Contemplating My Angry Mode

Yesterday I enjoyed a twitter conversation with John Scalzi because we’re convention friends and we were frustrated about a similar problem with WorldCon memberships. Fortunately the good WorldCon volunteers resolved the problem and my last tweet was a comment that John’s situation was fixed more quickly than mine because he had the might of Krissy (his wife) on his side. John responded with:

Krissy is a mighty weapon. Mind you, I don’t want to see you in angry mode. I bet it is AWESOMELY TERRIFYING

You can read the whole conversation thread here if you wish.

I wanted to say something clever in response to John, something that would make him laugh. So I almost answered
“Very few people see me in angry mode. It usually hits them from behind.”
I even typed the words into the tweet box, but then I deleted them. Because that would be funny for those who know me. But for those who know me less well, it makes me sound like a sneaky and vengeful person, which is not who I want to be. I don’t get angry and seek to hurt other people in order to make myself feel better, even if they have already hurt me. However I will absolutely, unequivocally do everything I can to remove a malicious person’s ability to hurt me and mine. I am unlikely to accomplish that goal with a confrontational assault. Instead I would stand back, figure out where their power comes from and then undermine it just enough that me and mine are safe. I picture this like the underground water which is invisible until it creates a sinkhole under the enemy’s defensive wall.

To this point in my life I’ve never really had to do this. I am perhaps fortunate in that no one has harmed me with malice. I’ve been sideswiped by malice, but not pursued by it. If malice is moving away from me, I just let it keep going rather than drawing its full attention with my response. For accidental damage, clear communication leads to apologies and healing for all parties. I’ve dealt with that plenty. Most people do not intentionally offend or harm others. I avoid the kind of people who do. They are not worth my emotional energy. This morning I followed a link to Theodora Goss’ post about The Best Revenge. In which she says:

1. Live a fabulous life. This step is absolutely crucial. When you feel vengeful, ask yourself, am I doing something fabulous? And if you’re not, go do something! It doesn’t have to be something extravagant. It can involve getting ice cream, or buying flowers, or walking by a river.
2. Write about it. Or take pictures! Share that fabulous life, share your story. The purpose of sharing your life is not to make anyone else envious, but to allow other people to participate in it. And of course you should participate in their stories and lives as well . . . I love it when my friends are living fabulous lives too. (But Step 1 is absolutely crucial: the point is not to post pictures, but to actually have a fabulous life. The pictures come afterward.)

I recommend the whole article, but the primary point I took from it is to turn away from pain and seek out joy. This is very wise and my usual approach. I would only go angry mode on those who actively pursue and seek to interfere with my attempts to move on.

I’m actually glad to have an angry mode. I didn’t for a long time and it made me very vulnerable to getting stepped on.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

3 thoughts on “Contemplating My Angry Mode”

  1. I’m scared of my angry mode. I’ve seen it once, and I don’t know that the friendship it nearly killed will ever come off life support.

    Nevertheless I agree with Goss, living a fabulous life may not seem like revenge, but that’s because it negates the desire to seek revenge.

  2. I would like to point out that I have a certain amount of fear at merely being on the receiving end of Sandra’s “Moderately Peeved Mode”; I shudder to think what full on “Angry Mode” would be like…

    As for MY angry mode, it’s actually not too bad – it is a mere 3 steps or so from my general disposition, and can frequently be fairly entertaining. I just have modes past “angry”.

    “Blinded By Incandescent Rage” Mode, however, is not a fun place of rainbows and unicorn farts, and should be avoided…

Comments are closed.