Friday, October 19, 2007

angry, moi?

Last week I did an interview post with questions from liv. The first question she asked was did anything bring out the meanie in me. I've been thinking about that question since then, but in a slightly different way than I originally did. I rephrased the question to ask myself - Do I get angry. Some people get angry and then get mean. I still maintain I don't get mean, but I do get angry occasionally. so, I thought I'd answer the question again - this time addressing what makes me angry.

Before I start, I want to make the distinction that I do not equate being upset at being angry. People who know me (in the flesh, so to speak - or IRL in internet speak) sometimes mistake me being angry when I'm really just upset. And I can understand it, as both look and sound similar - to a degree. And being upset sometimes leads to being angry.

One more thing - the older I get, the more I tend to rant (like I just did over here). that is neither me being upset or me being angry. It is just me wondering what the hell is wrong with people today can't they just get with the program and by the way I have the best program. So there.

I was gently nudged after the interview post that they had seen me angry, but thought it justified and therefore didn't really call me on it. But that started me thinking about the anger part of the question. It has been bugging me, ergo this post.

I get upset when I see injustice. I get angry when I experience it. Sometimes I get over it, and sometimes I don't. Here on the internet, you don't get to see me get angry much, as I walk away from what makes me angry and come back when I'm over it. I also avoid most hot button issues (be they political or religious or whatever) because they tend to be polarizing and I don't see any point it. I'm not going to change a Bush hater into a Bush lover or visa-versa, an athiest into a fundamentalist, or visa-versa. Express your opinion on a ballot or in a pew. Or not. But not here.

Anyway - I get angry and I get over it, or I don't.

An example of when I get angry and get over it: I read A LOT of blogs written by women. I'd say 90+%. I have always had an easier time making friends with women than with men, and my blog reading habits follow. I occasionally get angry when I see statements in these blogs and their comments about sisterhood, or motherhood, or women unite, or how much better their lives would be if they lived in a creche with other mothers, or once or twice how much better the world would be if women were running things, etc. I get angry because - I'm a guy. It immediately makes me feel that I've been insulted, that I'm not wanted, that I'm not of sufficient caliber to belong - it makes me feel unwelcome. I get defensive - not all guys are jerks, it isn't a solely male perogative to be a bad parent or a bad marital partner, or bad whatever. I take it personally. But I get over it. A couple of times I've left comments to the effect that PEOPLE are bad or good, are nurturers or insensitive louts, are good parents or not - these negative traits aren't solely the male purview. But most of the time I just don't say anything because - especially of the women who've I've read for a long time - I know that they do (sometimes having to be prompted) acknowledge that assholery is not limited to the male half of the population. I just let it go.

An example of getting angry and not letting it go: A few of you know that 3 years ago my son attempted suicide. He was in his first semester of college and living with my parents. They had gone out of town for a long weekend and came home to find my son had been throwing up all over the house, was passed out on the bed and they couldn't hardly wake him up. They called me and I came and got him and took him to the doctor. His doctor had us take him to the ER. The short story is that the doctor and the hospital assumed that he was a drug addict and this was an overdose - because his asthma meds showed a false positive for amphetamines on a broad spectrum drug test. Even though his tests clearly showed that his condition was caused by an excess of tylenol. (He came within a hairsbreadth of permanently damaging his liver or even losing it). What made me really really angry was that after a few days when he was lucid and he told the doctor what he OD'd on, his doctor refused to give a referral to psychiatric help because he felt that drug addicts did not do well in mental heath treatment. A few weeks after my son got out of the hospital I finally convinced the doctor to give him the referral (which my insurance required) but only if he passed a urinalysis to show he wasn't using. I am still angry as I write this, it burns deep inside me. I have no respect at all for this doctor and have lost a good measure of respect for doctors in general. I can find no excuse for him not only giving up on my son, but not even wanting to cooperate with me on me getting him the help he so desperately needed.

Most things I can shake off. I flare for a moment and then get over it and forget it. When I wrote my response to Liv's question I really had forgotten about the times when I'd left a snarky comment or rant on someones' blog. I started remembering them and here we are.

15 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

Rachel said...

I too diferentiate between being upset and being angry, and how I handle the two is on par with how you handle yours. I so rarely get angry; but I do get frequently annoyed, grumpy, and upset, but no matter how I feel I always try not to be mean--though sometimes my efforts to hold back are interpreted as being mean... Ironic.

I have very little fondness for doctors myself...its seems as if the authority and education they have gives them the illusion of knowing everything--which they dont!--and they feel entirely justified in judging thier patients. What a wretched thing happend to your son! Now that is something you have every right never to get over.

Good post!

Sober Briquette said...

What an excellent follow-up.

Not everyone can or does make a distinction between being upset, angry, mean, whatever. A lot of the mix up is on the receiving end. I know that if I'm hearing something I don't like, I perceive it as "yelling."

That doctor was out of line. He lacked respect, and placed himself on a pedestal.

meno said...

