The solution to hate and anger is understanding and forgiveness. While being locked up in a mental hospital and classified as an incurable schizophrenic, all the inmates from our wing were brought into a room to see a movie. The movie was about anger and how to deal with it. In the film, a supervisor is depicted as being upset as he walks along, and when he gets to a worker, he starts yelling at him. The supervisor was upset and the worker was the target of his anger, not the cause, and after he yelled at the worker, the supervisor became a little calmer, while the worker, although he continued to do his job, was angered and emotionally disturbed by the incident. The shift ended. When the worker got home he was still upset and ended up being short with his wife and kids and yelled at them before he finally began to get over the incident at work. This is called the ‘headache switch’ in which one’s personal anger decreases as it is transferred to another. In the movie, the scene was repeated, but this time the worker kept the anger inside and developed a stomach ache and became depressed and felt physically ill when he got home. This was the ‘self-destructive ulcer’ response. The scene was repeated a third time, but this time the worker, worked harder and burned up the anger through physical exertion, such that when he got home he felt fine and only casually mentions to his wife that the supervisor was in bad mood today. This was presented as a productive use of the anger, and it was the suggested response. In the discussion after the movie, it was explained that these were the three ways to respond and that the best way to respond was physical activity or exercise because it relieves stress and anger in a beneficial manner. Toward the end of the discussion, I raised my hand. When I was called on I said the following: There is a fourth way to handle this situation. Let’s say that a little later the supervisor comes back to you and apologize to you and says he is sorry for yelling at you. Then he briefly explains the sad story behind his frustration and then again apologies and says he is sorry. Almost immediately your feeling of anger toward him goes away and is replaced with feelings of compassion and understanding. You don’t have to let another’s actions control your emotions. You don’t have to wait until they say that they are sorry when they have wronged you, you can just forgive them for whatever reason that caused them to yell at you, and the anger will be gone. If you forgive someone who has harmed you, then your anger is gone. It is that simple. When I finished, there was absolute silence for a brief period and the meeting was abruptly ended
These are seven ways to deal with one’s personal anger.
- Love (ends it).
- Forgive (kills it).
- Do physical activity (exercise) (burns it up).
- Bottle it up and keep it inside (blame oneself) (become physically ill.)
- The headache switch (give it to someone else).
- Fight back (join in it).
- Seek revenge (become it).
I write this letter because we all seem to be living in a time of great emotional anger and expressed disappointment. I write this letter in hopes that angry people will read what I learned inside so that they and others don’t have to go inside.
W.J. Peterman, Lake Geneva resident