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Dealing With Anger

Losing stuff can be devastating. It forces you to re-evaluate and re-calibrate everything in your life out of a new light. We resemble a Windows PC stuck and overloaded, needed to be restarted. It’s only natural for people to experience some extreme emotions out of it. Anger, frustration and denial can be one of the main emotional mechanisms deployed in the defense of it. All the while, it leaves you with a reddened face and a set of frowning eyebrows resembling a small kid losing its toy. Anger is a naturally evolved tool that proved quite valuable for our sustainability and success throughout history. People would see our urge to attack and be feared and scared. But it’s not rare for so many of us to get stuck and over-consumed in the wheels of it. Thoughts infiltrating our minds out of nowhere. The urge to scream or break something. Keeping it in is too heavy and cumbersome. It needs an outlet fast and a way of being expressed before its burden rotten our insides. So pick your poison. You either hold this negative black hole of energy for your self, damaging your mental health or unleash it out there tearing whatever is gonna come its way. But what if there is another way to draw the fire down? What is it that fuels these detrimental emotions in the first place and how can we understand them better and deal with them more gracefully?

A Change Of Scene

Loss is everywhere. During the last few months we saw our lives transform from a cocktail drinking party on the beach to a cataclysmic zombie apocalypse, the scenario of which resembles the skills of Quentin Quarantino. We lost our freedom, habits and security together with the ability for an interactive get-together with our friends. Going to the cinema or to a restaurant seems like a last-century luxury that people back then were lucky enough to enjoy but too ungrateful to appreciate. There is not a single thing stable around us anymore. Any legitimate cause for anxiety put on a nice costume and came right in our doorsteps knocking at our doors. The realization of its finality, the helplessness and inability to remedy things to what was before can get quite infuriating. It can all resemble the 5 stages of dealing with grief. That is denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. With anger being just one of its steps. Just one of the weapons we deploy towards dealing with a change in the status quo or the threat of it. Until the point we realize it’s not helping. And we shift gears towards acceptance and what can we do to respond to things as they are at the current moment.

Just a few months ago it happened to me to lose a good job. I had to switch from working in a stable environment everybody would be jealous of, to a sudden de-escalation downwards, like a balloon getting a hole while mid-air. It wasn’t easy. Anger became my standard companion and friend which I would trust all my secrets in return of which he was to protect me from getting hurt and feeling exposed. It was an instinctual response. I wasn’t only dealing with loss but with its irreversibility of it as well. Unconsciously I knew there was nothing to be done and there was no action from my part to fix anything. There were too many internal questions to be answered that I refused profoundly to look upon. What were my mistakes, what can I learn from this, what can I do from now on to at least lessen the pain and get up standing in my feet the soonest possible. I asked none of that. Too proud to admit they had to be answered. Anger seemed a much easier approach to fix my problems.

Digging Into The Emotion

Anger is the auto-generated response to loss when we fixate in a particular cause. The moment we lay eyes on something that we think is hindering our desired state or outcome is the moment that aggression is generated. Evolutionary speaking, it worked fine. Anger declares our willingness to fight for what’s ours and sends the message we are not willing to duck out with the tail between our legs. Just the existence of it makes any attacker think twice before making a move forward. So anger is natural and exists in all species. It evolved to help us sustain our havings and possessions. But as with everything else, feelings evolve in their own. It shouldn’t surprise us. What anger was initially, as it came to be and the reason for its existence, doesn’t collide 100% with what is today. Emotions evolve together with people and the environment. They mutate like a virus until they find a sweet spot to coexist in our society. And their manifestations need to be looked upon anew, with a fresh eye.

It’s not a wonder for people to use anger compulsively to achieve their means. Many times they are an open wound walking around. Hurt and damaged by past events that remained inside them, unreleased. They detonate a border around them by deploying anger, marking the point you should not pass. But all this is nothing but a defense of a hurt ego that didn’t have the chance to confront its fears. And so it remained closed to itself. It’s funny to understand that the people that are the most irritable are the ones that are the most sensitive…

This pattern is totally different than what anger came to be originally. It becomes a weapon of revenge, deployed when the world did not meet our expectations. Imagine that you lived into a narrative that turned out to be false. You made anything in your hand right, you did a good job, you paid your taxes, you ‘ve been a good spouse. And then there comes the time that everything is taken away from you for no reason. Maybe something bad happens like a virus pandemic. Boom! The underlying contract you had with the world, broken into a thousand pieces. You did your part without the deserved reciprocation. Many people would immerse into a pattern of anger and hidden resignation. It’s the easiest approach really and the one that is used on since childhood. They would internally try to revenge and lock themselves up in anger. As if society would somehow notice and would give them back what is lost. But the world doesn’t work this way. It take lots of work and courage to deal with loss. Sure. But it’s the only way to be effective and move on gracefully.

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