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Throwing his toys around

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For years he wondered why he was so afraid of getting angry until it dawned on him – he once had a violent temper when he was just a boy.

It would be next to impossible for ‘him’ to tally up the amount of times that the advice was given to him: “You must toughen up! You have to stop allowing people to push you around!”

Some even took the spiritual route in the hopes of injecting a bit of life into him: “The Bible says you must be meek; it says nothing about being weak!”

People around him were frustrated by his apparent total absence of assertiveness.

It must have been terrible for them to witness someone they cared about being shunted around by individuals, businesses and other bullies.

Yet it had always been hard for him – though he was keenly aware of unfairness and bullying – to stand up for himself and fight back. Though he agreed with everything his friends told him, it was just hard for him to “do” confrontation.

For years he wondered why he was so afraid of getting angry until it dawned on him – he once had a violent temper when he was just a boy.

The problem was that he couldn’t even do rage right.

Firstly, he couldn’t fight, so there he was with a red-hot rage and no way of burning it off seeing as he was scared of being pounded. The result was that his face turned blood-red, the veins on his temples would bulge. He’d rant, scream and throw things around, and burn off the temper-lava in that way.

Afterwards he’d feel weak, drained and quite light-headed. Of course he’d be embarrassed because, once all his energy had been spent, he had siblings who would do their temper-impressions – they were mocking him, but he was too weak and spent to care.

The point is that he would get so angry that he would lose control, and once he started to vent he had no way of channelling that anger. The anger would control him.

The result he learned to fear losing control. The problem with that is that because of this irrational fear of losing control, he never learned how to channel anger in healthy ways, so he ‘avoided’ getting angry as much as he could.

And think about that for a moment anger that is not expressed has to go somewhere, and if it is not directed at the problem in a healthy way to bring about a resolution then it goes elsewhere.

It very rarely just ‘goes away’.

I once read that if you carry around a lot of suppressed or repressed anger it has to build up somewhere, and then you may find yourself overreacting and lashing out one day for a seemingly minor thing, and you could, as a result, hurt someone and permanently damage a relationship or, for that matter, your reputation.

I think that our friend, who would rather not lose his cool for fear of losing control and saying something he might regret, will today find it quite unsettling that society is geared solely to catering to the whims and demands of those who love being angry, abrasive, rude and demanding.

Why is it that you are either ignored or shunted around if you are respectful and reserved, but get superb service when you walk into the reception area of a business guns blazing?

Why, if you try to reason with a service provider about something that you’re dissatisfied with, do they feel justified in giving you the run-around, but if you use colourful language at a high enough volume and threaten ‘further steps’, they back down and provide the service they should have been providing all along?

Does our society only cater to bullies? Is good service reserved only for those who can intimidate? If this is so, where are we headed?

Do clients have to, with blood-red face and bulging veins on their temples, rant, scream and throw things around before they get what they deserve?

If so, the reception areas of some businesses in this city are shaping up to be pretty chaotic places.