Blazing Inferno of Anger

The Blazing Inferno of Anger

Anger in the first responder and veteran community can be best described as a blazing, burning inferno of an emotion.


What happens if you throw any object into a blazing fire inferno regardless of what they are?  They’re burned up and consumed.

This can also be said for anger a lot of veterans and first responders – including myself experience.  The intense heat washes over, and it can be a bad, nasty, uncontrollable mess of destruction. It’s why a lot of us choose to be alone, or distanced from society.


This Isn’t The Way.


I’m going to level with everyone reading this: it never goes away. I can still go from 0 – 1000 instantly.  Over the years I’ve just learned to recognize it faster, and learned to get a much better lid on it.  It still can end up being a runaway however.

Raise your hand if you’ve lost your temper and almost immediately regretted it.  How many times are you willing to let that continue?

There are many reasons that happens.  Our cognitive bandwidth could be full, and having to make a bunch more decisions about something can set it off.  People don’t meet our expectations, or act in a way that seems blatantly idiotic.  Theres’s also a magnified effect of having a tuned up nervous system making us hyper responsive.  Why this is important to know is that we over analyze for threats.  The immediate and ingrained response is to fight or attack – anger helps to fuel that response to levels we need when facing danger.

That’s the bad shit out of the way. There are ways to lessen it that I have found to be helpful.


Fighting the Fire With Many Extinguishers.


The good news: this thing can be controlled to a degree.  The bad news: you’ll have to remain forever vigilant for flare ups.  Here are some things I have found to be helpful.

  1. Get Out of the Fucking House!   Stuck with our own self-defeating thoughts, feeding back into the cycle of perpetual self torment is no way to live.  If we have no other reference point, we only have our own with the perspective up to where it is.  Trust me, I know how hard this is.  After my deployment and subsequent release, I stayed in the house for the better part of a year.  Looking back, I wasted a year in getting back into the fight.  It doesn’t mean getting out and going on a sensory-overloading adventure every day.  Even just a small trip to be with those around you, or do something minor or constructive. Campfire
  2. Never Stop Learning.  Learning more about the world we inhabit helps us to respond, or act on emotional impulses less.  “Hypervigilance” is a very common term used to describe people from the veteran and first responder community who have high levels of anxiety paired with combat readiness.  Repeated exposure to danger wires this part of the brain and nervous system to a more default “on” state.  A personal note on this one, I became more aware of this by watching my cat.  He is half wild, and very skittish by nature.  He has high levels of anxiety, because he lives in an eat or be eaten type of mindset.  We become the same way because we live in the same type of environment of perpetual survival and fighting.  I’ve studied a LOT of human behavior and psychology over the last few years.  The good news?  We become better at identifying threats, respond more appropriately (at least more than before) to behaviors or people without blowing up quite as much.  The bad news?  That nervous system seems to stay wired up on high alert.  Which leads to the next topic point.
  3. Physical Fitness is Required.  If you’re in an occupation where other’s safety depends on you, why aren’t you keeping yourself fit?  Being fit gives control and influence over our immediate environment and outcomes.  That may make the difference between life and death and are you willing to live with losing someone over personal neglect?  Fitness also gets rid of stress hormones.  Discharge the nervous system as much as possible, daily even.
  4.  Find Others to Talk With.  The internet is vast, and identifiable groups are many.  See if you can start a conversation in one of them from common ground.  Friendships grow from there. Canadian Walk for Veterans 2020
  5. Make Friends Outside of Your Usual Circle. This is asking a lot, but it can be helpful.  Watching others operate in their degree of “normal” is a great way to find the centerline of balance.  They may not be as aware of things, or on point for danger, but will show a much more relaxed demeanor in their daily dealings.

These are a few suggestions I have found that help “take the edge” off the ugly insanity of a bad temper that just won’t seem to go away.  It doesn’t “fix” the issue, but it definitely helps in not reacting outwardly as much.


Badger On

Did you find this article helpful?  If so, let me know!  If there are other things you feel I have missed and can be helpful, I’d like to hear from you.

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