Guidance on Anger

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
ehensens
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Guidance on Anger

Post by ehensens » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:52 pm

Hello friends,

I need some guidance on some recurring anger. At home, our morning routines work out such that when I'm taking my morning shower, my wife is brushing her teeth, washing her face, etc. at the sink. This naturally requires my wife to turn the faucet on and off, on and off. Every time she turns the water on, the temperature of the water in my shower takes a dip. Sometimes it's slight, sometimes it's a little more noticeable, but it's not like the temperature just plummets and I'm standing in ice cold water.

I know my wife isn't doing anything wrong, but every time it happens I get angry. It's gotten to the point that I dread her coming in while I'm showering because I know I'm going to get angry. Perhaps this seems silly to you... now that I'm writing this in the middle of the day it seems silly (actually, it seems stupid) to me, too. But every morning there's anxiety about this anger that feels unavoidable.

I try to watch the anger impersonally to see it come and go according to the laws of nature, but I am not very good at it. To put this into perspective, I have a tendency to get angry as a result of little things like this quite often. I feel like it's been a life-long problem.

If anyone is able to offer any advice or explanations for how to re-frame the experience I would be very grateful. I am determined to not let this cause so much suffering.

Thank you very much!

dharmacorps
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Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by dharmacorps » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:21 pm

We all have different make ups as to which defilements effect us the most (greed, hatred, delusion). I have had problems with ill will and irritability for sure. The good news is that this can be worked with. In fact, the Buddha said that ill-will/hatred is quicker to fade away than the other defilements, so you can do it!

Sometimes it helps when the ill-will arises to really commit to yourself to watch it with full awareness "this is ill-will. this is a defilement". Rather than getting on the "anger train" of telling yourself how annoying this experience is, how inconsiderate the other person is, just stay with the basic feeling of irritation. Let it be there and look at it. Don't react to it, if you can. Concentration meditation is really the battery here that powers your awareness and ability to not react/get irritable.

:anjali:

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Aloka
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Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by Aloka » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:29 pm

.

Hi ehensens,

Why not get up half an hour earlier in the mornings so that you and your wife are washing at different times?

Other than that, here are two talks you could listen to:

"I am a Buddhist, why am I so angry?" from Ajahn Amaro:

https://www.amaravati.org/audio/i-am-a- ... -so-angry/

and "How can I get rid of anger?" from Ajahn Sumedho:

https://www.amaravati.org/audio/how-can ... -of-anger/

Kind regards,

Aloka :anjali:

JohnK
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Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by JohnK » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:26 pm

I also thought "why not get up earlier."
That being said, your anger is a chance to more deeply understand the Four Noble Truths.

What is the clinging that brings forth the ill-will? There is probably some subtle idea that you deserve an ideal shower; that the world should be such that you get the ideal shower (you have already acknowledged the silliness of it all). And this may likely be true of other instances of your anger -- "the world should operate in a way that doesn't hassle me." After you are angry, you get angry at yourself for that -- the notion that "you" should be as perfect as the world that should provide you the ideal shower. So this is all based on unrealistic expectations of perfection (where did they come from?) At some point perhaps, the recognition of the silliness and humor of it all becomes more dominant: "Oh, there I go again." So there is a lighter stance toward and a lightening of the anger -- breaking the chain of anger at something and then anger at self. Maybe some compassion for the suffering you habitually create for yourself, a deeper seeing of it, a release.
I'm sure the two Ajahns linked to above have better things to say, I just thought I'd toss my two cents in.
I apologize if I am way off base or have made light of your situation.
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

Srilankaputra
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Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by Srilankaputra » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:07 pm

You can accept it as a challenge 'I will not get angry in this dire situation' :guns: or you can just tell the wife. ' hey wifey do you mind' :D
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:31 pm

Excellent advice so far, to which I would add the following. Try to find the point at which your perception of unpleasant feeling changes into the reaction of anger. There is the perception of "cooler water"; try to focus on that, and catch yourself before the anger with your wife arises. You might try mentally noting: "unpleasant feeling", as that is all it really is. As it is a mental habit, it will at first be very difficult to catch this process. But try it with other things, and create a new habit out of it.

Also worth noting that recognising the problem is half way to solving it. Which is what you have already done.

