Hump Day: A little managed anger goes a long way

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I think it’s healthy to get angry sometimes. I don’t mean punch-ahole-in-the-wall angry or have-ananeurysm angry… but once every blue moon you just have to put your foot down and stop whining about things and do something about it.

The world doesn’t owe anyone a living. It doesn’t owe anyone riches.

It doesn’t owe anyone a chicken in every pot, as the old political cliché goes. It doesn’t owe anyone a sixpack of abs that could grate cheese.

(Tell me about it! I’ve tried to cash that cheque for years and no one wants to honour it!) Sometimes, it pays to get angry.

And it doesn’t have to be at someone else. Sometimes it can be at yourself. Perhaps you’ve been hurting yourself with alcohol, drugs, bad food or other habits. Perhaps 2012 is the year you get mad and fix it.

Perhaps you’ve put up with someone’s never-ending insults, lies and bullying. Whether long-term or short-term, perhaps it’s time to snap and tell them how you feel and make it clear in no uncertain terms that you’re not going to put up with that garbage anymore. Some of the best scenes in All in the Family – the classic sitcom – were when Edith flipped her lid at Archie. She had the patience of God, but when she got mad, people listened – especially Archie!

I know there are a couple of situations in my own life for which I’ve been showing patience that should by all rights give me a one-way ticket to the Pearly Gates when my time comes. But I’m also thinking that the patience I’ve been showing has run out. Now, it’s time to get angry. And when I get angry, watch out.

The main thing about getting angry is to do it intelligently.

Don’t embarrass yourself or make yourself look stupid. The main thing is to be determined and stealthy about it. You can still be very angry and smile while feeling the emotion.

If you weigh more than you want to, perhaps it’s time to get angry and do something about it.

Take that little devil sitting on your shoulder whispering sugar-coated sweet-nothings in your ear and put him through a paper shredder.

Besides, the salad-loving angel on your other shoulder is a better friend to you than you’ll ever know.

If a so-called friend is taking advantage of you emotionally, financially or socially, get angry and put an end to it. Remember, getting angry doesn’t mean getting violent or insane. Just make a decision.

Decide you deserve to be treated better. If someone is trying to ruin your reputation with lies, take them to task. Track them down and seek compensation for their untruths.

I’m sure we all know someone who’s as sweet as pie, doesn’t swear, is kind to everyone and who always puts others before themselves. But, once in awhile, someone goes too far with their words or actions and Mr.

or Miss Sweet-as-Pie blows a gasket. Those are the ones you have to look out for. It’s also a tell-tale sign that you’ve been a real jerk if you’re the one on the receiving end. There are lot of Edith Bunkers in the world – sweet people who are kind to everyone – but God help you if they turn on you.

I’m certainly no Edith Bunker.

I’m not that nice. But when she got angry, it made people turn their heads and take action to fix the problem. When Archie got angry, everyone just blinked and said, ‘Again?’ If you make anger a habit, no one will pay attention.

Yes, it’s true that sometimes anger is a healthy thing…

especially when someone is putting themselves or others in danger.

Is it OK for a parent to yell at a child who they find playing with matches? I would say yes. Is it OK for a spouse to yell at the other after discovering an infidelity? I think they deserve a good screaming-at, don’t you?

I don’t think it’s OK to beat the child, of course. I don’t think it’s OK to kill the spouse, of course. But an angry response to both incidents is certainly understandable.

The main thing about getting angry is to do it strategically. Do it sparingly. Do it when it’s warranted – and only when it’s warranted.

There’s no use freaking out at the littlest thing. Then, when there’s a real reason to get angry, no one will pay attention. The Edith Bunker strategy is the best option here.

Be kind and understanding 99.9 per cent of the time. Get angry when it counts and people will pay attention.

When my son was in high school, he had a big challenge with attendance. Although very intelligent, he was not one to go to school every day. He turned things around in university and became an excellent student and rarely, if ever, skipped class, but high school was another story.

Like most parents in a similar situation, I would yell and scream and get angry. In the end, he still didn’t go to school and I ended up hyperventilating with smoke coming out of my ears. Eventually, I read a book (‘Angry All the Time: An Emergency Guide to Anger Control’ by Ron Potter-Efron) that really helped, and just stopped getting angry about the school attendance issue. It was his decision and there was nothing I could do about it. He decided to change on his own terms and things got better from there.

Anger can be a pox on one’s soul if that’s how we deal with everything. The secret is to use it wisely, rarely and just enough to make your point. There’s no use leaving tornado-like destruction in your wake when a simple ‘evil eye’ will do.

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