My History with Anger and How I Decided to Let Go of It, Part 1: Growing Up in a Household of Anger

This is part one of my five-part anger series, sharing my history with anger, how I have consciously decided to let go of it, along with a guide on how you can overcome anger as well.

  1. My History with Anger and How I Decided to Let Go of It, Part 1: Growing Up in a Household of Anger
  2. My History with Anger and How I Decided to Let Go of It, Part 2: The Damaging Effects of Anger
  3. My History with Anger and How I Decided to Let Go of It, Part 3: Healing From My Anger
  4. How To Deal with Anger: Your Gentle Guide to Removing Anger for Life
  5. What to Do When You Live with Angry People: 7 Tips

Anger

Anger. What a volatile and destructive emotion.

Yet, many of us seem to carry anger with us like it’s a part of our identity. Many of us seem to wear anger like it’s a self-enhancing booster, an accolade of superiority, and a natural part of being human (it isn’t).

I used to too, until two days ago (Oct 15, 2012), when I consciously decided that I will no longer live with anger in me from now on. Where I’m conscious of it, I will no longer let anger rule my life, impact my decisions, or be a part of my emotional vocabulary. Where I’m can help it, I’ll not allow anger to sit inside my heart. I will only allow emotional goodness, and only emotional goodness, to fill me moving forward. Where anger stirs up in me, I shall actively process this emotion on the spot, release it to the universe, and hope that it gets recycled into positive energy in time.

Most importantly, I shall let go of all the anger that had built up in me since I was young, and begin to live life with renewed eyes and a renewed heart.

Past Anger in My Life

Perhaps it will help if you know about my history with anger.

You see, I used to have a very intimate relationship with anger. It all started when I was a kid.

Growing up in an Angry Household

My parents would argue the whole time. Thinking back about my childhood years, I vaguely recall a lot of shouting and heightened emotions hurled from one family member to another on a near daily basis.

I recall a couple of points (when I was a kid) when I snapped and threatened to kill myself in front of my parents if they didn’t stop shouting. I literally walked into the kitchen, grabbed the kitchen knife, angled it at my wrist, and told them that I was going to “end it all” if they didn’t stop shouting right at that instant. I didn’t really mean to; it was just my last ditch effort to get them to stop yelling.

My stunt would work, but only for a short while. The arguments would begin not long after, sometimes as soon as after one to two hours. As a helpless kid watching this unfold without being able to do anything about the situation, I would feel deeply scrunched in my soul.

I didn’t realize it at that time, but I grew up collecting the residual anger from my parents and their recurring arguments. When you are constantly in the face of people arguing, it doesn’t matter even if you are not the subject of the arguments—the angst will naturally rub off of you. This was what happened to me.

Even though my parents mainly argued between themselves when I was a kid, and they never took their anger out on me (nor my brother; it was only when I was an early adolescent that my mom began hurling anger at me as well), it didn’t stop me from taking after their (actually more of my mom’s) angry persona.

Taking After My Parents’ Anger

Looking back, I could see displays of anger in me as early as in my early adolescent years (nine to twelve).

It might sound crazy, but for a period of time when I was nine or ten, I would subconsciously sprawl notes telling my mom to go to hell, then plaster them all over the house. I seriously didn’t know why I did that at that time; there would simply be something in me driving me to do it, after which I would act on that instinct. My parents would be appalled when they saw the notes, then desperately try to tear them down, after which they would either reprimand me or try to talk sense into me.

Thinking back, I could see that it was likely a subconscious expression of all the angst that had built up in me at that time.

Again during my early adolescent years, I developed the habit of cutting up my dad’s and brother’s clothes whenever they pissed me off or whenever I was pissed off. Again, I didn’t know why I did that then. I just knew that there was a lot, a lot, of anger in me and I needed to do something physical, something drastic, to get that anger out there to the world. I needed to express my anger and I needed someone, anyone, to receive my message, loud and clear.

As I grew older into my late adolescent years, at the same time when my family shifted to a new home (still in Singapore), those volatile expressions of anger stopped. One might think that this meant my childhood anger was gone and I was no longer an angry person. For a while, I thought that was the case too.

