“TWO THINGS A MAN SHOULD NEVER BE ANGRY AT: WHAT HE CAN HELP AND WHAT HE CANNOT HELP.”
Many people seem to be addicted to anger.
The addiction often means a person will first focus on complaining, venting frustration, and creating drama…instead of focusing on a solution to the problem with a reasonable level of confidence that most problems can be solved or, at least, situations improved.
When a challenge arises, do you focus first on the solution or feel negative feelings that you have another problem?
When working with Veterans Making Comebacks (from homelessness using caused by responses), I learned many got there because of mindsets that led to addictions, sometimes including drugs or alcohol, though almost always including a tendency to feel bad or negative at life’s circumstances. Many who assessed themselves as addicted to stimulants often also admitted some form of tendency toward anger. Some responded to their bad feelings by escaping into drinking or fighting with family (arguments mostly) of fighting with fists (often a bars with other angry men)–or numerous other ways to avoid their situations mentally.
Most I met who faced PTSD, moral injury, or pains associated with re-entry into civilian life either ended up stronger emotionally or they stayed in a state of “broke down,” at least for awhile. One of the determinants of the path taken is the choice or propensity to “think solutions” or “focus on failure.”
Another fresh example is, I tried to help a man fix a problem logging into an account using his computer. Technical support kept trying to help me help him though for the first four tries their system kept declining the newly set password. So, four times I advised we needed to edit the previous password by at least one number or letter to try again. Each time, instead of answer the request, he created visible signs of anger, repeatedly asked how many times had he “given them a new password,” and even spoke, “this stuff can give me a heart attack.” The obvious answer is to just help with the solution. Complaints or heart attacks don’t help. This man has formed a pattern–it is more comfortable to “melt down” than “stand up” with a little “courage” and “cool wits.”
Here’s a simple strategy to help: add this sentence to your Life Plan or Life Constitution–When faced with problems or stress, I… [fill in the sentence as your best-self would.] Read it out loud daily for as long as you need to replace old patterns of anger “acting out” with instinctive responses that focus on making situations better instead of worse.
You can do this if you become aware of your vision for yourself and your actual behavior and use the difference to motivate you to better thoughts and actions.