Billingsley’s bullets: Bad tempers create eggs

By October 14, 2011

If you live with a person who has a bad temper, you live a life of continuous anxiety. Bad-tempered people put everyone on edge. Everyone around them is waiting for the fuse to blow and is hoping they’re not going to be on the receiving end of the anger. In fact, they almost feel relieved when anyone, but them, is the victim of the temper fit.

Living with a bad tempered person is like walking on eggs all the time.

Walking on eggs means you have to watch everything you say when this angry person is near. It also means that you quit being honest with that person because he/she is not mature enough to accept criticism or honesty. If you break the eggs, holy hell breaks loose!

Bad tempered friends, spouses, relatives, fellow workers, bosses, significant others, etc., all create environments where no one can relax. Being on the edge is exhausting, and you are constantly tired when they are present.

In sports the temperamental ones are not fun to be around. They will embarrass you if you are a teammate. You start to feel like you don’t dare make a mistake that may ignite their outburst. By the time the game is over, you just want to go home and be with someone who is relaxed and fun to be with. Even winning is not as much fun if you feel exhausted from babysitting your angry teammate.

It is interesting to me that the explosive types actually believe that, when they say they are sorry, everything is OK. It is as though they believe that by apologizing they now have permission to do it again, over and over.

In my younger days, I was quick to say, “That’s OK,” after they apologized. I don’t do that anymore. Now I tell them, “It’s time for you to change, not to keep on saying, ‘I’m sorry.’”

It is no longer important to me to keep a friend with a bad temper. Life is way too short to babysit adults or to be around anyone that embarrasses me by their behavior.

If you look at my social life today, you will not find doomsday people or angry people on the social calendar.

I suspect that very angry people expect people to betray them or disappoint them. Their bad tempers allow them to drop people before the people drop them.

Angry people may abandon you over something as stupid as a political or religious discussion. They may kick you out of their house if you dare to ask them why they are upset.

The angry ones break things and they can break your spirit and your heart. Of course, they will apologize and may bring flowers. They entice you to believe they will change and it will never happen again. “I promise” is their favorite statement, and sometimes tears will accompany their commitment to change.

Listen to me, angry people. I don’t want your excuses, your tears, your flowers or your promise to change. All of these empty gestures remind me of 5-year-old kids. Just “man up” or “woman up” and change before it is too late.

It is hard for me to imagine living in a house with an ongoing angry person who has a bad temper. I would dread seeing that person come through the door. The game to be played would always be, “What will set them off tonight?”

Constantly worrying about someone else’s temper means you have no energy or opportunity to take care of your needs. The angry person in your life has turned you into a non-person.

Bob Billingsley is a biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat.

Bob Billingsley


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