Anger Management, a Guide: Told by Three Patients - CJ
Content warning: brief mention of suicide
— Patient Six:
I feel like, like you should, [PAUSE] get it out in a healthy way, you know? Be normal about it. Yell, scream, tear up a piece of paper. There’s nothing much to it. Kick a ball. Throw a chair. Nevermind. This question is feeling really stupid. I’m at a fucking anger management class: how the hell am I supposed to know?
[Patient Six slams their fists against the desk and kicks their chair. They look about ready to commit a very serious crime. Make sure to note: patient should not be left near any objects akin to a chair, a ball, or a piece of paper.]
— Patient Seven:
Just don’t deal with it at all. Why be angry when there’s so many other emotions? You’re just wasting your time, being angry and all. I don’t want to sound like a people pleaser, but I hate being angry at other people. See, the way someone looks at me when I get angry? Hell, I’d never want to see myself again. So, I’ll say it again: why be angry? My partner cheated on me! Well, I got nothing to be mad about! Maybe they saw something in [REDACTED] that I don’t have. My dad killed himself when I was sixteen? Come on, now, it’s a sensitive subject—but I’m not angry at all. Maybe he… Well, I hate talking about it so I won’t say anything else.
My whole point here is that people need to learn how to repress their emotions! Take a breather, deal with it yourself for a change. Just look at me: smiling and in one piece! No harm, no foul.
[Patient Seven stands up and starts pacing in the room. They’re tomato red and breathing heavy. Make sure to note: patient has not felt a single emotion since 1991. Very talented at bottling.]
— Patient Eight:
When I’m angry, I breathe in and out: one, two, one, two, one two. Then, I center myself and ask, why am I feeling this way? How has this person hurt me? Was it the action, or the person? More often than not, I find myself being hurt or angry at the action, rather than the person themself. I communicate this with them instantly: you’ve hurt me, but I’m not angry at you. Rather, I’m angry at your actions. I try to be mature about these things, considering my age. I’ve come to understand that being angry is normal: everyone is angry at something at one point in their life, and it’s going to come out one way or another, no matter what we do.
You seem to deal with your anger in a healthy manner. What are you doing here? Oh, nothing. My Saturday nights are free. I used to date a philosophy professor. Before that, a therapist. And before that, a yoga instructor. You can see where I’ve learned to wax poetic about emotions. Anyway, I thought this class would be fun. I find people very amusing. It’s genuinely worth the $40 per session.
[Patient Eight sits quietly and folds their hands in their lap. They’re definitely more calmer than any other person that’s gone in. Make sure to note: patient is only here because they have nothing better to do on their Saturday nights. Pretentious, a bit demeaning.]
CJ is a young, Filipino-American writer. They enjoy writing about their passions: chess, kitchens, fruit, and fungi. They hope to move others with their writing, in any way they can.