Anger…it was a way I controlled things in my life and in my home. It also led to the near destruction of our marriage
What was I angry about? I was angry because Ann did not seem to need me, I was angry because I wanted more stuff, which took more money, which required more work, which made me angry….I was angry because other people and other things made me angry!
I FOUND GOOD NEWS, you choose to be angry, it is your choice; no one can make you angry! Isn’t that great news!
I know, I know…I hear it in my group all the time. “My wife makes me angry”, my reply is ‘She can’t make you angry’ and the response is “You don’t know my wife!” This is true, I probably don’t know their wife…but I know she can’t “make” them angry. My favorite response for this argument is “Well, fine. The next time she is ‘making you angry’, just retaliate by making her happy!”…Of course they tell me they can’t do that…hmmm.
Here is the truth; you choose to be angry, male and female alike; you CHOOSE to be angry. You all know that one traffic light in town, the one that is longer than all the rest, the one that see’s YOU coming and turns red…and you start tapping your foot, maybe you inform the kids about this light so they are prepared in life…and you can feel the temperature rising…
So let me get this right, an inanimate object that does the same thing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year has the ability to “make you mad”???!!!
I was talking to a good friend one morning after he and his wife had been in an argument. He was angry and he was telling me how his wife would leave a coffee cup laying around when she was finished with it…she did it just to “make him mad”, and there was one sitting on the table after she left that morning. He said “I am going to leave that cup there until it rots!”….hmmmm.
Well the good news was we were having men’s group that night and the bad news was, I did not have a topic…until now. I simply asked my friend for a favor…could you just pick up that coffee cup one more time….and bring it to group tonight?
That night in group, the dreaded cup arrived…still stained with the morning’s coffee of course. We set that cup in the middle of our circle of 15 men and I looked at it (it actually just looked like a coffee cup to me). This man shared what that cup “made him feel” and then we went around the room where each man could talk about their “coffee cup”. We all have our “Coffee Cup”, those monumental things that “make us mad”.
We live in a world where we have learned to blame others. It almost seems like something we are born with. Mom says “I thought I told you not to go to the park!!” and somehow we know to say “well Johnny did it too!”, mom replies “well if Johnny jumped off a bridge……” it has been passed down for generations.
It is not easy, but you can choose to be happy or at least choose not to be angry. Here in the U.S. we seem to think being happy is some kind of “right”. We throw marriages away, because we should be happy. I have heard it said that “God would want me to be happy”. I wish it were true…
I wish Jesus would have said “Follow me and you will be happy”, but he just said “Follow Me”. I have more bad news, on judgment day you will be held accountable for “Your actions” and I don’t think God will excuse you because your spouse “made you mad”. Can you picture yourself blaming a “coffee cup” for your actions in front of God? How do you respond when He points to a little girl who watched her parents die in some concentration camp and lived to tell about it…and you are talking about how hard your life is in this great country?
You see for me, when I would blame my wife for my anger, I could bring a childish behavior into our marriage and then blame her. My wife has no ability to “make me mad”, it is just an excuse to act in a way I would not even allow my children to act.
It has been a long road but I have changed and I was a very, very angry person. When I stopped I was faced with the real horror of my actions…I had to watch this same behavior in my children…I had taught them well and I had no way to “make them change”.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…OTHERS. The courage to change the things I can….ME and ONLY ME. And the wisdom to know the difference.
Two years later and I can see that by me changing, many other things have changed. Our oldest son is much different with his temper today and while we do not see eye to eye some days, we deal with it in a quiet way, an adult way. It is the same in our other children…thanks kids and I am so very sorry.
I now sit at that traffic light and when I feel those feelings…I just have to laugh…and my “coffee cup”? Well I told my kids what some of my “coffee cups” are and now when we see them and how silly they were, we all just start laughing!
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
I hope this helps some of you…addiction has so many things we must recovery from and anger is a central theme of most.
With love and compassion to each of you,
Steve and Ann