10 WAYS I CONQUER MY ANGER
- Posted by James Altucher
I was angry once with my ex-wife so i said, “PULL OVER THE CAR!” and she pulled over and I got out on an empty road near nowhere, in 90 degree weather.
I was wearing a suit, carrying a suitcase, and I started walking the other direction while she drove off.
“I showed her!” I thought. Sweating, in pain. Something was wrong with the sun. The godamn sun!
Another time was the reverse. I was with my sister, 20 years ago, on one of those circular exits off the NJ Turnpike at night. I pulled over (very dangerous) and yelled, “GET OUT!” and she got out and I drove off. “Let her find her way home NOW!”
Other times I’ve stopped talking to people and ended up never speaking to them again. Some times I’m just silent. A black hole.
Claudia might ask, “What’s wrong?” and I’ll say nothing. I literally can’t speak. Like I have words but they are trapped inside my mouth. Stupid stuff. Like a three year old.
I don’t hit people. I tend to withdraw. Somebody threw away the key and left me inside.
I even know what’s happening and I try to break out but sometimes I can’t. I’m stuck.
I’m sure there’s things I’m angry about for 30 years where pieces of me are still trapped. This isn’t a therapy thing. It’s a reality for me.
The first thing I do and maybe the best thing one can do, is to be aware of what’s happening.
Then I can use the most VALUABLE TRICK nature has created: Water is the most destructive force in nature. Water dripping on rock will eventually make the rock wither away. Awareness is the water that will dissolve fear and anger.
Hopefully it’s not too late. Too late for me to enjoy a full life.
Here are the reasons I might be angry. I don’t know if these reasons are common to other people. Maybe you tell me.
A) FEAR SOMEONE WILL LEAVE ME
If someone is going to leave me. Or stop being my friend. Or stop being my wife or girlfriend or whatever then I get afraid. I’m afraid I’m ugly or worthless or I’ll be lonely and never be happy. So I’ll act first. “GET OUT!” or I disappear inside.
B) FEAR SOMEONE IS CRITICIZING ME
Since I’m always right about everything, they must be wrong. WRONG! Chet, you are WRONG about war.
C) FEAR I AM DISAPPOINTING SOMEONE
There must be a reason. In 1998 I sold my company to another company for a lot of money. I knew the business was changing and that I would end up disappointing them.
THEY WERE CROOKS! I told myself a year later, long after I disappointed them.
D) FEAR OF FAILURE
One time I was in an options trade. I was stupid and I didn’t prepare. The trade ended with a huge loss.
THEY MANIPULATED IT! I was angry. “Isn’t anyone going to sue?” But the trade was over. The money was gone. That idea for a fund had disappeared. Time to start over. Because I had been stupid and was once again broke.
E) FEAR SOMEONE WON’T LIKE WHAT I HAVE TO SAY
The messenger bearing bad news. I just don’t return the calls then.
“Please call back,” the investor said to me when I didn’t return his call. But I still haven’t returned it. I was angry at myself for losing his money. This was a decade ago but I think about it every day.
F) FEAR SOMEONE WILL REVEAL I’M AN IMPOSTOR
There was a girlfriend I had wronged. And we broke up. But I was nice to her so she wouldn’t talk about me to people we knew.
I was angry at her but pretended to be nice. For years I was never myself with her. Now we are friends, maybe even good friends. I don’t know. My anger has turned into a blemish. Like sadness kissed me on the cheek. I touch the cheek, remembering love and my mistakes.
G) FEAR SHE IS RIGHT
There is something wrong with the way I do X, Y, and Z. But there can’t be! I’m trying my hardest! I don’t want to be wrong. She must be wrong! From her childhood. From her other relationships. It’s projection! That’s it! PROJECTION! EFF HER!
H) FEAR OF GOING BROKE
One time a guy took a job away from me. I had helped him get his job so he would hire my company to do their websites. Then he hired someone else. Through my own machinations I got him fired. I couldn’t handle the idea of someone putting their hand in my pocket. DON’T F WITH ME!
Then he tried to start a business. Then he went broke and moved out of the city and I haven’t heard from him since. Even after he was fired I still didn’t get the assignment of doing that company’s websites.
I) FEAR OF ASKING
I like to give value. But I’ll be honest – I’m often afraid to ask for a favor.
And then I get angry before giving someone a chance to say no. “FORGET IT. HE’S NOT THE TYPE TO HELP SOMEONE!”. Blame is a bad excuse for your unhappiness. Only you can make you happy. More on this later.
J) FEAR OF LOSING RESPECT
Sometimes I think my kids don’t respect me and then I get angry at them.
“You’re not a normal parent” one of them will inevitably say when I don’t do something they want. I slam the table and say, “DONT EVER SAY THAT AGAIN!”
Nobody should yell at a 12 year old. Suddenly it’s like I’m an 11 year old. Or the 11 year old in me that’s always there comes out. “I’M NOT A JERK. YOU’RE A JERK!”
By the way, all of the things I listed are fears. NOT ANGERS. Anger is just disguised fear.
Or disgusted fear. Or destructive fear.
You’ll never be punished for being angry. But you will be punished BY your anger. By your fears that keep you locked in the comfort zone.
Maybe nobody else feels these things. Maybe this is an embarrassing article. Again, I like to think that being aware and always focusing on my health is like the water dripping on the hard rock inside my heart that these fears have congealed into.
Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. Maybe sometimes I’m just an idiot. I’m sorry, Lauren, I made you get out on the NJ Turnpike.
Even writing about it is part of the awareness. I hope.
But I know pieces of it will be there forever. Until I am like the river and everything just flows past into the ocean.
Maybe some day that will happen. I can’t predict. Every day focusing on my physical emotional mental and spiritual health helps the fears flow into the ocean.
Cleans the sewage.
Anger is just a mutation of fear. And sometimes, for whatever reason, maybe for many reasons, I’m very afraid. Which is why I have to practice this every day.blog comments powered by Disqus
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