Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Anger Cannot Be Dishonest

Anger cannot be dishonest
-Marcus Aurelius

Dear Diary:

I like to look at quotes every so often. Sometimes I look for funny ones, and sometimes I look for the simple ones that resonate. The above quote resonated.

When are we are most honest? Is it when we are happy? I don't think so, for when we are happy, we oftentimes will say or do anything to keep that feeling of happiness.

Is it when we are sad? No, I do not believe it is, for sometimes we will try to find excuses for why we feel a certain way.

Is it when we are afraid? No, I do not believe it is, for we will, depending on the situation, say or do anything to alleviate that sense of fear.

But when we are angry, watch out.

When we are angry, we release that which has been kept inside us. We explode with such a ferocity of emotion that we find truth. We see who we are at that very moment. We understand why we feel a certain way. We tell people what we really think.

Anger is honest because it is real. In that very moment, we are true to our feelings, and true to our thoughts.

However, that seems to beg the question of whether or not we are our true selves when we are angry, or when we are not angry? If there is honesty in anger, are the times when we are not angry just glimpses into our real selves?

I called my ex-wife a cunt in anger. Did I mean it? Yes. Did I believe she was at that time I said it? Yes. I told her I hated her in anger. Did I mean it? Yes. Did I honestly hate that woman at the time I told her I hated her? Yes, yes I did. Did I lash out and do stupid things in anger (like fuck every single woman that I could)? Yes, I did.

But, am I am monster because in those moments of anger I let flow all that I was feeling and thinking? No, I do not believe I am.

I was just being honest. I think I was just being honest because at that point, I had nothing left to lose.

So, in a way, anger is freeing. Anger provides a mechanism for a release that we otherwise would not have reached. So, on that basis, anger is healthy, right? I mean, what is healthier, to keep what we are feeling bottled up inside, or to release it in order to get it out of our system?

I believe that releasing it provides the ability to grow, and move forward. Think of it this way. If we were to just keep everything bottled up inside, then it would eat away at us and stunt our growth, because we would be so fixated on that which was bottled up that we lose perspective on what is happening in the present. Without that release, we live in the past, and we let it fester inside ourselves until it destroys us.

They say the truth will set you free, and if anger cannot be dishonest, then anger reveals the truth (however brief it may be in that particular instance) correct? If that is the case, and in anger we can find truth, then anger is nothing more than a mechanism to set us free. It sets us free of our emotions and thoughts.

And this may be why it is such a necessary step in healing, because it allows us to move forward.


  1. there's an honor in anger, no matter how ugly it is. it's like you said: when you're truly angry (and can admit it), it's the purest honesty there is. owning it is the key.

  2. the hardest part of honest anger for me, has been excepting the anger of the one who left as 'honest'. His perception seemed so unfair and yet in his anger it was so real and strong. And when i accepted his TRUTH and accepted my role in his truth,..in spite of his being the one who left..., we both healed! Anger is a powerful and sometimes healing thing!

  3. Hmmmmmm. I will agree with part of this. Anger is honest. And anger untreated leads to depression so, yes, letting it out is the thing to do.

    However, when you unleash that anger onto another person, it can, at the least, be unkind, and, at the worst, threatening. Gentlemen, kind-hearted men, don't direct the word "cunt" toward women no matter how angry they are. If they do it in the heat of the moment, they feel regret after.

    Anger is honest, and it reveals the kind of man you really are. Yes, you should let your anger go, but you have the ability to control how you let it go.

    This might be something that you and I have to agree to disagree on, but, if this justification is your true thought on the matter, I wouldn't let a woman I care about date you.

  4. imgonna, oh I did regret saying what I said. I felt horrible for saying it.

    But I own that I said it.

  5. I have a problem getting angry. That's a problem. I need to get angry sometimes and I don't. I wonder if there is a class for how to be angry management.

  6. When I am the most honest with myself, it is often when I allow myself toget angry.

    This is a well written post. :) Keep em up!

  7. Sure, a person needs to let go of their anger...but in a responsible way. To unleash that kind of rath on another human is abusive, especially when words like "cunt" and "hate" are being thrown around. Anytime someone is in such a rage that they are screaming and calling someone else a degrading name, they have a problem. The day a man calls me a cunt will be the last day I ever speak to him...it shows a lack of control and is a red flag that the man may harm me physically in the future.

