Self Defense/Managing your anger, deflating your ego, swallowing back your pride, etc.
Do you have any advice, counsel, tip to offer about how to manage your anger, deflate your ego, swallow back your pride? And, in the same vein, stop holding grudges and stop seeking revenge? Can you recommend any book about how to deal with these issues?
Just out of curiosity, how did you manage to control your temper when you were in a middle of a combat situation? When you worked as a bouncer and as a prison guard, how did you manage to keep yourself from going berserk if someone insulted you, threatened your family, spitted at your face, threw shit at you, etc.?
Yeah I do, but I guarantee you, you aren't going to like it.
Get down off your bad self.
I had to do a lot of work in a lot of aspects in my life -- mostly having to do with my self-importance. See the thing that a lot of pop-psych folks get wrong (but Anger Management specialists know) is it's not low self-esteem that's the source of problemic anger, it's too much. It's the belief that you're special without having the means to back it up.
It's also a huge amount of ego/pride, etc. "How dare you do that to ME?"
Well why the fuck not? It happens to everyone. Why are you so special it shouldn't happen to you?
Thing a lot of it boils down to your actual value influencing the quality of people you're around. See one of the things people don't understand is how your own behaviors influence the quality of the people around you. If you have some bad habits, the only people who will tolerate you are those with the same bad habits (like drunks hanging out together). If you're hostile, selfish and lack impulse control, the only people who will tolerate you will have the same bad habits. Which is going to keep you pissed of, defensive and touchy about being insulted.
You gotta both break those habits and find out how people who don't have those problems behave. As a friend of mine says "Surround yourself with the best caliber of people who will tolerate having you around." Then I add, "Then watch how they behave and model your behavior."
It ain't easy. But it works.
The other thing is learn your anger patterns and start to do something earlier.
By the time it gets to a conflict, it's like asking "Now that I'm falling off a cliff, what can I do to get back into control?"
It doesn't work that way. In my book "In the Name of Self-Defense" I introduced the "Road of Violence" model. Most people think violence is a destination. Like you cross a city line or something that says "Welcome to Violence, Population 3,487" Past that point, you're being violent.
No. The road analogy is it's all violence. The further down the road, the faster you get going and the harder it is to get off without crashing. (Also you can't just slam on the brakes when you're going 110 mph.) It's when you're at the lower miles and slower speeds that you can get off the road. There are certain actions you can do, that will serve as a turn off the road. This instead of what you're doing now, which is probably the equivalent of pushing the gas pedal. Thing is, those accelerations are what you do habitually. They feel sooooooo right. That's why they're hard to spot, hard to break -- but well worth it.
In closing, I'll give you three points from a book that I read by Les Carter. "The Anger Workbook" (The book itself is wildly Christian, but someone recommended it to me for anger control.)
He postulates that anger has three primary sources.
1- Preservation of essential needs
2-Preservation of self-worth
3-Preservation of core beliefs.
1-What do you need to get by and is it being put in danger (why we get mad when someone almost hits our car)
2- What belief about yourself is being challenged? (You don't do this to me). Or -- and this is the basis of the low-self-esteem stuff -- what are you at war with yourself about that just got exposed? (One part says I'm a shit. Another part rejects that, so any hint of it, pisses the rejecting side right off.)
3- What do we believe (that orders the universe and how thing should be)? And how do we react when that belief is challenged.
If these are threatened, we commonly react with anger. Instead of reacting in anger, learn to ask yourself "what are you perceiving being threatened" and "why -- given the circumstances -- is it a threat?"
Those are much more complicated questions than you might think, because often those three are intertwined. But if you learn to ask them, you'll discover how much a habit anger is -- and how often we are wrong about our assumptions that are making us angry.
Decades ago I'd just had wild monkey sex with a chick at a party. I came out and a dude said "Hey Animal you have smegema on your face." I grabbed him and was about to punch him and I saw a look of confusion on his face. Instead of punching him I asked, "What did you mean by that?" He said "Sex juices." I pushed him back and said "That's not what smegma means. It's the crud that collects under the hood of an uncircumcised penis." I was about to punch his lights out for calling me a fag -- or at least I'd thought that's what he'd meant. It wasn't he was complimenting me on having scored. But it was my interpretation that nearly got me into a fight.
That's where you learn how to control things, not when you're punching someone.