How to Control Your Anger (Part One) here.
How to control Your Anger (Part Two) here.
Anger can express itself through silence. The silence that anger sometimes adopts as an offensive weapon is not to be confused with the silence that should be employed to keep oneself from violent expressions of anger. A person who is often tempted to hasty and intemperate speech can cure that defect only by learning to be silent when the fury of anger is upon him.
Angry silence takes the form of pouting. It is a silence that bristles, that charges an atmosphere with tension. It is usually a prolonged silence that refuses to take part even in the most trivial conversation. Introspective, sensitive, and moody persons find themselves especially tempted to show their anger in this way, as the following questions will reveal.
1. I have been hurt or angered by someone. I know that harsh words would be an ineffective response. Do I therefore show my anger by withdrawing into a shell and refusing to say anything for a period of time?
2. Have I at times lapsed into an aggrieved silence over some fancied injury, only to find out afterward that the one who provoked my anger was utterly unaware of what it was that upset me?
3. When angry at someone, do I make him (or her) feel it by showing absolutely no interest in anything, not even in things that are ordinarily my favorite topics or activities?
4. If accused of pouting, do I adopt an attitude of woebegone sadness, and answer every attempt to shake me out of it with ‘I don’t care’ or ‘Just leave me alone’?
There is little hope that the ‘pouter’ will overcome his bad habit unless he faces the fact that his temperament inclines him to take offense where none is intended and then, hopeless of making others repent in any other way, to lapse into an unmistakably aggrieved or angry silence. Such persons can remain free from the fault of angry silence only when they learn to make allowances both for the shortcomings of others and for their own touchy sensitiveness.
Irritability is the flaw of character whereby people permit themselves to be unpleasant, curt, and ill-mannered with others for no other reason than that they do not happen to be feeling just right. Irritability manifests itself when nothing has been said or done that could possibly be taken as an offence. When a person is in an irritable mood, it is impossible to say anything to him that will not occasion grumbling and unkindness.
Everyone is exposed to the irritability of others from time to time, and every such experience should make one more determined not to permit this fault to appear in one’s own conduct. Ask yourself these questions and see if you show signs of irritability.
1. When someone asks you an innocent question, is your response unnecessarily sharp, mean, or critical of the questioner?
2. As a parent, an employer, or a person in authority do you speak harshly to those for whom you are responsible, even when they are doing everything correctly?
3. When a little mistake is made or when a person somehow bothers or disturbs you in some small matter, do you respond in a way that is totally out of proportion to the action that has taken place? Irritable people make many smooth excuses for their weakness. Some say that it is due to their nerves, which are in bad shape. Others attribute it to high blood pressure or low blood pressure or insomnia or indigestion. Still others say that their unpleasantness with those around them is due to the fact that they have so many worries and responsibilities that they cannot be expected to show a consideration toward the feelings of other people.
All such excuses are just that – excuses. Irritability signifies a lack of personal control and an inability to subject one’s feelings to the demands of charity. There is no reason for a person to display signs of irritability. Like any other form of anger, it must be brought under control and not allowed to grow. So, stop making excuses.
One who is often cross and unpleasant with others for no apparent reason needs to come face to face with the fact that he is thinking too much of himself. The irritable person forgets that the other person has feelings, too, and does not like to be shouted at or abused for no reason at all.
8. TAKING REVENGE
With some people, anger expresses itself in attempts to take revenge on the one who occasioned it. There is a wide variety of ways in which this may be done, from attempts to do grave bodily harm to the person, to scheming attempts to make the person suffer some form of retribution. Many will find themselves subject to seeking revenge in one of the following forms, some of which can be serious sins.
1. If someone angers me, do I seek revenge by running that person down in my conversation with others, revealing his secret faults, perhaps even exaggerating them and lying about them?
2. After a quarrel with my spouse do I speak uncharitably about him (or her) to my children or my own blood relatives?
3. Do I try to alienate the friends of someone with whom I am angry, by making that person appear to be unworthy of their friendship or trust?
4. Do I attempt to take revenge on my spouse when I have been angered, by refusing to fulfill the duties of marriage or to carry on with my essential tasks?
5. Do I try to take revenge on a person who, I think, has injured me, by spoiling his chances for advancement or recognition?
One who invariably seeks to take revenge against another has an exaggerated or wrong sense of justice, and no regard for Christian charity at all. Christ dramatically insisted not only that his followers are not to strike back at those who injure them but that when they are struck on one cheek, they should turn and offer the other (See Mt 5:38-39). This was one of his forceful ways of saying that revenge is sinful. So, develop true Christian charity.
Hatred is the final, fixed, and spiritually fatal outcome of undisciplined anger. Hatred is persevering bad will. It is the deliberate crystallizing of one’s anger into a state of total dislike. Hatred is not to be confused with involuntary dislike or antipathy for a certain person. Everybody experiences this feeling at times but it is not sinful when it is successfully concealed.
Hatred is not involuntary. It is a will act whereby one, both internally and externally, surrenders to acts of enmity toward another. These questions reveal the presence of hatred in a person.
1. Do I find myself deliberately fostering the desire to hurt, or to see hurt seriously, the one who has injured me?
2. Do I deliberately rejoice in the serious misfortunes that befall my enemy, and wish they would be multiplied? Do I even want him to be condemned to hell?
3. When I pray, do I deliberately try to exclude my enemy in my prayers which I know I am bound to say for all men? Worse, do I ask God to send great problems and misfortunes into the life of this person?
4. Do I show my hatred by refusing even to say hello to my enemy, either when we meet alone or in the presence of others? Does this go on for a considerable period of time?
One who has fallen into hatred of another must be made mindful of the fact that deliberately to hate a fellow human being is similar to hating God who is present within that person. He is inviting God’s condemnation on himself. Every time he says the Our Father, he asks God to forgive his trespasses as he forgives others. He asks God’s pardon only in the measure he is willing to forgive those who have wronged him. No matter how great the injury or injustice received, the offending person still must be forgiven. The remedy for overcoming hatred is to pray the Lord’s Prayer and really mean it.
It should now be clear that anger can be expressed in many forms. It can be spoken in angry or sarcastic words. Nagging or quarreling are especially divisive forms of anger. It can be expressed in a mood like irritability or in the silence of pouting. It can also be physically demonstrated through violent actions. Revenge and hatred are often the most extreme forms of anger.
To allow oneself to exhibit any of these forms of anger is bad. It is a sign of a flaw in one’s character and personality. More devastating than the effects on the person himself are the evil effects that anger can have on other people. Anger destroys harmony in the home. It can endanger peace in a neighborhood, a city, country, or even in the world. Angry people cause problems wherever they go – on the job, in a meeting, or at a party.
Anger is also a stumbling block on the road to Christian perfection. For some people it is just a small obstacle. For others it is a major stumbling block. Either way a person must work diligently each day and in every human situation to remedy this great problem of anger. With hard work and the ever-present assistance of God’s grace, this problem can be remedied. Unnecessary and unreasonable anger can be stopped.
“Blessed is the home where unkind speech does not enter, nor cursing, nor bad literature, nor intemperance, for on that home will be heaped the blessings of peace.” – Fr. Lawrence Lovasik
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