Magyar Szó

"Documenting the life of the Hungarian community in New Zealand"
- Az új-zélandi magyar közösség lapja.

Issue 81 - September 2005

The Faces of Anger

My previous article was an academic "dissertation" on hate and aggression,a (Magyar Szó no. 80, June 2005.) The point I made there was that in all probability, to have these feelings was natural. They are inborn, inherited aspects of our nature, but because of our upbringing we try to conceal, hide their existence. In other words: when it comes to hatred, aggression, we are conditioned to block it out of our emotional awareness in order to escape blame or guilt feelings. We use several mental devices to let ourselves off the hook. One of the most common excuses is to blame somebody else for our outbursts. The motto is: "You made me feel angry." If you believe that this statement is true, then you believe in voodoo magic. For sure, you react on provocation, but the way you respond, wholly depends on your personality. J. Birnbaum states that "This is probably one of the biggest cop-outs in emotional illness - blaming other people and things for your feelings". (How to stop hating and start loving Pan Books, ISBN 0330240647) Some people cry when in distress. The cry is really a mask for the suppressed hostility and an unconscious move to punish the offending party. By putting themselves in the "victim position" they can feel sorry for themselves and, at the same time, make the other party feel guilty.


We are captives of our natural urges but we can silence the built-in dos and don'ts. Left uncontrolled, languishing in our unconscious, our critical Parent and our natural Child are constantly at each other's throat but with insight into our own make-up, we can learn to negotiate between these feuding personas to achieve a modicum of peace and equilibrium.

Let's go back to the statement, that one cannot make people feel anything. Usually it is met with derision, because people confuse the concept with the act of provocation. For example, it is erroneously believed, that the bull gets mad at seeing the colour red. If I wave a red flag in front of his nose, he may charge at me. To get annoyed when seeing this colour is a built-in response, it is in the nature of the beast. Furthermore, he can choose to act or not to act. If he is sated or feels tired, he may not bat an eyelid. (The bulls in the ring are starved before the fight!) The responsibility for the action therefore, lies with the bull. If he is in the state of mind to get angry, I may "hook" that anger by waving the flag. We, humans, supposedly have free will. We have the choice to act or not to act at provocation. Then why blame others for our negative feelings, actions?

Dr Endre Maurer

Magyar Szó Issue 81 - September 2005