On hindsight though, I now know that that wasn’t the case. My angst had never disappeared—it had merely receded into a deeper part of my subconsciousness as I developed the other parts of my identity during my teenage years. My anger was still there, right inside of me. It never went away. It merely laid dormant, ready to be triggered anytime the right conditions were in place.

That I was (still) a deeply angry person was something which I would only realize many years later.

Awareness of the Anger in Me

The quiet fire in me

My anger was mainly latent anger; meaning I wasn’t an angry person at my natural state. In fact, quite the opposite—I would almost always be bright, cheery, happy, and upbeat.

My anger would only arise when things didn’t go my way. Even then I would never direct my anger outward unless I was really, really frustrated. My anger was mainly kept to myself and managed within my consciousness. 

Even during the times when I had lost it, I would not direct my anger at others. I would get angry at situations and/or people yes, but I would not direct my anger at people or the person per se, unless the situation had gone completely out of control. Having grown up with anger hurled around/at me on a daily to near daily basis, I didn’t want to inflict the same treatment onto someone else.

In my mind, I never thought of myself as an angry person. I simply thought my occasional anger to life’s little hiccups were highly normal and simply a natural human reaction. Unfortunately, this wasn’t true at all.

A Simple Conversation

About a year ago, I was chatting with a good friend (B) about a common friend of ours (C). C was a very dear friend of mine and like a little brother to me. There were some things he did where he utterly let me down and wasted my trust in him. I was just telling B how disappointed I was at C for his actions.

As B listened, he asked for my permission to share something which had been on his mind for a while. “What?” I quipped. He said that I tended to have very harsh expectations of others, and it could be quite tough to live up to them sometimes.

I thought for a while. “Don’t you have expectations of other people?” I asked.

“Yeah I do,” he responded. “But I don’t get angry when people don’t live up to them.”

Ah. I thought.

“Why not?” I probed. “I mean, if someone doesn’t live up to your expectation, you would naturally be angry, wouldn’t you?”

“Nope,” he said. “It would just make me feel sad.”

A New Seed of Thought

B’s answer was mind-opening. The issue here wasn’t that I had harsh expectations, but that I had harsh reactions to people (or situations for that matter) falling short of my expectations.

This was revealing for I had always assumed that anger would be a default emotion for situations gone awry. It didn’t occur to me that my angry reaction was a reaction specific to me and not a default reaction for others.

I found it fascinating that B said that he would not react in anger, only sadness, if things fell under his expectations and/or if people failed him. And he wasn’t just saying it either; when I reflected to a time when someone did him wrong by a thousand miles, he really did react in sadness, without an ounce of anger. At that time, I couldn’t fathom why. I thought he was like a saint. If it was me, I would have totally exploded in anger.

Observing People’s Different Reactions to Situations Gone Awry

Since that discussion, I began to reflect on other people’s natural reactions to situations that violated their expectations. It corroborated with what my friend had tried to tell me.

While I could think of people who would react angrily to situations gone wrong, the intensity of their anger would vary. Most would never react with the same level aghast as I normally would. Some would be slightly frustrated, but even then their frustration would quickly taper thereafter.

I also observed people whose reactions to situations gone awry wouldn’t even be of anger at all. Some would be disappointed. Some would be sad. Some would be apathetic. Some would be fearful. And some wouldn’t even know what had hit them until it was already over (usually people who are spacey and oblivious).

For me to react in anger whenever things went against my expectations, it meant that my anger wasn’t caused by situations or people, even though it might seem that way at first. If those situations or people were truly the cause of my anger, then everyone should rightfully react with the same intensity of anger when put in the same circumstances. However, this wasn’t the case, as I had shared above.

The varying reactions of other people to situations gone awry, from varying degrees of anger to non-anger, made me realize that my anger wasn’t external; it was internal. There was something, inside of me, creating my anger each time. Or rather, there was something in me that was constantly angry, and the situations had merely brought the anger out of me, onto the surface.

