Anger is My Shield

Anger is my primary emotion.

I use it when I’m sad.

I use it when I’m nervous.

I use it when I feel guilty, hurt or scared.

I pretty much tap my anger well all the time – unfortunately, I appear to have an endless supply of it.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not an angry person, I just use anger as my shield to other, less happy emotions.

I honestly don’t know why I’m like this. Even though I’ve had YEARS to self-analyze myself, I still do not have a concrete answer as to why my initial reaction to anything (even when I’ve been surprised, in a GOOD way) is anger. All I know is that is how I react.

It’s like my buffer zone to deeper issues and feelings. Once I get past the anger, only THEN do I really feel ready to face whatever it is I need to face.

Take this morning for instance.

Kevin had a gig last night. He didn’t get home until 2:00 in the morning.

Dude is taking his ACT test today. (Actually, he’s at the test center now).

I was sitting at my computer, catching up on some blogs, waiting to wake Dude up so he could start getting ready for his test when Kevin walked in.

The man got home at 2:00 this morning. When he walked in, it wasn’t quite 6:00 a.m.

My first reaction? Anger.

“What are you doing up?”

“Do you want me to take Dude to his test?”

What are you doing up? You need to go back to sleep. There is no way you got enough sleep.”

This, of course, doesn’t adequately relay the sarcasm that dripped with each syllable.

Kevin was hurt. I could see it in his eyes. He turned around and went back to bed.

And as soon as he disappeared, the GUILT and REMORSE set in.

*SIGH* Why do I react like that? WHY??

After sitting here and breaking down exactly why I reacted that way, here is what I’ve come up with:

I’m nervous for Dude. I want him to do well. I’m hoping that by being nervous FOR him, he won’t be as nervous.

I know. That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

I’m worried. Kevin doesn’t sleep very well under ideal conditions let alone when something is going on. I worry that he’s not getting enough sleep, that he’s not taking care of himself. My life would crumble, evaporate, if anything were to happen to him.

And no, I’m not saying that to be all flowery and romantic, I honest to God mean that. I’ve allowed myself to REALLY love him – he is so much a part of me now that I can not imagine my life without him. I’m pretty sure I would end up being one of those widows who died of a broken heart if anything were to happen to him. The man’s not getting any younger. He needs to take care of himself.

I’m tired. I only got six hours of sleep (totally my fault – I didn’t have to stay up until midnight and watch Hannity) so my patience is thin to begin with. No excuse, but a reason.

I’m also tired of having to push-push-push Dude into doing anything. Once, just once, I wish the boy would act excited about SOMETHING other than video/computer games. This is his future, for crying out loud. I realize he’s only 17. He’s still only a kid. And I treat him like a kid so it’s partly my fault. But I wish he would surprise me. I wish he would take the initiative for once and wake ME up once in a while because he’s ready to do … whatever. I want him to be a grown up – yet I don’t.

Let’s add confused to my mix of emotions this morning.

I went in and apologized to Kevin. I gave him a kiss and softly told him to go back to sleep, that I had everything under control. I honestly want him to rest – the man doesn’t get enough rest because 1. he’s been programmed from an early age that sleeping in, resting, relaxing is a no-no, one must be productive at all times and 2. he doesn’t sleep well – ever. So he’s exhausted before he even starts his day. He can’t possibly maintain that pace forever.

It just occurred to me that maybe that’s why I’m so controlling. Because if I control my external world, that that helps me control my internal world. My emotions are in check because I have the control.

This control thing really is an issue.

I realize now, after taking a moment to step back and think about it, that Kevin got up and offered to take Dude not because he expected me to suddenly sag and say, “Okay. That would be great,” (as if), but because that was his way of trying to get involved with what was going on with Dude. He was trying to be a part of what was happening.

We have had a pretty traditional family setting all these years. I’ve taken complete control over caring for the boys and being an integral part of their lives. My life has pretty much been centered on me and the boys thereby giving Kevin time to focus all of his energies and thoughts on his work. He’s never had to worry about the boys, he’s never had to go get them in the middle of the day, he’s never had to directly deal with any problems that have come up with them over the years.

And that has worked for us. Given my personality there was honestly no other way. I had to be involved with the boys at every level because 1. I wanted to. I love them and can’t imagine NOT caring for them and 2. I simply couldn’t relinquish the control necessary for someone else to do the job.

This is no way means that Kevin has ignored the boys over the years – quite the opposite. He’s been (and is) a phenomenal dad. Hands on, always there if they need him. He tells them he loves them every night and he teaches them … man things – things that I am not equipped, nor capable of, teaching them myself.

It’s just that I’ve always been the one to make sure they get to school every day and on time. That any extra curricular stuff is taken care of – like this ACT test today. I helped him prepare last night. I made sure he had everything he needed this morning. I made sure he was up and had breakfast before I dropped him off. (He could have drove, but he didn’t want to. I think he wanted the moral support).

So I “get” why Kevin rolled out of bed after only five hours to ask me if I wanted him to take him to his test today – he wanted to feel like he was part of Dude’s life.

I get that NOW. Unfortunately, my anger shield shot up before I could stop it and I handled the situation badly.


Anger is my go-to emotion, I guess. It’s always the first thing I feel and react to under any given situation. I wish I wasn’t like this. I wish I was more loving and patient. But I’m not. I’m working on it, but it’s not who I am, but what I want to be.

The only time anger is beneficial for me, I think, is when there is an emergency: I’m great in emergency situations. That anger helps me stay focused on what needs to be done and done quickly. I can react to what happened later.

But on the whole, I wish anger wasn’t my initial reaction to things. More often than not, it makes the situation worse and then I feel worse after the anger wears off.

I should just have “I’m Sorry” tattooed to my forehead – it would make life a whole lot easier.

2 thoughts on “Anger is My Shield”

  1. Thanks Don, I love the gardening analogy – it’s apt and true.

    And yes, it felt GOOD to write that out. I have struggled with this anger issue my whole life, but I’ve also had my whole life to control and understand it.

    I’m working on it. 🙂

    Thanks for your input!

  2. Wow, that’s putting yourself out there. Felt good, didn’t it? I mean, to say it in words, to listen to yourself vent, to let those frustrations out. God gave us tools to use, i.e., fear, joy, elation, anger, and others. Actually, they are all there in the tool chest for a reason, it appears that maybe you’ve just gotten used to always grabbing same tool (anger) whenever something happens. It’s comfortable. It fits your hand, so-to-speak. Why grab any other tool when that one feels so good for the moment. Apparently it works for you — for the moment. Then, all of the sudden, it’s like getting out in the garden to til the weeds, or harvest the plants and find out that you’ve got the wrong tool. Suddenly, anger turns to frustration, frustration to guilt.
    I admire you lots for putting yourself out there. Open honesty comes with a sense of vulnerability, but you have turned the open honesty into a strength instead of a vulnerability. Every action, of course, demands a reaction. Maybe just taking a moment to stop and decide which tool would better serve the purpose at the time than to automatically grab for the anger tool. You have a lot more emotions at your disposal that apparently would serve, and fulfill you much better than anger.
    You have my utmost admiration for this post – you were apparently honest about yourself, but it also appears to me that you answered your own question — solved your own problem. Control is always a big factor in most of our lives. The “what-ifs” are too scary to think about so we get to a point where anger becomes like a thick-skinned covering — we learn to protect ourselves with it. The biggest problem with that is, if the situation(s) don’t eventually get you, the anger will. Don’t mean to sound as if I’m psychoanalyzing, just my meaningless insight, or should I just say input? God’s blessings to you. Keep the great posts coming and feel free to e-mail me anytime there is a new one up.

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