Anger addiction

Last summer while I was watching football, busy yelling at the telly and abusing the opposing team, my sister Irene asked me in a worried tone where on earth all my anger is coming from. Indeed, I´m not just aggressive when I watch sports. While I don´t actually get into physical fights, I often feel homicidal amounts of rage. Over absurd things, like philosophical/psychological theories. I can feel personally attacked by someone who died 500 years ago. My anger is both addictive and agonizing. I think I´ve already talked about how agonizing it can be, so now I´ll talk about the addictive aspect.

Intellectual fistfights with annoying theorists can be immensely satisfying as long as I feel like I will win. I´ve read in some book on violent offenders that they get a kick out of their aggression jumping into high gear just before a fight. I guess I feel similar when I read things which I know will trigger me. Which is why I cannot step away from issues like narcissism. Or anything else that annoys me. I guess I really am quarrelsome.

For some reason I have a massive problem looking at myself like that. I can imagine plenty of reasons for that, and they all make sense (being quarrelsome is not regarded as a very positive character trait; moreover it seems to suggest that you don´t have any valid complaints, you´re just seeking a fight), but I´m looking for what applies to me personally. What if I am a quarrelsome, drama-loving adrenaline junkie?

***

I´ve thought this through for a few minutes and I cannot quite access what I feel about having this trait. What I come up with are two different self-images which are somehow connected to this idea:

1) A tough, strong, unbreakable person who simply kicks ass. The ass of anyone who deserves it, that is. Someone vivacious, passionate, emotional, real. See Deborah Morgan.

2) A smart-ass little brat who tries to be as cool as her older sister and fails miserably.

The thing is: It´s quite ironic that Irene of all people should be preachy about anger. She is at least as aggressive as I am. Sometimes in an entertaining, sharp, funny fashion, and sometimes in a primal, frightening way. When the whole family is together, we don´t have conversations, we have discussions. We argue for the sake of it. We are all quarrelsome and smart-ass as fuck, with the possible exception of my mother.

Now imagine to be the youngest of the bunch. Entertaining antics and witty comebacks are welcome.  Other parents would tell you not to be smart – I was always supposed to be smart.  So cute, the little ten-year-old trying to be as clever as the grown-ups. But you should better not get emotionally involved. Don´t think you can actually out-smart them. All the sarcasm that runs rampant in your family might come back at you and bite you straight into your smart little ass. And suddenly you feel not so clever after all. like an embarrassing idiot who should just drop dead. I guess that´s where the agonizing part of the rage is coming from. I grew up in an intellectual lion´s den.  I could never win. Whenever I announced that I had won, someone would pipe in with a clever remark which apparently proved I had not won at all. Until you´ve reached a certain age, it will be very hard for you to determine if that remark makes for a valid argument. And you don´t know either that this game is not about truth: It´s about winning. By whatever means. Maybe by out-smarting a kid with some dirty tactics.

 

 

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