People react a certain way when they get angry.
One of my best friends gets very quiet and dangerous. You’d know he’s angry because he’ll get very stern and speak very clearly.
He’s the type of person whose anger does not blow over quickly. He gets angry, and then everything seems to be all right… except he won’t speak to you for a long, long time.
One lady I know blinks a lot. One would get the feeling that she’s a light bulb about to short circuit, because she starts to “flicker.” Her anger blows over quickly, and everything’s all right.
My friend’s anger is like a deep well that slowly overflows over a long period of time. If the rains keep on falling into the well, then the well will continue to overflow for however long it needs to take. This is dangerous because who knows how long it will be?
The lady’s anger is like a cloudburst over the desert. It passes as soon as it comes, and it is as if it never came at all… if not for the flowers that are left behind. Even though her anger may be quick, it is also potent, and though the results may not last as long, they are still visible.
My family has unique ways of dealing with our anger.
This morning my brother and my father had a huge fight. Over what, I’m not sure. In fact, I probably shouldn’t give any details to protect those involved. I was sleeping in, and I woke to the sounds of loud crashes and yells. Apparently they had a disagreement and were quite (obviously) furious. My father is the kind of person who gets angry very easily. And when he does get angry, he gets violent and starts yelling at the top of his lungs.
My brother is the dude who doesn’t get angry easily. But when he does get angry, the roof falls down. He snaps. Up till then he’ll do a great job of controlling his anger. He won’t rise to the jibes and pokes… until it gets really really really annoying.
I think he broke something in his room.
We all have our own unique ways of dealing with anger. Some people keep it silently bottled up inside them, until they cannot hold a drop more. Then the bottle cap blows and they fizz out. Some people weep helplessly when they get angry. Others yell right back. Still others punch holes in the walls.
However, over the years, we learn certain reactions to our anger. Maybe we find that throwing a huge tantrum seems to get people’s attention rather than sitting there and taking it. Maybe our relatives threw their dishware at the walls, and so we learned from them that that’s how to deal with anger.
Once a habit is learned, it’s hard to let go of.
My father grew up in a home where people got angry at each other. And when they got angry, they threw things. They shouted, made holes in the wall. My grandmother told me that they’d even grab a table and throw it upside-down. That was the way they knew how to deal with their anger, as destructive as it was. It wasn’t good. But that’s what they’d been doing for years. That’s what they’d learned from their fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, cousins.
And maybe… it was too much trouble for them to change. Not only that, they viewed it as an acceptable way to deal with such an emotion. Why not? Their aunts, uncles, grandparents did it.
As a result, my father grew up believing that such behavior was a perfectly all right way to display anger.
Then he met my mother. My mother grew up in a family where people communicated whenever they were angry. They didn’t throw things, break things, or raise their voices.
It must have been strange for him. I do know that it was strange for my mother.
When my grandmother (his mother) moved in with us, I got to see more of that kind of behavior. When she got angry, she shouted. She hit things. Hard. It ticked me off, and whenever she and my father had fights with each other you could hear suspiciously loud noises and their voices, quarreling over something or other. Good thing they didn’t fight that often.
I don’t think I would have been able to stand it.
It’s a cycle. A vicious cycle. Once one person “learns” how to throw things when angry, the people around that person learn that reaction as well. And when they learn it, those around them learn it as well. When one person learns how to keep anger bottled inside, those around that see it (and people will see it even though you try to bottle it as best as you can) will learn it too. Especially young children. Like me.
PART I ends here.