Blog # 20 Anger Against Inanimate Objects

Lucas Snelling was on his way to make a sales presentation at his office to his company’s biggest client.  Traffic was terrible.  He began to agonize that he might be late.  Then, for no understandable reason, his car started making strange noises.  Lucas edged the car over to the side of the road and turned off the engine.  He took off his suit jacket, got out of the car and raised the hood.


“Why am I doing this?” He thought.  “I don’t know anything about car engines.  We’ll probably lose the client because of this stupid automobile. The boss will blame me.  AAA will take hours to get here because it’s drive time”.  With that, Lucas slammed down the hood and gave the car a good kick – and – broke his foot.


Two hours later, after a trip to the hospital, Lucas finally arrived at the office on crutches with his foot in a cast.  The client was waiting.  “I heard you had a little car trouble but I didn’t realize that you had been in an accident.  Are you all right?”  Sheepishly, Lucas explained that he had taken his anger and frustration out on his car.


Does this make Lucas abnormal?  I don’t think so.  All of us can easily relate to poor Lucas.  If you have been following this blog, you know that a key generator of rage is unfulfilled expectations.  We all have certain expectations about the equipment we purchase – that it will work when it is supposed to; that it will not let us down.  Then, when it doesn’t, we simply lose it.


Here is another example.  Louise Jensen was busy in the kitchen preparing a grand meal for her new in-laws.  She had arrived home a little late and was frantically hurrying to get everything ready.  Louise was serving a crown of lamb roast.  At a gourmet shop Louise had purchased an imported can of special mint salsa to go with her lamb.  This little touch would guarantee a memorable dinner.


However, Louise’s electric can opener refused to do its job.  She tried and tried to make the thing work.  Finally, in frustration, Louise yanked the can opener from off the wall and hurled it out the opened kitchen window.


Louise’s apartment was on the forth floor.  A man was walking home on the street below.  The flying can opener hit him a glancing blow to the head.  When Louise’s husband and parents arrived at the apartment some twenty minutes later, they were greeted by the police and an angry neighbor who was threatening to charge her criminally for assault and battery.  Here again we have a situation where rage is generated because an expectation that went unmet.


Here is my favorite example of this type of rage.  Walter Nolan had a neighbor, Ray Hogan who had purchased a second-hand riding mower.  The machine made an awful grinding noise whenever Ray used it.  The noise was so loud that the entire neighborhood always knew when Ray was cutting his lawn.  His bargain mower would often break down but Ray was good with equipment and he always seemed to know how to get the thing working again.


The one day, the mower evidently came to the end of its miserable existence. That terrible grinding noise suddenly stopped.  Walter looked out his window and was treated to the spectacle of Ray swearing at the machine and throwing his fix-it tools at it.   Walter chuckled and went back to what he was doing inside his house.


Several minutes later, however, Walter heard a series of gun shots.  Racing outside to see what had happened.  Walter found the riding motor on its side on Ray’s front walk.  The machine was full of bullet holes and was lying in a pool of oil.  Ray was stretched out in his hammock, sleeping.  His gun was resting on his stomach and there was a beatific smile of satisfaction on his face.


There isn’t a person on this earth who hasn’t felt this depth of rage.  Most often, the feelings are directed at another person rather than a piece of equipment.  The feeling is so very strong that we literally scare ourselves.  We’d love to kick that person or maybe throw something lethal at their head or even take a gun and shoot them.  But we don’t.  We pack all that hostility away inside.


We aren’t afraid to act out when it comes to equipment.  Unloading that level of severe and dangerous rage on a piece of equipment is (most often) a safe method.  But, when it comes to another person, we:


●rationalize………………..”He/she must be having a bad day”

●minimize…………………”Really, it wasn’t that big a deal; let it go”

●self-deprecate……………”I’m too thin skinned; I shouldn’t let these

things bother me”

●excuse bad behavior……”I’m sure he/she didn’t mean to do that.”

●deny……………………….”I must have misunderstood him/her”


None of these reactions will support your very valid anger.  If you are truly angry about what someone has said to you or something they have done, go talk to them.  Maintain your sanity by getting into action. Holding things inside is not healthy.  Moreover your anger will leak out anyway in strange behaviors (passive aggressive actions).