It made me realize that—wow—as much as I had thought that I was quite a pacifist, and that I had been working on being a better person filled with kindness, respect, and appreciation of other people, I was actually very much an angry person on the inside.

What are Your Experiences with Anger?

Do you have any experiences with anger? Are you an angry person, even if slightly? Do you know anyone in your life who is angry? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section. I would love to hear your reflections of what I write onto your life, which is the very reason why I share my personal experiences so openly on PE to begin with. Let me know your thoughts and stories—I would love to hear them.

Part 2 of the Anger Series

Continue on to Part 2: The Damaging Effects of Anger, where I share the effects of anger in my life, after being conscious of its presence. 

Pass this article along to anyone you know who is angry, as well as your social networks on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks, I really appreciate it!

This is part one of my five-part anger series, sharing my history with anger, how I have consciously decided to let go of it, along with a guide on how you can overcome anger as well.

  1. My History with Anger and How I Decided to Let Go of It, Part 1: Growing Up in a Household of Anger
  2. My History with Anger and How I Decided to Let Go of It, Part 2: The Damaging Effects of Anger
  3. My History with Anger and How I Decided to Let Go of It, Part 3: Healing From My Anger
  4. How To Deal with Anger: Your Gentle Guide to Removing Anger for Life
  5. What to Do When You Live with Angry People: 7 Tips

Images: Girl, Fire


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  • Elton

    Hi Celes,

    Just sharing my thoughts as this posting is very true to myself at one time.

    Looking at your article, i remembered that I use to angry at 1 person for long time (due to some personal issue) and also the person who caused my broken foot for 3 months.

    I also worked with many western children in camp who come from broken families, disabled and how much they hated their parents, and my job was to pacify them and ensure our life values instilled in their belief that their parents existed for care for them.

    However, over period of time, I have believe that everything happens for a reason and things will look brighter the moment you fathom the hidden signs. Read: law of attraction ;)

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Elton, thanks so much for sharing. I’m glad that you have chosen to let go of your anger at the individuals you mentioned. :) I’ve found that when we are angry, we really aren’t angry at the other party—we are just angry at ourselves. And the person who suffers the most? Isn’t the other party as well; it’s just ourselves. I’ll be writing more on this in the later parts of the series.

  • Curtis

    I am a really angry person.

    My mother used to yell all the time.

    I picked up the habit that yelling was the only way to express yourself.

    Now I do it all the time.

    I don’t know how to stop.

    I hope your series helps-this is the first one I’ve read, because of the title.

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hi Curtis, thanks for sharing. I hope you’ll be able to get the answers you are looking for through this series too.

  • http://Personalexcellenceanger Nanabanana

    I have never gotten over the hate and anger I feel at my dad. He passed away 13 years ago. I’m so glad he’s dead so I don’t have to listen to him. I have anger at my mom, too, although she’s 87 yo, I she still doesn’t get it and never will. I have pretty much isolated myself from everyone in my birth family. I’ m content being nana. I hope to learn how to get out of this rut.

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hi Nana, it sounds like you had/have quite a fair bit of hate and anger at your dad and mom. Thank you for sharing and I hope you will find the series useful for your healing journey. Parts 2 and 3 will share my anger resolution journey, while Part 4 will be a guide on how all of you can heal from your anger. I’m also planning a part on dealing with angry family members / an angry household.

  • Daniel Pelzl

    This goes with the territory of being gifted. Gifted persons have stronger emotions and more extreme reactions to things not going right. You earlier said you hated leach type persons more than anything.
    I am extremely uncomfortable when I learn about anyone abusing another. I have an instant wish to somehow make the situation “right”. You are totally right about anger not being productive. What may help is to find persons who can work with you to improve situations you find uncomfortable.

