Writing Prompts: When Anger is Futile

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Sort of inspired by recent experiences, and by a chat on Insanity Bytes, I thought I would reflect upon the futility of anger in some circumstances.

Anger is an unpleasant emotion. It can quickly fester into hate. Anger, left unchecked, can poison the soul. It’s a natural reaction to various events (betrayal by a loved one, an intransigent person, or even a difficult/awkward item or machine can all make angry). The question is whether or not anger will control you, whether you can steer it into something useful, and whether or not you can let go of your anger.

I couldn’t resist!

I will admit, I find it difficult to let go of my anger over certain situations. Typically, these situations are also where my anger is at its most impotent. Is that not always the way? Perhaps that’s why the anger is so hard to breath out… there’s no obvious way to vent it.

Sometimes we get angry over silly things too, even when we know it’s silly. I’ll get annoyed, rather rapidly, by the act of putting things away in the loft. There’s not a lot of room up there, and it can grate on me when bags of stuff won’t have the grace to get out of the way and let me work. The the other day, my regional manager and I were stuck in a traffic jam for five hours, and it’s quite natural to grow increasingly frustrated at the lack of motion, staring at the same scenery, knowing home is less than an hour away. Was it annoying? Absolutely, but what could I do about it? Nothing.

It’s ironic that it’s often the circumstances completely out of our control that can create the most fury. Stuff like traffic jams, or cancelled trains, or the kettle breaking, or anything like that, can greatly aggravate us, for it can feel as though the universe itself is taunting us with misery and consternation. What’s also typical is that these events often happen in clusters; there is the old saying that ‘bad things happen in threes’. We want to scream at the universe to stop pissing us off, but we also know that this is pointless, and that annoys us even more.

But, anger, as natural as it is to feel, is, as I said earlier, capable of being poisonous. Direct your anger in the wrong way, and you’ll hurt the ones you love. Sometimes the ones we love can drive us crazy, but screaming at them won’t benefit a situation. What good would it do to shriek in my daughter’s face about a mistake she’d made? All that leads to is either fear – and the last thing I want is for her to be afraid of me – or resentment. It might easily lead to both. What would that lead to in the future?

I do find myself getting angry (ironic no?) when I read stories of where parents ill-treat their kids. You may know the sort of tale from Facebook. It’s the sort of stuff where a parent might smash their child’s phone over some perceived rebellious behaviour, or set unreasonable expectations (for example, a kid was due home from school at 3.15, and one of their parents punished them for not having done the dishes by 3.05, despite the obvious impossibility of them having the dishes done by then.

Anger tends to beget anger too. Scream and shout at someone and they are not going to feel inclined to be warm and fuzzy back. Alongside the likely fearful reaction, they might decide to shout and scream in return. At work, screaming at customers who’ve been screaming at you is not condonable, however much it may be tempting, or even justifiable, but I can tell you that if you come into my store and howl like a banshee, your query will go to the bottom of the pile. I resent it massively when an employer bends over backwards over a customer’s anger, especially if the customer’s anger is not actually all that justified.

I feel like I could write a lot more on this topic, but who wants to write a lot about anger?! I need to devise a post where I explore other, nicer, emotions. Love is the obvious candidate, but what about simple happiness? We shall see.

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