I don't know how to handle my anger sometimes. It's both OCD related and not I think. The OCD part comes in with beliefs like, "I must never show my anger." "I must, at all times, maintain composure." "I must act cordial and polite even if I am incredibly furious." "Letting anger affect your actions and decisions is unacceptable." "As an adult, you cannot let emotions affect your ability to do your job and do your best." "You can't show your anger or express your frustration unless completely, 100% certain you are justified in being upset."
These are the kind of should/must type statements that I have known as a common OCD pitfall ever since the day my therapist handed me a list of some of the cognitive distortions often found in OCD. The perfectionism takes the original anger and fuels it. It stokes the fire by adding to the initial anger another kind of anger: anger at myself for not being able to stay completely emotionally detached, anger at myself for giving in and letting my anger get the best of me. Basically, it's anger at myself for getting angry.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, I got incredibly angry yesterday. And in the process, I actually said aloud, to a friend, a small fraction of the things he does or says that piss me off. Like REALLY piss me off. I finally just let it out. I couldn't take it anymore. Or that's how it felt anyway. Something he did and a few things he said just finally broke my self-control. I picked a fight with him.
I don't fight with people. I just don't. But I picked a fight with him. A very loud, angry, no holding back kind of fight. And yet he still insisted that he had no idea why I was mad at him, which just pissed me off more, because a large part of my anger at him stems from his seeming inability to go out of his way to consider others' feelings, to do things, not because he has to, but because he wants to show that he does consider others and how they might or might not be affected by his actions. His inability to understand why I was angry was the perfect example of why I was angry in the first place. I just wanted him to put himself in my shoes from a moment, to at least TRY to see things from my point of view, rather than dismiss my concerns as nonsensical. I wanted him to show some sense of apology. I wanted him to meet me halfway. I agreed that he had a point on some things, but he was too stubborn to even give consideration to my way of looking at things. He just dismissed me again and again and showed no remorse and made no attempt to apologize for having hurt me, whether or not it made sense to him.
Anyways, I let it affect my choices, my behavior, and that really bugs me. If I like a sense of control, well, anger and making choices because of anger seem like the exact opposite of self-control. And that made me even more angry - at myself and at him for having the power to unleash such strong feelings. I don't really know what the "right" thing to do would have been in this situation. I will concede (and did) that he had a number of good points. But he refuses to acknowledge or consider any of my own. For every reason I gave him for my anger, he proposed a counter reason, a defense. All I wanted was an, "I see, well, I may not agree, but I acknowledge your argument. And you might have a point since I know that others may see the world differently and I may not always be right. I may not be able to put myself in your shoes, but I'm sorry."
But all I got was a dodge, a dodge, and another dodge, followed by, "I still don't understand what we're fighting about." He didn't understand what we were fighting about because all he was willing to consider was his own side.
I think what gets me more riled up is his seeming lack of self-doubt. I say "seeming" because I know part of him is deeply lacking in self-confidence. I hate that, even if any of my arguments do reach him, he certainly won't ever show it. Besides, I'm not sure he believes any arguments or is willing to believe any arguments other than his own. So he won't budge, staunchly assured that he is right, leaving me fuming because he keeps questioning why I'm angry and then discounting all the reasons I give him and claiming that he still doesn't know why we're fighting.
The fact is, whether or not he understands it, I am extremely angry with him. Furious actually, in a way I don't often become. And the fact that he won't come down from his tower of superiority to stop and think for a moment that he might not always be right, well, that just compounds the anger further.
Anyways, I don't know how to handle anger. I spend most of my time telling myself that I should not be angry, that I should keep my frustrations to myself. That I should be able to keep a civil outward facade at all times. But the anger slowly wears cracks in that facade. And well, yesterday, it came bursting out.
I feel both dumb and yet also justified. However, I hate how I am already beginning to feel like I am the one that should apologize, like I am the only one in the wrong. He seems to in no way think that he could be wrong, and it infuriates me that, even now, I am losing grip on my feeling of being justified in my anger. I am beginning to believe him. I am beginning to succumb to his confidence again. And that just spurs more anger. More anger, more anger, more anger. Anger that he provoked me, anger that he can't seem to understand how he provoked me. Anger that he doesn't seem to doubt his arguments in the slightest. Anger that in his facade of certainty, my ability to justify my anger seems to melt away. Anger that he doesn't seem to feel he could be wrong in the slightest, and anger at his unwillingness to really consider my thoughts and how I might have been hurt rather instead of just throwing out counterarguments about why I can't be angry with him. Because the fact is: I am angry.
Angry. Angry. Angry.