The Reason You Shouldn’t Get Angry
This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago that I thought bared repeating.
There are very few times in life when I think it’s appropriate to be “mad.” It happens, without doubt, but generally I don’t find it very insightful or helpful. There’s always something underneath the anger. Usually it has to do with the desire to be loved. If you track the feeling back, like really, really back, that is what you’ll find.
- Wife screams at husband for leaving socks on the floor for the 18th time.
- Wife is angry because she doesn’t feel like her husband is listening to her.
- Wife wants to be listened to so that she’ll feel important to her husband.
- Wife wants to feel important to her husband so that she’ll know he loves her.
- Wife wants to know he loves her so she knows he’ll stay around.
- Wife is afraid of being left by husband.
- Wife is afraid of being unloved.
That’ll be $3000 in therapy bills, please.
There’s No Point Getting Mad About Socks
So you see, there’s no point in getting mad about socks. Just skip down a bit and talk about wanting to be listened to and feel important. The husband has more of a chance of understanding what’s going on that way. The husband has more of a chance of understanding why socks matter. When of course, socks don’t matter at all.
Other people don’t feel this way. Other people seem intent on yelling about socks. I get it; I’m weird; I’m crazy; I don’t perceive the world the way everyone else does. And I really don’t perceive whyfor all the yelling about socks.
Why Get Angry at People Just Doing What They Want?
I try to remember one golden rule when it comes to people – people do exactly what they want to do. When they do something nasty, it’s because they wanted to. When they did something hurtful, it’s because they wanted to. Whatever they did is what they wanted, and part of who they are, and you either deal with that or you don’t.
When I was ten my father didn’t show up to his own birthday party. His mother made a cake and there’s a picture of me, all dolled up, pretending to cut it, while we waited for him. He didn’t show. I was sufficiently screwed up at the time not to think this was all that weird.
He didn’t show up because it he didn’t want to show up. He’s just like that. Accept it and move on.
You Can Discuss Behavior, But It’s Still No Reason to Get Angry
Yup, we can talk about things, and I think it’s important to do that. I think it’s important that people understand each other. Because really, people make decisions without all the information. People do something hurtful, possibly, but they didn’t know it was going to be hurtful. It happens. Humans are walking disaster areas and sometimes we’re not aware of our impacts. Nevertheless. We make every choice. Commit every action.
Remembering that people only do what they want to do kind of makes me hate people. Others make up excuses for why things happen but I know those excuses are lies. I would be happier if I didn’t know those excuses were lies.
My favorite thing is “I didn’t have time.” Yes, you did. You had as much time as you felt like. You used your time on things you consider to be more important.
But then, no one wants to say, “sorry, you just weren’t that important.” Even though that’s what they mean. And I wish I just didn’t understand that.
People do exactly what they want to do. If you’re not important, then you’re not important. Un-fucking-fortunate but true.
You Shouldn’t Get Angry Because You Can’t Change People
But you can’t change people. If you’re not important then you’re not important. It’s pretty tough to become more important save blackmail or some such. Maybe the husband doesn’t care that his wife doesn’t feel important and it’s not worth the bother to him of picking his socks up. Just because she told him, doesn’t mean he’ll care.
People do exactly what they want and you can’t change them. True enough to make you want to drink drain cleaner.
Someone does something you don’t like: it’s just who they are. You either weave that into your understanding of that person, have a frank conversation about it and learn to live with it or you don’t.
Either way totally sucks.
Either way there’s no point in getting mad about it.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.