Anger is an emotional state that enhances physical strength, but also releases impulsive, aggressive behavior. The physical strength is good when your life depends upon fighting or fleeing powerfully. However, when good outcome depends upon clear thinking and effective social performance, anger is usually counter-productive.
Consider Dr. Jekyll: He loves his wife, and treats her well, except when he is angry. The first time he abused her, it surprised her and she told him she would leave, but he begged her to stay and swore he would never do it again. Like an alcoholic who swears he will never drink again, Dr. Jekyll meant what he said, but the next time he was angry he transformed into Mr. Hyde, who behaved differently than Dr. Jekyll promised.
Dr. Jekyll has tender thoughts of his wife, and memories of good times past come easily to mind – bad thoughts and images are far away. But when he is in his Mr. Hyde trance it seems that she is always looking at other men and never treats him with respect. Now his tender feelings for her are far away. The trance formation from Jekyll to Hyde is invisible to him – at each moment he believes he sees things as they really are.
Dr. Jekyll is no fool and yet he makes the same error again and again. Like you, he can easily see the perceptual biases of others, but is blind to his own at the critical moments. He regrets the pain he causes to others and to himself. But no matter how sincere his apologies, the promises never to do it again are insufficient. Once he beings the sequence of thoughts and emotions that evoke the trance formation from Jekyll to Hyde, he is bound to act counter to his interests..
Like the martial artist who must execute well during moments of great stress, Mr. Hyde must learn to react to provocations in ways that bring about outcomes that Dr. Jekyll wants. The development of the strength and skills required to perform as intended during crises requires exercise and rehearsal.
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