My relationship with anger is several generations old. I inherited the gene for being hot, short, tempered from both my parents. The outcome wasn’t a hot chick but a girl with a temper not measurable by any meter.
Anger is one letter short of danger. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
The tradition of being short-tempered runs on my father’s side. Genetic transmission and successful expression of this gene have kept it from diminishing in its impact on the bearer. Though I must add, I happen to be the coolest of the lot. It isn’t my own belief but my observation that the time-lapse between any incident and shooting of one’s temper is inversely proportional to how younger the person is in my family.
This means my father is a lot cooler than what my grandfather was and he, in turn, was way calmer than what my great-grandfather was. The sad saga of being hot-tempered doesn’t end with the exchange of angry words, but I have actually seen my father and even grandfather tremble with rage and stay annoyed for a period of not just a few minutes or hours but also days together and in rare instances even years.
As I grew up, I realized that though I did face occasions when I had upset my parents to trigger intense anger, they had the immense self-control to never ever be tempted to raise their hand to shut me up. Maybe, it was also because a few angry words almost always were enough to shut me up. Most of the times they go quiet when they are most angry. You can see their hurt and anger in their expressions but other than that there is pin-drop silence. The trouble began, when their anger was replied by anger on my part.
I was often called hot-tempered and moody but I have been one of those crazy people who cry when they are very angry. You’ll never see me throwing things or yelling angry words or swearing at anyone when I am angry. Though I wasn’t so composed till long ago. When I was a kid, I would stamp my feet hard to show my disapproval, would start crying in less than ten seconds and give up on anything I’d be doing for emotions would get too overwhelming for me to even think about anything else.
As maturity dawned and self-analysis stepped in my life, I spent many hours wondering how could I change myself to a calmer being. The main reason was resentment I felt each time I was angry. The hurt of having hurt someone with my words would make me uneasy, but nothing really worked till I moved to college. My best friend there was among the coolest souls on the planet. She wouldn’t get agitated over anything, she would continue the conversation in the same controlled manner despite our disagreements and she would never cry or let herself lose control of the situation under any circumstances.
I didn’t notice the difference in our temperaments in the start, but when I finally did, it gradually dawned on me what a fool I had been to waste my energy and several opportunities only cause I had failed to keep my calm at those times. My friend’s company gradually transformed me to someone way sensible than I had ever been in my life. But, bad habits are like bad masters, who resist any and every change they are subjected to.
There were many occasions when I’d try to stay calm but my resolve would fail me. It was the start of my inner volcano to cool down, but the person whom I credit to actually changing me from an active to a dormant volcano is my ex. Although I dislike giving him credit, it’s a fact and I don’t want to deny it.
The day he stepped in my life, which was way before we actually got married I sensed something very calm about his personality. Till then I had seen people in my life get irritated over slightest of irregularities, lose patience over tiniest inconvenience. But, I was now with a man who never seemed to lose his composure even if a meteor struck the ground right before his eyes. I silently pledged to learn to control my emotions, change myself for a better life.
It was way later (when I got married and started staying with him) that I realized that all I had been impressed with in our initial courtship days was a mere pretense. He had his own mood swings and spells of throwing his temper on anyone he could get hold of, which unfortunately on all times happened to be me. His erratic behavior was tinted with strong shades of sadistic tendencies. If he’d be upset about anything, he’d shout at me till the time I would break into tears and feel miserable. The minute that would happen, he’d break into a charming smile saying he’s feeling heaps better.
Despite the bitter experience life threw my way, I have definitely grown to control my anger (or so I’d like to believe). I do get disturbed and turn edgy on many occasions (which unfortunately have been ample in the recent past) but I have been successful in controlling my temper. Ever since I have moved back to my parent’s home I can actually see the difference in myself. I now sound like the coolest soul in the household who knows how to stay calm. Though the reality isn’t as impressive as it sounds, for I too have my moments of emotional meltdown and burning in rage.
Ever since I have moved back to my parent’s home I can actually see the difference in myself. I now sound like the coolest soul in the household who knows how to stay calm. Though the reality isn’t as impressive as it sounds, for I too have my moments of emotional meltdown and burning in rage.
Life has a way of teaching us at every step. Just a few moments ago, Pari was stamping her feet seeing me fiddle with the laptop. She has her own set of anger genes, which I am determined to cool down and transform with my new learned calm and composure. Not because I want to control her, but because staying in control of the situation you are in, with an open mind is definitely better than losing it over everything.
Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry. ~Lyman Abbott
The song on my mind: Woh hain zara, khafa khafa ~ Shagird