Mental Health 101 – Anger

Ever felt that way?  Idiots.  i am surrounded by idiots.  And it is their fault i am angry.  If people were not so stupid, i would not be so angry all the time, right?  God knows i have tried to put up with them, but i am surrounded.

That describes my attitude the whole time i have been on this planet.  Surrounded by stupid people.  The ones who refuse to use a signal light, as if it sucks gas or something.  The ones who park their cart in the busiest supermarket intersection and then talk…and talk…and talk.  I would not mind so much, except francophones and english-speakers are in equal numbers up here, so i only get parts of the gossip.

Somebody asked me why i would move way up here instead of staying in the city.  My answer?  Ratios.  There are not less idiots percentage-wise, but there are less per square inch.  If it were not for those people, i would not be so fucking angry all the time, right?

Wrong.  Anger is a secondary emotion.  That means there is something lurking behind the anger.  Oh, oh.  Could it be that i am responsible for my own anger?

Turns out, yeah.  right below the surface of that boil called anger is something else.  Fear, maybe?  Sadness?  The chart below is more complex than i like, but it illustrates quicker than i can type.  (  This is good as well:

Primary emotion Secondary emotion Tertiary emotions
Love Affection Adoration, affection, love, fondness, liking, attraction, caring, tenderness, compassion, sentimentality
Lust Arousal, desire, lust, passion, infatuation
Longing Longing
Joy Cheerfulness Amusement, bliss, cheerfulness, gaiety, glee, jolliness, joviality, joy, delight, enjoyment, gladness, happiness, jubilation, elation, satisfaction, ecstasy, euphoria
Zest Enthusiasm, zeal, zest, excitement, thrill, exhilaration
Contentment Contentment, pleasure
Pride Pride, triumph
Optimism Eagerness, hope, optimism
Enthrallment Enthrallment, rapture
Relief Relief
Surprise Surprise Amazement, surprise, astonishment
Anger Irritation Aggravation, irritation, agitation, annoyance, grouchiness, grumpiness
Exasperation Exasperation, frustration
Rage Anger, rage, outrage, fury, wrath, hostility, ferocity, bitterness, hate, loathing, scorn, spite, vengefulness, dislike, resentment
Disgust Disgust, revulsion, contempt
Envy Envy, jealousy
Torment Torment
Sadness Suffering Agony, suffering, hurt, anguish
Sadness Depression, despair, hopelessness, gloom, glumness, sadness, unhappiness, grief, sorrow, woe, misery, melancholy
Disappointment Dismay, disappointment, displeasure
Shame Guilt, shame, regret, remorse
Neglect Alienation, isolation, neglect, loneliness, rejection, homesickness, defeat, dejection, insecurity, embarrassment, humiliation, insult
Sympathy Pity, sympathy
Fear Horror Alarm, shock, fear, fright, horror, terror, panic, hysteria, mortification
Nervousness Anxiety, nervousness, tenseness, uneasiness, apprehension, worry, distress, dread


And i know without feelings of anger, we wouldn’t take a stand against unfairness or injustice.  Blah blah blah.  Yeah.  Count out the number of times you have been angry lately.  Most of them step from injustice issues, right?  i thought not.  So let’s skip over that.  You can educate me later.

And we’ll just skip over that other speed bump to my progress:  It is not my family’s fault.  Not my mom, dad, sister, wife or anyone else.  I may have “issues” from how i was raised, but how i deal with them now is completely up to me.  NO ONE ELSE CAN FIX YOUR ANGER.  Just to cement that in there.

I do not like to feeling fear and sadness any more than anyone else.  I feel vulnerable and exposed and out of control.  And the way i dealt with this, especially in my younger years was anger.  I was a violent brawler and sports was a license to excel in releasing my anger.  So my defense mechanism for most of my life has been to shift into anger mode.  Then i feel in control and i can cage the deep stuff back in the dungeon for another time which never comes.  Anger provides me with a surge of energy and chemicals that are familiar to my brain.  And so it feels good, familiar… a nice shot of adrenalin and stuff.   Mmmmmmm.  Chemicals.

And, as has been said by someone else i can’t remember, “If you walk around with shit on your upper lip, the whole world is bound to stink.  i begin to think it is everyone else who is angry with me.  WTF???  Why would anyone be angry with me?  They weren’t.  My shit, my lip…my stuff.

Practical advice.  Make a decision of some kind.  That kind of rage does not go away by itself.  Make some kind of practical decision to work with healing your yourself.  It has to begin there, with you.

Tap into whatever spiritual, physical or emotional supports are available to you..  There are groups of people everywhere struggling with like issues.  Online or in local community.  Be cautious, as sharing can often trigger those deep emotions.  Go ahead and feel some of it.  You don’t need to feel it all at once, but find a safe place, breathe and talk to you.  Exclude the others and focus on what is going on inside you and what is really happening, instead of what it feels like is happening.  There is tons of good stuff about mindfulness out there…go ahead and read some of it.

This will get you started.  And i will be including some other things in the tools section of mental health in a bit.

Like this, for teaching children mindfulness: …i copied the headings and hung it on my workstation.

Let me know how it goes, if you like.

Less angry John

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