I tend to get really angry in one of two situations. In a busy Costco when people continually walk in front of me without consideration. And while driving when people drive slowly in the “fast” or “passing” lane. There is also a little bit over family impatience/anger that occurs when my family doesn’t just simply understand what it is I am thinking/wanting/needing.
For the most part my anger is expressed in the form of sniping comments, the occasional yet vigorous squeezing of the steering wheel or perhaps a throwing motion. (Inanimate objects tend to take the brunt of my anger be they remote controls, video game controllers or walls that just look oh so punchable!)
It’s not something that is wildly out of control. I don’t think most people would tab me as an “angry” person if pressed to describe me in a few words. My words can be mean but mostly they are aimed at other drivers or pieces of mail that won’t seem to do what they are supposed to do and just go in the damn mail box already!
But for the last number of years I have been on a journey of self-healing. As you know if you are reading my book as it’s being posted here on the blog it all started when I quit drinking. Since then I have gone through a number of changes that would make me virtually unrecognizable to someone who fell into a coma 6 or 7 years ago and just woke up. I’m a different person.
The one thing that hasn’t really changed though is the angry outbursts.
And it’s just so silly. I really don’t think that Mario Kart has programming designed to mess with me even though it feels like it. I know people aren’t driving badly on purpose most of the time. And I know that letters aren’t bouncing out of mailboxes and sliding out onto the ground with malice. I know shit happens. Things don’t always go the way we want them to go. I know all of that.
Yet there I am in Costco getting more and more angry and just not able to figure out a way to stop it. It swells up inside me like a torrent that feels like it will burst my chest right open if I don’t express it somehow. Even if I could stem that tide and force the anger back down? It’s too late for those around me anyway. I’m in a bad mood now. Heaven forbid if someone looks at me the wrong way or does something even as innocuous as asking me. “what’s wrong?”
So here I sit on a quiet Wednesday night hoping that the forecast is wrong and we don’t get a massive dump of snow and some freezing rain overnight. (I haven’t looked out the window so it might have already happened!) I am also hoping that I can learn to prevent any future outbursts. It seems unlikely that I could ever get over my bouts of “road rage” which usually end in scathing comments or a really sarcastic “round of applause” for the poor driver who isn’t up to my high standards. With that said though, I know change is possible. I’ve done it before and I can do it again.
Well, it started just now with chapter 1 of a book called, The Anger Trap: Free Yourself From the Frustrations That Sabotage Your Life by Dr. Les Carter.
I did what I always do when I want to try and change something in my life. I found a book to read. I may not always know what to do to help myself but I always know there will be books written that might just show me the way.
The book so far has resonated with me in a big way. I think the reasons people get angry generally will apply to me and if that’s the case then hopefully the suggested solutions will work for me as well.
Frustration stemming from life not being what I want it to be is no stranger to my life. Knowing that happiness, and a lack of anger, comes from accepting life for what it is with no expectations is no stranger either. Getting from knowing it to living it has been a struggle at times. It’s time to work through that.
Because frustration and anger are emotions I feel when things don’t go my way. Like maybe if my blog isn’t a massive hit that’s led to fame and fortune even though it’s been a MONTH already. And when I feel frustrated and angry, especially irrationally so, I feel very much like I want to give up. To avoid the things that make me feel that way rather than learning to avoid, or deal constructively with, the feelings instead.
I don’t want to give up on my search for purpose and meaning because I get angry that it’s taking too long. I don’t want to stop writing because I am worried I will become angry and frustrated by it. Because I will feel those emotions sometimes so I want to learn to deal with it and keep writing. Keep searching for purpose.
I want to let go of anger in my day to day life when it pops up and threatens to derail my day. Road rage and letters being jerks rage could threaten to derail my job or worse. So it’s time to get over those things.
On top of all that and perhaps most importantly the affect anger can have on others is something that concerns me as well. It would be nice if at some point I got to a place where anger and frustration isn’t something that looms as a threat to having a good time with friends and family. From just sitting around talking to board games to shopping for groceries.
It’s just time for me to find a way out of The Anger Trap.