Posts Tagged ‘anger’

Dealing with Hostile People

March 17, 2011

Its so hard to have compassion when someone is hostile.  No matter how ill they are or how disordered are their circumstances, if they are hateful in their comments or body language, its difficult to maintain a kindly or even just objective manner.

One thing that helps is to remember the hostility is sort of a presenting symptom of what is going on underneath.  Its like a fever–meaningless alone, but it indicates something else is happening.  Under anger is usually pain, sadness,  fear or helplessness.  Remembering that, its easier to be helpful.  Lord, help me see the hurt under the difficult behavior, and help me soothe that hurt.


The Great Santini

January 22, 2010

After seeing the movie “Brats”, I re-read The Great Santini.  This story was written from the point of view of the oldest son of a Marine Corps officer, more specifically, a fighter pilot.  Fighter pilots in legend and lore, have been hard drinking, hard fighting, tough, unsentimental, fearless characters.  I think its mostly legend and lore, in that the days of any military acceptance of drinking or fighting are long gone.  However, some of the stories of fighter squadron parties in the early 1960s may have some truth to them.  However, was the Marine fighter pilot, or any fighter pilot for that matter a different breed of man than the rest?  I don’t think they inherently were different, although some professions attract certain personalities and some professions change the people who enter them.  Fighter pilots, along with soldiers, police and firefighters put their lives on the line at times or even daily in the performance of their duties.  This kind of  job may attract those who are addicted to adrenaline, those with a “devil may care” attitude, and those with a strong need to be heroes.  However, for those who just know they are good at what they do and who want to serve a cause they highly value, the job may still change them somewhat.  The extreme stress of these jobs may evoke a huge amount of emotion in a week, and people deal with that emotion in various ways.  Those who have trouble dealing with fear or sadness may numb it with alcohol, and although there have been problems of alcoholism in the ranks, its probably not greater than in society at large.  No, I think the ways of dealing with stress are as numerous as they are in any other profession.  A lot of people dealing with fear and sadness cover it with anger.  Anger is an emotion of power, and is therefore much easier to deal with than fear and sadness which leave a person feeling weak and out of control.  People feeling weak, out of control or insecure may alternatively act with a lot of bluster.  Again this is an emotion of power and is easier to deal with.  I think the “Great Santini” was such a person.  Because he probably always had problems with relationships, weakness, and feeling a loss of control, he had probably learned early on the tools of anger and bluster.  Because he was an angry, hard charging kind of guy, he probably found a place as a fighter pilot, where such characteristics were understood.  He could never have made it in careers where relationships and diplomacy were needed, or where control was vague.   We all have known people like the “Great Santini”.  They may have been bosses or family members, and they may not have all been male.  Women may also have these characteristics, but don’t have as many places to use them where they are as socially acceptable as the traditionally male roles of fighter pilot, soldier, police officer and firefighter.  A lot of women who use anger, control and bluster end up being labeled personality disordered or given a word not printable here.

So was the “Great Santini” unusual?  Not at all.  Was his personality over represented in the military?  Probably not.  He would have been a difficult, insensitive husband and father if he’d been in sales or management.   He had absolutely no relationships with his family of origin, his wife and kids feared him, and even his prayer life was impersonal.  Again, we’ve all known people like this, in all walks of life.

In Winter

March 4, 2009

I have been praying a long time for a person who is very smart, talented, charming, and was at one time quite beautiful.  She has become bitter over her disappointment in life, depressed, angry, and seems to have little of her beauty left.  I pray for her daily, and my heart aches for what could be. 

I had a dream last night, and in my dream I was rubbing my hands over the stump of a rose bush.  There was not a trace of life left in it.  In my dream I heard God’s voice say: ” Can you believe in the roses inside?  When spring comes, the life will come back and this stump will once again bloom with beautiful fragrant roses”.   I understood, even though dreaming, this was God’s answer to my prayer for my friend.  I must have faith to believe roses are there in embryo form, although I can’t yet see them.  I have hope to believe  the life will come back, although I see no hint of it now.  I do know roses bloom every spring from lifeless twigs, and I do know God does bring renewal, to roses, to nature and to human souls.

Dysfunctional Families part 5

July 23, 2008

I was reading the book of Proverbs the other day, and never cease to be amazed at the wisdom in there.  I also love the fact that this was a book Jesus read.  There is a tremendous amount in it which relates to families and relationships.  Here are just a few:

He who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left.  proverbs 11:29

A wise man stays cool when insulted.  prov 12:16

A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels.  prov 15:1

A quick tempered man starts fights; a cool tempered man tries to stop them.  prov 15:18

He who covers over an offense promotes love.  prov 17:9

Its hard to stop a quarrel once it starts, so don’t let it begin.  prov 17:14

A fool gets into constant fights.   prov 18:6

Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight.  prov 18:17

It is harder to win back the friendship of an offended brother than to capture a fortified city.  prov 18:19

A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults.  This is to his credit.   prov 19:11

It is an honor for a man to stay out of a fight.  Only fools insist on quarreling.   prov 20:3

Throw out the  mocker and you will be rid of tension, fighting and quarrels.   prov 22:10 

(Hard to do if its a member of your family, but you can certainly throw what he says out of your mind)

Keep away from angry, short-tempered men, lest you learn to be like them and endanger your soul.  prov 22:24-25  (Again, keep his “stuff” out of your mind)

Be patient and you will finally win for a soft tongue can break hard bones (heads).   prov 25:15

As surely as a wind from the north brings cold, just as surely a retort causes anger.   prov 25:23

Fools start fights everywhere while wise men try to keep peace.   prov 29:8

Theres no use arguing with a fool.  He only rages and scoffs and tempers flare.   prov 29:9

A rebel shouts in anger; a wise man holds his temper in and cools it.   prov 29:11

A hot tempered man starts fights and gets into all kinds of trouble.   prov 29:22

Now I realize the source of my parent’s very Victorian manners.  I used to think their ways were repressed and perhaps psychologically unhealthy.  However, now I wonder.  They left a whole lot of things unsaid, but there was little conflict in family relations.  I wonder how unhealthy that was, really, for as quarrels escalate and feelings are hurt, it certainly raises the stress level.  And, as my mother used to say “the less said, the less regret”.  I wonder if “forgive and forget” isn’t the healthiest way to live after all.  For me its the easiest, for the older I get I’m finding “its harder to hold a grudge when you can’t remember anything”