Surviving Anger!

People are angry only when they have lost a contest, an argument, property, or another valuable asset. You may not believe it, but, anger is always a choice. Picture this; someone bumped into your back, causing you to spill your drink. You wheel around to find that someone has passed out on the floor. Your building anger has suddenly become compassion as you change your response – by choice. If you doubt that it was choice, try this one; you turned around to find a man with a gun. You ‘decide’ to cooperate.

Anger is related to frustration but it is usually more focused. There are people who live in a nearly constant state of anger. I believe that these people have an identity problem. They don’t know who they are. Of course they can tell you their name, but not knowing who they are keeps them from knowing who other people are. Everyone else is an extension of their unrealistic world and others must fit you’re their requirements in order for them to be acceptable. I know several such unhappy people. This condition may be true of everyone to some extent as we all have our acceptable standards of behavior etc. It is when this requirement extends beyond our limits of acceptability that this becomes a problem. This defines a high controller. They are miserable people and they make ‘everyone’ around them to be miserable too.

Remember, if you don’t control your anger, your anger will control you. A person who is angry ‘all the time’ may really be expressing frustration regarding some other issue that he can’t openly address and so there is no recourse for resolution. This is called ‘transference’. Maybe they had an abusive father or mother who has since passed on. They ventilate by taking out their frustration on ‘safe’ people such as their spouse or children. It is like; ‘you can’t hit your neighbor so you kick his dog.’ ‘Who you are’ is established very early in life by the emotional climate of your home.

Usually, we become angry as a conditioned response to challenge. This is mostly an acquired trait that we learn from trial and experience. It is also ‘taught’ by ‘loud’ families. I know families that holler at each other ‘all the time’ and still they seem to have a reasonable base to their relationships. We know other families that are ‘as quiet as a mouse’ in their homes. Conversation is in quiet and respectful tones. If you were rised in a noisy and combative environment, you likely have acquired some ‘noisy’ habits yourself. Some kinds of work will allow this kind of expression but a ‘professional’ atmosphere will not support it.

I remember a physicist who was in charge of a group of researchers. One day, I heard his loud voice ‘encouraging’ his ‘troops’ with very loud and accusatory language. He certainly did his reputation and status no good. On the other hand, I heard a similarly stationed man rebuke a fellow who made some unfair accusations against him. He showed no anger. His voice was quiet and deliberate as he very politely suggested that if they were to remain friends, the accuser would not talk to him like that again. We can agree that the second case was more ‘professional’ and offered more ‘status’. Which of the two would be more likely to be considered for promotion? You may feel that your expression is justified under the circumstances, but in the end, you are not the judge. Those who have authority over you will decide the issue, and you will benefit or suffer accordingly.

Written by guest author, Bob Davis!


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