“You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’ Angry” This memorable quote from the Incredible Hulk television series is all too relatable. I’m all too aware of how it feels to “hulk out”
But I learnt to control my anger, mostly out of fear of it.
I was an incredibly angry, lonely teenager. I would spend evenings in my bedroom punching and kicking the old sofa cushions around my room. listening to hard rock, thinking about punching people I went to school with in the face until they not only apologised to me but were that terrified of me they didn’t make another stupid comment about my stupid frizzy hair, or whatever other problems they had with my face. One time I kicked a cushion so hard that instead of it hurtling across my room it shot upwards, straight into my lightbulb, knocking it into the ceiling and shattering it all over the floor. I was about 15, as you can imagine I was terrified and had no idea how to wiggle out of this when my dad wanted to know how the hell I had managed to smash a lightbulb into a million pieces. I said I wasn’t sure what had happened. he didn’t push me, he just changed it muttering to himself and went back downstairs.
This was not the last time my anger would destroy something.
Over the years I had smashed many toys by banging them headfirst into the walls of my bedroom and watching their limbs fly off. I live in an odd house, its made of concrete and breeze block. A surprisingly solid combination. As I got older it was my fists that would hit the wall instead, bruising and cutting open my knuckles. Surprisingly no one ever said to me “Why are your knuckles so purple?”
My anger began to get the better of me as my teens ended. My first laptop suffered as a result of this. Angrily I punched the laptop in the motherboard so hard I cracked the plastic. It never turned back on. It was absolutely destroyed. Thankfully my dad never looked at the bottom casing to see the crack I had made. he just took it back. Thankfully it was still under warranty. luckily this was a pre-savvy computer generation, unable to turn the laptop on the store just replaced it, no questions asked.
The next piece of technology to feel my wrath was a mobile phone. At age 17 I was in an incredibly intense relationship which consisted of seeing each other once a week for a few hours and spending the rest of the time frantically texting each other a running commentary of our lives. The phones I had during this period were not built for this level of texting and would wear out fairly quickly. unfortunately for my new Nokia phone an argument with my boyfriend caused me to beat my phone to death with my television remote. I smashed my phone repeatedly. and when I finally stopped smashing and screaming. I looked at my phone to see the screen bleeding and I cried. I’m not sure if I cried because I realised I had a severe problem, or if I was crying because I wasnt sure how I was going to get my dad to bail me out of this one. Luckily he did buy me a new phone. as with the laptop I moved them well out of reach when I felt my anger taking over.
Later, this relationship would also be destroyed by my anger. Well, my anger was a trigger. coupled with my fear of being alone.
This level of anger scares me, when I get to this point all I want to do is destroy something I want to see something in pieces, I want to be in pain. I want my knuckles to bleed because I want whatever I have destroyed to know that I am superior and that if they piss me off again, it will be a thousand times worse.. I wanted to hurt my laptop, I wanted to hurt my phone. Of course, it could not get any worse for them. I destroyed them both.
Of course my phone and laptop are inanimate objects with no feelings. And so really that adrenaline rush and the satisfaction was purely in my head.
And so I began to bottle up my anger. Which of course is never a good thing. For a long time I thought I would grow out of it, I thought it was a hormonal thing, gratuitous acts of violence to release some pent-up teenage anger.
Then I realised that it wasn’t a phase, it was probably learned behaviour. Something I learned from my dad, the master of the anger problem. When you see someone with an anger problem on television. they get angry at the smallest thing. But not my dad. My dads quiet, he very rarely speaks. But sometimes he will flip, throw things around the room, bang doors and yell at people for hours. And then he will go to bed. Because I guess he’s scared of his anger to. The last time I saw my dad angry he picked up a two foot speaker and launched it into the floor then flipped a small table over. Then he went to bed. it was 7pm.
So maybe I get all this anger from him.
But, where does it end? I’m terrified of getting close to people because it’s so much easier to hurt someone you are close to then to hurt someone you are not close to. Afterall, we always hurt the ones we love. Right?
The Elephant in the Room