Displaced Anger

February 18th, 2009

One doesn’t need to see a therapist to understand the terms “displaced anger.” It is basically anger that lacks a home. Anger traveling around inside the mind, with no home, can create physical and relational problems, and basically make life miserable. We have to put anger in its place. Anger is not a “bad” or “wrong” emotion like some of us were led to believe growing up. Anger can energize us and help us to take charge in certain situations. Anger is just one of the many emotions felt on any given day.

I have trouble with anger. I both turn it inward and am led down the slope of depression or I spill it out on the wrong person or situation. For example, this past weekend I am riding down the road with humming along to the radio. I notice a truck carrying a load of something in the oncoming lane. Within minutes part of the driver’s load flies out and lands on top of my car. I pull over to the side of the road very shaken. I get out and the car is pretty damaged. The driver stops and I immediately call the police. The driver was apologetic and I was surprisingly calm. I stomached the thought that he was a complete idiot for not securing his load. Inwardly, I wanted to lecture him on how the law states that the contents of the bed of truck are to be secured. The police gave me the information on when I could pick up the report. We realized my car was driveable and Islowly drove away.

When I got home my dad and I surveyed the damage. We both wondered if the driver had received a ticket. I thought about calling to check, but when on about my business. My mom dropped an expensive plate. I got so angry. My first thought how careless. Her act was an accident, not a careless mistake. The driver of the truck was the one who had performed the careless mistake; he’s the one I was really angry at. I apologized to my mom and we talked. I used the energy to call the police officer and confirm that he had given the driver a ticket.

Slowly we can learn to handle anger in a healthy way. Admitting we are wrong is one step. Acknowledging it is there is another, which is what we have to do first. Finally, we find ways to release it in a healthy way.

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