Have you ever stopped yourself, while mad, and thought, “Wow, did I just think that?”
If you have, it’s okay. Everyone does it. I speak from experience; anger runs in my family. I’m pretty sure I’d turn into a chubbier version of the Hulk if I ever got mad enough. But anger is universal. Like happiness and sadness, everyone experiences it. The problem is how you control or let out your anger.
No one on this earth likes to be told that they are wrong or they need help, we just don’t. The main reason for this, well for guys at least, is that it makes us look weak and vulnerable. Something men are not supposed to be. Whenever a young boy gets mad and does something like kick a potted plant over, he’s told to go to his room. Then he just sits there, not knowing what to do except ‘think about what he’s done.’ I’m not sure how many people reading this have kids, but the last thing they want to do is ‘think’ about what they did. They’re angry, they’re being punished and don’t understand why. Kids act on their emotions, not on rationality.
I remember when I was in third grade I got into a fight on the kickball field. A kid was talking about my mom, and being a true southerner who loves his momma, I let loose. I don’t remember much, except he and I fighting on the ground and dirt was flying everywhere. That was my first and only write up. Then there was this other time, on the same playground, a teacher did something to make me mad. Without thinking, or aiming, I kicked a ball at her while she was walking away. And as the ball was closing in, she turned around, and the ball hit her in her pregnant stomach. All I remember was that I really didn’t like the teacher, and the baby was fine.
My point here is that kids, especially boys, generally aren’t taught to express their emotions, but rather are told to hold them in. When they get to their older years–I remember being told this a lot–they are told ‘control your anger.’ When I hear a parent say this, I think to myself, “Then teach them! If you don’t know how, find someone who does!”
It took me years to control my anger and I still struggle with it today. My advice: don’t engage in cathartic behavior, which is doing something violent while angry. That only leads to you becoming an aggressive person. What I found most helpful is two things that both involve talking. The first thing I do is pull a trusted friend aside, tell them not to criticize or judge, and I just vent. I find hearing what I’m angry about aloud sounds crazy, and I eventually solve the problem on my own. The second is counseling. Getting help from a professional is life changing and can put you on the path to a happier life.