Anger

Another L asked me about my anger.

She wrote, “What makes you really angry? And how do you respond when you show your anger to somebody, whether it’s directly caused by them or not, and they throw it back at you, do you escalate or de-escalate?”

I answered with a voice memo. This is a transcript of what I said. Loosely edited. But perhaps still a bit messy.

So, I sort of answered this question a little bit in a recent post, on arrogance, which I encourage you to read. But basically, the bottom line is that I am a voluntary participant in a community of people in which I’m relatively junior. But in which I represent to most of the people in the community, real hope… like they  think that I’m valuable, they think that I have a lot to contribute. There are a few people who happen to be at the very top of it, in a sort of – and who’s at the top is almost coincidental – like it shifts from time to time and no one really wants to be at the top. It’s a voluntary organization, and so it’s really service rather than achievement that gets you to the top. But they’re at the top and they have some power over me in the community. And the people at the top see me as a threat. They don’t trust my motives, and they think I’m bad and they don’t know me. All the people who know me think I’m great and support me* and so I’m not really threatened in the long run because although the people at the top are at the top, they only have the power to make my life miserable for a short period of time. But they don’t have the power to get rid of me, they don’t have the power to make my life miserable for the long term, and in the long term? I win. In answer to your question about how I respond when anger’s directed at me? Or when it gets pushed back at me? I escalate. I’m really good at defusing people’s anger when it’s not directed at me, or when it’s wrongly directed at me – and I don’t feel threatened by it – but if I feel threatened, or in some way maligned, then I’m ill behaved.

* This is a bit overstated. I don’t mean to say they all think I’m great. What I mean to say is, most people appreciate me and think that I’m not un-flawed, but that, all in all, I’m a terrific addition to the crowd. And the people who know me best are unalloyed fans. Not in a two-dimensional way – they know my flaws well. They just don’t see them as particularly interesting to this set of issues.

And P.S. I asked Another L to select photos to accompany these posts. This is the first of the photos she selected. She was concerned I might not like photos of men. But fuck, this is hot.

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