You are lucky we let you peek into the creche. :) I was cracking up when i read that.

But i am not smiling over the rest of the post. Doctors can be such assholes when they think they are God. I share your mistrust of the whole medical system. What a tangled mess.

Bob said...

rachel - I am SO going to be a grumpy old fart. I feel it comin' on

de - you and my wife! she accuses me of yelling at her when I'm not - I'm upset about something, and not with her necessarily, and still - she shuts down, gets upset herself and now matters are worse.

meno -sometimes I feel lucky y'all "talk" to me at all.

liv said...

I always thought of myself as someone who felt anger and let it go quickly. You know--quick to get fired up and then fast to cool off. What I've discovered is that I am angry. Deeply angry, and I typically don't allow myself to feel it.

Right now I am so angry that I can hardly see straight, and the bitch is that I don't even know what to do with it. Scream? Cry? Die?

jen said...

Bob,
what an excellent, honest post. and what a righteous thing to be angry about.

Bob said...

Liv - you're under a lot of stress, I can totally understand the deep anger. I just don't know what to tell you to do with it. Repressed anger = depression, so we've got to find you a way to express it, get rid of it.

Jen - gotta protect your kids, huh?

Nancy Dancehall said...

We need words for all those tangled feelings. instead of just 'anger' there needs to be a word for 'feeling excluded by a group who usually includes you', or 'feeling that everyone's an idiot because they don't agree with you and YOU have the answers.'

But the doctor deserves nothing but pure anger.

Bob said...

nancy - isn't there something about eskimos having over a hundred words for snow? that way, everyone knows EXACTLY what you're talking about. I can see your point.

amusing said...

Hmm. I know I have invoked the "sisterhood" but I usually don't mean it at the exclusion of men -- but more as a special sort of support system for when support is needed. Just so you know. Sometimes that's what's meant by that.

And I do worry that after "he done her wrong" experiences, too many women become bitter believers of the "men are all assholes" -- when in fact women can be real assholes too.

In that same, er, vein -- while I can certainly complain about some of my experiences with doctors (like the time I knew I'd had a miscarriage but the doc kept insisting I didn't, which just drew out the whole terrible thing), and your experience was beyond anger-inducing -- I have also encountered kind, nurturing, smart and pragmatic doctors who had our best interests at heart.

I'm just saying -- we can't lump all men in the asshole category,, we can't elevate all women to the fabulous "soul sister" category, and we can't toss all doctors into the medical waste can.

Anger is challenging -- so many of us are taught that it is "wrong" to feel it. And none of us are taught what to do with it, where to put it, how to channel it.

I have only recently learned to recognize and express strong emotions like anger (and to open-mindedly respond to it from others -- not as an attack, but as their need to express something they are feeling).

ANd I see anger in my boys and want to teach them to do the same -- in a productive and helpful way -- not the destructive stuff they have a tendency toward right now.

Mother of Invention said...

You wee right in your son's case to be angry and stay angry. He generalized his opinion from his experience to predict what your son would do.
I have learned that you have to be your own ambassador and advocate in the health system.

I truly hope your son has got things sorted out.

Lee said...

Nothing like the mistreatment of one's children to truly bring out the mama and papa bear in a person. I have felt anger for my children that nearly tore me to bits.

I'll try to warn you before I post about how all men are wankerish twats. I can't help it! I love saying wanker and twat. I mostly only mean Tom Cruise anyway, and he's not even really a man I don't think. He's a pirate...a butt-pirate.

Bob said...

Amusing - I understand what you're saying and I usually interpret "calls to sisterhood" as a more generic call to those you need support from. But there are those who really do mean the "sister" part of sisterhood. And if I am in the wrong frame of mind I can confuse them.

I agree that too few people are taught how to express their anger in a constructive way, nor are we taught to deal with the anger of others in a constructive way. It seems as if we are expected to not get angry, so if we do it is a failure on our part.

I don't think all doctors are self-righteous asshats who cannot entertain the thought that they could be wrong. In a way, part of my anger with that doctor is the fact he has caused me to doubt the dedication and vocation of other doctors. With everything it takes to become a doctor, I really thought that it wouldn't be undertaken by anyone who didn't really want to help people. He proved me wrong. Now when I see a doctor or when someone I care for does, I have a skepticism that is always in the back of my mind. I hate that, it isn't in my nature to doubt people before given cause to.

MoI - I hate encountering people who've made up their mind about others without bothering to get to know them. Especially those who have power over us.

Yes, my son is doing very well, thanks for asking.

Lee - I grant special dispensation for those who are currently or have recently suffered at the hands of a member of the opposite sex. or Tom Cruise - but who hasn't suffered at his hands, arrr?

Lee said...

heehee!

patches said...

I think in the situation regarding your son, you were entitled to a stronger emotion than just anger...No good comes from treating statistics. Numbers are malleable and easily bent to the will of someone looking for a quick fix.

I'm glad your son got what he needed in the end.