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A physics analogy to anger

While making tea a few moments ago my mind wandered and realised that anger and the way people deal with it can be very well compared to vehicular collisions and how engineers have made vehicles handle collisions better so as to preserve their passengers.

You see, anger is a very strong emotion, one of the strongest in fact, you could say it has a lot of kinetic energy (much like a vehicle at high speed) and when it's targeted at someone it most probably feels much like a wall feels when a vehicle hits it, or more likely what the passengers of the vehicle feel like when they do something stupid. So when you're angry at someone it's important not to crash into them like a speeding train because, face it, you wouldn't want to be on the receiving end either.

So an important first reaction to realising you're starting to fume is to get the fuck away. Just stop, leave. Slam the door if you have to, but get away from the person and don't let them follow you (this actually serves two purposes but more on that later). Once you're safely away start difusing, vent as they say. This serves the same purpose as a vehicle falling apart does, each little act of destruction you do, each little rant you post online somewhere, helps in taking away your anger's kinetic energy and lessens the impact on the target once it does happen, and it will happen.

Why do this you aks? Why not lay it on them, why not pummel them into dust? You're angry right, you want to destroy, kill, hurt. Well, because that's irresponssible and childish in many ways. First of all you probably want to continue your relationship with that person (be it whatever kind of relationship you want) and so it's important to preserve them because most people can't handle unfiltered direct anger (sadly). Another is that you're shifting responsibility from yourself to them, it's your anger, you're supposed to deal with it and then come back and have a civilised conversation ... or you can blow up like a wild beast and then sit quietly in the corner and wait for the other person to deal with it, forgive you, and come back. That's wrong ... as wrong as appologies are really.

Oh and I mentioned storming out serves two purposes didn't I? Well one is the afforementioned difusing in private without hurting anyone but yourself (just like a druggie can be a perfectly good druggie as long as it's hurting only them). Another is that this leaves the target bewildered and confused, it gives them time for guilt to set in, gives them the opportunity to gnaw at themselves and alone in the dark they will feel more and more responsible, more and more like they hurt you deeply, your anger, your upsetness, will grow steadily larger and bigger in their eyes until they finally can't take it anymore and come to you, now calmed down, and apologise for what they did and ask for forgiveness.

This is then the time you forgive them, say you're not mad anymore, and the two of you can have a civilised discussion over the subject matter to come to a concensus for the future.

Did you enjoy this article?

Published on August 1st, 2008 in food for thought

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