Anger Management for Dummies

Don’t Make Me Angry: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry…

Have you ever seen my Incredible Hulk impression? Some people have and they think it’s a hoot! No, I don’t really turn green, or burst out of my clothes. There’s just this thing I do while adjusting the cervical vertebrae in my neck. I take a deep seething breath as I try to find a way to respond to the stimulus without losing my cool. My jaws flex, and anything I say for the next few moments, exits my mouth through my clenched teeth. At any rate, that’s my way of managing my anger, no irritability when I’m confronted with certain situations. 

I was talking with one of my dearest friends yesterday about a few pet peeves I have, some of which have been tested lately. She erupted into laughter and said to me,

“Joan, you know what? You are really serious about your pet peeves! I don’t know anyone else who is as affected by them as you are!” She continued, “I have definitely made a note to make sure I communicate with you at all costs if I can’t follow through on something.”

Two nights before, another friend said the same thing after reading When People Show You Who They Are, Seeing Is Believing. “What in the world made you so mad about that store? HaHa, I know not to tell Joan I’m coming around there if I’m not coming!”

I agreed with them both, and actually I have to chuckle at myself a bit, but not too much. I’m sure there’s some psychological explanation for this. It probably dates back to some childhood experience like the day my friends left me behind. Some will read this and laugh, some will read it and remember when, and some will take offense because it will hit home.

The best anger management technique for me, is to acknowledge the things that make my kettle whistle, let people know up front, then practice what I preach. I try not to do these things to others. If someone gets as irritated as I do when these things happen, let’s just say, I feel ya.

So, I decided to gather my top six pet peeves for your reading pleasure!

6.  Do not break my sleep.

If I have fallen asleep on my couch at my home, please, please, please, do not scream my name and tell me to go to bed. You go to bed! That way you won’t see me sleeping on the couch! That gets my goat worse than someone mushing me in the forehead! You know, the first few moments of dozing off are the best! I have palpitations when someone startles me awake every ten minutes. No one died and made you the bedtime police! If I want to snooze on the couch, I’ll eventually wake up and go to bed. I do not need your help.

5.  Do not play me in a group setting.

I have a couple of circles of friends. I believe that it’s the proper thing to do to establish relationships with individuals aside from the group so that when we all get together, it’s a reunion, not time to jockey for any one person’s attention. Now, if I have confided in you on a personal level, don’t you dare get with the group and play me because you know a secret, or you just get a kick out of exploiting my weaknesses. Not good.

4.  Do not talk about my food. Medium-rare-steak

If it’s not on your plate, then you don’t have to eat it. I love the warm golden ooze of yolk when I have an egg, sunny side up! If you want your eggs cement-hard and extra chewy, I don’t have a problem with that, I just don’t want them. Another menu item that gets cheers and jeers, is my medium rare, and practically mooing steak. Yes, I am aware that the center is warm and very pink. That’s the way I like it. Save your comments for when the waiter accidentally brings you one instead of the one you ordered, cooked to a crisp, and one level above beef jerky. Nine times out of ten, my eyes will turn pinker than my rib eye before you can finish saying “Ewwww!”

3.  Do not stick your utensils or your fingers in my plate-EVER.

Ok, don’t do it without my permission. I think it is totally disrespectful to do that to someone. Sure, there are people who just vibe like that-husbands and wives, BFF’s, parents and children, siblings, etc. Just know this about me: We won’t NEEVVEER, EVER, EVER, EVER,EVER, EVER, be that cool. OK? Isn’t that right, Chris Tucker?

2.  Do not blow me off.

I’m a talker. This means that I’m big on communication. Please don’t tell me that you are going to do the following but don’t:

  1. Call me in a few – if you say this, I’m thinking you’ll call in a few minutes. If a few turns in to a few days or weeks, I have a problem with that.
  2. Meet me somewhere and stand me up – I understand that things come up, but if I’m blocking my time out, and burning my gasoline, at least extend the courtesy of letting me know you can’t make it.
  3. Agree to go somewhere together then flake: Again, things come up, but if this is your every time deal, something’s gotta give (like me trusting your word again). If I have cleared my schedule for you and you didn’t, it’s not my fault that you overbooked. I just don’t appreciate being the easiest choice for you to disappoint.

1.  Do not disregard my feelings.

If I bring myself to tell you that I didn’t particularly like the way you talked to me, or treated me, I need you to know that I’ve already thought about it long and hard, and I deemed it necessary to bring it to your attention. Don’t throw salt on the wound by suggesting that my feelings are not valid. In fact, when it comes to my feelings, there is no overreaction, there’s only my reaction. You do not govern how I react when I feel like I’ve been slighted in any way. Besides, if I decide to confront you, it’s a sign that I actually care. If I didn’t, I’d just lose your number permanently.

I think I’ll discover the root of these annoyances once I’m done writing Broken Glass which is near completion! Look for a name change soon. In the meantime, what are your pet peeves? How do you react when someone pushes your buttons? Let’s discuss! Meanwhile, I’m off to make a bacon egg and cheese sandwich-sunny side up!

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