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      “This goes with the territory of being gifted.” – I do think that this can become a dangerous justification for remaining in an agitated emotional state actually. I don’t deny that people who have experienced great emotional trauma or have highly agitated emotions can also be highly driven because of their emotional states give them the “push” forward. For example, I have observed certain people in highly discriminated groups (gays, minority races, people who used to be sidelined) become extra driven to do better and “prove others wrong”. I was personally sidelined at one point in my junior college years for not doing well in my secondary school leaving examinations, which then gave me the impetus to do extra well later on in life (I then became a Dean’s Lister in university, followed by my subsequent achievements as documented on my PE about page).

      However, being talented, doing well, or being “gifted” shouldn’t be associated with having extreme emotions, or at least not extreme negative emotions. I think one can be calm and neutral and still be exceptionally renowned and successful (just plucking random names – Dalai Lama? Mother Theresa? Oprah Winfrey?); without going into details, I do believe that said extreme (negative) emotions actually hold the “gifted” back from reaching even higher heights, and that if they learn to release these emotions, they can actually become even better than they are today.

      Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts Daniel. I appreciate it. :)

  • Susan

    My mother yelled throughout my childhood, every day. For years, I modeled after this behavior, even though I did not like it. It took me years of focused effort to stop yelling and to stop feeling angry. The only way I could accomplish this was practice, practice, practice. I used habit formation techniques to become more calm and positive every day. I still slip into anger about once a month, but I try to walk away and cool off. Then I try to appreciate my work at getting down to once a month anger, instead of daily or weekly.

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Dearest Susan, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. :hug: It takes a certain character to break out of anger patterns set in from childhood and I appreciate your constant desire to improve and break out of your childhood stories, so to speak. I’m also sure your children would appreciate it greatly as well if they knew the effort you put in (which I assume is partly for them).

      My personal development journey this year has emphasized to me that events from our childhood have a deeper impact our lives than we can imagine (as I’ve been trying to drive home as well with the recent articles), so it really brightens me when I hear about parents such as you constantly working to create a conducive, positive environment (around the kids).

  • Dan Garner

    For years I didn’t realize that I had anger issues. I was a fairly happy-go-lucky person most of the time. My wife pointed out that I often responded to certain questions in a VERY harsh manner. After a lot of introspection I figured out the connection. Questions in areas that I had no confidence caused fear and anger. It is an on-going process to acknowledge and deal with my fear/ anger connection.

    Thanks for the article.

  • JadePenguin

    Yet another article about something I’m currently dealing with :)

    I used to be the kind of person who would keep everything inside, maybe only dare to rant to close friends (even then feeling like a whiner). As you can guess, avoiding problems like this isn’t helping. Lately I’ve become more open and hence, more angry (if you look at the world today, you can guess where it comes from – sometimes I hate humans so much I wonder why I bother trying to do good for them).

    However, I’d say it’s much better than my old approach, because throwing things in the open allows me to actually address them. Some people may back off but I’ve also found lots of support this way, especially from my bf. I feel a bit guilty for being angry at him occasionally but I think it’s because I can trust him to understand and talk things through with me :love:

    Since Anger is higher on the Map of Consciousness than Apathy, Grief or Fear, I’d say it’s one intermediate step on my journey. It’s obvious that unfortunate situations would push us lower on the scale. Just need to make sure we pick ourselves up quickly and develop some resistance for the next of life’s inevitable downs :)

    Note: I’m not justifying being angry, just saying it may help uncover some “bottled up” problems. One should not feel guilty over it and force the anger down without addressing it!

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      “sometimes I hate humans so much I wonder why I bother trying to do good for them” – Dearest Jade, you try and you try because deep down inside you, you do care for other people. I think that’s what makes you an endearing person. :hug: (And I’m saying this as someone who doesn’t know you in real life, but I won’t be surprised if I’m not too far off here with my comment.) That, and your constant desire to grow, are spirits which I really enjoy about you. :D

  • http://Mountaincreekhome.wordpress.com Eva

    My soon to be ex husband has so much anger that I dread the days that I have to be around him.
    Angry people die much sooner in life than people that don’t worry about the small things.
    He doesn’t get it or seem to understand why his own family can’t stand to be around him any longer.
    But he argues with us every day so I am ready to sever all ties to him. Angry people ruin other people’s lives on purpose with their anger.

