Angry Birds

Have you seen (or played) this latest super-addictive Facebook/iPhone game?  I’m not much of a gamer, but these little guys caught my attention the other day because I was mad about something or other and thought my facial expression probably looked a little bit like this:

I get angry kind of easily these days, because it’s cold and miserable and kind of ugly around here.  But truthfully, I’m not good at expressing my anger.  I don’t go around with a scowl on my face like this red-bird here and I always try to be pleasant and cheerful.  If I get really mad, I’ll wait until I get home and throw something at the wall.

But then I go back to being nice.

I don’t think that’s the healthiest way to express anger.  But I was taught that anger was one of those “not nice” emotions…like jealousy and spitefulness.  If you were angry about something, you’d best just get out of sight until you got over it.  No foot stomping or screaming fits were tolerated.  And because I was an only child, constantly surrounded by adults, there was no other outlet for anger.  No younger sister to bully, no older brother to pummel with my little fists.  I learned to control this emotion at a very early age, to swallow those angry feelings like the bitter pill they were and pretend that everything was hunky dory.

Traditionally, women in general are not encouraged to have angry feelings.  Angry women are “shrews” or “witches” (or worse).  We’re never taught to express anger correctly, because we’re not even supposed to be angry in the first place.   But anger can be constructive if we know how to use it.  The Hawaiian goddess, Pele, is said to have become enraged when her boat became entangled in the roots of a hala tree.  She ripped the tree to shreds and threw the remnants across the island, where they sprouted and grew into strong, beautiful trees which the Hawaiian people have been enjoying ever since.

I can actually imagine myself doing that if I happened to be in Hawaii, and happened to get my boat entangled in the roots of some stupid tree.

If you get angry enough and you know how to channel that anger into something productive, then the repercussions can be positive and long lasting.

Case in point – the Egyptian people, who have taken their anger about years of repression, and turned it into a strong enough rebellion to affect major changes in their government.

On a smaller, and much more personal level, I’ve been angry about my job lately, an anger that I’ve been swallowing for a long time in keeping with the teaching of my youth.  Finally, after some long talks with a colleague, my angry feelings spurred me to think about ways to change things and to talk to my boss about starting the process of that change.

Sometimes it’s alright to be an Angry Bird.

How about you?  Do you acknowledge and express your anger constructively?



16 thoughts on “Angry Birds

  1. Well, you know me. With no iPhone or Facebook, I’d never seen that little red bird. But I’m always ready to expand my horizons, so I went over to youtube and found several promos and trailers. Now I know what that’s all about!

    As for anger-the-emotion rather than anger-the-game, I was a passive aggressive at a young age, and absolutely skilled at reading people and telling them what they wanted to hear. Truth to tell, that was the most terrifying thing about starting a blog – there was no way to know “what people wanted to hear”. That’s when I bit the bullet and said, “I’ll just say what I have to say, as honestly as I’m able, and let the chips fall where they may.”

    Once I started letting anger out, I discovered I rarely cried for no reason. I’d since read that women cry as a substitute for expressing anger. Sounds right to me. Clearly, there are times when tears are the “right” expression, but sometimes a little “FU” might be better.

    Hardest has been with mom. Now, I can look at her and say, “That really makes me angry, and I’m not going to put up with it. I’m going home and I’ll be back when I get over it.” Since I’ve started doing that, I’ve found far less need to do it!

    • I’ve never been much of a cryer, so I don’t think I’ve used tears as a substitute for anger. I just shut up and seethe.

      I am getting better about expressing anger as I get older. Not too good at the “FU” attitude yet, but getting there 🙂

  2. I’ve never had a problem expressing anger, but I was also raised by an extremely independent woman, and raised to BE independent. Many women are not so lucky.

    I, too, have been watching the Egyptian scene unfold. Bill Maher commented on his show last week that it was refreshing to see a protest in that part of the world that didn’t feature “Death to America” signs. He had a valid point.

    I hope that whatever comes, now that Mubarek has stepped down, is better than what came before.

    But back to anger…my method? I sing really, really angry rock and roll.

  3. I could benefit from learning to channel my anger into “something productive.” I rarely express it openly to others, and I’m sure that has had an impact on many aspects of life. It would have to, wouldn’t it? I do feel free to express my anger in my own home. My husband can testify to that. 🙂 It has to come out somewhere.

    Our society often judges women harshly who express their anger openly. Maybe we should all start letting it go and everyone would get used to it.

    Good on you for addressing the work issues.


    • I’m not even terribly good at expressing anger at home, although I’m trying to express my displeasure in a more constructive and communicative way (HA!) I mean besides throwing dishes and screaming. LOL

  4. anger… the great big elephant in the room that no one wants to mention. Nope, can’t say that I handle it particularly constructively: I cry a lot, in private; takes a lot of time & thought before I can bring myself to say what needs to be said. Sure wish this came more easily … congratulations to you for figuring out how to approach your situation at work.

  5. Becca, sometimes I swear we were separated at birth. Anger is just one thing I don’t do well. When I get angry, I get very quiet. My tone is measured and there is a good likelihood that I will do whatever I can to remove myself from the situation. I find it hard to discuss what I’m angry about without getting emotional, which usually brings tears, which totally dilutes the argument — round robin.

    One time up at the kids — then early to mid-teens — were being particularly annoying. I felt it building up in me… more than once I said to Rick — “they are really getting to me.” or “This is NOT the weekend I wanted.” Quiet, measured, in control. Then at dinner, after one of them squeezed the better part of a bottle of catsup on something, I just lost it. I don’t even know that screaming harpy! Stormed away from the table, slammed the door. Scared the heck out of all of them. Even Rick had never seen that.

    And this is why I don’t get really angry — because when it comes out, it’s a scary thing!

    • Sometimes those shock factor explosions are good to wake people up, especially those that tend to take our good nature for granted. I do that too, and it is scary, because we’ve let it build up for so long it’s like a pressure cooker exploding!

  6. haha just been playing angry birds this afternoon :p

    When I’m angry I am usually way too emotional, with tears welling very easily and bitter remarks ready to spill to others (who just happen to be nearby not even related to the problem). I used to swell it all up, vent to friends and let it ease away but didn’t tackle the problem. Now I’m trying to do express my frustrations to the correct people after i’ve cooled down. It helps

  7. I definitely don’t express my anger well. I get easily frustrated and take it out on the little things – like shutting my finger in a drawer or dropping a plate or something of that nature – only to realize that what I’m really angry about is XYZ big thing. Like shoreacres, I find I substitute crying for anger – which in turns only makes me frustrated with myself and my reaction. Will have to work on the big FU instead of the tears. Thanks for the post – you’ve got my gears turning, here.

    • You bring up a good point, about the self destructive types of things that happen as a result of anger. I’ve hurt myself many times stomping around the house because I’m mad about something.

  8. I actually have a bit of a temper. And I think it’s a result of letting the angry feelings build up. Sometimes my anger catches me off guard, and then I feel guilty. I need to work on that. It’s one of my least favorite things about myself. On the other hand, I’m a big fan of talking it out… I hope you have a talk with your boss and it releases a weight or moves something forward for you! (And I’ve never played that game, but I keep hearing about it!)

    • Yes indeed, temper tantrums usually result from too much bottled up anger (although I don’t think that’s necessarily the case with 2 year olds! – they just let it fly whenever they feel like it!)

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