“Stop making that goddamn noise with your mouth — I’m trying to concentrate!” I didn’t look up at her, but I could feel her cringe at my red face and bulging eyes. “I’m trying to finish editing this, and you are driving me bat-shit crazy!”
“But Tatay, I’m not making a noise.” I could hear the hurt in her voice as she pulled away from me. We were sitting on the bed, pillows behind up against the wall — me with my laptop and her with her phone playing Minecraft. She spends most of her time at home with me, so she knows I sometimes lose my temper.
As a shot daggers at her with my eyes, I heard the noise again, but it wasn’t coming from Zoey, it was coming from the dogs outside the sliding glass door. My heart dropped because I realized I screamed at her for something she didn’t do.
I’m such an asshole.
“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
You may not be aware of it all the time, but anger is something we deal with every day of our lives. Whether it’s our anger eating us up inside, or it’s coming from someone else, it can have a huge negative effect on our health and well-being. If we think about how many times in an average day we feel the effects of anger and multiply it by our lifetime, we can see it can easily become harmful.
I have a lot of experience with anger. While I am not normally an angry person at this stage of my life (even though I am known to lose it every so often), I do deal with it every day because my wife struggles with controlling it. She’s made great strides in dealing with it recently, but it is a problem in our relationship.
It’s something we work to improve every day.
Is anger always bad?
Anger is not always a terrible thing. It’s a natural response to something that could be harmful to us. It acts as a warning and can be helpful and beneficial.
It also motivates us into action. How many events are triggered by a healthy dose of righteous indignation?
The problem is if anger burns too long, it becomes something destructive. What you have to watch for is when anger turns toxic.
Beware of toxic anger
Toxic anger occurs either when beneficial anger stews too long or when anger is harmful to another person. You’ve most likely been the victim of toxic anger, either coming from yourself or someone else.
Anything that can hurt or harm another person — either physically or mentally, is toxic, like abuse, either emotional or physical.
There are many types of toxic anger, and nowhere you go will ever be safe from it. A husband may scream at his family without warning. Think about the nasty comments we face on Facebook every day. What about the rage you experience from other drivers on the road? You’ve probably encountered something toxic if you watch politics enough.
Stress is bad
One thing that most people don’t realize about toxic anger is it causes stress to the giver and the receiver. We all know stress is bad for us because of what it can do to our body and mind.
A few effects of stress are:
- Recurrent headaches, jaw clenching or pain in the face
- Gritting and grinding of teeth
- Stuttering or stammering
- Tremors — trembling of hands
- Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms
- Light-headedness, faintness, dizziness
- Ringing, buzzing or “popping sounds”
- Frequent blushing, sweating
- Depression, frequent or wild mood swings
- Problems in communication, sharing
- Social withdrawal and isolation
Stress can also cause conflict in our relationships. When we show extreme or toxic anger, the amount of stress a person feels is enormous. If your relationship is always full of anger, it will suffer and often fall apart.
For a long time, I was under extreme stress because my wife couldn’t control her rage. Any little thing would set her off, and she would make everyone’s life miserable, sometimes for days on end. We were constantly walking on eggshells, and it seems that nothing my daughter or I could do was ever right. My wife is a petite woman, but I’m not embarrassed to say I was scared of her at times.
For a time, she made life hell.
Thankfully, we have worked through most of our issues, and my wife has learned several ways to curb or control anger before it becomes toxic and hurts our family. I love her more each day because she took a problem that could have destroyed our lives and improved. Change isn’t easy, but she did it.
It took a lot of love and understanding, but we made it through. If we did it, anyone can.
In some cases, anger can be beneficial. But, be aware of how toxic anger can affect our body, mind, and relationships. Sometimes we don’t see the danger until it’s too late to remedy a situation.
If you are experiencing anger — either your own or someone else’s — do something about it before it’s too late. If my family was able to get past our problems, anyone can and should.
Don’t let toxic anger destroy your life.
“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” ― Aristotle