I remember hearing a story, many years ago, from a concerned mother about her very angry son. She recounted many outbursts, but one in particular has stuck with me because it showed how different people perceive anger. During an initial session, this elderly woman explained that she had been living with her son, his wife, and their three children for years. She said that her son has always had a temper, which he inherited from his father.
It was a normal Tuesday morning in which she woke up at 6:00am, made breakfast, and started picking up around the house. She had breakfast with her three grandchildren, as they were 4, 3, and 1, and hadn’t started preschool yet. Her son and his wife had always been late sleepers; they woke up around noon and came to the living room to watch TV. She served them breakfast and had a nice conversation about the previous evening and plans for the day ahead. When her son turned on the television, the cable was out. He immediately turned from cold to warm. She said that his attitude changed, she knew he was angry but he kept it in check. His wife got on the phone to call the cable company to have the problem solved. As she was speaking with the operator, he began to warm up more and more because he was frustrated that it was taking so long for the cable to be fixed. The call couldn’t have been 5 minutes long when he completely flipped out and burst. The mother remembers hearing him yell at his wife so loud that she began to cry, she remembers the three children screaming and crying as she ran to them. Her son began to throw any object around at the television, until he finally broke it. She doesn’t remember how long after the outburst began, there was a knock on the door. The police had been called by the operator on the phone who was so scared for the crying woman and children on the line that she made an emergency call to the house.
After everything passed, when the woman spoke with her son he said that he had no idea what led up to his outburst. He explained to her that he did not notice getting progressively louder. He said he became blinded by anger at a certain point and does not recall the crying, throwing of things, and eventually breaking the television. Unfortunately, this was not the first or last time incidents like this happened in this family.
Anger is a common experience that everyone encounters. And although everyone encounters it, anger is expressed in many different manners and at different levels. There are people, like in the above example, that cannot control their anger and burst into very hurtful rages. There are others that lose control while driving and feel the need to cut off he whom cut them off first. Yet, there are others who internalize the anger or are able to blow off steam in a healthier manner.
The reason why people get angry is due to personal experiences and socially learned ways to react to hurt and insult. Even though anger is a common occurrence, there are healthier ways to respond to feelings of hurt and anger such as:
- Acknowledge that you feel hurt
- Follow the hurt back into its roots in the past to all those times and circumstances when you felt the same way
- Avoid the popular response to feelings of hurt and insult… Revenge and Violence
If you find yourself struggling with feelings of hurt and insult and are tired of reacting with rage and anger, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our Orlando mental health counselors.