“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Please don’t get mad, but I don’t remember the source of the article that inspired this blog. Essentially, it implied we are becoming a nation of anger addicts. Too many people are getting a rush from lashing out, and somehow that euphoria trumps the pain inflicted and “emotion hangover” that follows.
The more I thought about it, the more I noticed angry people all around me. The road rage folks. The person blaming the waitress who had zero control over how the steak was cooked. The lady yelling at the manager for the poor service received. The online cowards who choose to spread venom because they feel they are invisible and more powerful than if he or she spoke in person. The political ads Ad nauseam. It is like a wild fire of fury.
Last Sunday I was grocery shopping when I overheard the following (loud) conversation in the next aisle:
Woman: Get the blah-blah-blah brand. It is cheaper.
Man: Just SHUT UP and let me do what I want to do.
Woman (meekly): Okay.
I cringed. Just hearing the way he spoke to her made my skin crawl. I peered around the corner and was further taken aback. He was not only three times her size, but she was in one of those motorized scooters. It made my stomach feel queasy to think about what life was like for her day in and day out.
So, yeah, anger issues abound. I’m not sure if we feel like life has become uncontrollable, or if it has become trendy to be bitter. Either way it is not healthy.
Here are five reasons, as midlife women, to rethink anger:
From Brene Brown: “First and foremost, we need to be the adults we want our children to be. We should watch our own gossiping and anger. We should model the kindness we want to see.”
From Susun S. Weed: “The root chakra is strongly connected with anger. Unwanted growths in these organs (uterus, cervix, perineum, and bladder) may be seen as unexpressed, or stored, anger and countered by allowing the anger to discharge safely. Supportive therapies such as Pathwork , or Bioenergetics can help you touch these feelings and help them move on.
Anger is similar to other addictions. What happens is that anger can lead to similar “rushes” as thrill-seeking activities where danger triggers dopamine reward receptors in the brain, or like other forms of addiction such as gambling, extreme sports, even drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines. Anger can become its own reward, but like other addictions, the final consequences are dangerous and real, and people follow impulses in the moment without regard to the big picture.
Anger may be familiar/comfortable and also a method of emotional avoidance. Unfortunately for some people who are raised in continuously chaotic environments, the uncertainty and volatility of anger might become perversely comfortable, might help distract from or escape underlying uncomfortable feelings of emptiness or fear. The rush of drama and conflict feels familiar and produces a destructive intimacy that some might prefer than to confront other darker emotions like loss or grief or more. Aside from traumatic family environments, combat veterans are also at risk of similar addiction, as they remain in high-threat situations for long and repeated periods of time