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hi Eva, thanks for sharing your story. :hug: I’m happy for you that you have decided to break away for the betterment of your well-being. It does sound like it has been a very disempowering and exhausting relationship. At the same time, don’t hold on to the hate or anger that you have for him; it will do nothing but wear away your soul. The later parts of this series will share how to shed away anger from our lives and I hope you will find them useful.

  • Lamekia Jarman

    I found your article about anger interesting, one of my questions is when it is okay to be angery? How do you control your anger when someone has disappointment me, or hurt me. I really want to be able to manage my anger can you give me so realstic ways to manage these feelings?

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Lamekia, stay tuned for the later part of the series. I’ll be sharing steps on how to address anger and let it go from your life.

  • Vasundhara

    Hi Celes,

    Very Nice Article… Adding another Gem to our PE :D

    Even when I was around 12 – 15 years old, I felt myself being very short temper person and I used to pridefully say that to everyone. But later on I realised I am not really that kinda person and I don’t want to be like that too… :)

    I have seen as like other kids, parents shouting out of anger and figting. When I grow up, i felt that the fights among the parents are common and felt that they are fighting for petty things. But me after getting married,(been just 2 years) I do fight for the same reason as my parents did !!! :) , I feel that only if we are in their shoes we can sense each other feelings of not doing their own responsibilities and how such irresponsibility of one partner affects the another.. There comes the yelling and fighting and which carries even to small small things.

    My dad is very very short temper person and he CANNOT accept things going out of plan and he doesn’t make a another plan if the planned one doesn’t happen. I learned from him, how NOT TO BE a person like that.

    There comes another person, IT’S ME. After marriage, I am the one who takes all the responsibiltity and does all household chores, paying bills, cleaning,washing etc. My husband does helps me, when I ASK HIM and he doesn’t volunteer himself for any of the household works and other things. Next thing is he keeps all the things like paying bills, other payments until last minute and i am the one who has to keep reminding him about these payments which keeps irritating me. Because if i reminds him, he will say I am keep nagging him, but end of the day he doesn’t make payment and after that he will ask me why I didn’t remind him again.!!! i just feel like running away from all these things and stay alone!!!!

    These sort of things keep irritating me and day by day my anger level on him increases and I don’t have the patience to explain him all these.

    I am eagerly waiting for for the Part 4 and also please implement your plan with regards to ‘part on dealing with angry family members / an angry household’ which will be helpful for a lot of persons like me…

    Keep up the great work and thank u so much for being part of our life and keep us motivating :)

    Love :hug: :heart:

  • Jackie

    Wow. I, too, could completely relate to this article about struggling with anger. I, too, grew up in a family where my parents constantly argued and fought and family members frequently communicated with angry words or an angry tone. It was only after observing other people’s families and how they interacted with each other that I realized that to be angry wasn’t necessarily a normal way to communicate, respond, and operate in the world.

    I would say that I still struggle with angry internal feelings to this day. For the most part, my anger is not often external but rather something that I can often feel bubbling up inside me when I feel that I’ve been mistreated or disrespected in some way or that my “rights” have been violated. I think unexpressed anger is an area that I’m especially vulnerable in. Rather than lashing out or exploding at others, I deal with my anger mostly by distancing myself from people so that they don’t see how angry or frustrated I am at times.

    I always justified my anger by viewing it as a valid emotion, a valid response to an unfair situation or to how someone else was mis-treating me. But reading this article made me realize that the roots of my anger maybe lie in the household I was brought up in and the type of communication that was seen as normal back then (often angry communication). I think anger is an emotion that isn’t talked about enough…It’s very powerful and yet not enough attention is given to how to properly express and manage it. I am consciously working on my anger, even before reading this article, because I realize that holding a lot of anger inside doesn’t lead to inner peace, happiness, and it just plain drives people away. It isn’t easy–there are no easy solutions to when you feel rightfully angry about something or towards someone but I realize now that I can try to choose an alternative way to respond rather than just automatically getting angry.

