I admit it, I have a short fuse and little patience for things that most people seem to be able to tolerate better. Yesterday, for example, I was on the verge of exploding in a fiery rage when I accidentally knocked over a soda bottle and ended up spilling it on someone’s plate, ruining his food. I was very embarrassed about what I perceived as clumsiness and carelessness on my part, when in fact it was just an accident caused by a wobbly table, and my brother-in-law, whose plate was in the path of the toppled beverage, was understanding and thought no less of me. I still felt bad for tainting his dinner, though. I was angry at the fates for conspiring to make me look stupid. I was upset that good food and drink were wasted, that there was a material and monetary loss, not to mention the inconvenience of having to clean up the damn mess. My mother could not understand how such a minor thing could get me so incredibly pissed off, but I couldn’t help but grit my teeth and muster up all restraint that I had to keep from bursting into a screaming torrent of profanity. In spite of my best efforts to avoid making a verbally violent scene, my mom still thought I exercised poor control of my anger and expected me to remain calm and cool. I realize there are far greater crises than this in life, but I can’t help but get pissed off when shit like this ruins my day. My mom is a perfect saint. Even idiot drivers in traffic don’t bother her the way it does with most people.
I’m not asking for advice on how to control my temper. I long ago condeded that I can’t fix this problem I have and have tried many times before to do so, and I wish my mother would realize this and just leave me alone and not interfere when I get upset. I just want to know that there are others on this board who blow up at minor things that may not bother other people.
In case you’re wondering, my rage was not fueled by alcohol or drugs as I do not use these substances. It was just simple, plain and pure vitriol created by an embarrassing and inconveniencing situation. I’ve never hit another person or intentionally destroyed another person’s property out of anger, nor have I ever lost a job for anything like this. A lot of people with more serious anger management issues will have at least one charge of battery and have likely lost a couple jobs to their outbursts.
What I am really asking here is, what kinds of things set you off that other people around you cannot understand?
I’m generally pretty mellow and getting mellower as I age, but I occasionally get seriously pissed off at random things. One pattern I’ve noticed is that I never lose my temper over big things, only over little things that have come right after a big thing. My thinking seems to be: “big things need to be dealt with, and when there are big things to be dealt with, the trivial things either fall in line or get smashed.”
I have an issue with this. No need to get Freudian about it, but there are a number of things that seem to get under my skin - some of which I understand the origin of, others are just a mystery.
For me the trick is behavior modification - buying myself that one extra second before I give myself permission to blow up. If I can get that second, I am much more likely to choose not to give in to my anger impulse. Because anger is a very self-serving emotion, I could never get “what would a better person do?” type of checkpoint to work. So I gave in, and asked myself “which would help me win more - blowing up now, or keeping my cool and showing them nothing?” That question appealed to the selfish, angry person in me, so I would say “heh, heh - I’ll hold off” and buy myself some time and before I knew it, I was past the anger - without storing it for later use. Basically, I con the angry me with a promise of later revenge just to get my head out of the moment - does that make sense?
I still have plenty of issues with it, but feel more self-aware about it…
I have the very same issue as the OP. Haven’t found a way to control it yet, though I am trying.
It’s a tough thing to explain unless you have it or know somebody who acts like this. My wife can never tell what will “set me off”, as it’s usually something small, a lot like what the OP described (spilling the drink).
It’s not so much getting “pissed off about little things”, it’s more of a short, white hot anger that comes on quickly, peaks, then goes away (usually quickly). At the peak I say things I don’t mean, make accusations that make little or no sense and have been known to damage inanimate objects (though I never actually hit anyone, not once. I’ll throw things sometimes, but never at people. It’s weird like that, I don’t understand that part myself yet).
And after one of these “explosions” I can have a clear enough head to evaluate the situation and understand even where it went wrong and why, just like the OP did. It’s doing that before a blow up that can be difficult sometimes.
I too occasionally get a white hot anger, but I’m very good at not betraying my true feelings. Oddly enough it’s usually something that’s unrelated to me, for example if I see somebody act rudely to somebody else or an asshole driver cut somebody else off I tend to get a flash of pure rage and simmer in it for a while before it dissipates.
