My musings on Anger…

Do not teach your children never to be angry;
teach them how to be angry.

~Lyman Abbott

Today, I am grateful to the Universe for the mirrors in my life, without whom I wouldn’t be able to see any of my flaws. I would walk around thinking I was perfectly groomed, all the while sporting that glaring piece of spinach between my two front teeth.

Recently, I got to see how I act when someone gets angry around me, and I realize I don’t know how to let another person be angry without working myself into a frenzy, also.

Last week I was mad at Person X. The anger came from a place of fear, as usual, because I felt X had hurt me in a personal way. I became afraid that I cannot make good character assessments, and that I once again chose to be around people who are abusive to me. My fear comes out as anger.

So, I was angry. Very angry. I told X how I felt. I shared my disappointment and fear. I waited for my heartfelt apology.

I didn’t get one.

Intead, I got X’s anger – no, rage, really – at me. What the hell did I do? I’m the one who’s supposed to be mad! And X carried on like a 2 year old, while I sat there with my mouth hanging open, wondering what happened, and how I suddenly turned into the bad guy.
My ex used to do that to me, and it was a very convenient way to shift the focus away from the hurtful things he did, and make me feel responsible in some way. He would hurt me, and then I was the one apologizing and baking cookies.

This time, I did start to focus on X’s behavior, and I did begin to think “oh dear, another abuser,” and I began to think about walking away. No, not walking, really – running away. I don’t like to watch anger. It scares me to death. I ran away from my dad… I ran away from my husband…

And I started to get mad because X was mad.

Around and around we went.

I don’t think anger is a terrible emotion. I think it has a purpose, and sometimes it’s necessary to allow it to surface and to acknowledge it. It took me 12 years to get angry at my ex for some really rotten things he did, but boy, did I make up for lost time. I had no idea that inside my sweet, Midwestern-girl persona, there lay a mouth with obscenities that could make a sailor blush. I reacted to it (the anger) in ways that I am not proud of at all, but thank god it finally came. It was the force that propelled me to move out of my “stuck” place and do something positive for myself and for my children. It gave me a voice, finally, even if the voice was rough and loud.

So, while all anger seems to be reactionary, it seems that some is “justified” and some is only a reaction to a reaction, which really serves no positive purpose.

But what would happen if I could let another person sit in his anger without getting angry back? How would that change the circle of hatefulness? How would that save my own sanity?

1 Comment on “Acceptable Anger?

  1. I pass a mirror on my way out the door each morning. Still, somehow, a couple of weeks ago I managed to go to work with my shirt inside out.We all need to get angry once in a while and it’s best if it’s in the company of the person provoking us.Otherwise it builds up and either comes out when we don’t want it to or it shaves years off our lives.


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