It’s really hard to completely stop anger. Anger arises from fear or sadness or a combination of both. And if you grew up in a family that commonly expressed these emotions with anger it may be an incredibly commonplace feeling for you. It also may be that anger makes you feel like you have some power over these negative emotions of fear and sadness.
True, the best option would be to root out the fear and sadness that are leading to your anger. But dear god, I think that’s probably going to take many years and a lot more time with an overpriced therapist that I currently don’t have the time or money to see. While I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to be a fearless person who can openly embrace the sadness of the world, in the short term I think I may be starting to understand the things that fuel my anger and allow it to turn into a destructive force.
1. Alcohol. Definitely. I’ve been really good about this over the last six months. I rarely have more than three drinks in a day/night. But still, having even a few drinks leaves me more likely to fly off the handle.
2. Being tired: the older I get the more I realize that being tired or (even slightly) hungover or both affects my mood significantly. When I’m tired, I’m much more likely to get set-off by a simple comment or occurrence and more likely to not be able to let it go.
FH and I had another fight the other night. A solid three hour fight, that vacillated between anger and sadness and back again. It ended in incredible life giving make up sex but I still felt terribly sorry about it the next morning. It’s almost like I am drunk in those moments— even though I’m sober. I get carried away on this great tide of irrational emotion and every thing he says just adds water to the ocean I’m already feeling.
3. Feeling insecure: I’m much more likely to pick a fight when I’m feeling insecure. That night there were a number of factors at play. The most important being that I had been stalking that girl on Instagram that I’m not supposed to stalk. Every time I do this I get riled up. And why I thought I wouldn’t take it out on him this time is just insane. I told myself it wasn’t bothering me and I could handle it. I lie to myself on a regular basis, apparently. I also had eaten like shit that day and hadn’t exercised like I wanted to. These tiny failures fuel my insecurity.
There are only 61 days until our wedding. The plan is to avoid a fight such as this one for this time frame. I usually can summon at least a fight a month (I know this is terrible) so starting with a 61 day goal seems like a real one. If we can get through this then maybe next time we can up it to 90 days. Four massive fights a year is probably a healthy amount. So the plan:
- Sleep: Get 7 hours or more of sleep a night. This will be difficult but I need to be better about putting my foot down and going to sleep even if FH wants to stay up for another half hour to watch Silicon Valley. I need to remember that watching TV does not give me energy. Sex does give me energy. The sooner we go to bed, the more likely we are to have sex and the more likely I am to get a good night’s sleep. The more likely I am to get a good night’s sleep the more likely I am to have productive:
- Exercise: Workout 5 days a week. For at least 30 minutes at a time.
- Alcohol: if I drink on a Friday night, I cannot drink again until Sunday. Drinking day after day, even only in smaller quantities, dehydrates me and compounds my irritability.
- Instagram: Never open the app more than once a day. In fact, delete it from your phone,which will force you to view it on a computer or in the browser. NEVER stalk the girl you’re not supposed to stalk or any ex-boyfriends, ex-boyfriends’ ex/current girlfriends or anyone else for that matter. Stalking on instagram is essentially synonymous with jealousy. I need to work on controlling that jealousy and envy. If I’m feeling insecure I should (1) call a friend to chat and remember that I’m loved (2) do something productive: write, cook, take some photos, go for a run, read that book on language evolution that I’ve wanted to read for months now.
- Read: read this every day until the wedding. Reminders are important.
Wish me luck.