    Thanks for this article…It helps to know that others feel the same way I do and have struggled with similar emotions.

  • Silvana

    Anger can also be a problem from a reverse perspective. That is, never feeling it.

    When I was little, I would get angry when people hurt other people, but not when they hurt me. In primary school, I remember being kicked, pushed, spit on, having all my clothes thrown into the gym showers and then being refused to go home and change by the teacher, even though my home was 5 minutes away. Yet, I never could get angry at those other kids, or at my teacher. In primary school I was still lucky that the kids eventually grew older and started to respect my kindness. Instead of bullying me, they now protected me. The very same ones.

    But then came secondary school, and it basically happened all over again. Less physical, more with words, and a lot meaner. I couldn’t get angry, not for me but also not for anyone else anymore, only very sad and disappointed at what those girls did. So I endured it all without complaining, and everybody got away unpunished until school was done.

    Whenever a boyfriend tries to manipulate me, or whenever someone insults me, I somehow talk myself into thinking that they must be right, even though I KNOW they’re not, just to avoid a confrontation. I just cannot get angry. It’s not there.

    So, some people may want to let go of their anger because it’s ‘destructive’. And perhaps it is true that I don’t suffer so much from the memories now because I’m not mad at them. I can move on. But my point is, feeling no anger at all can be just as destructive as having a really bad temper.

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Silvana, I understand your point of view in that you are attributing to your lack of anger with not standing up for yourself and your rights in situations where your rights were violated.

      However, I don’t see (lack of) anger as the issue here—anger isn’t necessary and isn’t a prerequisite for someone to assert his/her rights. One can assert his/her boundaries and personal rights without having to be angry or having to show anger at others (in some cases, showing anger might get the point across, of which someone can engage in conscious displays of anger – but this will be totally different from an unconscious loss of anger).

      I’m not sure if you personally did anything to rectify those situations of emotional and physical abuse, and if you didn’t, why you never acted on them. I can’t judge nor comment since I was never there in your situation and you actually did not share any details about what went through your psyche during the situation. But I definitely don’t see lack of anger as the issue here; it feels like there’s something else missing in the equation rather than anger itself.

  • Eric

    The article made me realize that the anger is inside of me and not something external. A big breakthrough for me. Looking forward to part 2 and more.

    Thanks.

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Amazing. Love that you got that aha, Eric. That is the very point I’m trying to drive with this article. Thank you so much for joining in the discussion.

  • http://hackmyheart.com Alexa

    While I wish it weren’t so, I relate a LOT with this article.

    Growing up, my parents argued constantly. My little sister and I would often try to stop them by different means, usually with me leading the way. It’d go from anything from trying to distract them, to yelling back, to trying to be a “judge” and listen to each side and try to solve it like seems to happen on TV. Basically I tried my best to be diplomatic in my house.

    Most of the time, my actions didn’t work. As I grew older, the arguments become less frequent but they hurt at least just as bad, if not worse, when they did happen. By this point though I knew nothing I did could help, but often I’d feel the hurt and anger in my parents’ voices, and often I’d go into my room and just cry. I was scared and angry and powerless, and there was literally no one I could go to or any way for me to change the situation. I used to have thoughts of wishing my parents would just divorce so I wouldn’t hear it anymore.

    While I was little (like up to 8 years old or so), I tended to fight with my sister a lot. I don’t even remember what it would be about, but since I was older, bigger, and stronger I tended to pin her down and sometimes just wail on her for whatever reason. Luckily I grew out of that (thankfully, my sister and I are super close now!), but my anger has stayed with me. I used to grow easily frustrated, used to yell and cry a lot, and in general just have a terrible temper. I’ve calmed down a lot as I’ve gotten older, but honestly? I think it’s just hidden more often than it isn’t.

    I tend to blow up at people if they do something “wrong”. If someone says something I find rude, stupid, or just pisses me off in some way or form, I’ll get angry and yell if I think they’re in the wrong. I rarely think it through, and often I do it because I feel I’m standing up for myself. Thinking about it, that’s probably the logic that drives most of it…after all, my parents were standing up for themselves when they were fighting, weren’t they?

