Anger“Anger is a momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you.” - Horace After a gap of two years, Brandon visited his close friend Terry’s largecookie-cutter house. Brandon and Terry were having a nice tête-à-tête in the foyerwhen Terry sent an sms (slightly taxing his texting thumb) to his other friend, Fred,to join them at his house. Fred arrived at the house in his chauffeur-driven LandCruiser. Terry took both of them to the terrace, and they sat under a giant bluetarpaulin. Soaking in evocative music and drinking crystal champagne, the triobegan to chat informally. Terry asked Brandon about what was happening in hislife. Brandon replied, “Buddy, in the not too distant future, I intend to start a small,productive software firm with the help of micro loans.” No sooner did he finishsaying this that Fred guffawed and said sarcastically, “Hey man, there will be a lotof hiccups in setting up a software firm. There is no royal road to make profits.You better be aware of this fact.” Hearing this, Brandon lost his cool and said,“Ok, fine, if you think you can pull me down with your ludicrous comments, thenyou have successfully failed (it is an oxymoron). It would be better to keep youradvice to yourself. I know what I am doing. I am not a dingbat.” Terry remained amute spectator. He was helpless just like a kitten up a tree. Feeling rather hurt,Brandon told Terry that he would catch up with him some other time and stompedout of the house. Come to think of it, on how many occasions have you landed in apredicament due to your uncontrollable anger? How often has a long, simmeringanger pushed a situation to the point of no return? The answer is—many times(making you squirm with embarrassment). The influence of anger is pervasive inour society, largely because nobody is exempted from it. It is a universallyexpressed emotion. Anger, by the way, is a double-edged sword. It can be used asan instrument for one’s survival or for torturing others. People get angry for allsorts of reasons, ranging from minor pinpricks to major provocations. Somemaintain their anger for longer periods of time, while others disentanglethemselves from it in a few minutes. If a person does not regularly appraise his level of anger, it can become adestructive force. In such a case, it becomes a big problem to curb the anger.Remember, unrestrained anger is the primary cause for the breakup of
relationships. Furthermore, it is also the cause for disputes among nations. Millionsof lives lost, thousands of families’ bereaved, and massive damage to property—allbecause of a crude exhibition of anger. It is not easy to handle anger well, especially because there are noteaching institutions anywhere in the world to make us well equipped. No wonder,the moment we encounter this emotion, we do not know how to deal with it. Weare left clueless and scouting around for immediate answers. Time-tested tips to control your anger (1) When you are angry, keep your mouth shut, your lips sealed Words are most powerful. They have to be used in the right manner. When you are angry, you might utter a word out of place. It can be destructive, damaging, and unpleasant to others. This leaves a stain on your character. Moreover, it bodes ill for your future success. Hence, take a chill pill, and tell yourself something soothing, such as, “Just take it easy.” As Thomas Jefferson said, “When angry, count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” (2) Learn to deal with upsetting people/situations in an effective way. Damon, a chemical technologist, said, “I once went shopping at Wal-Mart inOntario, Canada. I bumped into Abel, a thorn in my side, who had come shoppingwith his better half. I gave them an indifferent smile and walked away from thatplace in no time. I know I did the best thing. Although my blood was boiling at thatmoment, I decided not to throw a temper tantrum and make the atmosphereunpleasant.” (3) Forgiveness – Every person has the divine right to exercise it During the course of a debate at a news studio in Washington, onepolitician, Kellen, made stinging remarks about his rival (Vicente). It was avituperative attack at its very best. Any faint-hearted person would have easilycollapsed then and there. But Vicente was a brave person. He did not retaliate, butrather said politely, “I will not take umbrage at his rudeness. I know it is just a slipof Kellen’s tongue, but basically he is an angelic person. I certainly have no issueswith him.” Vicente faced the music with temerity.
