Deliver us from self-consuming wrath—why we shouldn’t stay angry

“[…] When jilted lovers murder their ex-lovers in cold blood […] it is usually because of a failure to control their emotions. It has nothing to do with the other person. Furthermore, why give any human being that amount of power over you?

“[…] In your mind, the person’s going to pay for what (s)he has done to you; however, usually whatever you do to the person, you end up paying for it…”

The following guest column on the cost of being consumed by anger was submitted to Wired868 by Akilah Holder:

When a domestic abuser hits his/her spouse, (s)he usually laments that it was the spouse who made him/her do it.

“You drove me to it,” the refrain normally runs.

Significantly, that lament is not much different from other laments outside the husband-wife relationship. In 2014, for example, the media reported on two groups of women who had gotten into a brawl in the Queen’s Park Savannah because one group felt angry, it seems, that the other group posted derogatory things about them on social media.

Don’t make me…

I am sure if one were to interview the group of women who felt wronged, they would say that they were angry and wanted to teach those other women a lesson so that they never did that again.

In other words, those women caused them to behave in that manner.

But I have news for those who subscribe to the belief that “the other person made me do it”. No one can make you do anything that you don’t want to do.

Now let me make clear that anger—for that is the emotion that I am dealing with now—is a completely normal and natural response to certain situations. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anger, in part, as “a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion”.


However, as the APA also notes, when anger “gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion.”

And that is the problem that many in this country have. When jilted lovers murder their ex-lovers in cold blood, a husband hacks his wife to death during a heated argument, or another physically abuses his wife during a heated argument, it is usually because of a failure to control their emotions.

It has nothing to do with the other person. Furthermore, why give any human being that amount of power over you?

I will repeat: it has nothing to do with the other person; no one made you do anything.  You are responsible for you and can only be responsible for you.

In your mind, the person’s going to pay for what (s)he has done to you; however, usually whatever you do to the person, you end up paying for it.

If you end up murdering the person, you can either spend the rest of your life in jail or lose it. Your reputation will be ruined as a result, as will your life.

A motorist experiences road rage.

A somewhat similar scenario will play out if you assault the person. You could lose your job, your relationship, scholarship. A lot of nonsense could follow that split-second decision you made during your fit of anger.

And then what?

In effect, the National Health Service of England’s (NHS) website, suggests changing your thoughts so that the person who upset you is not the issue. Focusing on the person or situation only serves to fuel your anger.

Count to 10…

Citing a clinical psychologist with a specialization in anger management, Isabel Clarke, the website suggests in a section called Look at the way you think that you should try to let go of harmful ways of thinking:

“Thoughts such as ‘It’s not fair,’ or ‘People like that shouldn’t be on the roads,’ can make anger worse. Thinking like this will keep you focused on whatever it is that’s making you angry. Let these thoughts go and it will be easier to calm down.”

In other words, don’t focus on the injustice that has been done. While the site did not suggest what those thoughts should be replaced with, it makes sense to focus on the lesson that can be gleaned from the situation—and how to avoid similar incidents in the future.

A couple have a heated argument.

Furthermore, the site adds that you should try to avoid using phrases that include always (for example, “You always do that.”); never (“You never listen to me.”); should or shouldn’t (“You should do what I want,” or “You shouldn’t be on the roads.”); must or mustn’t (“I must be on time,” or “I mustn’t be late.”); ought or oughtn’t (“People ought to get out of my way.”)

And it’s not just anger that we as human beings need to control.  Some of us allow the negative things people say about us or do to us to not just anger us but to even make us depressed.

Go ahead and be angry or feel sad, but do not allow yourself to be consumed by those emotions, by any emotion, for that matter.

Do not be at the mercy of your anger…

Moreover, forgive and let go. That Christian virtue of forgiving your “debtors” is often reviled, but it’s not for the benefit of the “debtor”—you’re the one likely to benefit.

You will be a better person for it.

Moreover, the Bible refers to those controlled by anger as “fools”. Ecclesiastes 7:9 states that anger “is locked up in the heart of fools”.

Calm down…

Why “fool”? Because those controlled by anger don’t think clearly. They end up in situations like those we described above.

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One comment

  1. Setting realistic expectations helps maintain emotional well-being.

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