This Comment of the Day is by Steve Horsmon on the post Love and Anger Are Close Cousins
I agree that anger is mostly a secondary reaction to an unmet expectation. It is our pre-existing thoughts and personal “programs” that make us react with feelings of anger and resentment. I believe it is possible to develop skills and thoughts in advance of events to avoid unproductive and/or destructive anger in a relationship. I work with men on this all the time. A person can choose to do this or not.
It applies whether you’re driving down the highway and someone cuts you off or your affectionate advances are once again rejected. Once we learn the root cause, the root *thoughts* that invite the anger, we can begin to change our thoughts.
In the car, male anger is legendary. I have a friend who talks about his “15 second rule”. To him, this means no matter what happens on the road with another driver, that guy will be out of his life permanently in only 15 seconds. Why in the world would he allow that guy to make him angry? Why would a man choose to dive into negativity at the hands of someone they will never see again? My friend is a recovering road rageaholic.
In relationships, men can shoot straight to anger the second they are rejected and when they are accused being one way or another. We can get angry at the thought of unfair accusations as in “you always” or “you never” ! We can get furious at the thought of an ex-wife crafting lies about the real reasons for the divorce and spreading them to kids and friends. We can rage over writing a check to an ex-wife and using her new last name.
There are productive ways to welcome the anger, embrace it, and choose to be motivated by it.
Anger is rarely a useful emotion unless it is used as a catalyst for change. I’ve not found any useful purpose for anger when it is allowed to sit and simmer indefinitely. In fact, in the men I know, it becomes an insidious force of destruction against their own well being and every relationship in their life.
photo by tonythemisfit / flickr