Thursday, December 3, 2009

What’s the Difference between Angry Temper and Angry Thoughts?

Note: From time to time I’ll do a Q & A post. This question happened to come from an RI Group Leader – someone asked them, they in turn asked me. My thinking is, if one person wants some clarification, others most probably do too.

So, what is the difference between Angry Temper and Angry Thoughts?
The way I understand it – Nothing.

Angry Temper – the judgment that someone else or something else is wrong is a thought – a temper thought. The expression of anger may be outward – BUT before it’s an action, it’s a thought. We think before we speak. That’s how it works. We think thoughts, before they come out of our mouths.

Granted, in some cases the words come out with lightning speed, and it seems as though we speak before we think. Think about it: If we didn’t have thoughts first, there would be no words. As humans, that’s how we’re wired.

Anger is anger, whether it’s spoken or thought. And, at times there are no spoken words, but acts. Walking away ‘in a huff’ is an angry gesture, so is slamming a car door, so is sulking, so is scowling (you know what I mean – it’s that face thing that sends a snarly message).

Out-rage is pretty easy to recognize. In-rage (I know, I know the correct spelling is enrage, yet “In-rage” points to where the anger originates – inside our minds).

In-rage is having angry-judgmental thoughts. “Somebody else is wrong.” Out-rage is the resulting action that can occur.

Racing, angry thoughts are not always volatile – as in you’re really, really, really, really mad. Although that kind is easy to recognize when you’re having them.
The judgmental, ‘he’s wrong/she’s wrong thoughts’ can be more subtle – and I’d say most of the time they are. So are they less harmful? Well, in a sense they may be. But if several irritations, frustrations and disappointments come up, let’s say in a 12-hour day, and they’re not taken care of (not consciously excused) that’s where feeling overwhelmed comes from. Number 10 triviality get stacked on top of Number 9, on top of Number 8, on top of Number 7, etc.

Think about it: At that point you’re ‘feeling’ the tension from 10 prior events/responses, not just one. Of course it’s going to make you feel swamped, irritable, cranky, crabby, not at-ease and maybe even tired too.

That’s why I find it so important to use the guideline of trying to handle each triviality/each response of even the slightest temper/judgment as soon as it happens.

The fact is: Temper causes tension, tension causes symptoms.
It’s a whole lot easier to work down an original response when you feel the tension – BEFORE the tension grows into symptoms.

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved