Monday, February 17, 2014

On Not Letting the Sun Set on My Anger

Something that I've been dealing with a lot in the last few years is rage.  I have never considered myself a rage-full person and certainly people who knew me from my docile college years spent penned up in church would have a hard time believing it.  It comes in bursts.  Sometimes it actually makes it to the surface.  Usually it's my family that sees it the most.  Sometimes it's a mild flare, and sometimes it is white, white hot and I can't sit still because I want to be physically violent with... something.  

Where does it all come from?  In therapy tonight we identified that it is a conglomeration of small, tiny, injuries to myself.  Something that feels disrespectful, something that makes me feel helpless or powerless.  A slight to me or something I believe in strongly.  It all adds up into a big, poker hot ball of rage.

I hadn't realized that my coping mechanism for this in life is to deflect my anger.   My stifling Asian Christian upbringing has taught me to squelch the feelings of anger, tell myself something that will make me okay with it for the time being.  What I didn't realize is that in not acknowledging the angry, in stuffing my feelings deep down, I set myself up inevitably for an explosion.  Sometimes alcohol helps to coax it out.  Sometimes it's that one last straw that makes me lash out.

It's hard to sit with being angry.  C#arlie, in a rare show of his preacher background, quoted Ephesians 4:26 (26“In your anger do not sin”d : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry) (hell yes I googled that) and I had to really think what that meant, since for my whole life I have basically parroted that verse as an admonishment to tell people not to be mad in a my-hindsight-is-cringing super-preachy way.  But he pointed out that most noteworthy is that Bible doesn't tell me not to be angry.  It just tells me not to go to sleep without dealing with it (been there--really bad dreams, don't do it).  It was an interesting application of a time and again read Bible passage that I've glossed over with a "Yeah yeah yeah, don't be mad, I get it." 

I do not know how to deal with anger.  I suspect that it could potentially involve pushing back.  I guess it'll involve being comfortable with it.  I know for sure it'll involve a helluva lot of practice. 

1 comment:

  1. Sitting here in a NYC courthouse for jury duty, I came across your blog. Thank you for making my day less boring. I've enjoyed reading about your love of trader joes, your trip to Paris, your hilarious mom, and your rage. Btw, the xanga link to your japan blog isn't working. Keep writing about your life it is funny, novel and instantly familiar.