Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Controlling One's Anger

Suppose you had a friend who didn't do as well on a project as he had hoped. Suppose you offered this friend a particularly legitimate scapegoat on whom to vent his anger, someone who is certainly worthy of at least part of the blame. Suppose that you've done this numerous times before and your offer has always been accepted, mostly because it makes the other person feel better and alleviates their feeling responsible for their own actions. Of course, after some thought, they will come to realize that responsibility; they just prefer to push it aside for the moment.

Suppose that your friend defies all precedent and informs you, "It wouldn't be fair of me to take out my frustration on someone who doesn't deserve it. Then I would just be angrier at myself later." This despite the fact that you are completely willing to be the scapegoat.

Is this not the most incredible person?! How many people do you know who could control their anger that well?

I like to sing people's praises when they deserve praise; at the moment I feel quite like shouting this out to everyone I know. The fact that such a person even exists makes my day about a million times better. I can't get it off my mind, so I figured I might as well write about it.

A related idea, and one which also applies to my friend:
    "That gimcrack style is her way of admitting to your Mamma that she herself knows that not a word of what she says is true. Really it is wonderful to see how this simple mind has developed this device for protecting itself from despair. But more complicated minds do not enjoy such protection. Thought that is worth calling thought has no mercy on itself, that is the dreadful proof of its quality."

    ~The Fountain Overflows, page 334

I think this is uniquely applicable here. Thought that is worth calling thought has no mercy on itself; that is the dreadful proof of its quality. The same applies to a value system that is worth calling a value system, morals that are worth calling morals, and a person who quite probably sincerely wishes that he could blame someone else but who doesn't believe it to be fair.

How am I so lucky as to know all these amazing people?!

6 comments:

Unknown said...

How many people do you know who could control their anger that well?

Actually, this example isn't the greatest - most people I know are like this, thank God.

Scraps said...

I think it takes a certain level of emotional maturity and intellectual honesty to be able to do this. However, I think that most well-balanced human beings, once they're past a certain age, should be capable of it. Whether or not they choose to exercise this capability is another story, of course.

Chana said...

Ezzie, that doesn't become you. If I find something to admire, it doesn't do for you to tear it down, even a little.

While you and Scraps are both theoretically right, I think that proof of people's quality shows in their response to small annoyances as opposed to large and horrible occurences. Everyone helped after 9/11. But on an everyday basis? Pause for laughter. That's why I was (am) impressed.

:-)

Unknown said...

Ezzie, that doesn't become you. If I find something to admire, it doesn't do for you to tear it down, even a little.

Sniff. My point was that of examples to choose, it wasn't a great one; your one here in the comments was better. :)

Anonymous said...

Ezzie, that is disgusting! you are so acting like you are arrogrant! ;-P Joking aside ==> Seriously, i know people who can't control thier anger, and many more who have permission to yell at scapegoat. Even me, i have someone to be scapegoat because i know myself very well, if i don't yelled out and control myself, i will bottle up all my anger feeling inside of me that will leads me to explode to someone who doesn't deserve it all and don't know why i am acting like that. Some reasons i simply can't rid of it. Until a year ago, i always snapped at my father bec i know my father will forgive me right away but it is halacha wrong of course. So i rather to snapped to someone who is my dearest friend who know about this and really don't want me to yelled at my father and it is healthy for me to switch to different person, which is my dearest friend. So i am saying a lot of people and me just can't control it but should find alternative choices.

Unknown said...

Hehe. I'm ALWAYS arrogant!

While I understand the idea of people wanting to let anger out, I'm not sure I like the idea of switching it from one person to the next. On the other hand, there's the idea of venting to people who can handle it, who aren't fazed by it, etc., and having someone there for you when you need to let stuff out can be healthy. But something about it still bothers me...