roiling beneath the surface


Maybe I am naive; I have not experienced what he has experienced. But the other night I suggested something to Alex which he promptly discounted, although he did allow that anything is possible… theoretically.

Alex was describing how anger lurks just beneath his seemingly calm exterior, when I replied: “There is no reason anymore for you to ever feel that way again.” He responded that if he were to be freed from that emotion, he would likely lose a big part of what motivates his tremendous personal drive.

Now you have to understand that I have not seen anything in Alex’s behavior which belies such an emotion, hidden or otherwise. I’m not denying that he feels that way, but I just haven’t seen it. For what I know, it may as well not be there. I’m not even tempted to do anything that would piss him off, and I typically avoid conflict. I can foresee a future here for Alex in which his anger never bubbles to the surface.

My theory is this: the longer he goes without experiencing this emotion, the more it will atrophy to insignificance. In time, he will find another more positive emotion to provide motivation for his drive. The drive is like bedrock to his personality; anger is situational and analogous to shifting sand.

Whether Alex or I are correct will only become clear through time. I am stalwart in my belief that if a person experiences total freedom in their environment, if they feel no threats or sources of stress, if they are surrounded by respect, love, and esteem… such things can compensate for having started off life with the disadvantage of the most dysfunctional family.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Tim McGraw performing “Angry All The Time”


4 Responses to “roiling beneath the surface”

  1. September 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    An interesting observation. But perhaps we all have that same anger under the surface? We just don’t think as much about it as we’ve led different lives. Perhaps, in a sense, Alex has (had to) become too aware of that anger. And too afraid, as through much of his life (even today?) that anger would get him in very serious trouble. Or worse. Yelling at a cashier in a grocery store can probably not be compared to yelling at a guard in prison. Or another inmate. Not like you can just say “sorry”.

    So, perhaps Alex is just more aware than we are how damaging anger can be? Surely not always and not everywhere, but he has probably seen a lot of anger coming out from people at the wrong time and in the wrong place(s). It could just be the reflex. You know – if you get burnt, you will be afraid of a match. Of course, with age comes the wisdom and we tend to control ourselves better. Or we simply realize how pointless anger usually is.

    No offense intended to Alex or anyone.

  2. 2 anonymouse
    September 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    For some of us, anger was the engine that drove our desire to succeed, to prove ourselves. Anger provided focus, direction, and desire, without which we felt lost and adrift. And anger made it easy to keep others at a distance, clinging to a protective isolation. You have counseled me many times to give up my anger and accept the events of my youth, but the anger is a part of who I have always been, an old friend, and early attempts to give it up left only feelings of emptiness. If Alex seems angry, remember that he has been forced to repress his emotions during critical formative years, often for his own survival. Perhaps the peace and isolation of Estrella Vista will provide the perspective he needs to release the past and find a new path for his life.

  3. 3 Daryl Watton
    September 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Anger is an important emotion to have and to feel. However, one can train oneself how to express the emotion and how to transform it into other emotions and motivations. I get angry when I hear stories of teens getting harsh sentences, being mistreated or when they commit suicide. However, I work to transform that emotion into love and compassion and choose to reach out and make a difference in others’ lives. I wish I could help out more youths facing tough time in prison but I just don’t know enough of their stories or who needs my help when they need it most — at the beginning of their harrowing journeys.

  4. 4 Bob H
    September 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Anger can consume a person. I look after a 13-year kid who has much to be angry about what life has done to him, but he has been trained by patient teachers at his schools to use techniques to keep that anger at bay. I am always fearful that something that would not do more than annoy another kid could make him boil over and be harshly treated as a result. So I counsel and support him. He has drive, but he will not succeed if he lets anger make him sour or explosive in nature. And as he gets older, people and the law will not forgive outbursts. So far, he has not put a foot wrong, but that does not stop my concern.

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