Temper, Temper

I have anger issues.

Or rather, I have a single anger issue. It’s not an issue clouded in a dangerous red haze, that bursts from my forehead like the emotional descendant of Athena, explosively demanding TO SPEAK TO THE MANAGER!

No.

It’s the other kind of issue. My anger issue is that I am not terribly good at expressing my anger. Either I am emotionally involved – in which case my eyes invariably leak in a way that looks suspiciously like crying but is, in fact, just a watery expression of intense frustration – or I am not emotionally involved, in which case I would just rather not, thankyouverymuch. Here is how my (unemotional) anger tends to develop:

The idiot does something idiotic.

I try to ignore it.

The idiot continues to do the idiotic thing.

I consider the fact that perhaps the idiot doesn’t know any better and is, in fact, doing what they think is right. I continue to try to ignore them.

The idiot starts involving me directly and pre-emptively defends their idiotic position out of a (valid) fear of being judged.

I feel a twinge of pity that the idiot finds this idiocy a productive use of their time. I think about the many things the idiot could be doing instead, like reading, or going to the zoo, or taking a long walk. I feel a sort of remote concern about the life circumstances that have brought them to this point. I wonder about their parents and whether or not they have any friends. I take a long, slow breath and calmly explain my point of view to the idiot, while accepting that they clearly have their own view of the matter at hand. I tell them they don’t need to agree, they just need to try to at leastย understand that others feel differently.

The idiot does not understand. The idiot does not even try. The idiot simply gets louder, more annoying and more aggressive about their idiocy.

I start to feel a stirring of annoyance. Not because they are an idiot – after all, I’ve already concluded that they probably can’t help it; who chooses to be an idiot, after all? – I just really dislike loudness. Can’t we keep it to regular decibels? Is the hysteria really necessary? I regret not having bought ear plugs with my last amazon order. I ask them to keep it down, please. I ask them not to scream in my ear, because it happens to be quite disagreeable. Also, I am not hard of hearing and would really prefer for this discussion to come to an end with this still being the case.

The idiot ignores me and continues to shout, but is now approaching a sort of feverish level of rage, and so the shouting is louder and more unpleasant. Their face has turned an unflattering shade of puce and their hands are trembling with indignation.

Now I can feel that strange, unfurling of anger deep in my stomach. A small part of me is stirring, galvanised by the grating sound of unrestrained agitation. The idiot cannot tell, of course, because this part of me is well concealed beneath layers of decorum. I cut in while they’re taking a wheezing breath. I speak the idiot’s position back to them, to make sure I’ve grasped their (idiotic) point, and then make my argument as clearly and concisely as possible. Again.

The idiot is INFLAMED that I might understand their position and still argue against it. They escalate into a mad frenzy of spit-flinging fury. At this stage they are so psychotically furious their words have devolved into incoherence, and I can only lean back and watch the spittle fly.

Now I am angry. Actually angry. I can feel my entire body stiffen with adrenaline and blaze with a rage that has been slowly brought the boil…

…And I’m out. I’m sorry, but I really don’t believe there’s anything to be gained once the idiot is foaming at the mouth. I say something like, “Okay, let’s just leave it. We’re not getting anywhere with this.” Then I walk away, my veins pulsating with unreleased anger. I go for a walk. I let the cool air bring my temperature back down until it’s no longer the same as that of an exploding star. I read. I go to the zoo.

Sometimes I enjoy a flicker of satisfaction in imagining how it would feel to yell “YOU RUDE, INSUFFERABLE GODDAMN IMBECILE! CAN YOU PLEASE RUB THE TWO LONELY BRAIN CELLS THAT ARE FLOATING AROUND IN THAT THICK SKULL TOGETHER AND GET THEM TO START A SMALL SPARK OF UNDERSTANDING! THERE’S NO REASON TO BE SUCH A HEINOUS TOOLBAG, FOR GOD’S SAKE!”

But it never makes its way to the surface. It stays stuck in my throat like a spiny hairball. I swallow it down while I’m on my long walk. It sinks to the bottom of my stomach where it joins the rest of them; the many words of anger that are left unspoken. My anger issues.

10 comments
  1. You know, you really should give your fiance a name. Constantly calling him “the idiot” is probably not conducive to having him act any other way.

  2. Same. And often times, during your cooling off period, you think of the wittiest of come backs, give a half smile thinking about how the proclamation would go, then internally kick yourself for not thinking of it sooner, then kick yourself again because you know that even if you had thought of it in the moment, you wouldn’t have said it because of said anger issue. I get it.

  3. My friends always guestion my lack of temper/anger – They are convinced one day all the anger I’ve ever held in will cause me to explode into a raving lunatic….we’ll see!
    I hope the idiot has apologised ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I love this! It’s amazing how you put into words how I feel regularly!

  5. I used to get anger flares out of nowhere brought on by lyme disease it was called lyme rage…super scary

  6. Well said. I think we can all relate. Well, except the idiots….they wouldn’t be reading this, I’m sure. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Blah.

  8. I loved this story, if only for the thought of some imbecile sitting there, wanting to continue the idiocy, while you were off reading a book and drinking coffee or wine….perhaps sitting outside.
    I try to keep my judging to myself, but at these times, the usual poker face becomes quite expressive. I may not say what I am thinking, but somehow people already seem to know.

  9. I am getting better at being understanding and not allowing things to upset me. It still happens though. Most recently (last fall) someone told me where to go to take a particular test, and when I was almost there, they sent me a text saying it was at a different location, but they forgot to tell me. I pretty much lost it. Now I was late for a test, because they forgot that they had told me a different site. But I’m getting better.

  10. Thanks for putting on paper my thoughts when in the presence of an idiot. So perfect and hilarious! If it makes you feel any better, I have the same anger issues.

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