Have you ever thought about the images we use to describe anger? They aren’t very pretty.
She was out of her mind. Imagine an individual, clutching her decapitated head in one hand. She and her brain, for the moment, are not attached to the rest of her body. If she blew her top, then her brain is not in her hand but exploding from her scalp like fireworks. Flipping her lid turns her cranium into a tilted teapot with all types of gooey gunk oozing onto the carpet. Not an attractive picture.
To say that a person who is mad can’t think clearly seems obvious. With so much brain exploding into the stratosphere and splattering on the floor, and possibly onto family and friends, the function of our gray cells is certainly minimized and muddled.
He was beside himself. Picture twins standing beside one another, the first functioning within a normal range of emotions, the other one, red in the face, pulling at his hair, shaking his fist. Enraged. Out of control. When a person is angry, he is beside himself.
No wonder people say, “I can see you are upset.” You reckon?
I love the Richard Gere quotation from Pretty Woman in which he acknowledges his fury toward his father, “I was very angry with him. It cost me ten thousand dollars in therapy to say that sentence: ‘I was very angry with him.’ I do it very well, don’t I? I’ll say it again: I was very angry with him. Hello, my name is Mr. Lewis, I am very angry with my father.”
Sometimes, we try to deny it. “No, I’m just disappointed,” or “I’m hurt” or, “I’m just concerned.” Well, if your brain were somehow positioned outside your body, I’d say other people could probably tell.
When someone has made you furious, they are a pain in the neck to you. Think of all the body parts involved in anger.
• Our ears are burning.
• We grit our teeth.
• We can’t swallow that.
• We clinch our jaws.
• We could scream.
• We become stiff-necked. Our shoulder muscles tighten.
• We clinch our fists. We are itching to get our hands on somebody.
• We can’t stomach that.
• He makes my skin crawl.
• We are pissed off.
• She is a pain in the ass.
• We could kick her, then smash her and stomp her into the ground.
That pretty much covers the entire body, doesn’t it?
Sometimes anger is so extreme that it gets confused with mental illness.
• She is irrational.
• He went nuts.
• For a few minutes, she was crazy as a bat.
• He was a wild man.
If we admit our anger, then we can begin the process of resolving a problem. If we say we have no anger… well, sometimes, that’s just not true.