a certain way simply because I think that I THINK this is what I am supposed to do.  Like, I really get upset over unmonumental bullcrap.  Sincerely. This light bulb went off in my head this morning.

So then I ask myself: “WHY AM I SO DAMN ANGRY?”  Like, why do I let my head control me to the point of borderline insanity?  I don’t know the answer to this question, but I do know that it drives me batty and I am in the painstaking process of changing the way I think so I can change the way I feel there by changing the way I act.

Simple? 

Sometimes.

Did you ever tell someone something and their reaction is along the lines of, “Well, just stop doing that.” or “Think about something else.” or (and this is my favorite) “Get over it.”

Get over it?! Cue bitter resentment teetering on unabated rage. “Nobody tells me to get over it!  I’ll get over it when I’m good and ready!” “How dare you tell me that.  You don’t know how I feel.”

Yeah, somebody call me the Waaambulance. 

So, this morning after much coffee and a bowl of Special K Fruit & Yogurt (okay, two bowls) mature thoughts started to creep in my head (kinda like a black goo, only not as ugly) and I started to think:

  • I do not have to feel this way! 
  • Anger is a choice and it’s on me if I choose anger (or any one of the subcategories of anger).
  • I can come back to these ugly thoughts later.
  • I will feel how I choose to feel today.

Let me repeat that last one:  I will feel how I choose to feel today.

And that there is the truth about anger.  We choose to feel angry, resentful, jealous, bitter and any of the other byproducts of hate.  We also choose to feel many of the byproducts of love.  We get to choose how we feel about anything at any moment in any situation.  We have that power. That’s some huge stuff right there! 

Today I have a choice and so do you. Today I will choose love over anger, confidence over insecurity and acceptance over jealousy.

What will you choose?