Forgiveness is not an easy thing for many people, solely because accordingto their way of thinking it is a quality of “less strong” people. Nothing could beless true than this. When you forgive someone, it knocks down long-standinggrudges. You are unburdened from past, hurtful episodes. You get on with life in apositive frame of mind. Forgiveness is a wonder drug. It has a powerful healingeffect on the deepest of your wounds. Triggering factors for anger Ticked off, burning up, riled—all synonyms for one of the most commonand basic human emotion: anger. Anger can be caused by (a) external factors(people, events). You could be outraged because your supposedly genuine friend,in his heart of hearts, wishes no good for you. You are wrathful because you areliving on a shoestring budget. (b) internal factors (thoughts, worries, memories).You are mad because of traumatic memories (they send shivers down your spine).You are so mired in your personal problems that it throws your normal life out ofg e a r. It is important to realize that anger can be your friend or foe, depending on how you express it. The way you act when you are angry can make a situation better or worse. Some people react to difficult situations with composure. They use obstacles as a springboard to make their lives better. They learn to take the bitter with the sweet. Others go crazy in these situations and cannot escape from the tentacles of their anger problem. Their response is a clear manifestation of their inability to handle unsettling situations. Worst-case scenario: Prolonged anger can be an invitation for premature death (a hair-raising penalty!) Why are some people more “hotheaded” than others? Some people get angry more easily and more intensely than an averageperson. Medically proven studies have shown that these people have a lowtolerance for frustration, aggravation, and the hassles of daily living, and seem tooverreact to the many problems of everyday life. They are particularly exasperatedif a situation in some way seems unreasonable. For example, such people might beannoyed about being corrected for a minor mistake. Anger can be influenced by hereditary or physiological causes. Some people are born cantankerous and irascible. The genesis of their anger can be
traced back to their earliest childhood days. Research has also found that some people come from troubled family backgrounds where levels of anger are high. They establish their parents’ angry conduct as a baseline and replicate the same pattern. Poor souls, little do they know the side effects of anger in the times to come. Constructive anger I want to debunk the misguided notion that anger is simply a harmful/destructive emotion expressed by us. Keep in mind that not all anger is unhealthy. For “cavemen,” it is a motivating force; for a “social activist,” an impetus to fight against societal wrongdoings; for a “journalist,” a strong reason to act as a custodian of the “public interest.” Anger is useful to: (a) Protect one’s reputation when it is unfairly sullied by allegations, half- truths, and innuendos. (b) Oppose draconian laws of the national government. (c) Vociferously raise a voice against social injustice. (d) Work like a demon to achieve seemingly impossible tasks. (e) Confront physical threats in a sensible manner. Counseling for anger Colt is a fashion designer who lives in Spokane, Washington, in the UnitedStates. His fresh-faced, preppy looks have contributed greatly to his appeal amongwomen and the young. One night, he was guzzling ice-cold Hamm’s beer, $3.69for a six-pack, in his house. It was 11 p.m. His girlfriend walked in from her job,terribly tired. Feeling frustrated by her late arrival, he slapped and kicked her withhis rubber-soled boots. His neighbors heard the assault. After 25 minutes, hepicked up a grungy iron rod from the attic of his house and broke the windshield ofher car, which had a tubular chassis and an aluminum body. A neighbor wasted notime in calling the police. The police rushed to the house; his girlfriend was ashen-faced with shock for having been shafted by Colt in such a way. He was kept in
prison for few months and later released, but not before the police issued a sternwarning to him to control his raging temper. The answer to all the above ills andproblems lies in an anger management counseling center wherein you (a) Get advice from a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional. (b) Learn a well thought-out plan to handle your anger in a better way. (c) Come to know the root cause of your outbursts. (d) Modify your thinking and behavior patterns. (e) Feel enriched by counseling techniques. When a client has completed the counseling sessions, he has to apply those multipronged strategies throughout his life to effectively control his temper and build himself into a balanced individual. Action plan Thinking about the obvious causes of your anger and mapping out strategies to combat it are central to improving the quality of your life. As Dr. Nicholson says, “Think like a detective and track down clues about the kinds of situations, people, and events that trigger your anger.” Each person has “hot buttons” that are likely to arouse his anger. It is necessary to identify these hot buttons so as to effectively handle anger. Basically, a person tends to react in anger because of social injustice, lack of sleep, hunger, loneliness, grogginess, mental illness, frustration, disappointment, shame, hurt, or rejection. To evaluate the intensity of your anger, answer the following questions, as mentioned in a journal: (a) Do you fly off the handle at the slightest thing? (b) Have you caused physical harm to others due to your raging temper? (c) Are you angry about your own self, life, God, the human race, your soul mate, your children, miscellaneous? (d) How much time do you take to step away from your anger?
(e) How mild/explosive is your anger, when compared to that of others?(f) Have you ever made it through an entire day without getting angry at something or someone?(g) Do you say filthy things when angry?(h) How easy/difficult it is to express your anger?