I picked up various things from my father, some good, some bad. When I was younger, I wanted to eliminate every part of my father from my actions, thinking that even one part would turn me into him. I learned over the years that was a foolish idea, and that a bad thing can be turned good, if used properly.
An axe can chop wood to provide warmth, but the that same axe could murder your family, it all depends on the usage.
My father had utter devotion, but it was only to the church. I picked up that devotion from him, but I learned that what you devote yourself to can be harmful to those around you. So now I carefully examine what I devote myself to, and I do not devote myself utterly to one thing, but I try and spread it out. My family, my people, language, living a good life, being a good person, treating others well. These things I try to do to the best of my ability.
One thing I picked up from him was the possibility of great anger. When I was 15, my brother was teasing me, and I asked him to stop, then told him to stop, then I turned on him. The memory of this is one of the strangest I have, because at the time, I “blacked out”, and that was all I knew. Looking at this closely through the years, I recall that I “stepped back” away from myself. The anger I had built up over the years was so great, when let loose it took control of me. My arms swung, hitting him over and over, while I watched from the background unbelieving and shocked. When the anger I had built up had passed I regained control and stopped. The look on his face was something like utter shock. Luckily I did not hurt him other than a few bruises.
He told me later that I had a look on my face that was just like our father had when he would “go crazy” and start beating us.
That moment was a turning point for me. I decided with all the strength I had, I would never do that again, I was not going to become my father. So I set out to understand what triggered this act, and how to keep it from happening again.
What I learned, and this took many years and many confrontations, is that anger comes and goes. If you block that flow it will make a ball inside, like little mines, the more of these mines you have and the older they are, the more fragile and sensitive they get. In turn, your emotional state will react to this. If you are like me, and do not want to hurt another person, you will form a path through the mine field you walk every time you confront someone. If you are a person that doesn’t care if you hurt another person, you will get pushed into these mines because of words or actions you somehow relate to these mines, and these triggers will set off these mines, resulting in explosive anger.
A woman once described these to me as springs, and this would also be a very good description. A spring under tension, like a mouse trap.
I want to also clarify, that besides these mines, there are things that bring about a righteous anger. Things like a woman, child, or Elder being abused, disrespect of various forms, theft, murder, these things bring about an anger that seems directly related, in my view, to justice. If justice for these abhorrent acts is promised and fulfilled, that anger is satiated. If it is not, that anger will continue until justice is delivered, or you give up on justice being exacted.
Until that justice is delivered, anytime you are reminded of the injustice, the anger will return as fresh as the first time you experienced it. Unless you move away from requiring justice, the farther away you move from the requirement, the less the anger will be.
Now, back to the mines. These do not come from righteous anger, they come from misunderstandings, disallowance of differences, old grudges, etc., that you do not let go of, or work through.
These mines don’t care where their origins lie, or with whom, they will explode on anyone. It is each persons responsibility to keep this from happening.