When I married my husband many years ago, I soon came to realize he was a very angry person. WHen I suggested this to him (maybe growing up with his own alcoholic father had something to do with it, aye?) he would say,
“You’re an angry person too.”
And I would say,
“No. I may have a temper. But I am not an angry person.”
“There’s no different.”
But of course there is a difference.
A big difference!
An angry person is always angry. They may not know they are always angry but that anger is constantly there, like the backdrop that life plays out against for them. It’s why they may yell at a waiter when their food is late (as opposed to getting annoyed, frustrated and even mad but not raging with anger); it’s why they will curse like a sailor at the crows who get into the garbage (rather than working harder at crow-proofing the garbage) and yes, it is why an alcoholic can (will) call his wife a fucking bitch or tell her to shut the fuck up or suggest she go “fuck herself.” To say being an angry person is the same as getting mad is to say setting your house on fire is the same as building a fire in the fire place. Two very different things.
And so when I met my husband, I guess I had a temper. I didn’t really think I did but I do know I was not an angry person. Barking dogs or people parking on the street in front of my house or someone driving “too slow” in front of me did not induce in me a ten minute, profanity-laced rant. My normal state of being, my “default” state you could say, was reasonable calm and happiness. I didn’t feel assaulted by the least – real or imagined – transgression.
I don’t know if I can say that now.
The other day I pulled into the gas station and the way all the cars were situated, I couldn’t get to a pump but there was an empty pump being blocked by a woman at another pump. I asked her if she would mind pulling forward. She refused. Now, do I think she was kind of a horse’s ass for not pulling forward? Probably. But can I tell you, the absolute RAGE I felt within me was startling. Now there wasn’t anything I could – or would -do (because angry AND crazy is a whole different beast!) but I was SO!! MAD!! Beyond what I think was proably reasonable or even healthy.
My husband says there is no difference between being an angry person and a person who gets mad.
I can say there is absolutely a difference.
I’m living the difference.