Oct 19, 2015
Suppression and Anger
Tom wants me to comment more on how we are to avoid suppression without cussing in anger.
It is important to understand that there is a difference between suppression and control concerning the emotions. Not all control is suppression. Some suppression does take some control, but often it is the path of least resistance – the easy path to take, putting it in a different category than control that leads to harmlessness which is the path of higher resistance..
If you are angry and restrain yourself from cussing or uncivil behavior that usually has nothing to do with suppression, but control.
Suppression has to do with relationships and honest communication. Control has to do with directing yourself toward good behavior – two entirely different things.
Perhaps it will help if I give examples of the two categories.
Examples of suppression.
A friend shows up and says he needs to crash at your house for just a day or so. After three days you can’t stand the sight of him as he is quite inconsiderate, but instead of telling him that he must move on you act like everything is cool as you have been friends for a long time and he did you a favor or two in the past.
He stays on overdoing his welcome but you just can’t bring yourself to tell him how you feel about the situation.
You fell in love with a wonderful person and everything is going great until he/she receives a call from an old flame to join him/her for dinner. Your emotional self feels uneasy and jealous over this but you pretend to yourself that the feeling does not exist. “It’s silly to feel jealous,” you tell yourself, “for I should trust this person I love.”
You have a great relationship with your spouse, but the other day when you told her of a new idea you had she laughed and seemed to act like you couldn’t possibly pull it off. Your feelings were hurt and have been festering, but you don’t want to say anything as you tell yourself that would make you look small. Maybe she has a point.
You’ll notice that all these example involve emotion in relationships and none of them require an expression of anger as a solution. It is noted though that it is better to express in anger than to suppress, but anger is rarely needed to resolve the problem.
Examples of control that do not involve suppression.
You hit your thumb with a hammer and start to blurt out some choice words. You see your kid listening to you and immediately stop the cussing and use more kid friendly words to express your situation.
Comment: This is self-control and not suppression and you hold no grievance toward your child.
Your boss insults you and this causes you some annoyance and part of you would like to insult him back, but you do not because you’d probably get fired and you need the money.
Comment: Again as long as you hold no grievance or lingering feelings of hurt then containing your anger in this situation would not be suppression.
You get in an argument with a friend and he is so illogical that it is annoying. You just about tell him how stupid you think he is, but restrain yourself for the sake of the friendship.
Comment: In this situation there would normally be no suppression for he holds no grievance toward his friend. He uses self-control to remain civil and is glad for it.
The key to understanding here is that there has to be some type of grievance involved for suppression or denial to be at play. When one suppresses he will find himself wishing he could act differently. When one merely uses self-control he is generally glad he constrained himself and doesn’t wish he had done otherwise.
Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
Copyright 2015 by J J Dewey
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