Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Destructiveness of Anger

 

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” — Mark Twain

People who are angry in these times feel justified in their fury. The world seems out of control, while scientists and doctors expound on the devastating impact of a perplexing virus. We, however, want someone, anyone, to be able to explain everything, right now, in a way that makes sense and can be digested by all of us.

When the “authorities” give us information with certainty, we are angry with them because we simply don’t believe them. When they share their views with qualifiers, we are angry because we want certainty. And we want to blame someone, anyone for the lack of complete understanding of what is happening, and a sensible strategy for moving forward.

Since we are told essentially that only “intelligent guesses” can be made, that the data is incomplete, that other countries are lying to us, we are enraged. Is there no one we can believe?

The truth is that most of us despise uncertainty; it terrifies us. Rather than be terrified and feel helpless, we would much rather feel powerful and in charge. That is a benefit of anger: no matter how faulty our experience is, anger makes us feel powerful and in control.

But there is a serious downside to anger: it eats us alive. It devours our clarity, destroys our perspective and damages our well-being. Soon, there is nothing but the anger that remains.

What to do? In one sense, anger can be righteous. We have good reason to be angry with the Chinese. We are angry to see so many lives lost, perhaps unnecessarily. And the economy is tanking. But while we can recognize and even appreciate our anger, we can’t let it work on our souls to the point where only the anger is left. At some point, we need to allow the anger to burn itself out, at least to a degree. We must balance the anger with reminders that we are alive and healthy. That we have love and blessings in our lives. We must try to transform our outrage into curiosity, and our stress into gratitude. We must be as active and creative as we can possibly be.

We must take charge by letting the anger go.

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  1. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn:

    That is a benefit of anger: no matter how faulty our experience is, anger makes us feel powerful and in control.

    But there is a serious downside to anger: it eats us alive. It devours our clarity, destroys our perspective and damages our well-being.

    A perfect description of the left these days. However, I bet the average Democrat voter doesn’t want to go around angry all the time. It won’t be long before he thinks, “You know, Trump isn’t really all that bad.”

    • #1
    • April 7, 2020, at 6:31 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. EODmom Coolidge

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    That is a benefit of anger: no matter how faulty our experience is, anger makes us feel powerful and in control.

    But there is a serious downside to anger: it eats us alive. It devours our clarity, destroys our perspective and damages our well-being.

    A perfect description of the left these days. However, I bet the average Democrat voter doesn’t want to go around angry all the time. It won’t be long before he thinks, “You know, Trump isn’t really all that bad.”

    I’m not sure Democrat voters see themselves as angry as it’s usually defined. I think authoritarians and those who support them see themselves as righteous and right and required to act. (Any means necessary means exactly that. And certainly the protection they’ve received the last 15 years both legally and in media supports that certainty.) An average Democrat voter may just see themselves as deserving of what they vote for, notwithstanding how it was delivered. I can’t imagine my mother-in-law (my benchmark Dem voter) ever voting for Trump. Ever. The contortions she went through through to justify Clinton’s behaviour (all men do it. Really? Did Bernie do it?) and explain that Pelosi and Kerry and others are actually ever-Catholics, despite their clear rejection of theology and doctrine, just cover an absolute acceptance of what she’s lived her whole life. She’s a Democrat and will never acknowledge facts that contradict her perceptions. She will never acknowledge how she and her children have benefited from this administration. I don’t expect many Dem conversions this summer. 

    • #2
    • April 7, 2020, at 7:04 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. EODmom Coolidge

    And @susanquinn I think you’re right and your gentle urging is well timed. 

    • #3
    • April 7, 2020, at 7:06 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    That is a benefit of anger: no matter how faulty our experience is, anger makes us feel powerful and in control.

    But there is a serious downside to anger: it eats us alive. It devours our clarity, destroys our perspective and damages our well-being.

    A perfect description of the left these days. However, I bet the average Democrat voter doesn’t want to go around angry all the time. It won’t be long before he thinks, “You know, Trump isn’t really all that bad.”

    I’m not sure Democrat voters see themselves as angry as it’s usually defined. I think authoritarians and those who support them see themselves as righteous and right and required to act. (Any means necessary means exactly that. And certainly the protection they’ve received the last 15 years both legally and in media supports that certainty.) An average Democrat voter may just see themselves as deserving of what they vote for, notwithstanding how it was delivered. I can’t imagine my mother-in-law (my benchmark Dem voter) ever voting for Trump. Ever. The contortions she went through through to justify Clinton’s behaviour (all men do it. Really? Did Bernie do it?) and explain that Pelosi and Kerry and others are actually ever-Catholics, despite their clear rejection of theology and doctrine, just cover an absolute acceptance of what she’s lived her whole life. She’s a Democrat and will never acknowledge facts that contradict her perceptions. She will never acknowledge how she and her children have benefited from this administration. I don’t expect many Dem conversions this summer.