SarathW
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Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by SarathW » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:48 pm

Srilankaputra wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:07 pm
You can accept it as a challenge 'I will not get angry in this dire situation' :guns: or you can just tell the wife. ' hey wifey do you mind' :D
Agree.
This is a tough question.
If you get up early she may complain that you disturb her sleep by getting up early.
Here the person who complains at this stage is you not your wife.
If you love your wife enough you will put up with ice bucket test.
I am sure if two nice pour ice on you, you will make a video on this.
:tongue:

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

ehensens
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Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 1:12 am

Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by ehensens » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:56 pm

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful and helpful replies, they have really inspired me in this regard. It is especially helpful to be reminded that the reaction of shame after becoming angry is also the result of unrealistic expectations of perfection. I will make it a point to concentrate to the best of my ability on the mere presence of the defilement of ill will in these situations, in the context of not-self and impermanence. I think what I've been doing up until now is noticing the anger and subconsciously identifying with it and subsequently turning the ill will back inward because I felt guilty for the anger's presence.

It's not a good option for me to wake up at a different time. I wake up as early as reasonably possible so that I can do my daily meditation, and if I woke up any later I'd never make it to work on time. Either way, I'd like to address this situation head on.

Thank you, all of you. Having access to like-minded people so eager to offer helpful advice means quite a lot. :hug:

sunnat
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Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by sunnat » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:37 am

:smile: wonderful problem. Metta, metta, metta.

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Akashad
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Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by Akashad » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:19 am

ehensens wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:52 pm
Hello friends,

I need some guidance on some recurring anger. At home, our morning routines work out such that when I'm taking my morning shower, my wife is brushing her teeth, washing her face, etc. at the sink. This naturally requires my wife to turn the faucet on and off, on and off. Every time she turns the water on, the temperature of the water in my shower takes a dip. Sometimes it's slight, sometimes it's a little more noticeable, but it's not like the temperature just plummets and I'm standing in ice cold water.

I know my wife isn't doing anything wrong, but every time it happens I get angry. It's gotten to the point that I dread her coming in while I'm showering because I know I'm going to get angry. Perhaps this seems silly to you... now that I'm writing this in the middle of the day it seems silly (actually, it seems stupid) to me, too. But every morning there's anxiety about this anger that feels unavoidable.

I try to watch the anger impersonally to see it come and go according to the laws of nature, but I am not very good at it. To put this into perspective, I have a tendency to get angry as a result of little things like this quite often. I feel like it's been a life-long problem.

If anyone is able to offer any advice or explanations for how to re-frame the experience I would be very grateful. I am determined to not let this cause so much suffering.

Thank you very much!

1.is it possible to lock the door?

2.Can you be honest with her and say it bothers you.

:namaste:

confusedlayman
Posts: 323
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:16 am

Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by confusedlayman » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:14 am

ehensens wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:52 pm
Hello friends,

I need some guidance on some recurring anger. At home, our morning routines work out such that when I'm taking my morning shower, my wife is brushing her teeth, washing her face, etc. at the sink. This naturally requires my wife to turn the faucet on and off, on and off. Every time she turns the water on, the temperature of the water in my shower takes a dip. Sometimes it's slight, sometimes it's a little more noticeable, but it's not like the temperature just plummets and I'm standing in ice cold water.

I know my wife isn't doing anything wrong, but every time it happens I get angry. It's gotten to the point that I dread her coming in while I'm showering because I know I'm going to get angry. Perhaps this seems silly to you... now that I'm writing this in the middle of the day it seems silly (actually, it seems stupid) to me, too. But every morning there's anxiety about this anger that feels unavoidable.

I try to watch the anger impersonally to see it come and go according to the laws of nature, but I am not very good at it. To put this into perspective, I have a tendency to get angry as a result of little things like this quite often. I feel like it's been a life-long problem.

If anyone is able to offer any advice or explanations for how to re-frame the experience I would be very grateful. I am determined to not let this cause so much suffering.

Thank you very much!
Hey, I suffered from the same situation but for different matter. My mom speaks loudly and when there is silence but she suddenly speaks, it creates heart stopping like feeling and anger.

You have to first stop expectation that ur wife won't do that and bring cold water to ur shower. It can happen anytime. So when u expect that u want to bath without cold water suddenly, then drop the expectation. It can happen and u r not control over it.

Do metta for 10 min in morning so even after coming out of meter, you get meter feeling in your body. so when bath in morning, focus on meter and focus on anger after cold water. compare the feeling and see which one u want to reject. use metta when ever the temp goes down in water so anger won't arise as there can be one feeling at a time.

