Coping With Loss – Chapter 5 : Enrage

If there is one thing about my personality that I dislike, it would have to be my anger. I am what you call, eternally perturbed. After living over thirteen years with an anxiety disorder that perpetually diminishes your quality of life, sometimes having a good attitude is harder than coping with loss. My mother was quite aware of my anger issues, and generally knew how to calm me down when I was reaching my limit. Since her passing, I’ve noticed that getting mad comes even easier for me than ever before.

While replacing a wall outlet in my home; which I have done countless times in my life, I was electrocuted due to the previous homeowner (before my mother) failing to understand how to properly ground an outlet. I went from my default bothered to enraged in a split second, and began to furiously punch the wall until it started to hurt. Once I decided I had to turn off the circuit breaker, I proceeded to walk outside, continuing to punch everything in sight. Upon arriving at the circuit breaker, I then started to punch it as well, until finally I turn off the power and replaced the outlet.

Normally, the moment I punched the wall once, my mother would have instantly calmed me down. Without her patient understanding and calming voice, I was able to vent my frustration in a less than ideal way. This is not to say that I can’t be a rational adult and learn to control my anger, but when you have someone who is always there to calm you down, you start to rely on it.

One of my bigger problems with anger is that most of it is repressed. I tend to get mad at situations and only yell in frustration, angry is something I just don’t tend to emote. While I am basically speaking of semantics, given that frustration and anger go hand in hand, the context is quite important. When I am frustrated, I usually yell, maybe punch something unbreakable once and move on. With anger, it is like a fire that never stops, I continually punch anything I feel like, yell until I lose my voice, become overly sensitive to anything said and so on.

So yea, I probably sound like I have a real issue on my hands, but here is the kicker; I rarely get angry. I have a fairly high threshold when it comes to losing control. I get frustrated a lot, in fact, you could almost say it is my default mood, but it is very unlikely I can be pushed towards anger. I’ve had my fair share of slipups here and there, but like most ventable emotions, it happens in private. Lately though, I have started to feel my patience level drop. Things that once made me yell and move on, now put me close to losing my mind.

I could probably equate it simply to the result of loss, but that isn’t quite accurate. I feel that above all else, the biggest factor in losing my mother was also losing the desire to tolerate. With my mother around, I wanted to make her proud of how she raised me, be a person who embodied the very ideals and teachings she instilled in me. Without her, I don’t feel like there is a need to do so anymore. If something happens and it makes me mad, I will act accordingly. I no longer have the time, or the patience to tolerate people or situations that bother me.

This isn’t to say I am reacting the way I want to. In my life, having a ‘bad attitude’ is less of feeling and more of a personality trait. I don’t go out of my way to feel frustrated, and I certainly don’t enjoy the feeling. I have worked on many different ways to deal with stress and annoyances; laughing it off, feigning ignorance, just to name a few. While doing so tends to stop myself from reaching the edge, it certainly doesn’t make the feeling go away. Defaulting to frustration tends to spoil what little fun there is to have in life, and overall creates tension where there shouldn’t be. People shouldn’t need to wonder if something they say or something they do will cause me to erupt into yelling, and at the same time, I don’t enjoy reacting that way either.

I hope in the coming years I learn to stop defaulting to frustration, and I hope that the things that bother me most are not longer in my life. I just need to learn a balance between what should reasonably make me frustrated and what should barely make me agitated. Until that point, it is safe to say, I have a fairly long road ahead of me, and my volatile emotions are just another roadblock I have to overcome.