Saturday, September 29, 2012

Anger Management with Ashwath

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail to each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same." 
When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. "A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one."

There can hardly be anyone who has not read this story—at least those who receive/received forwards in their inbox. And for a person like me who has access to anger within reach and in abundant and renewable forms, I think I'd probably need to make a creative poster, hit a nail on the wall at a good viewing angle, hang it up, and read as often and whenever I interact with my son, Ash, especially when I try to feed him breakfast and dinner, and of course, when he misbehaves.

In fact, at times anger soars up like a well-kindled and well-oiled fire, when he throws tantrums, or you know, when you get a slap your face unexpectedly, I mean, I can even tolerate it when it is done without that anger in his face. But with the anger, it is very annoying, and there we go... another one bites the dust! The result being, I get angry, I either reprimand him (not the assertive, non-violent rebuke but the violent kind), or worse-case scenario, hit back. Another case in point that evokes rage is when he does things you tell him not to do--something like, when he touches a wall splattered with layers of dirt.

At these times, I keep reminding myself that it is perhaps what I had sown, that I am reaping now. Perhaps the anger that I bestowed on him, is what I am getting back. At this point of realization, I decide I want to chop off the tree. So, if not chop at least not to water it—I mean, to not let the fire grow, at least one can stop pouring oil into it. So the next course of action is to consciously decide not to shout or express anger when anger is exhibited.

So, it is very clear... anger management is about a. fighting back a source of anger and b. not letting anger be evoked in you (and not being a source of anger): the two primary external and internal sources.

Thinking about the aspects of dealing with the internal one, the aspect not being a source of anger, at times, it is clear that anger is a sum of all minor irritating factors. Let's take the case of dinner: Ash sees Mickey on the TV. Earlier, I had insisted he eat by himself, and soon after, when all the playing started, I had to take over to get it done soon. So, here are the discrete set of items that surmount and evoke the fury: he spending too much time on TV, me needing to remind him to chew with his molars, to remind him to not soak food in his mouth, to threaten him on pausing the TV in case he does not swallow the stuff that is already masticated, to tell him that his food would be given away to whoever is in the vicinity, my aching back and behind. So now, each of this grows bigger and bigger over the hour that he takes to close off the session.

Anyway, too long a post! With the root cause being known, I suppose I need to know to tackle these individual components and get going (how about getting a nice cushioned chair, eh?).

And with the issues of fighting back anger, the external source, I think the poster must work. Let's see!