Ultimately speaking, your brain is hardwired to produce anger chemicals in your body when ever cold water comes because u have mastered that art for that situation. you have to change the neurological pathway and train your brain to immerse in metta thoughts so slowly u will see permanent change.

don't look ur wife as someone doing things purposefully. see her as someone doing it without intension so getting angry on them will create more suffering to you. only wisdom can help u. when u r angry, to whom you direct? u can't find any being to receive it so ur aggregates only suffer first. if u are angry on these small things and many things then like a tree leaning east when cut falls fully to east, you will fall to world where angry emotions are predominant. so its just a cold water, you can bath when she not face washing. don't let small anger become dominant emotion of brain. once u contemplate annata of everything and use metta u will be saved from that anger for sure.
non-agitation is highest peace
living unaffected by other cause and condition to suffering is true bliss
not associating with stupid people is immediate peace
- CL (confused layman)

ehensens
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 1:12 am

Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by ehensens » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:48 pm

Akashad wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:19 am
1.is it possible to lock the door?

2.Can you be honest with her and say it bothers you.
:namaste:
Akashad, thank you for your reply. I might not have described the situation well enough, but locking the door would be locking my wife out of our master bathroom. Given that, I'm sure I don't have to explain how strange and mean that would be. As far as being honest and saying it bothers me, I would definitely have taken that approach if I thought it was reasonable for me to expect that she not use the sink while I'm showering. I don't think that that's a reasonable request, however.

confusedlayman wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:14 am
Hey, I suffered from the same situation but for different matter. My mom speaks loudly and when there is silence but she suddenly speaks, it creates heart stopping like feeling and anger.

You have to first stop expectation that ur wife won't do that and bring cold water to ur shower. It can happen anytime. So when u expect that u want to bath without cold water suddenly, then drop the expectation. It can happen and u r not control over it.

Do metta for 10 min in morning so even after coming out of meter, you get meter feeling in your body. so when bath in morning, focus on meter and focus on anger after cold water. compare the feeling and see which one u want to reject. use metta when ever the temp goes down in water so anger won't arise as there can be one feeling at a time.

Ultimately speaking, your brain is hardwired to produce anger chemicals in your body when ever cold water comes because u have mastered that art for that situation. you have to change the neurological pathway and train your brain to immerse in metta thoughts so slowly u will see permanent change.

don't look ur wife as someone doing things purposefully. see her as someone doing it without intension so getting angry on them will create more suffering to you. only wisdom can help u. when u r angry, to whom you direct? u can't find any being to receive it so ur aggregates only suffer first. if u are angry on these small things and many things then like a tree leaning east when cut falls fully to east, you will fall to world where angry emotions are predominant. so its just a cold water, you can bath when she not face washing. don't let small anger become dominant emotion of brain. once u contemplate annata of everything and use metta u will be saved from that anger for sure.
confusedlayman, thank you for your sympathetic, thoughtful, and helpful reply. That is a very good way to look at it, to remind myself that it is unreasonable to expect the perfect shower. Thought of in the context of not-self, this is perfectly in line with all natural phenomenon that I have no control over, as you point out. I will use your advice and the advice of others in this thread to slowly re-train my mind's natural response to these small annoyances that still have the potential to light my emotions on fire. It is very good to hear from someone who also suffered in a similar way.

:anjali:

JohnK
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Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by JohnK » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:57 pm

Aloka wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:29 pm
...here are two talks you could listen to:

"I am a Buddhist, why am I so angry?" from Ajahn Amaro:

https://www.amaravati.org/audio/i-am-a- ... -so-angry/

and "How can I get rid of anger?" from Ajahn Sumedho:

https://www.amaravati.org/audio/how-can ... -of-anger/

Kind regards,

Aloka :anjali:
Hey Aloka, thanks for those two talks - I really enjoyed them. :anjali:
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

Laurens
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Location: Norfolk, England

Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by Laurens » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:32 pm

I find metta meditation is a good practise to stop anger from arising when otherwise it might.

When it does arise, however, try to let it go, and replace the thought of ill will with a thought of goodwill. Remember something you appreciate about her and direct some thoughts of kindness towards her.

Also, if you have not done so already, there isn't anything wrong with politely saying to her 'I don't know if you realise, but turning on the faucet affects the temperature of the shower when its on, which can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable for me?'
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

sentinel
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Re: Guidance on Anger

Post by sentinel » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:01 am

I supposed unless one is trained in meditation or at least non returner , aversion will arise somehow . But , your main concern for the situation is not to control your anger but to settle the problem in front of your self . Even you can manage your anger the problem is still there .
I am afraid that if one day you mastered your anger , you will feel alienated with everything and not feeling the same . Because if you are always in peaceful state you are in neutral to everything .

Regards
:coffee:

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