Dear Abby: I am getting more and more annoyed at people. My fuse is short and I am prone to outbursts of anger. Today I saw another driver driving at a red light and I continued to honk at my horn, lower my window and give the guy my middle finger. (Yes, I know it was risky, but I could not resist the impulse.)
I’m tired of people! They are, in my opinion, self-centered, ruthless fools to be slapped. Stupid questions also set me in motion. I have snatched at my wife and children, which is not something I have in mind. What can I do to control my temper and not behave like I did? Is something wrong with me?
– Really a sweet guy in Michigan
Dear Nice Guy: “Season to be Jolly” has always been stressful, as have its repercussions when it’s time to pay the bills. This past holiday season has been more stressful than most for a number of reasons.
Anger is a normal feeling. Everyone experiences it from time to time. But lowering your car window, playing the horn like a musical instrument and giving other drivers the finger is not only unwise but dangerous. These days, it can kill you. For the record, bad mood is not a valid excuse to take it out on someone you think has asked a stupid question. If a query is sincere, no question is “stupid”.
Your loss of self-control – if recent – may be related to frustration or misplaced anger over something you have no control over. Does experiencing these feelings mean that there is something “wrong” with you? Not necessarily, as long as you find ways to control your emotions before you explode. We are all humans. We all make mistakes.
My booklet “Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It” offers suggestions for managing anger emotions in a healthy way. It contains suggestions for dealing with and constructively channeling anger in different situations. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus a $ 8 check or money order to Dear Abby Anger Booklet, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.
It takes self-control and maturity to react calmly instead of turning into anger. Recognizing what is causing these negative emotions can help you a great deal in avoiding taking them out on others. I sometimes wonder if anger management should be added to school curricula to help the next generation learn to communicate in a healthy way instead of just reacting.
Dear Abby: My dear friend “Francine” loves male attention and flirts with men, married or unmarried, at parties and on other occasions. I do not think it is correct to flirt with married men because it sends the wrong message. I also do not think their wives appreciate her behavior. Am I off-base? I would appreciate your input.
– Old-fashioned in Arizona
Dear old-fashioned: Your dear friend may not do it because she is trying to break up a marriage, but because she needs validation and wants to assure herself that she is attractive. If the wives find her behavior a threat, they can even tell her so or exclude her from their gatherings.
PS Is it “correct”? No. It happens? Pretty often.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com.