Up until my late twenties, whenever I walked past those miniature, blown-glass tchotchkes in mall kiosks, I wanted to smash them with a baseball bat. Because the impulse seemed so random, and because I never followed through, I didn’t allow myself to be troubled by it. Now, many years later, I wonder, How could I have been so out of touch with my inner reality?
For the first three decades of my life, whenever anger surfaced, I treated it like the carnival whack-a-mole game and ruthlessly pushed that anger back down. This strategy worked well until the day my fiancé abruptly bailed out of our relationship.
For the next few months, my reservoir of anger slowly breached its levee. I could no more deny its existence than I could stop breathing. However, I had no idea how good Christian women expressed anger. In my broken economy, feeling—let alone showing—anger felt like failing. Then one day I had a radical idea. I bought 24 cheap glasses from the local dollar store, grabbed some safety glasses, went out into the urban landscape, and hurled them, one by one, onto a rock ledge.
At the time, I thought I was the only one who struggled with anger, but now I know better. I recently surveyed more than 60 friends about the issue and only 12 percent of them felt they could easily communicate their anger to another person, especially face-to-face.
Which leads me to wonder, why is our relationship with anger so complicated?1