Thanks for the responses. Surprisingly, a big crisis doesn’t always make me blow up in a fiery rage. Perhaps in such situations I am too occupied with contemplating the magnitude of the situation to react violently to it, whereas a spilled drink, a dropped cell phone, a vending machine that ripped me off and didn’t dispense desired product, etc., are the kinds of things that will sour my mood at least momentarily, and such problems are usually resolved or overcome quickly. It’s the daily, nettlesome annoyances, disruptions and other disturbances such as these that diminish the overall quality of my day.
I’ll try Wordman’s suggestion and try to give myself an extra second to assess the situation and decide if it’s really worth all the energy.
Lack of common sense in me or others. Why just Monday morning I had to count to 10 twice to avoid screaming at my husband. Really, though, I fixed the Easter feast. All he had to do was put the leftovers in the fridge, clear the table, and load the dishwasher. How exactly could one miss putting that half of ham that I did not slice or put on the table, but which was prominately displayed on the kitchen counter into the fridge is beyond me. Couple that with “well I didn’t think you wanted it” made me want to hurl the half of ham at his head. His response: it’s just a ham, get over it.
And yeah - the lack of common sense in the kitchen drives me batty. I have shown my wife the easy trick for how to coordinate all parts of the meal so they are ready at the same time (set the timer for the longest thing, and mentally note or write on a post-it when the other stuff needs to get started relative to that) and she invariably doesn’t do it or gets distracted. But since she is finally sharing the cooking duties, I really try to keep my mouth zipped.
**dwc1970 ** - best of luck. For me, as I said, the trick is finding the BEST question to ask myself that will reach me in that angry state, cut through my anger and get me to wait a second. Really experiment to find the one that works when you’re angry - logical, common-sense questions that seem like they’d work when you’re thinking rationally DO NOT COUNT.
That would have been my response too. And if my wife would have forgot to put the leftover ham in the fridge I would have thought the same thing.
Do you extremely angry people have kids? 'Cause I gotta say, if the little things in this thread are setting you off you should really consider remaining childless. Spilled drinks? Dropped items? Lack of common sense? These things have kids written all over them.
Lack of common sense from kids I can handle, in fact, expect it. Lack of common sense from a grown man coupled with an obvious ploy to absovle his battiness (“I didn’t think you wanted it”) I can’t. Yeah it’s just a ham…but it was also something I could have squeezed 4 meals out of for the three boys with hollow legs sitting at the table. While I may anger quickly, I am just as quick to let it go. An “oh shit, I’m sorry, I totally forgot to do that” would have diffused the whole thing.
I’m totally the opposite and somewhat envious of you people who are able to blow up.
Fear of embarrasment prevents me from getting angry when it’s probably necessary. It’s taken a good few fears to reach “assertive” and I’m still much better at diverting the confrontation than dealing with it. The ability to get angry should not be undervalued.
Usually when someone does something that irks me and someone else says ‘don’t let it bother you’ it still does. I don’t know how to shrug off the little things, and I don’t think well on my feet. They grab my attention and I think about just why it makes me angry and that just infuriates me. Like that b**** who cut in line at Chipotle. What the hell was that? Your time was more important than mine? Can’t wait 20 seconds because they’re done making your burrito first?
Yeah, *this *was almost one of those moments for me. Somebody who obviously doesn’t understand telling me to “get over it”.
That’s a fuse for me. I don’t know why. Some idiot brushing off a sensitive topic on which others open up and share a little bit of their personal selves does make me want to lash out. Am I wrong for that? I think Leaffan is being a jerk*.
As AngryIrishLass pointed out, it’s not stupidity from sources one would expect (such as children), it’s when it comes from places it shouldn’t. Like you telling me to “get over it”.
Well, thank you for that measured response. People who are easily angered by seemingly innocuous events are a mystery to me. I gave my opinion without trying to belittle anyone. I can brush off just about anything; life’s too short. I was just trying to offer my “opinion,” since this forum is indeed for “opinions.”
I almost never explode, but there are certainly triggers that make me fume. I expect most people are like that more or less. For example, I’m annoyed by people who dismiss reasoned complaints or objections as ‘whining’, and I think that word is used far too often. Instead of saying ‘whining’ the speaker should be more forthright and say “I don’t give a s*** about your little issues, however important they seem to you”.
Another one is “You need to…” when the speaker really means, “I need you to…”
Either one of these I find annoying even if I’m not the one being spoken to.