You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

The Dangers of Anger
By DonJibaro
My son and I were at the local market when and we heard a toddler crying loudly in the next aisle. I left my son with the cart and went to see... Well, there was a lady comparing the price of two items AND a 3 or 4 year old boy kicking the shopping cart and screaming "I want that toy, I want that toy NOW !!!"  

I rushed back to my son and said something like: "Somebody is taking over." Of course... I meant the kid over his mom. "That kid will definitely have major issues with self -control when he grows up," --I added. You see, I am not a psychologist by trade but in 61½ years I've had a great deal of anger related experiences; both with family and friends... to the point that I have created a need to understand anger, oppression and even death....

I have studied these subjects and that has allowed me to keep my sanity and my life. What I share here is not a professional array but personal and voluntary. Anger is a normal, usually healthy human emotion, but when it is out of control it can become destructive, causing problems both in personal and working life... it can even cause death: yours or that of others.

Excessive and out of control anger can cause feelings of fear, unpredictable behavior and loss of control. I remember seeing men in Puerto Rican bars suddenly explode with anger, rip their shirts off and go duke it out in the street. But, why rip your shirt off?

The effect of anger on those around you can be one of worry, fear and a gradual withdrawal from interaction with you, or one of responding angrily.  In turn, this of course will lead ultimately to conflict and aggression.

Hard Core Anger Management
Fair or not, because we suffer some social stigma we have to work harder at being accepted. The goal of anger management is to reduce both the emotional and physiological feelings that may be caused by anger, by recognizing who we are and what makes us uncomfortable. It is not about changing the events or people that cause the anger but it is about changing your emotional and physical responses to them.

Most Puerto Ricans are very assertive, that which can be construed as threatening... be it passive or active. We get closer to a person when we talk and that could be intrusive to some ethnic groups. Some will withdraw a bit and we can take that as "rejection" that triggers a degree of unaceptance that feeds our anger.

There are various psychometric tests and questionnaires that can ascertain your anger levels, but it is likely that if you are experiencing problems with anger that you are already aware of that fact. When a Boricua is angry, boy... he knows he's angry and he'll let you know... whew!  So, if you find that your behavior is out of control you may need help in finding a different way of dealing with this particular emotion. The world has gotten too complex and we don't need additional complications, regardless of how tough we think we are.

Some say that when people don't feel comfortable, they choose to belittle, malign or somehow make someone else feel 'smaller', and those who are belittled become the belittlers in the long run. It's a cycle. WE don't want to go there!

Anger and Aggression
Have you noticed that when babies are put together they play for a while and then want to dish out their own blows indiscriminately? Adults in contrast, choose their actions... and at times we choose that which is not socially sound... sort of "being peed upon so that we have to pee on others... The contempt for the world has bred a destructive attitude.

Commonly overlooked, contempt for the world (to hell with everybody) around us has a way to disguise itself in such a way that it's virtually undetected. It projects as an expression of anger and hostility. 

Not everybody is a tower of strength to move on after they have been wronged. There are many who take the hurt very deeply to the point of suicide or murder... How can we help that?

Anger & Self Esteem
Most of the Puerto Ricans I know in Los Angeles and Boston appear to be intelligent and in some apparent control of themselves. They are good "social butterflies" and cordial at most times. You can't tell if they are suppressing an unmanaged emotion. If they're angry, they do a good job covering it up. However, when their immediate reality is jeopardized, things turn into a different color.

Angry people live in an all too vulnerable "Here & Now" constantly looking around with the corner of the eye, to make sure they are not threatened. Some will only attend rehabs if they have a loved one or a "3rd party" (like court) who'd push them to go. They hate rehabs until they attend. Then they love it! Incidentally... you can take a horse to water and make him drink if you put salt in his mouth.

Phoenix adds...

"It all has to do with self-esteem and control. A person of high self-esteem feels good about himself, irrespective of the people around him. He does not have to control others in order to maintain the good feelings about himself. His basic self-evaluation is internal, and is not modified to any great extent by the things that happen around him. A person with a poor self image will attempt to deal with his feelings of insecurity by feeling better than other people, by belittling and controlling others... THRU ANGER INTIMIDATION."

Moreover, most angry people have the illusion of self-esteem but no control, since the welfare of others is alien to them. Love for the welfare of others HAS TO BE the catalyst.

Non-Angry Aggression
In my illustration of babies, it can be concluded that it is our innate (a natural instinct that you're born with) and sometimes subconscious desire to subjugate others, whether it be in a subtle or angry way. Thus, you will oppress others on a given chance, whether it gives you pleasure or not. That "need" to oppress is neither genetic nor biological, that can be excused by a glandular malfunction... It's a choice that’s is made.

Some psychologists do use that to excuse aberrant behavior of sex offenders or other criminals. But even in our vulnerable condition we have the ability to make choices. That ability is the one that dictates our destiny. Be angry if you must, but do not hurt others or yourself.

Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. There are books and courses that can teach you relaxation techniques, and once you learn the techniques, you can call upon them in any situation. If you are involved in a relationship where both partners are hot-tempered, it might be a good idea for both of you to learn these techniques.

Some simple ideas you can try:

Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut."

Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "Mama," "cocoliso" or "wepa." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.

Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.

Nonstrenuous, slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.

Practice these techniques daily. Learn to use them automatically when you're in a tense situation... They work... for me!

Anger is like a trap that binds you and
you can't be free until you chill out. Totally... from within.

Use Methods that Work
Writing from experience, I believe that trying to get people to work together is a very difficult task. Having to get some Puerto Rican people to work together is a monumental task. Why do I think so??

Simply, the complex cultural background and disturbed historical strata that we share, affects how we behave in a daily basis. It also, has some bearing on how and why some of us think and act the way we do... even in a subconscious level.

Case in point: As a Puerto Rican who volunteers in various projects in Los Angeles, where mostly other Boricuas work, I find that for the most part, no one wants to be told what to do, especially when they are not getting paid for it. Everybody wants to do what is right in his or her own eyes. Even when presented with a more expedient way to do a task, many times we refuse to accept it... at least at first. We want to think of that more excellent way ourselves. We want the credit and recognition. We want to be important. If we don’t get that satisfaction, look out, folks… because here comes trouble!!!

Once you throw the first blow anger has conquered you

In a cooperative, not all can be chiefs. Logic, combined with a spirit of fellowship and cooperation, should rule any decision making process. Allow me to equate LOGIC with COMMON SENSE... synonymous with “that which fits the best”.

The other day some lady stormed out of a volunteer office after she decided that all the rest of the volunteers with which she had been working for the last eleven months, were “all trash”. I learned later that she had heated arguments with almost all the volunteers, insulted the project manager, and she had been visiting and getting “insight” with another lady who had quit for similar reasons months earlier.

Puerto Ricans use a dynamic word that I love; it conveys the idea of taking a long strand of cord and making a ball that is so intertwined that it is impossible to undo. That word is “BOCHINCHE”. The word implies much more than mere gossip, it actually seeks to destroy harmony. The bochincheros will not abide by any rules of harmony and fair play, but thrive in creating discord and rejoice when “the poo has hit the fan.”

"Anger he smiles, towering in
shiny metallic purple armour
Queen jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground...
Blue are the life-giving waters taken for granted,
They quietly understand once happy turquoise armies
lay opposite ready, but wonder why the fight is on."
---Jimi Hendrix (Axis: Bold as Love)

"Fools won't take advice, but the  
smart will listen."   (Proverbs 12:15)

This is the Bottom Line

“Live in such a way that no one blames the rest of us 
nor finds fault with our work.” —(2 Corinthians 6:3)

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