[Trigger warning : self-harm]
I’ve struggled with anger for as long as I can remember. I think I am an angry person. The worst thing I have done in anger is to slap myself repeatedly while losing control of myself and breaking down.
I am not proud of this.
I have never been physically abusive with someone else (only myself). But I think there have been times—even if countable few—when I have been emotionally abusive (like slapping myself).
Throughout my teens and my twenties, I was a ‘my way or the high way’ kind of person. Although I have come a long way from there, I continue to be stubborn. Or ‘defiant’, I should say. But now it mostly revolves around reclaiming my time, my choices and my purpose in life. I am fiercely defiant to any advice, probably because I spent years and years pleasing/listening to everyone around me. So my default now is to say ‘no’ to most things.
My father was angry when he was younger. He never laid a finger on anyone; he wasn’t angry like that, but he would break something if he got really upset. And he would slap himself when his anger got out of control. He picked up this habit from his own father (one of the most gentle personalities I've known in my life). And I picked up the habit from my father, who has now (for well over a decade) transformed into the same gentle being that my grandfather was.
I quickly learnt this cycle and realised I didn’t want to wait till my fifties to stop misbehaving with my loved ones (and to stop hurting my cheeks!). So I gave up the habit of winning/ending an argument by slapping myself, over two years ago.
Now I just walk away from the situation when I am upset. But sometimes I raise my voice and argue hard. It is completely pointless. And this always becomes apparent within minutes.
I think I get angry when I feel like I am losing control of the situation. I don’t know why I feel the need to be in control always; it is part male ego, part habit that I'm not able to shake off easily.
My girlfriend has helped me a lot to identify when and how I am being a crazy person. But I continue to struggle with it.
If you meet me, you may not feel that I am an angry person right away. I come across as fairly pleasant, even a little ‘tiring’, by smiling endlessly and being polite. But spend an hour with me and I might start trying to convince you of my own worldview or may start talking over you.
As I have gotten older, I have gotten a lot of my anger in control. But anger towards ‘society at large’ is something that continues and has only gotten more intense (for its devious ways of forcing individuals to behave in a manner it deems fit). Honestly, I feel like a teenager at 34, having my little delayed teenage rebellion that I missed out during my teens. Because I was busy laying out the chai tray perfectly for guests back then, lest they got offended that the biscuits weren’t aligned (that is ‘middle-class Maharashtrian household’ in one sentence for you).
I am fine being angry with society and its subgroups. Frankly, it deserves my wrath and probably worse. (Not really, no one deserves my wrath but my anger in this regard is inconsequential, so whatever.)
What I am not fine with is losing my temper with individuals. My weakness is palpable to me in those moments. Besides, no one deserves it. I don’t like it. I want to change it. I have been changing it. I want to change it more. I— you get the idea.
I am realising that anger seems to be the way in which I cope with difficult situations; it is my go-to emotion.
It has been a week since my dad had a health scare. And I have no idea why, but I am generally angry and irritable. It is so easy to blame someone or something rather than accept things and move on.
I can be angry all I want, but the world owes me nothing.
It is difficult to come to terms with this.
P.S. I am doing a ‘30x30 meditation’ (30 mins every day for 30 days). I am on day three. It has been fun :)