Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Coping with anger in an adult manner
Venting Anger: It's not normal to want to break dishes or throw things? I hardly ever do (because I'm too lazy to clean up and too cheap to break stuff), but I often want to. I think I do a good job of managing it, but sometimes I just want to have a tantrum. I can't believe this isn't normal adult behavior as long as it's managed properly. That's why I run — then I'm too tired to be angry.
CAROLYN: The important thing is to know your own nature and to find productive ways to manage it. Plenty of tightly wound people exercise their stress away, or channel it into high-pressure jobs — or make a point of avoiding high-pressure jobs — or seek out companionship that mellows them out, and so on.
ANONYMOUS: What in the world are you people walking around so angry about all the time? There might have been once or twice in 20-plus years where I have been that angry about something. I can't really comprehend being that angry on a regular basis, and not changing whatever it was about my life that was causing all that anger.
CAROLYN: It is an excellent, excellent question.
There is a range here, as with all other facets of our makeup. Some people are wired to have sharp mood spikes while others sail calmly by. Culture and society play a role, too (we are in a moment where self-indulgence is king).
Still, regular anger is a signal to have a hard look at what's going on in your life. Some questions to ask: Have I always been like this, are there specific triggers, is this innate or learned? Do I always need to be in control? Or is this person/job/location/goal just wrong for me?
It's the same with any regular, undesirable emotion — including jealousy, sadness, anxiety, stress. These are installed in us to flag a problem, and they're not supposed to be part of our emotional resting state.
I KNOW I'M JUST ASKING FOR IT BUT: Re: "Why would you want to live that way?":
Just shut up. I'm angry. I'm angry a lot. My family is angry, my wife's family is angry. We're an angry bunch, angry that people won't take two seconds to think about what they're doing and how it affects other people. Angry that people vote against their own interests because they hate gays or want someone as dumb as themselves to run things. And yes, angry that those damned Patriots keep winning.
You know what else? I'm happy, too. Over-the-(bleeping)-moon happy when my 4-year-old tells me she loves me or steps in to help a friend who is being pushed around in a little-kid scrum. Happy when my wife tells me I'm the best thing that ever happened to her.
Angry isn't a forever feeling, and it's not inherently a bad feeling. It can turn bad quick, depending on what it's based upon and how you react. So I work on it. So all you people who are even-keeled and never have to face yourselves and your bad intentions, just please judge us silently and shut up.
CAROLYN: I laughed.
The shot at my Pats was low, though, considering.