Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Anger Management

I don’t get angry easily. I get annoyed or frustrated or exasperated fairly easily, but rarely do I get ANGRY. And when I do, it’s usually because something has happened which has hurt me.

My parents have vastly different anger profiles.

With my mom it’s the slow burn. She’s eternally patient and will put up with a hell of a lot before she snaps, but when she does… get out your flak jackets, ‘cause it’s gonna get messy! And her memory is long. The woman knows how to hold a grudge.

Dad is the opposite. He’s got a flash temper – almost anything will set him off. And he’s got the patience of a two year old. His temper will go off about a dozen times a day, but once he’s yelled at who/what ever is annoying him, he’s back to his usual fun, funny self. No grudges, no recriminations.

It’s obvious to me which of my siblings takes after which parent. Dave is totally my mom (they’re both the oldest sib and they’re both introverts) and Jo is Dad to a T (both the youngest and both extroverts) I try not to spend too much time alone with Dad & Jo when they get together: fireworks are inevitable – and not the fun kind!

And then there’s me. Like my mom, it takes a lot to get me REALLY angry, but like my dad I don’t have a lot of patience and once I AM mad, I’m more than happy to let people know.

Luckily I don’t get really angry often. But if something bugs me, I say so. And I’m less tolerant of things that I used to let slide – like my dad making fun of elements of my life that he doesn’t understand (“Staying home alone on a Friday night?? What’s WRONG with you? Get a man! Get a life!” – “Back off, Dad. I have a life. Just because you’d find it boring doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it!”

And of course, though he continues to not understand my introversion (most extroverts will never really get us!) he respects the fact that I’ll give it right back to him.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that I got really mad a couple weeks ago. I forced myself to not spew all over everyone, but it wasn’t easy. Instead, I cried in vexation on the train ride home while I wrote that person a long, rambling, vitriolic letter. And then I didn’t send it. The next day I sent a much calmer, more rational letter that I thought expressed my feelings better than the previous rant had.

I’ve haven’t heard back from this person. I’m hoping that they can appreciate that my anger at their actions has little bearing on how much I value their friendship.

If you’re reading this, I’d like to hear from you.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!


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