When I was a child, I had a temper. Think volcanic eruption level temper. I once broke my bedroom window from outside without touching the glass. I had skills. And it was just using my fist on the casing. Yep, I had a temper. What do you expect? I was a flaming redhead and there were expectations. My older brother is also a redhead. As my mother was a brunette and my father had dark brown hair, my brother’s parentage was actually questioned. What was even funnier was that the local fire hall had a redheaded fire captain. When I came along seven years later it was almost vindicated. My mother’s background is Northern Ireland and Scotland.
I was a passionate child, empathetic and volatile. As I grew older, I learn to temper my passion and my temper. One day as a young adult at university I was in the throes of a raging temper tantrum, when I happened to see my face in a mirror. To this day I remember that look. I was not impressed. I worked hard to harness and deflate that temper. I was tired of being a stereotype. And I succeeded. But I wonder if it was the right thing.
There was an episode on the original Star Trek called The Enemy Within. It is about a transporter accident that splits Captain James T Kirk into two versions of himself: one is malevolent and the other is benevolent. Aggressive and passive. What eventually transpires is that Kirk realizes that the two parts of him are what make him whole. He needs both. And I am starting to believe that rage is like that.
Properly harnessed rage can be used assertively. I no longer blow my stack so to speak. It is more insidious than that. Think of molten lava oozing beneath the surface instead of spewing forcefully from the top of a volcano. Now you don’t have to worry about me screaming, be afraid when I start to whisper.
I have used my harnessed rage when dealing with several major corporations, including government agencies, and I have been victorious. The fact that I was right might’ve been incidental. Hopefully I will never win a battle when I am wrong. I will not step down from conflict when I believe right and wrong is an issue but I will never actively seek it out. I don’t actually enjoy confrontation. But I’m still a redhead at heart . . . so beware . . .