I always associate anger with yelling and aggression. Unfortunately, this is some of my strongest impressions of my Dad from my younger years, or what I interpreted as anger. I have a feeling that it came from the stress of being a doctor, and the requirement to be professional at the office. Thankfully, it was only loud, and never violent. But, yelling has always intimidated me.
Although nowadays, I am more intimidated by Mom’s “disappointment” or guilt trips than Dad’s yelling. In some sense, I feel that passive anger is even more pernicious than aggressive anger, because it is the opposite of my normal schema of anger, and I don’t know how to react to it. When it came to my Dad’s anger, I attempted to comply with his requests, and by now, I have learnt to tune out his yelling.
For me, I did not inherit the explosive anger trait from Dad, and I don’t know whether I have the passive anger trait from Mom. In general, I try to avoid anger, but when I would be “angry,” I feel that the emotion is masked in other forms. For example, when I was a toddler, behaviors that others may have interpreted as my anger Mom and Dad interpreted as frustration, which is probably true.
If I get frustrated or annoyed now, I will usually try to blow it off, but may react to it in a way other than yelling, such as pacing around, explicitly saying, “This is frustrating/annoying,” or retreating into The Shell. I wonder whether my positive spin on life tends to come from The Shell as well? It’s all based on my yearnings for stability, I would say.
Another maxim that I take seriously comes from פרקי אבות (Teachings of the Fathers): “One who is slow to anger and quick to appease is a saintly person.”
Although, I wonder if a time will come when an outward expression of anger may be useful for me. Is anger a basic emotion, or is it derived from some other basic emotion…?
Today is the twenty-fourth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes three weeks and three days.