Confessions of a Former Angerholic

Angry Merle
Angry Merle

It started with this tweet this morning.

Lissarankin ( Angry people cannot create a peaceful planet, turn your thoughts to Joy and feel the shift.

I responded: Yes. Anger is a choice. That was a powerful revelation to me.

Lissa said: A revelation that enlightened your life, I’m sure! RT @ImperfectSpouse: Yes. Anger is a choice. That was a powerful revelation to me.

I responded: @Lissarankin Knowing anger was a choice more than enlightened my life, it changed my marriage. It oiled the gears for smooth ride.

Lissa said: That is beautiful @ImperfectSpouse what a wonderful way you Owned your Anger. Big *hugs* to you.

Then I was off to the rest of my day and this evening when I have had a chance to reflect.I conclude that anger is ugly, hence,the expression on my face. (That picture is of me very angry or very constipated.)

I find one of the primary sources of anger is defending your position against somebody else’s thoughts. This defensive position can be coming from a victim mentality— feeling already defeated with no way of winning. You noticed that I mentioned ‘winning’ as if this were a contest, not a conversation. And it may be, depending on you and the other person, though I don’t recommend it.

The more sure you are about a topic, the more “skin you have in the game”, the more likely you are to be angered by opposition, since it brings up the possibility of “losing’.

In our marriage, the most arguments Nathan and I have, (aside from religion, politics, and life style—hahaha) have been about the children. Luckily, we never argued about money—well, as I’m thinking about it, that’s not true, but it’s mostly true. We hardly argue now—partly because we’ve both gotten smarter (especially me) and mostly because the kids are out of the house.

Still, we all find many opportunities to get angry–at everyone—even ourselves—and especially our loved ones. I was raised in a loving house that still managed to miss no opportunity to express anger. Dad would occasionally throw a towel and break a plate and Mom would zip her lips shut so tight that when I performed the obligatory get and give kiss goodnight, I was sure her lips would cut my cheek.

Yes, I’ve made a study of anger. I’ve decided that I’m against it. (Don’t disagree with me or I’ll be really angry at you.)

I remember therapists and writers saying that anger was a choice. Being highly opinionated, I questioned their intelligence, sincerity or sanity. I wasn’t sure which. When I was angry, I “couldn’t help it.” Yet, at a certain point the amount of people claiming that anger’s a choice made me at least consider the possibility.

I started observing myself. I remember being spitfire angry at Nathan. Of course, I have no idea about what. I only remember the feeling. It was very strong. In the midst of this fervor of anger, I said to myself, “I can stop being angry.” And I replied (to myself), I ‘don’t want’ to stop being angry. ‘Don’t want to.’ I hear me say it. That’s when I proved to myself that I was making a choice to be angry. My internal dialogue continued,” I had a right to be angry. If I let this feeling go, I’d never yell at him. He deserved to be yelled at. He’ll never change his behavior.” As if I’d ever been able to force any kind of change whatsoever by the sheer dint of my insistence. I don’t think so. Even so, I hung on to my anger.

This happened uncounted times. It was becoming clearer that anger wasn’t a feeling life imposed on me; I was choosing it. It took some time to yield to this conclusion because I didn’t want to believe it. I loved my anger.

I would puff myself up with self-righteousness like a puff-adder ready to strike if you messed with me.

Not a pretty sight. (Check out the above picture.) It doesn’t look any better when I see anger in others. It took a while to let go. A bit like when I stopped smoking. Maybe I didn’t exactly miss it, but I noticed that it was gone. (Actually, I really missed it.) It left a hole in my behavior pattern. Not to say I never get angry now, ——— so don’t test me, I’m “imperfect”.

See what you started, Lissa. So I thank you for your last comment:  That is beautiful @ImperfectSpouse what a wonderful way you Owned your Anger. Big *hugs* to you.

Big hugs back atcha.

Let me know what you think?   Everybody…. please make a comment.

All Contents International Copyright Merle Singer 2009. All International Rights Reserved. Contact the author for permission to republish all or part of this article.

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