    This past weekend, I did something I wasn’t proud of. I’d spent the night with my boyfriend, and in the morning my sister texted me asking if I wanted to go out to these Gardens with her. I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to come along to get breakfast and then go, and after some discussion said, “Sure” and we went off.

    As we finished breakfast (we’d waited on a long line to get bagels, so we were all a bit frustrated in how long it took), we were getting ready to head to the car when he said, “Catch you later.” My sister and I looked at him confused, assuming he was going with us to the gardens. I felt hurt, as I’d thought I’d get to hang out with him (and admittedly, thought it’d be romantic walking around the gardens with him). He told us he’d only agreed to go to breakfast and was planning on going to the gardens with us, but the long line made him feel tired and he didn’t feel like it anymore.

    I was shocked, and soon furious, as we parted and my sister and I headed to the car. “I can’t believe he left.” I told her. “I really can’t believe he agreed to go and then didn’t.” I grew so pissed I called him while we were in the car, got angry with him and told him he’d said he would go, and eventually hung up when he repeated he hadn’t promised to go to the gardens. I felt angry, as if he’d tricked me. I felt stupid but blamed it on him for not being clear with his intentions. I felt like maybe I’d made a mistake and had another loser boyfriend like I did in the past who didn’t want to do anything except occasionally hang out in private.

    On the way there, though, I realized it was really all on me. I shouldn’t have gotten angry at him not wanting to go. After all, it was early on a Saturday and he probably wanted more sleep than to walk around gardens. Besides, maybe he didn’t want to make my sister feel like a third wheel? I realized that I was thinking up all these reasons for him not wanting to go (most along the lines of, he doesn’t want to go with me because he doesn’t like me), instead of just believing him that he was tired. At the very least, I was doing myself a disservice by assuming the reason was negative against me. I texted him an apology, explaining myself a little, but wasn’t sure how we were after that.

    After I got back, I called him asking if we could talk but he was sleeping, but the tone of his voice was happy when I apologized for waking him and he said, “it’s cool”. I texted him later to confirm that we were alright, and he said we were fine. On Monday night I got to see him when we met up to go to anime club, but still we haven’t had time to actually talk one-on-one. While I don’t think it’s bothering him anymore based on this, I’m still planning to give him a face-to-face apology as I think he deserves that if I called him just to yell at him before. Luckily for me, he’s super laid-back (wish I were!), so I think often when this stuff blows up in my head, it’s not affecting him at all. I do hope I learn to let go of my nervousness by being with him, as I know it’s not healthy for me!

    But like you, Celes, I’ve decided I really have to let go of this anger (and for me, let go of my nervousness, my attachment to expectations, my negative thoughts that go, “If he does(n’t) do X, it must mean he doesn’t like me”). I’m in a just-three-weeks-old relationship so obviously it’s too soon to tell if it’ll still work out for the long term, but I still want to learn to become my best self and learn from the great traits my boyfriend has as well. I’ve spent too long being afraid as a result of my past relationships, and I feel like this is just even more impetus to move forward in becoming the best person I can be. I truly believe things can only get better from here. =)

    I (usually) get to see my boyfriend on Wednesday afternoons after our classes (our schedules are very different, so it’s hard to see each other all that often), so I hope I get my chance to apologize to him today. Regardless, thank you for sharing this article with us, Celes. I can’t believe the timeliness of it for me, wonder if I somehow influenced you to write this with my thoughts haha! XD

    (for some reason, this reply of mine never posted. So here it is, a few days late. XD)

  • Kaye

    Hi Celes, I’m a wife of almost two years and honestly speaking, I have never seen myself get crazily mad at someone, esp my husband. I get scared when I think of it and wonder where all this anger is coming from. I’m a very cheerful and positive person so this angry side of me is very new to me and it’s frightening!

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Kaye, realizing the presence of anger is the first step to addressing it. I had to first be conscious of my anger (as I had highlighted in this article) for me to then be able to tackle the issue. So you are already at the first step (being conscious of your anger); the next step is to understand where you come from. More in Parts 3 and 4.

