It’s something we all have. It’s what we use to protect ourselves from the outside world. Sometimes, having his armor is a good thing. Sometimes, it’s not. The problem with the armor is that, from time to time, the armor itself becomes the very thing we need protecting from. Like some medieval Iron Maiden, we may be shielded from the outside, but on the inside, the armor’s doing its own kind of damage.
Everyone’s armor is different. Some people armor up with food. The drawback to that, of course, is the weight gain and health problems that comes from that. Others armor up with bravado. Just as damaging, given what can happen when the bravado is shattered. Others, like me, armor up with anger.
That is my problem. My issue.
You see, over the years, I learned to deal with the world by getting angry. That doesn’t mean that I was angry all the time; quite the contrary. I spent a lot of time being happy. I would use genetics to excuse my anger. “Hey, I can’t help it. I got this from my father.” It was a bullshit excuse, and I knew it. I couldn’t admit it, but I knew it.
As I got older, the anger got worse. As a kid, I was able to drop the anger quickly. Not as an adult. And it got very bad. While I did laps in a sea of self-delusion, my anger problem built and built.
The M.O. for the anger remained consistent as time went. Something would set me off. Sometimes it was something big. Other times, something relatively small. Whatever it was, it was almost always pointless. Useless. Something I couldn’t change. Deep down, I knew I couldn’t change what I was getting upset at. That fact frustrated me. The frustration then fed the anger. Then, something inside me realized how stupid this frustration was, and I would get more frustrated at that. Essentially, I would get angry, then the anger would feed itself. It became self-perpetuating and would just continue to build and build. It didn’t take long for the anger to reach the point where I would lose rational thought. I didn’t know I had lost it; I thought I was being perfectly rational. But my rationality was nowhere near being rational.
Now, all of that makes it sound a little like the anger was controlling me. That I had no part in it. It sounds like I’m passing the blame onto anger itself. But there’s one terrible truth in all of this that leaves me totally and completely culpable for the anger and everything that resulted from it.
I LOVED IT.
I enjoyed being angry. I liked the feeling it gave me. It was a false sense of power; of control; of intelligence. Uncertainty and self-doubt were blasted away in one white-hot second. I KNEW what I was doing was right. I knew exactly what to do, when to do it, and I was happy that I did. There were times that, when my anger started to wane, I would feed it intentionally. I’d bring up past incidents that had angered me, and draw on the still-lingering anger to feed the present. And sadly, the anger was still there. I never let it go. I didn’t want to let it go. Even when I calmed down and moved on, I kept the anger buried deep inside me so that on the next occasion, I could revive it and feed the cycle all over again.
I needed the anger. I needed it to blast away the world. To get rid of self-doubt and loathing. I turned my own problems into fuel for the fire and then aimed the fire at the world.
This Friday, I had an incident where the anger was building. It lasted HOURS. When I finally came down from it, I realized just how much damage it was doing. The armor that I had subconsciously built over 21 years was destroying me, and only now did I realize this.
That ends now.