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Righteous Anger?

English: Angry woman.

English: Angry woman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is anger righteous?  Many people believe so. You feel that somebody or something has done you wrong.  Is it okay then to get mad?  What about considering the following religious sayings: Vengeance is mine saith the Lord or  turn the other cheek.  Or is it more important to know (especially if you are not religious) that anger, if indulged in, can continue to eat at your guts when the person you may be angry with is no longer in the picture.  Also what you say and do when you are angry can get you into trouble and have long term consequences.  How many people who have gone to jail got into trouble with the law when they were angry?

We most often get angry about things we can’t control and we often make the mistake of thinking if we are angry at or about something that it is something we can control when it is something we can’t control.  There are things we can control, even if it is difficult to do so sometimes,  like our thoughts and what we say and do.  When it comes to other people, we usually can’t control what they do, say, or think unless we use negative behaviors like force or emotional manipulation.  What happens when people are forced or manipulated into doing something they don’t want to do, they get angry and now we have come full circle.  Now we’re not angry, but someone else is, and nothing can be done  to stop them from retaliating when they get a chance and as a result, we get angry again.

When we indirectly express our aggression, we call it passive aggression.  Passive aggression involves behaviors that often appear to be kind and helpful, but aren’t.  Have you ever agreed to do something against your will and managed to mess it up somehow?  The other person can’t get mad at you, right?, because you did what they wanted even if it didn’t turn out right.  That is often a form of passive aggression.

People often say when they get mad that they can’t control their feelings.  When they have feelings,  they just happen and it is the other person’s fault for causing them to feel that way.  Actually it is important to own your own feelings.  The same thing can happen to two different people and they can feel differently about it.  If I am out shopping and I have no appointments to keep and someone ahead of me in a checkout line has a problem and causes the line to back up, I probably will not get upset and will wait for the problem to be resolved.  Another person who had the same thing happen to her last week and missed an appointment because of it gets mad and the feeling grows in intensity the longer she waits.

When it comes to feelings, especially angry ones, it is better to say,”I feel angry when you do this”, rather than, “When you do this, you make me feel angry”.  It is better to not assign blame to others.  These are called “I statements“.  Also often when you put some perspective on things, the feelings that you have about them change.  For example when a person bumps into you, you may be upset, until you notice that the person has a white cane and is blind.


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