  8. May be one of your posts I actually don't full agree with, though it may partially just be because I define anger and letting anger go differently - by not necessarily aiming it at someone, but letting it out in other ways. I see what you are saying though and I DO think it is part of the healing process, so I guess I somewhat agree ;-) Either way, it's a thought-provoking and well-written post.

  9. Anonymous, I guess my question then is who defines what is a responsible way to unleash the anger if the anger is a result of the actions of another person? The person who is angry, or the person who caused the anger?

    Furthermore, if it were a woman being angry, as a result of her husband walking out on their marriage, and lashed out, called him a fucking cocksucking faggot, threw shit, and lost it, is the man the one that was wronged, or the woman the one that was wronged?

  10. If a women were to scream at a man that he's a c*cksucker and start throwing crap around, then she is being abusive. I think you can be passionately angry without throwing things and calling people degrading names, no matter what sex you are. And any woman who hits a man is a batterer, same as for a man who hits a woman. Being responsible about anger applys to both sexes, and it doesn't really matter who feels they were "wronged". Abuse is abuse regardless of what happened. It is a very standard argument for an abuser to say "YOU made me do it!"

  11. I would agree, but I would also agree that there are exceptions to every rule.

    For instance, if you were to walk in on your spouse fucking someone else, I do not think you can say that the reaction, and we know it has the ability to be extreme, is in any way wrong or unjustifiable.

    Secondly, if what caused the anger was emotional abuse, ie, withdrawing of emotion, playing the victim to create guilt, etc, then that also begs the question as to what is the appropriate response, and if there even is one. I ask because you have not stated what is a responsible use of anger. To me, what you are saying is that a responsible use of anger is channelling that anger in another direction. And, to an extent, I agree with you. But, if the anger is a result of an interaction with a person, by ignoring the action that caused the anger, are you perpetuating it, and making it worse?

    That being said, I will agree with you that an abusive reaction is not right.

    But, because a response is not right in your mind, or rather, unjustifiable, does that necessarily make it wrong? Or is it wrong only to you?

  12. Like the Pipster above, I do have a problem with allowing myself to become well and truly angry. And like "imgonna" and others above, I have never allowed my anger to take control of my words or my actions. Perhaps, in that sense, there's a tool missing from my emotional toolbox. It's not that I don't get angry -- it's that I reign it in. I have never let it take control.

    So, in some ways, I may be the colorblind person to whom you are expressing the virtues of a vibrant painting. Your post is very well written and thought provoking.

    But is anger honest? Yes... but only up to a point.

    The problem is that it's only honest about itself. Anger does not express honest joy or regret or appreciation or love or longing. For that matter, it doesn't even express despair or disappointment or other, subtler negative feelings. Anger is completely honest about itself, but not about the rest of our range of emotions.

    Is anger a necessary part of grieving? I suppose it may be. Commenters on my blog seem to think that I need to dredge out the angry in order to move past events that led up to my marriage and impending divorce.

    But because anger is only honest about itself, it only tells part of the story. Which also makes it a bit of a liar -- because it is guilty of lies by omission. You hated your ex... but you also loved her. You called her the most hateful thing you could... but she is more to you than that.

    I think that pure anger has the potential to be more articulate than pure joy. I'll even go so far as to say that people may tend to be more honest about their anger than their joy, for the reasons you give.

    But insofar as anger is only honest about part of the truth, I don't think it can, on its own, set us entirely free.

  13. When I say "responsible anger", I'm talking about expressing your feelings, needs, and expectations without being abusive to another person...which specifically means no name-calling, throwing things, or making the other person feel physically unsafe. It's all about impulse control, which is an important mark of maturity. I didn't marry my hubby until I saw he could control himself when he was furious...he didn't have to *suspress* his anger, but he was expected to control his behavior.

    Just so you know, your argument holds some weight in the courts...a "crime of passion" doesn't get you as much time as "premeditated murder". So it's not like you don't have valid points...I'm just saying be cautious about justifying bad/abusive behavior.