The most frustrating form of anger is that which we direct against ourselves. Often this anger is the result of poor decision-making. Education is the only way to avoid this form of self-directed hostility. The more you know about anything, the greater your number of alternatives. Stupid and uneducated people make bad decisions because they make their decisions not on facts or knowledge but rather on how they feel at the moment or on hear-say principles that have no relationship to the issues they are attempting to impact. Here is a story that beautifully illustrates my point.
Karla was a sophomore in high school when she became involved with Matthew Harris (bad decision), the high school’s premier football player and a senior. Both she and Matt were more interested in good times than in their education (bad decision). Karla soon discovered that she was pregnant (bad decision) and so she dropped out of school (bad decision) to marry Matthew (bad decision).
Karla knew that Matthew was very jealous of any attention she gave to other people – male or female. She thought his jealousy was proof of his love for her (bad decision). Without a college education and a baby on the way, Matt took the first good paying job he could find – driving a delivery truck. Within a year, Matt was driving long-haul delivery trucks. Often Matt was gone for days at a time. He began to obsess over what Karla might be doing in his absence. With three little kids to look after, he really didn’t have anything to worry about. Karla had her hands full at home.
Nevertheless, Matt began to suspect that Karla was cheating on him. When he came home, he would question her harshly at length. Karla reacted negatively to Matt’s lack of trust and began to withdraw her affection. Matt felt her growing coldness which confirmed for him that there was indeed another man in Karla’s life. Soon Matt was not only speaking roughly to Karla, he was also slapping her around. Karla went to court and got a restraining order against Matt which Matt ignored. Then Karla filed for divorce. Matt didn’t want the divorce so he retaliated by refusing to pay child support.
With her parent’s help and financial support, Karla packed up her things and took the children to a nearby state where she set up a new household. With three youngsters to look after and no education, Karla went into the house-cleaning business. She did reasonably well. There were always customers who wanted her services and she was able to arrange her hours so as to be home when the kids returned from school.
Karla had been advised to get health insurance for herself now that she was self-employed but she did not want to spend the money (bad decision). One day, Karla was in an auto accident which severely damaged her back. She could not work for several weeks. Her recovery and doctor bills took every cent she had. While she was unable to work, her parents once again came to her financial rescue. They told her, however, that she had to make her own way as soon as possible.
Karla now found that because of her accident, she was no longer able physically to do house-cleaning. Desperate, she turned to a friend who suggested that Karla sell drugs.
Friend: Look, it’s easy. Anyone who wants stuff knows where to go to get
it. All you have to do is stand on the right corner after dark and
take in the money. I can introduce you to a supplier. Best of all, you can make your own hours.
What a great solution, Karla thought. I can put the kids to bed, get my neighbor to baby sit for three hours and be home before the kids even know I’m gone. Karla agreed to take the job (bad decision). Soon money was no problem in Karla’s little household. However, one night Karla unknowingly sold drugs to an undercover FBI agent.
I met Karla just as she was completing a ten year prison sentence. Her three kids had been taken away from her to be adopted by other families. In tears, she told me how she hated herself for how she had messed up her life.
If you are a parent, the most important obligation you have to your children is to make certain they are educated so they have options and choices to deal with the tough times that occur in everyone’s life.
The most valuable ability you can bestow upon your children is a comprehension of how to recognize the kind of person who will make them a good life companion.
What is so difficult about parenting is that we are preparing our children for a world we actually know nothing about. Fifty years ago, our parents had no knowledge or concept how things like credit cards, social media, television, I-pads or would impact our lives today.
DeAnne’s Anger Tips
Our contentious congress is a great example of how people view conflicting ideas as threatening and adversarial rather than as opportunities to look at issues from another perspective. Viewing different ideas as wrong, unpatriotic and a threat to a smooth running society is hampering congress’s ability to deal effectively with different opinions.
Perhaps we should not be so surprised. Human history is filled with bloodshed over differences. People have perceived conflict as a negative occurrence since the beginning of time. Human beings are willing to wage long and devastating wars over differing ideologies, ethnic differences and divergent religious beliefs.
Don’t you think it is time we all grew beyond this zero-sum method of looking at the world?
In some successful business, the most successful work teams are made up of people with divergent ideas and different ways of looking at problems. Instead of viewing one another as adversaries, they share their various ideas and points of view creating many choices for moving ahead. As a result, they enrich one another’s thinking and actually find creative, innovative solutions to intractable problems.
We need congress to do the same. We can no longer afford to have people who have become ossified into thinking that their way is the only way – people who put “principles” ahead of an analysis of current reality. That is akin to driving your car forward by looking in the rear view mirror. The problems we face today cannot be solved with yesterday’s solutions.
Last Week’s Scenarios
Cody Washington was building a large patio onto the back of his home…
Here is an example of what happens from holding anger inside for too long. Alex Glenn finally exploded over the continuing noise. He should have talked to his neighbor, Cody, a lot sooner. Cody, for his part, did the smart thing – never argue with someone who is holding a gun. Exit the area as fast as you can.
Jimmy’s parents knew their son had problems controlling his anger…..
Here we have an example of someone – the librarian – trying to talk common sense to someone who is reacting emotionally – Jimmy. Jimmy is way beyond the reach of reason. The librarian should have simply left the area.
Hopefully the librarian went on to sue Jimmy’s parents. They are the proximate cause of her attack. Perhaps a good blow to their pocket book will convince them to get Jimmy the help he sorely needs.
Alicia was on her way home from an exhausting day at her job…..
The fashionable woman in the Mercedes should just get into her car and, lock the doors and drive quickly away. Confronting a person who is totally lost in a rage is dangerous. You put yourself directly in harm’s way.
This Week’s Scenarios
Your 22 year old daughter is enrolled in a great college near your home. The fact that she can live at home is a great cost-saving. Without it, you and your husband would not have been able to afford her college education. One evening she tells you she has met a wonderful guy who is planning to transfer out of this local college to a university in Pittsburgh. She wants to transfer with him. How do you think you should handle this situation?
You are the manager of a successful advertising agency. One of your employees has been working on a magazine ad for one of your best customers. The ad she has created is quite elaborate, complete with many colors and expensive art work. You believe the product that is being advertised doesn’t need all that. From your experience, you know that a simple ad would work better. In addition, a simple ad would be less costly for the client.
Since this is one of your most creative employees, you do not want to say anything that might discourage her. How will you tell her to re-work the ad so that it is a better fit for the product?
In your small town, a huge brick building where the manufacture of auto parts used to take place has become available. Those in city government would like to use the building to create low-income housing for the poor. The residents who live near the site want the building to be rehabbed into a shopping mall of trendy retail shops. At town meeting, the arguments for and against both plans were hot and angry. Nothing was decided and all the residents attending went home in a snit. Suppose you are the editor of the local newspaper. You want to report on the conflict in a fair and balanced way that might bring both sides a little closer to finding a compromise solution. What kind of information might you put in your editorial?