Rage

I always thought that my greatest flaw was arrogance, but I´m starting to believe I might have been mistaken – maybe because I was called arrogant so often. Actually, my real Achilles´ heel might be my propensity towards rage.

A good deal of my furious temper might actually be hereditary, though, as with any traits that run in a family, it is hard to tell what is nature and what is nurture. My temper isn´t solely a bad thing; much of my writing stems from being provoked by something and having to set it right. This is exhausting, though, as it forces me to constantly be more clever than those who angered me. Also, it is rather painful to be so easy to provoke. It makes you easy prey for anyone versed in psychology.

My rage is, in a way, a kind of stimulant. With the right amount of emotional distance it can inspire me towards putting a lot of work and thought into my writing and the result can be quite satisfying. If my rage goes overboard, however, it dulls my intellect, and that is one of the most torturous feelings I know. It makes me feel incompetent and powerless, and also, it makes me say rash, lofty or just plain incorrect things I´ll later feel ashamed of. I might have a furious refutation of whatever idea angered me echoing in my head, but I cannot seem to write it down coherently. It is a phenomenon that can cost me whole days.

My rage also makes me feel alone. It separates me from other people who all seem to have a different experience of most situations than me, and, even worse, it alienates them. They find me scary or immature and don´t want anything to do with me anymore. I realize it while it happens, and yet I cannot stop myself from raging. Their lack of rage and my isolation make me even angrier.

The most unforgivable thing you can do to me is provoke me on purpose, especially when you present yourself as psychologically superior (that is: smile serenely, refuse to be emotionally affected by anything I say or do, act as if I´m the only person in the world who would react the way I do). It fills me with so much hatred, with such a sense of humiliation that my mind seems to race on the spot: All my thoughts are revolving around it, my whole body reacts to it with inner turmoil, and yet it´s all going nowhere. I´m stuck in this state of mind and I cannot seem to free myself from it.

I´m so ashamed of this vulnerability that usually I instinctively deny it. It seems to prove something terrible about me. Sometimes – though definitely not today – I feel more tolerant towards this side of me. As soon as I encounter any triggers, however, I´m right back to where I started. Like I wrote before, this vulnerability doesn´t seem to go away.

Even though I feel so vulnerable and at times pathetic, I cannot imagine ever wanting to stop getting angry about things. It seems to tamper with my integrity, whatever may be left of it. I think, though, my sense of being forced to change that part of me unless I want to suffer comes from the power apparent psychological superiority has over me. My raging against my own vulnerability makes it feel like if “they” ever get one up on me, I cannot remain the person I am; so if I want to remain the person I am, I have to win against “them” first. I need either their permission or their defeat.

What I notice, too, is how judgmental I actually am. Again, this is a trait which I don´t think is solely bad. To begin with, I´m not sure if anyone can be completely non-judgmental in the first place. Those who believe to be, for example, still judge those who aren´t. When Dr. Stoneface accused me of devaluating this or that – wasn´t he, too, giving a moral judgment about my behavior? The tricky thing about therapy culture is that it pretends to be non-judgmental, while most of the time, in fact, it has its very own set of values and codes of conduct, and if you violate them, you will be judged, just that in this context it is called diagnosis.

My mother once said to me that it´s not enough for me to be right; when I think I´m right I won´t stop until everybody else agrees with me. She has a point there. When I´m thoroughly indignant, there´s just right or wrong. Another trait of mine that doesn´t fit my milieu of origin. It´s so low-brow, being a fanatic. On many occasions, I hated my family simply for appearing superior to me. They seemed to be able to fulfill the ideal of the academic who merely sees grey, nothing so radical as black or white. It was not really, however, an inability to differentiate on my part that made me look like a rambling maniac. Merely an inability to control my anger.

It´s like only now I can see how lost I was the entire time. Looking at my life under the aspect of rage seems like a promising perspective. Not for fundamentally changing, but for becoming a tiny little less vulnerable, maybe. It has to be possible to find out how that rage works and what exactly triggers it – without believing any of the explanations that trigger me.

 

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