Righteous Anger Isn’t an Oxymoron

I used to think that if Molly got mad at me I had to fix it right away. Stop everything, find the source of the problem, make it right. Sometimes I would do all that and she still wouldn’t be happy and then I would get frustrated. Especially if we were on vacation or something. It felt like the vacation was being ruined, that we would remember only that time when she was mad over some insignificant thing.

Today she got mad because her plan didn’t really work out and we wasted two hours driving around. Instead of trying to fix it with words or touching, I just drove around acting normal. I didn’t try to pretend that it didn’t suck that we were wasting time. I didn’t try to make it into a joke to make her see how trivial it was to worry about such things. I just let her be mad about it as if that were a reasonable response, which it is, really. 

I guess I used to think that you could die at any second so you might as well not worry about dumb shit like the fact that you’re wasting time because shit didn’t turn out like you had planned. I also used to believe that nothing really mattered, so I couldn’t see the point in getting worked up about anything really. I said I believed in that kind of shit, but I would get worked up about shit, too, just much different shit.

So now that I am allowing for the fact that things have value, I can see that being all mad about some dumb shit has its place, and maybe the reason Molly used to be mad for so long was that I was just quietly acting like she was an idiot for even bothering to be angry.

This time I let her be mad and I didn’t pretend it wasn’t frustrating and she got over it quickly and I didn’t get all stressed out that she didn’t like me or something.

I think a big part of why I built up so much resentment towards her over the years is because any time she would get mad I would blame myself and then slowly I would get mad at how unfair it was for her to think that it was my fault when I hadn’t done anything. So all this dumb shit was going on inside my head that didn’t have any basis in reality and should have been handled externally.

Any time I start to say something passive aggressive, I’m now trying to stop and instead say something more direct and constructive. And if Molly says something passive aggressive to me, I try to swat that shit down aggressively so we can fight about it instead of internalizing some made up bullshit. It’s not always easy and I don’t succeed every time but it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. 

I used to have these revenge fantasies, not against Molly but against other people, strangers mostly. So someone would do something I didn’t like and then I would fantasize about beating the shit out of them, some disproportionate type shit. But in reality I wouldn’t do anything, probably be even nicer to them the more I hated them because then slowly I would start to feel bad because I hated them so much and they hadn’t really done all that much shit to me.

So I have this darkness inside but I try to lock it up and pretend it doesn’t exist and it comes out in fantasies and in a growing resentment towards humanity. Instead it would be better to integrate the darkness into my personality and react to things I don’t like by making sure people know that I don’t like those things. Even get mad sometimes. I used to think that even getting angry was a sin. And then after I stopped believing in God, I thought getting angry was a sign of weakness. But I think now that getting angry is necessary for having a healthy relationship with the outside world. People should know when they’ve made me angry. I don’t have to hurt them with words or actions, but if I don’t indicate the fact that I’m unhappy how arethey  supposed to know to change their behavior? And besides it becomes so much worse when I just resent someone quietly. Instead of just snapping at someone and apologizing for it later maybe, I end up smiling at them and wishing they would die.

It’s important to have a healthy relationship with anger instead of just trying to avoid it in myself and others. 

4 thoughts on “Righteous Anger Isn’t an Oxymoron

  1. It sounds like an interesting strategy. By comparison I’m still unevolved in my handling…doing all those things you keep saying you used to do and it’s exhausting. I’d love to know how you’d handle anger towards your boss these days…

      • Aside from the emotional maturity required to deal with a boss, I think that bosses are a kind of evil perpetrated against people who like the convenience of having a job. I want to be free of bosses forever, but I’m scared to start my own business, or else I’m too lazy to motivate myself to create something that would allow me to leave my job. So my punishment is being ruled over by idiots. In a job like mine, where we are chronically understaffed, and where I am one of the best, and where there are a hundred other bartending positions I could have within a few hours, I could feasibly ignore my bosses and do whatever I wanted without getting fired and without even doing a bad job. But instead of doing that, I bow to the boss’s will and am all obsequious and shit because I want their approval. So this makes me hate the bosses for being in charge even though they don’t even do as good a job as I do, and they make my job that much harder. If I was able to communicate more honestly with them instead of just smiling and going along while hating them on the inside, maybe things would be better for everyone. I have always been relieved to quit because work relationships for me have always been a kind of manufactured thing, where I act one way but feel another way. I guess relationships in general, but work relationships are all localized and can be thrown away in two weeks or less without any backlash whereas family and friend relationships aren’t so easy to get out of.

    • It’s an ongoing battle you know, mostly with myself inside my head. I still do the things I say I used to do, but I’m actively trying not to. This past Saturday, the bar manager came in and was being super critical and annoying as FUCK and I started freaking out on the inside. She said something I would usually apologize for: “I saw you poured these people wine but it’s not on the check.” “Yeah,” I said. “Come on, Gordon,” she said, all disappointed like. I didn’t respond at all, which was at least a step up from apologizing all over myself and agreeing that I was something in which one should be disappointed. I left the bar a minute after that and as I walked by one of the chefs I whispered, “I’m going to cut her head off and bury it in the ground and walk a dog over that spot every day for ten years.” I just said it to be funny really, and because I was angry, but I thought a lot about that afterwards because I have these ridiculous ideas all the time. So instead of getting in someone’s face, maybe even though I’m actually in the wrong, on the inside I secretly want to murder them. So I thought about how evil the inside of me wants to be, but the outside is afraid of that and overcompensates with over the top nice-ness. It’s no wonder I get so stressed out when she’s around. It’s not because she has all these ridiculous demands, but it’s because I let her walk all over me and the more nice I am about it the wider the gap between her perception of me (which I seek to maintain) and the reality of what’s going on inside. I’m taking small steps towards being better about it and things are getting better already. She hasn’t even asked me to go hiking, I think in part because she senses some kind of shift happening. I’m not as afraid of her asking me as I was, though, because it’s not really such a big deal that I don’t want to go hiking with her. It’s not like I’m going to end her life so that I don’t have to confront her about the fact that she gets on my nerves sometimes, which is what I think in my head sometimes.

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