These blogs are not a form of public confessional, however personal they become, and I must guard against that. But one of the things that troubles me as I get older is my tendency to get angry – often very quickly and over what might be regarded by others as of little importance. I have always been good at what I perceive to be righteous anger, usually over some injustice or gross governmental decision. There are an awful lot of things in the world to be very angry over indeed, and that is at least better than despair, but it’s the other smaller matters that I get worked up about which leave me feeling emotionally drained and uncertain about myself. Although scientific surveys suggest that it’s the young that go over the top, I wonder if it is also a characteristic of age.
There’s something called the Encyclopedia of Ageing and the Elderly on the web, and there are suggestions there that I am not alone on this. ‘One of the emotional manifestations of old age is a sense of rage at the seemingly uncontrollable forces that confront older people as well as the indignities and neglect of the society that once valued their productive capacities.
Some older people rage against the inevitable nature of ageing and death. Some older people use anger to control others. They may see it as strategy for maintaining some sense of power over their own lives because as long as they remain angry, people will notice them. Some older people express resistance to any suggestions or new ideas. This resistance is a way of maintaining a sense of personal identity, which may be threatened by change.
I think that explains me to myself a little, but only a little. I recognise the loss of power and identity and the frustration that causes, but I’m not into anger as a way of trying to control others. I hope. Identity is the real issue for me I think.
Having been involved in and often initiating decisions in my working life, it’s not easy to have decisions delivered to you at the end of a process you have had no part in.
The article goes on to say that anger is a form of resistance to any suggestion of new ideas. I don’t think I am into that either. But simple things, such as trying to , remember a name, or do a physical task which was once easy but now is not, can raise my temperature. ‘The older person should identify the source of the anger and attempt to correct it. A tranquilizer might also help to control anger, but after the effects of the medication wear off, the problem will remain’. True enough. And then the final tap on the wrist: ’although some anger is therapeutic in relieving stress, anger caused by failure is pointless’.
Message heard and understood.