    Excellent points, @eodmom. I don’t expect anyone, Left or Right, to “admit” anything. Realizing one’s anger and how self-destructive it is requires a certain degree of honesty and reflection. Radical Democrats, from my perspective, lack that ability to a great degree. They also lack empathy, because they are prepared to vent their anger on anyone in their way. So most of what I’m writing is for those of us on the Right and at Ricochet. Many people that I’ve encountered are skilled at self-reflection and at least with me, own up to their limitations. (My own list is long!) There are also those who will always think anger is a good thing (usually because they are terrified to let others get close) and could care less how “the enemy” is affected.

    So a person has to decide whether to be productive or self-destructive. It comes down to that decision. Thanks for your comments!

    • #4
    • April 7, 2020, at 7:11 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “Anger is the Devil’s cocaine” – Andrew Klavan

    • #5
    • April 7, 2020, at 7:27 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. Kay of MT Member

    Susan Quinn: The truth is that most of us despise uncertainty; it terrifies us. Rather than be terrified and feel helpless, we would much rather feel powerful and in charge.

    I am very angry, but not terrified. I don’t want to feel powerful and in charge of anything but myself.

    • #6
    • April 7, 2020, at 7:30 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Ray Gunner Coolidge

    Susan Quinn:

    The truth is that most of us despise uncertainty; it terrifies us. Rather than be terrified and feel helpless, we would much rather feel powerful and in charge. That is a benefit of anger: no matter how faulty our experience is, anger makes us feel powerful and in control.

    But there is a serious downside to anger: it eats us alive. It devours our clarity, destroys our perspective and damages our well-being. Soon, there is nothing but the anger that remains.

    That’s a very good description of anger addiction, which I can’t help but notice, is something super-woke progressives and NeverTrumpers seem to have in common. Anger brings sensation of righteousness that can become addictive, and the self-righteousness of both of these types is glaring and unmistakable. 

    • #7
    • April 7, 2020, at 10:58 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Ray Gunner (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    The truth is that most of us despise uncertainty; it terrifies us. Rather than be terrified and feel helpless, we would much rather feel powerful and in charge. That is a benefit of anger: no matter how faulty our experience is, anger makes us feel powerful and in control.

    But there is a serious downside to anger: it eats us alive. It devours our clarity, destroys our perspective and damages our well-being. Soon, there is nothing but the anger that remains.

    That’s a very good description of anger addiction, which I can’t help but notice, is something super-woke progressives and NeverTrumpers seem to have in common. Anger brings sensation of righteousness that can become addictive, and the self-righteousness of both of these types is glaring and unmistakable.

    Great information in the link, @raygunner. It’s definitely an addiction for some people, and a difficult reaction to break. The self-righteousness is especially embraced. Thanks.

    • #8
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:00 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Stad Thatcher

    EODmom (View Comment):
    I’m not sure Democrat voters see themselves as angry as it’s usually defined.

    How about they’re tired of seeing their leadership angry and hateful of Trump all the time, and now they’re starting to think, “Hey, wait a minute . . .”

    • #9
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:50 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):
    I’m not sure Democrat voters see themselves as angry as it’s usually defined.

    How about they’re tired of seeing their leadership angry and hateful of Trump all the time, and now they’re starting to think, “Hey, wait a minute . . .”

    You’re such an optimist, @stad. It’s refreshing in these dark times.

    • #10
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:52 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):
    I’m not sure Democrat voters see themselves as angry as it’s usually defined.

    How about they’re tired of seeing their leadership angry and hateful of Trump all the time, and now they’re starting to think, “Hey, wait a minute . . .”

    You’re such an optimist, @stad. It’s refreshing in these dark times.

    No, beer is refreshing. Its property of attitudinal adjustment is well documented in case studies of “Good Ol’ Boys” . . .

    • #11
    • April 7, 2020, at 12:03 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    I bookmarked this post especially the last 2 paragraphs.

     

    • #12
    • April 7, 2020, at 12:53 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    I bookmarked this post especially the last 2 paragraphs.

     

    I’m so glad! Would you like to share your reasons, @mbchoe?

    • #13
    • April 7, 2020, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    I bookmarked this post especially the last 2 paragraphs.

     

    I’m so glad! Would you like to share your reasons, @mbchoe?

    I tend to hold grudges (not proud of this).

    I tend to hold on to anger and self-righteousness.

    I forget about gratitude.

    My life especially with family and relatives has been bi-polar since August 2018.

     

    • #14
    • April 7, 2020, at 1:10 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    I bookmarked this post especially the last 2 paragraphs.

     

    I’m so glad! Would you like to share your reasons, @mbchoe?

    I tend to hold grudges (not proud of this).

    I tend to hold on to anger and self-righteousness.

    I forget about gratitude.

    My life especially with family and relatives has been bi-polar since August 2018.

     

    Many of us suffer from these attributes. I used to be a pretty angry person. Really! But I found ways to change, a little at a time. Two other thoughts: if you are truly bipolar, I hope that’s something you’re working on. The other thought is that when we try to modify our behavior, it’s usually two steps forward, one step back. And as a recovering perfectionist (see, I have all kinds of problems), I try to be kind to myself when I lapse into old behaviors. I wish you success!

