mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF pacificism & hair-on-fire

Thinking About Really Bad Anger

Continuing on from yesterday... So I find it possible to summon up a nonviolent response to anger. Open my heart, let it go, the world will be a finer place... But, I do this best in extremely short-term and long-distance sales relationships. More often, I tend to fall prey to the usual nasty ways that people have to get back at one another... and then the issue either gets resolved or fades away, for better or worse.

But at the other extreme from nonviolent response are the people I love to hate. Do you have those "red-zone" people? Why are some people, some offenses harder to forgive than others?

I'm thinking about the people I've been angriest with over the years. A nun in high school, a professor in college, an advisor in graduate school, the head of an organization I worked for in job A, my boss in job B, my boss in job C. Each of these has a long story I could tell, but, hmm... I think I already see a pattern. Authority figures?

But if I have a problem with authority figures, why was I never angry at my parents, beyond the occasionally attack of adolescent snippiness?

My anger wasn't about their authority, but about their misuse of power.

My red-zone people were authority figures, yes. But my anger wasn't about their authority. It was about their misuse of power. They manipulated and controlled me -- maybe even seduced me into utter loyalty. Then, pow, betrayal. Or maybe not a "pow" but a slow awakening that I'd been used, abused, and tossed aside. And they were still in power.

I wonder if this pattern is common or if each of us has a unique red-zone profile.

What happened to those angers of yesteryear? Were any of them resolved successfully? A meditation for another day >>>



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Legacy of Love: My Education in the Path of Nonviolence by Arun Gandhi