When I get angry, really angry, I lose IQ points. I call this stupid-angry. Any intelligence that I have when I am rational disappears when I become stupid-angry. Stupid-angry feels like I have drunk a 26 of emotional whiskey. My brain feels like it is moving in super fast Ninja speed, but what comes out of my mouth is pure Klingon.
When I get angry, I don’t use guns or weapons. I don’t hit people or smash things. I use words and sometimes my words hurt the people I love the most. It’s as if I become possessed for a few minutes and an Alien is using my mouth to scream a warning about pending world destruction.
After a stupid-angry episode, I think about why I became so upset and most times it does not make sense. I know where I started and I can recall the point where my brain became detached from my head. What happens after that can seem like a mystery. One example is that I become irrational and stupid when I feel disregarded or I feel that no one is listening to me. This can happen any time I ask my 14 and almost 11 year old to do anything that remotely looks like chores, homework, piano or eat broccoli.
Stupid-angry can become a habit, like eating junk food or having a Coke every day. Thankfully I do not go to this place very often. I have found that it helps if I honestly speak what is on my mind and then give the same airtime to what the other person has to say. I find this hard because it means I have to put away my Darth Vader laser (which sucks! I so much want to use it). When I sense that I am on the verge of stupidness, it helps when I walk into another room and close my eyes. Somehow when my eyelids shut and I breathe, my rational brain seems to talk to my stupid-angry brain and I calm down. I find that this helps me to identify my point and validate my emotions. This way, I am better able to talk myself off the ledge.
Anger is a survival emotion. It lives in the part of our brains that are oldest and most essential to our survival (breathing, running away from big monsters or using a club to fight back). Anger can have a purpose when we are trying to fight for our lives. I have learned that stupid-anger happens because somewhere I feel my (emotional) survival is at stake because of an issue. I find that talking about it helps me to gain perspective and practice a little self-compassion (even when I feel like using the club on myself).
Just as your Internet Browser collects cookies, you and I collect emotional cookies all of the time. It has helped me to learn about my unique emotional style. For me, anger is a big deal because of my history with my father. He had an anger problem, actually he had an anger and drinking problem. I remember him yelling a lot and when he screamed I got really scared. I grew up resenting him for how he treated us. I can still remember swearing that I would never get angry like he did, but that just led me to stuffing my emotions. We each have our own emotional style and discovering that is important. To be healthy I need to regularly clear up my emotional cookies, speak what is on my mind and talk honestly about my frustrations.
What do you think? Do you know your own emotional whiskey? And how do you clear up your emotional cookies?
Keep it real