    • #15
    • April 7, 2020, at 1:15 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    I bookmarked this post especially the last 2 paragraphs.

     

    I’m so glad! Would you like to share your reasons, @mbchoe?

    I tend to hold grudges (not proud of this).

    I tend to hold on to anger and self-righteousness.

    I forget about gratitude.

    My life especially with family and relatives has been bi-polar since August 2018.

     

    Many of us suffer from these attributes. I used to be a pretty angry person. Really! But I found ways to change, a little at a time. Two other thoughts: if you are truly bipolar, I hope that’s something you’re working on. The other thought is that when we try to modify our behavior, it’s usually two steps forward, one step back. And as a recovering perfectionist (see, I have all kinds of problems), I try to be kind to myself when I lapse into old behaviors. I wish you success!

    thank you for your kind and sympathetic prose

     

    • #16
    • April 7, 2020, at 1:23 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. Stad Thatcher

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    I bookmarked this post especially the last 2 paragraphs.

     

    I’m so glad! Would you like to share your reasons, @mbchoe?

    I tend to hold grudges (not proud of this).

    I tend to hold on to anger and self-righteousness.

    I forget about gratitude.

    My life especially with family and relatives has been bi-polar since August 2018.

     

    Many of us suffer from these attributes. I used to be a pretty angry person. Really! But I found ways to change, a little at a time. Two other thoughts: if you are truly bipolar, I hope that’s something you’re working on. The other thought is that when we try to modify our behavior, it’s usually two steps forward, one step back. And as a recovering perfectionist (see, I have all kinds of problems), I try to be kind to myself when I lapse into old behaviors. I wish you success!

    thank you for your kind and sympathetic prose

     

    We expect nothing less from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman . . .

    • #17
    • April 7, 2020, at 1:37 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  18. Suspira Member

    It was once common to see bumper stickers proclaiming “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.” They seem to be advocating a perpetual state of high dudgeon. I fear that a large percentage of our population took the advice to heart.

    • #18
    • April 7, 2020, at 3:57 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Suspira (View Comment):

    It was once common to see bumper stickers proclaiming “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.” They seem to be advocating a perpetual state of high dudgeon. I fear that a large percentage of our population took the advice to heart.

    Wow. I don’t remember those. That could well have been a factor in the building rate of the Left. Thanks, @suspira

    • #19
    • April 7, 2020, at 3:59 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):
    I’m not sure Democrat voters see themselves as angry as it’s usually defined.

    How about they’re tired of seeing their leadership angry and hateful of Trump all the time, and now they’re starting to think, “Hey, wait a minute . . .”

    You’re such an optimist, @stad. It’s refreshing in these dark times.

    No, beer is refreshing. Its property of attitudinal adjustment is well documented in case studies of “Good Ol’ Boys” . . .

    Case studies, or sometimes six pack studies. It helps them unwind and sometimes it makes them feel mellow.

     

    • #20
    • April 7, 2020, at 5:20 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Susan Quinn: We have good reason to be angry with the Chinese.

    Agreeing with your post, generally, here we have good reason to be angry with the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese are the first and primary victims of the CCP.

    • #21
    • April 7, 2020, at 5:25 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  22. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Suspira (View Comment):

    It was once common to see bumper stickers proclaiming “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.” They seem to be advocating a perpetual state of high dudgeon. I fear that a large percentage of our population took the advice to heart.

    I’d think that targeted anger in the long run would be more effective in swaying others than perpetual anger, where a person is either always mad at something or permanently angry at one thing, and simply finds different reasons to be angry at that thing as situations change. When there’s no nuance, and the volume is turned up to 11 all the time, the majority of people who don’t share that anger are simply going to tune out, because they finally decide that nothing is going to give you anything but momentary happiness, and you’re simply going to come back a short time later with some new complaint.

    • #22
    • April 7, 2020, at 6:18 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. The Reticulator Member

    Stad (View Comment):
    We expect nothing less from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman . . .

    It’s not for nothing that it’s called HydroxychloroQuinn.

    • #23
    • April 7, 2020, at 8:59 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    h/t to @edisonparks for a link to this John Prine song on another post thread (Prine died yesterday). I think it perfectly fits this one:

    You can gaze out the window get mad and get madder,
    Throw your hands in the air, say “What does it matter?”
    But it don’t do no good to get angry,
    So help me I know
    For a heart stained in anger grows weak and grows bitter.
    You become your own prisoner as you watch yourself sit there
    Wrapped up in a trap of your very own
    Chain of sorrow.

    • #24
    • April 8, 2020, at 8:56 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    She (View Comment):

    h/t to @edisonparks for a link to this John Prine song on another post thread (Prine died yesterday). I think it perfectly fits this one:

    You can gaze out the window get mad and get madder,
    Throw your hands in the air, say “What does it matter?”
    But it don’t do no good to get angry,
    So help me I know
    For a heart stained in anger grows weak and grows bitter.
    You become your own prisoner as you watch yourself sit there
    Wrapped up in a trap of your very own
    Chain of sorrow.

    Perfect.

    • #25
    • April 8, 2020, at 8:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like