“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
— Mark Twain (1835–1910)
Such a liberating truth is this one that we may stand amazed at the power we can redeem for ourselves and our social situations for simply getting out of the way of the delusion of control.
Hazard to say, we do not control our world. The moment we think we do the emotions go awry. It is good to know this. It is good that it is front of mind in the tremulous moment, for we will all find the experience for anger. We will all be pushed too far.
There comes a time for all of us where logic gets tossed out the window. Then what?
Acknowledging the Delusion and the Trick
In some ways we have covered the delusion; that we can control our world—and with it, our emotional space. We cannot; neither one, nor the other. But now we come to the trick.
Whether we think that the devil has invented this anger as a trick or not is perhaps irrelevant. What is poignant, though, is the matter of the consequence of unbridled anger, whether it is seething or spewing.
Seething anger eats away at us quietly, but in vitriolic ways. We burn from within, and what is burnt is somewhat destroyed. That is not to say that the tissue within the vessel cannot be healed. But healing will require amending the cause of the distress.
Spewing anger harms our relationships because we cannot retrieve the words once they are born into the world. But we are wrong if we think the other person is still hurt more than we are. Sure, they will be hurt and they may never forgive us, but we, at the same time, and for a longer time, will not forgive ourselves. Whether we acknowledge that or not is beside the point. Evidence of self-condemnation is a lack of peace and the eventual investment in the lies of denial. Deeper below our conscious thinking state resides the unconscious thinking states where an invisible judge sits and passes judgment. We may call it the conscience. Uncontrolled anger is the villain that stands trial and it’s prosecuted every time justice is invoked.
Anger that is born in attempting to control our world is both a delusion and a trick. Most anger is a boomerang that has a surprising sting about it. Having flung that boomerang of vitriolic hurt we become stung by the boomerang as it comes back with as much force as we deployed it with in having flung it in the first place.
Anger’s a boomerang we fling,
But it often returns a sting.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.