  • http://www.CoachingWithChristina.com Christina

    Hi Celes,

    Thank you for sharing so honestly! I’ve done some of the exact same things as you–particularly writing the evil notes to parents and hiding them around the house. My mom found one a few months ago and I felt *really* bad about it (it would be about 20 years old by now). I think the reactions you’ve shared are so universal–I can totally relate to all of them!

    And I feel even more convinced that anger is an emotional reaction to the emotion sadness. It’s interesting that your friend mentioned feeling sad in the example you shared. I think when we become angry sometimes, it’s really because the base emotion is sadness and the anger is a reaction to the sadness. So in a way, it’s moving away from the deeper emotion, and really interesting to notice how anger is so often a response to sadness.

    Thank you again so much for sharing so honestly–I really appreciate it!

    ~Christina

  • Mich

    Thank you for writing this. I’ve been struggling with anger for most of my life due to growing up in an abusive home and unfortunately, the verbal abuse hasn’t stopped. I too, much like you, thought that I could move past it and be kind and respectful of others. But this anger…I feel like it rules me and it burns in my stomach sometimes over the tiniest things. For the most part I am kind and respectful but I get angry so easily and lose my patience with others. I constantly have to ask myself of how I would feel if someone reacted to me the way I have reacted to others on occasion – unfortunately, I already know the answer to that given the environment I grew up in.

    I also get extremely angry when others don’t live up to my expectations but I’m slowly learning that perhaps my expectations are too high – that perhaps the key is to give more and expect less. It helps a bit but I still feel hurt.

    The one other thing that has helped me is mindfulness meditation. Although I admit to not being consistent in meditations, it did teach me to identify my emotions before they got out of hand. Practising this type of meditation helped me to step outside of myself to see my anger as though I was watching it happen rather than experiencing it happen – this alone gave me some control over it.

    All I can say for sure is that this is one very difficult battle. I’m sure I will struggle with it for many years to come.

    All the best to you. I hope you have better luck than me. :-)

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Mich, thanks so much for sharing your experiences. Anger can be addressed and resolved in a logical, step by step fashion. And luck definitely doesn’t have to be involved. I’ll be sharing how I’m addressing my anger in part 3 of the series, and a guide on how all of you can address your anger permanently in part 4. The steps *will* apply to all of you, no matter the source nor intensity of your anger. Stay tuned. :)

  • http://sailorv.typepad.com Tanders

    This would really help me in my self improvement journey. I visited my family over the weekend and my mom told me something that I never really realized until now. She said that my temper seems to have gotten shorter as I’ve gotten older. I’m only 20 years old now but I feel much older often due to most of my friends being younger or older than myself.
    I’m also dealing with procrastination (that’s been around longer) and thanks to your site I may have found a more constructive way of releasing that too. But I think for this change to be doubly effective, I feel that I should release my anger. I think it’s been synonymous with my frustration due to the detrimental effects of procrastination affecting my academic life (still is even in uni) and my friends are either already where I want to be or they have a chance to get there. Some past disputes between my immediate and extended families may have also played a role even though most of them happened when I was a child. But they’re talking and supporting each other as they’re releasing their anger too. Anger has never been constructive and I want to show my mom that I can be happy too. Even though many say anger drives us to support just causes, I think it’s passion that drives us.

    I’m really looking forward to this Celeste. Thanks for posting and good luck. :) Sorry my comment’s a bit long!

  • R

    Wow, your article is amazing and so insightful. This touched so many chords with me in ways I can’t even begin to begin to explain. I just want to say thank you and that I look forward to reading more. I found it very therapeutic. Thanks so very very much x

  • Thomas Anderson

    Thank you for sharing your insights. My soul mate had a childhood much like yours. I hope that your blog will help free her from her wounds and free me from being wounded. I grew up in an angry home too. I feel sad when disappointed and controlled when someone flys into a fit of rage. An unconscious trigger for me