Friday, August 22, 2014

What Do You Do When You Feel So Mad You Could Bite?

Dear Friend,

This morning I read Montaigne's essay "How the soul discharges its emotions against false objects when lacking real ones."
A local gentleman of ours who is marvelously subject to gout would answer his doctors quite amusingly when asked to give up salted meats entirely. He would say that he liked to have something to blame when tortured by the onslaughts of that illness: the more he yelled out curses against the saveloy or the tongue or the ham, the more relief he felt. Seriously though, when our arm is raised to strike it pains us if the blow lands nowhere and merely beats the air . . .
 . . . it seems that the soul . . . loses itself when shaken and disturbed unless it is given something to grasp on to; and so we must always provide it with an object to butt up against and to act upon.
This passage made me think of Mr. Rogers. I remember watching him as a child and feeling relieved because, in his gentle way, he explained to me that I wasn't bad for feeling angry sometimes. He also gave me some great suggestions for how to handle those angry feelings. (For one thing, I could hit a pillow! Hitting a pillow is totally OK!) I believe this song was part of the episode where he gave the anger talk. It seems like the whole world could use this now --

So, what do you do when you feel so mad you could bite?



  1. Clenching a fist and grinding my teeth are my version of punching pillows, Adriana. And as Fred Rogers says, talking it out with a trusted friend is even better.

  2. Write in my journal. Write and write to my heart's content. And the best freedom of all is writing about whatever you want b/c you know no one will see it but you (at least for now) and God.

    Believe it or not, knowing that God knows our true feelings, I still feel compelled to bite my tongue and exhibit self-control, which is also important when we feel angry. And that is not easy.

    1. Ruth, Writing down prayers helps so much, I agree! I have a private journal just for the intense times. It wouldn't make much sense to anyone else but God. It's full of metaphors ("I feel like . . .") and exclamations ("Help!") I call my journal "Flea Wings" to make light of it, but in reality it's very important soul work!

  3. Hmm. I got so mad at Jonathan I flung my lap desk on the floor, and the board part cracked. I had to go to Chapters & buy a new one. I have not yet admitted to my husband exactly how the item got broken. Must watch temper -- it can get expensive.

    More often, I vent in the car with music playing loudly.

    1. Oh Jeannie, I get it.

      I believe I shared my apple juice story on Tim's blog a while back: Once when I was pregnant with #5, I got so mad at my kids, I picked up a water bottle from the dining room table and shook it several times. I forgot that that morning I had put apple juice in the bottle. I also failed to notice the cap was off. Apple juice spewed all over the room and dripped from the ceiling. Wide eyes. Open mouths. Crickets chirping. The kids tip-toed out of the room and I spent the next half hour mopping up my mess.

      I've also chipped a few dishes by throwing them into the dishwasher a too harshly. My husband can always tell when I'm upset at night because of the racket I make in the kitchen!

      Taking a drive with loud music helps. Music and a change of scenery can do wonders to help me collect myself. Sometimes I hop on my bike and go for a five minute ride in the evening when things are at the height of chaos around here.


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