That I am learning this lesson not only from meditation and therapy, but from Rick Carson’s wonderful book, “Taming Your Gremlin,” is a blessing; the more people take this attitude, in my opinion, the better off we’ll all be.
With that in mind, I decided to actually do the work instead of skipping through it, as I have done with many other books (not all, of course, like the War of Art). Rick asks the reader to do a thought experiment with ANGER. He notes:
“Acknowledging your beliefs and/or habits does not require one to be cautious. Doing so does not mean that you need to change anything. Of course, your gremlin will have you judge your responses. Instead, simply notice and relax.
Here are my results (questions in bold):
1. I imagine that those who know me well would say that when I am angry I yell, boil up with rage. Throw imaginary punches. Say the wrong thing. Say or do something I will regret later.
2. When I’m angry with someone I know well, I tend to either bottle it up, or yell.
3. When I’m angry with someone I don’t know well, I tend to bottle it up.
4. If I suspect someone is angry with me, I feel…it depends. Scared, amused. But most of the time, guilty and I tend to…it depends. If I’m scared, back off, if I’m amused, mock, and the times I’m guilty, try to make amends.
5. A recent time I felt angry at another person was when a drunk idiot hit on my wife, right in front of me, ‘If you weren’t married, I’d try to hook up with you.’
6. At that time, I chose to say nothing. I let it go. I didn’t escalate. “He was drunk,” was my excuse not to break this shithead’s jaw.
7. As I remember that experience now, I notice that I am angry at myself for not standing up for my wife, even though she and another female friend told me that I did the right thing.
8. If I had allowed my anger to be reflected in my voice and my words in a manner that was absolutely uncensored, I imagine that I would have put my finger in his face and threatened to beat the shit out of him. However, that is my monkey brain talking, and I would regret it. Instead, ideally, I would downshift that into the action of getting in between him and my wife and say, gently but firmly, “Alright, buddy, That’s enough.” There was a bouncer nearby (that I was actually friendly with; poor guy spent most of his shift stopping people from having sex in the hot tub(s), and the last thing I would want to do is give him another headache.
9. Then I think I would have felt like I stood up for my wife and myself without going neither alpha nor beta. Gamma. While it is a fact that my wife is an independent woman, can take care of herself and will always tell me if I need to step in, it still infuriated me. Not at the drunk moron, but at myself.
As for 10 and 11, my parents were wonderful people, and aren’t here to defend themselves. They were loving, devoted, and just as human as the rest of us. Hence, to that last point, I’ll leave it be. No parents are perfect, and I am certainly not nor will I be with Jack. They did the best they could, and they were the best I could hope for.