Anger: Destroying Relationships
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Anger can be a powerful emotion that overtakes our minds if we hold onto it, and everybody experiences anger at some time or another. Perhaps you feel irritable when somebody seems to interrupt you unnecessarily, or perhaps you even feel rage when somebody actively provokes you. Each person responds to these situations differently, where some attempt to attack and harm others, and some attempt to escape from the situation in order to avoid further conflict, while still others hold onto their anger for months or years, which results in long-term stress and destroys relationships.
When I was young I remember that a local neighborhood man would drive the ice-cream truck through our neighborhood, and we all looked forward to seeing his friendly face. He eventually left that job and began operating a business out-of-town, and he rarely visited his family at home. As I grew up I began to hear people say that they were afraid of him, and my parents restricted us from visiting his home and playing with their kids, but I didn’t understand why. However, I soon learned what was going on when one night my grandmother came and whispered to us that something was not well. There was something that was interrupting our sleep – A commotion across the road. What we could hear was that his short temper led to him to beat his children, which apparently happened every time that he came home to visit his family. His anger and abuse was so severe that night that he brought one of his sons to within an inch of his life. This is the type of behavior – hurting others who are vulnerable –that destroys families and community.
Apparently he would always come back looking for somebody to fight – Probably drunk – so everybody in the neighborhood would shut their doors and avoid him. However, he would wait until late at night when he thought that everybody was asleep to let his anger fly, and neither his wife nor his children were “allowed” to tell anybody about this or ask for help.
On this particular night, the night that I first heard him, he beat up one of his sons with electric wires and he threw him down against a pile of scrap metal –Why? I do not know. My mother and grandmother rushed to the house, where he became violent and stamped off, but they were able to save the young boy and administer first aid. Meanwhile, they hid the child for the night in order to prevent the father from finding him, and on the next day the father left town and didn’t return for several months. After a few years passed the young boy had an unrelated accident, and he died without ever knowing the love of an even handed father.
Years Later . . .
After a number of years the man closed his out-of-town business and came home after his children had grown up, where in his older age he began to soften and relax. His wife passed way, and he was left alone. Without any relationships left, he reached out to his children and asked for forgiveness, but most of his kids were angry and resentful, so they rejected his pleas for forgiveness. There was only one courageous son who managed to find the strength to stand up and forgive his father, and he even chose to take him into his own home in order to let him age in peace.
Eventually, I met him again when we were both much older, and I remember that my childhood fears first made my heart jump when I saw him. However, by that time he was an old and docile man who just talked to me about his medical problems and how he had lost his wife and one of his children. This was the life of a man who did not actively take control of his anger, which resulted in him alienating his family and eventually finding peace only through the strength of a single son’s forgiveness. The best solution for working with anger involves active and consistent inner management that can help to prevent damage to relationships that could prove to be your only connection with the world in the distant future. Recognize it. Manage it. Change.