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Uncontrolled Anger

by Keane

I had a very bad experience when I was 12 years old. It was the first time I had ever felt that angry. I felt like I wanted to destroy everything that hurts me.

My friends were teasing me. I was patient at the beginning, but I couldn't suppress my anger. I felt my palms becoming very hot. I felt as though I was very light that time.

I attacked the boy who teased me. At that time, no one was brave enough to stop me. Then, instead of continuing to hit the boy who teased me, I hit another boy. His face sustained a cut. I was lucky because the cut wasn't that bad.

After a teacher yelled "Stop!" I came back to my senses. My right hand suddenly started to ache. I couldn't move one of my fingers. I realized that one of my fingers had fractured, but I didn't feel it when I was angry.

I couldn't believe that I acted like that. I only knew everything that happened after a boy who was watching me when I was fighting told me about it. I couldn't believe any word he said.

Generally, I am someone who likes to laugh. But, this was the first time something bad like this happened. Till now, that incident hasn't occurred again, and I hope it doesn't.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, Keane. Thank you for writing your story on this site so that others might benefit. I understand your concern that this type of anger and aggression could occur again. That is a realistic concern, but from what you've written, it does not seem like this type of angry behavior is a pattern for you.

These are my thoughts on what happened:

1) You were an adolescent, and adolescence is a "testing ground" for males especially, and teasing each other and picking on each other is a way of finding out if you will stand up for yourself or allow others to push you around.

2) You stood up for yourself. What you did does not sound inappropriate to me. Obviously, you don't want it to keep happening, but you demonstrated for the other boys and for yourself that you were someone who would stand up for himself. Do not feel bad about what happened. Try to see it as a adolescent rite of passage that you went through, with a fairly positive outcome.

3) You learned that violence and aggression are painful and unpleasant, for you and others. You also learned that your anger will come up to protect you when you are threatened. If you want to understand this better, I suggest you read Anger Among Angels.

4) Now, as an adult, you want to learn how to express your anger in healthy ways. When anger is healthy, it is simply strong physical and emotional energy designed to fuel effective action. It can serve you very well in your life, and doesn't hurt anyone.

In conclusion, I would suggest that you view your past experience as an opportunity for growth and learning. Also, feel good about the fact that you did not fall into a pattern of expressing unhealthy anger on an ongoing basis.

You are a good person, which is why that anger episode bothered you.

I wish you all the best,

Dr. DeFoore

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