Have you ever known someone who was angry? I don’t mean like, “I’m mad that Burger King stopped carrying curly fries.” angry. I mean truly to their core angry. The person who festers on every wrong and injustice ever put upon them. Hitting every light on their way to work. Getting whole milk in their coffee instead of soy. Every relationship they ever had ended badly, or they had one that was so bad that they could never imagine entering into another because all people of their chosen sexual interest and all romances are painted with the brush of evil.
Have you ever tried to have a conversation with this person? Like, an actual one. One in which the person listens to you and actually hears you? It’s not as easy as one would think. People who are angry are almost impossible to reason with. The amount of cortisol and epinephrine running through a person’s system makes it very difficult for that person to listen to anything anyone has to say that doesn’t follow the narrative that’s pushing those chemicals.
In some cases anger becomes the drug of choice. It doesn’t matter what they are angry at. A person, a system, or life itself. Everything is someone else’s fault. They are always the victim, and anyone who tries to change their mind on this fact is the enemy. There is a clear line in the sand that must never be crossed. The person has to stay on that side of angry. On that side of justified. On that side of victimhood or else they’ll have to take a look at them self and see that they are the problem.
I know that when I’m having a bad day everything suddenly goes wrong. I wake up late, I can’t find my keys, I fumble and drop my keys when locking the door, my purse gets caught on the screen door handle, that causes my coffee to spill all over me.. and I haven’t even left my porch yet.
That is a sucky day. But the reason it is so sucky is not because the keys and the door are against me. It’s because my mind is otherwise occupied by the angry drugs coursing through it and I can’t focus on the keys, the lock, the door, the coffee.. and so on. I am rushed. I am distracted. I AM. And that’s the key. I am those things. The only way to change those things is to change how I react to those things. I take deep breaths. I learn to laugh at myself. I keep a spare shirt in my car for the MANY coffees that get spilled. I make better decisions.
It’s a scary thing to realize though. No one wants to “be a loser”. They don’t want to think that had THEY done something differently that the outcome may have been better. They want to blame someone else for their misfortune. Much better to be a victim, than to be a loser, and let’s face it, the angry chemicals are way more fun than the depressive ones, and a lot less complicated than doing the work.
When someone is stuck at a job they hate, and someone mentions that they could possibly get a new job. That’s paramount to assault. They are stealing their identity. The person couldn’t possibly just change their actions. That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of it works. They are stuck. Their boss won’t give them a raise or a promotion, so obviously they’ve stopped doing the extra work because no one cares anyway. They can’t go to another job because???? they have bills to pay??? and looking for a job is hard work.. and it’s not like anyone is going to hire them because their boss won’t give them a good reference… and… and .. you just don’t understand. No one understands.
People stay in crappy relationships, because it’s “easier than leaving”. Have you ever been in a crappy relationship? They’re nothing easy about that. Now I’m not talking about actually physically abusive relationships. Those are a completely different situation and they need real help sometimes getting out of. That is a fact of there being a predator and a victim. I’m talking about the crappy relationships in which you don’t talk anymore. You don’t have fun anymore. You don’t care anymore. People just cling to them for the sake of it. Because it’s what they are used to and it gives them something to complain about.
When asked if they’ve thought about therapy, or what they have done to try to bring back the romance or work on it at all.. they just say “you don’t understand”. The most cliche phrase in existence. It’s literally the phrase teenagers say to their parents, who, by the way.. were teenagers once too.
The problem is not that the other person doesn’t understand. The other person completely understands. You like to be the victim. You are addicted to the chemicals in your brain.. you don’t want to do the work. You want to blame everyone else for your problems. We all understand. The question is, do you?