This week a thirty-four year old man and his live-with girl friend were having one of their many knock-down, drag-out, screaming fights.  The argument spilled out onto the street in front of their home.  The man was holding his three month old baby girl.  In a fit of rage, he slammed the baby down onto the concrete curbstone splintering the baby’s skull.  Neighbors called the police; an ambulance rushed the baby to the local hospital where it is reported the baby is in intensive care and not expected to live.  The man ran away but later gave himself up to the police.  His explanation was “Sometimes that woman makes me so mad…”


DeAnne’s Anger Tips

Perhaps this has happened to you.  A person angrily accuses you of something which they did.  Immediately you want to (angrily) correct them with an “I did not such thing” statement.   Step back a little and consider this:  sometimes an angry accusation can be a confession.  The person may feel extremely guilty about something they have done.  Furiously, they will accuse someone else of having done it. This strategy diverts attention away from them and helps them maintain their self-image.


Thursday’s Special

Last Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Your boss asks you to help do the work of Sugar Lee Jones who spends her day tweeting friends…..


This is clear evidence of very poor management.  Your boss needs the work to be done and the easiest way for him to get that accomplished is to give it to the most capable of his employees, allowing the deadwood and the slackers to do very little.  He wants to avoid confrontation.


You need to have a conversation with this boss.  Put your concerns out as a personal hardship; that you are suffering from all this overwork.  This type of boss wants everyone to be happy.  You want to tell him you are not happy and that only he can solve this problem.




Scenario #2

Your boss, Reggie Gill is a real turkey.   Reggie’s boss, Bret Baylor, evidently wants you to confirm that fact to him.  That’s why he asked you to give him some feedback on Reggie’s performance as a manager.


Politically, this is a mine field.  It is not your job to provide performance feedback on your boss to his boss.  Reggie may well be a dufus but while you work for him you have to support him.  Tell Bret Baylor not to put you in this position. It just isn’t right.  You must say nothing negative. Nothing


By the way, as long as you work for Reggie, you career will go nowhere.  When your boss is a dufus, you get tainted with dufus dust.  Your hard work is what keeps him in his position.  He gets any credit; you remain invisible.  Your best move is to find another boss.  Ask for a transfer.  Say something like, “Now that I’ve learned all about framistats, I’d like to learn about gizzlestats.


Scenario #3

Your boss, Reggie Gill is the son-in-law of the company’s CFO. How will this knowledge affect what you say to Bret Baylor?


This knowledge should not affect what you have to say one iota.  Reggie is the company’s problem to solve.  You don’t want to get involved.



This Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Sally Miller is the VP of Human Resources at her company.  Because of the poor economy, the company is facing some serious financial issues.  All department heads, Sally included, have been called to an important meeting with the company president.  The president wants to solicit ideas from his senior staff for reducing the company’s operating costs.

Sally has an idea which she shares with the group.  Since manufacturing and sales are very slow during the summer months, Sally suggests that the company consider giving every employee Mondays and Fridays off during July and August.  She presents the group with savings figures which the company would realize if her plan were executed.  Silence follows her presentation.  After a long pause, several more suggestions are presented.  Then, the VP of finance offers the exact same idea that Sally had suggested.

Pres:                           That’s a great idea!

VP of Sales:              The staff would love the long weekends.  I’m all for it.

VP of Marketing:       Good suggestion, Bill.  That would work out very nicely.

VP of Manuf’in:          That would give us time to do any mechanical repairs.

Pres:                           That’s what I call thinking outside the box.  Nice work, Bill.

If you were Sally, what would you do now?


Scenario #2

Your spouse nags at you from the moment you get home from work until you leave the house the next morning.  This doesn’t make for a very happy household because the kids hear all the complaints and respond with their own negative behavior.  You have asked your spouse to save the complaining for times when the kids are not around.  Your spouse’s reaction is as if you haven’t said anything at all.  The complaining continues.  What do you think you should do?


Scenario #3

Your child tells you she hates school and doesn’t want to go there anymore.  Every day she comes home upset and crying.  When you asked her if she was being teased or bullied, she refused to answer.  Since you don’t know what the problem is, you are feeling angry, frustrated and worried.  What do you think you should do?



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