Anger Does Not Give Up On You

Most people who know me know I have an anger problem. Even if they have not seen my legendary anger, they have heard me speak about it like an embarassing genetic disease.

The funny this is, I can’t recall when I knew I had anger issues. I guess it started with jealousy over better treatment of my siblings or classmates. The thing is, I don’t really remember it being a big part of my life until I began arguing with my parents over philosophical and political issues. The more I learned, the worse it got. I began to get angry because people had difficulty accepting what I thought were some obvious scientific facts. I also began to get upset by positions people were taking that I thought were unreasonable. For example, I got angry when people tried to justify every atrocity for their families. I spent a lot of time on this one and I came up with the best come back ever: “Everyone has a family.” So there, bitch!

Things peaked during the Bush II era. At this point, my wife explained to me that I had a problem

I have tried, over the past few years, to give up on anger. At times, I was repressing it. It seemed to work for a while then it came back really strong. I became highly irritable. The main focus of this irritation was the repeated thought that “Why do _I_ have to adapt to others? Why do I always have to be the nice one?”

Of course, this whole line of questioning was incorrect. I don’t have to do anything. However, I chose to make it my goal to give up on anger.

Of course, I didn’t want to do outright suppression. I did “work” with my anger, tracing it’s effects on my body. I found I got tight in the shoulders and the chest. Breathing was more difficult. Also there was a surge of tingling power through my arms and legs. The anger wasn’t a solid thing in me, but rather it kept coming and going all over my body like spots of electricity.

When I was not angry, I would try to think of all the things that got me angry, my buttons. Then I would try to create a new line of thinking where I could accept this problem. I would try to give up assumptions about the world that led me to anger. For example, with drivers, I gave up the notion that they would have courtesy, politeness, or even common sense. I realized that they act in ways that are sometimes selfish, but more often contrary to their own interests. For example, some drivers, when they see me will deliberately go as close to the curb as possible to prevent me from passing on the side. They put so much effort into driving close to the curb, they’d have to slow down and focus on not wrecking their car. If they had, instead, sped up to pull away from me, they would never have to deal with me again. They would get to their destination quicker, and not have an angry biker on their hands. I realized that driving induces temporary insanity. This helped a lot. One does not expect much from the insane.

However, no matter how much I gave up on anger in principle–I do not believe in “justified anger”. No matter how much I kept in touch with my body during the day. No matter how much I worked to eradicate the seeds of anger–the ideas that lead me to grow angry. No matter what I tried, I still got angry. Where does this anger come from? I don’t know.

It seems to come back like an annoying distant relative at family reunions. I have faith that this is only a temporary phase. I have “trained” myself to be angry, and rehersed many a temper tantrum. I can thank my wife for showing me that I was doing this. Now, I only do this when I “lost myself”. As soon as I see myself doing it, I stop. This helps a lot. All of it helps, mindfulness of body, mindfulness of thoughts.

Still, I really get impatient with this retarded thing known as anger. I give up on it, but it has not given up on me. Not by a long shot. Not even a little bit. Damn you anger. I hate you!

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