I remember one of my best friends telling me that he used to get in fist fights with other boys when he was in middle school. And that afterwards, no matter who won, they would both just cry. Something about the image of two testosterone-ridden pubescent boys sobbing always stuck with me. It’s as if they were old enough to get angry and hurt each other but still too young to know that they couldn’t cry about it. Crying is an appropriate response to anger because it’s something you do when you’re at a loss with your feelings. A lot of anger is unexplainable, a lot of is irrational, and a lot of it feels just plain silly. So you cry when you have nowhere else to go with it. “I don’t know what to do so I’m going to just cry tears of rage. I’m going to cry for everything bad that I feel inside of me right now.” Anger and sadness are inextricably linked. In a way, blubbering like a little baby seems like the most honest and healthy reaction to being pissed off.
2. Suffer memory loss?
So here’s a weird personal story for you. Last Christmas, my mother, my sister and I were kicked out of my uncle’s house. We packed our bags and drove from Palm Springs to Hollywood in the middle of the night and the whole thing was terribly dramatic. The reason why any of this happened is uninteresting. I mean, have you ever had a narcissistic gay uncle in a family full of emotional retards? That shit is not fun. What was interesting, however, is that after all of the fighting went down and my uncle had had some choice words with my mother, he claimed to have no memory of the horrible things he said. It’s like he blacked out. At first, I thought he was lying. How convenient to suffer from rage amnesia but apparently that’s a thing—getting so angry that you disconnect from your memory. Um, that’s terrifying. I bet people have been murdered in these kinds of rages and when the person comes to, they have no recollection of any of it. Isn’t that what happened when Ozzy Osbourne strangled Sharon? Whatever. I’m just happy I no longer have to go to Palm Springs for Christmas and watch my family argue over a piece of chocolate and talk about the weather.
3. Say things you don’t mean
If you’re angry with someone, you run the risk of saying some evil things to them—stuff that would even make you gasp afterwards. “How did those words come out of my mouth? I’m appalled but I mustn’t show it! I have to continue hurling insults at this person!” Your capacity for cruelness quadruples in a fight and you’d be surprised to see how far you’re willing to go. Anger seems similar to horniness—it’s a feeling that completely overtakes your personality. You do shocking things in order to satisfy the feeling and then when it’s gone, you’re just like, “Oh shit. Did I just do that?” You have blinders on. I swear, I never feel more powerless than when I’m horny or pissed off. I just feel like a five-year-old baby animal. It’s….humbling, I guess. You don’t feel like you have any control over yourself. You’re just a species who belongs on the Animal Planet.
There is nothing more terrifying than an angry drunk. Whenever one of my friends has been like, “I’m pissed. I need a drink!” my mind fast forwards to 4 a.m. when they’ll be wasted, angry, and beating up a taco truck. No thanks. I don’t claim to have the most healthy coping mechanisms but I do know that any altered state is a no-no when you’re feeling like crap. Being a sad drunk is preferable to being an angry one though because you just embarrass yourself. If you’re angry, you run the risk of getting into a fight, which is something I just can’t/won’t/don’t do. If I sense some trouble is brewing, I will run for the hills before I defend someone’s honor, especially if it’s over something as silly as “DID YOU EAT MY NACHOS?!”.
5. Destroy shit
People like to destroy shit when they’re pissed. Look at Woodstock ’99 or Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit. It’s how he made his millions. Anger leads people to punch walls, throw things, the whole works! I feel like I missed out on this whole phenomenon. Breaking things would just give me anxiety and make me more angry. I mean, I cried when my dresser from IKEA fell apart.