There is a line in the first Avengers movie, that is the turning point of the movie. If you’re familiar, it’s when Bruce Banner is told “you better get angry its time to suit up”. Banners response is “that’s my secret, I’m always angry” followed by the glorious sight of banner transforming into The Hulk, and proceeding to destroy the bad guys.
When I saw this scene the first time in the theater, everyone (including me) cheered. The fun truly began at that point.
So why does the sight of someone transforming into a “giant green rage monster” and destroying everything in his path resonate some much with us?
I’d like to give you a theory, if you’ll indulge me?
We live in a fallen world, this planet is cursed. Nothing ever quite works the way that it should. This is very, very frustrating. I think one of the main reasons that we feel angry a lot of the time, is that we were designed to live in a perfect world. We are currently living in, literally a cursed world (see Genesis chapter 3).
If this existence was meant to be this way, we would not feel the frustration that we do. We know instinctually that this (our existence and struggle) is not the way that it should be.
Obviously some people handle the frustration of daily life better than others. But I think most of us can easily identify with wanting to be able to turn into a giant, unstoppable, green, rage monster, and just destroy everything in life that frustrates us, at least a little bit anyway.
I think that the frustration of this cursed existence contributes to alcohol and drug abuse also. Things just never work the way they should, and for some people it’s easier to distract (with drugs of alcohol) themselves than it is to face this reality.
Now I believe the we have been given the ability as thinking humans to control this rage that builds in us. To be a functioning member of our society it is important that one learns this ability, and I think most of us do, especially with those people that we don’t know all that well.
We tend to be a fairly polite society to those that we don’t know well. Usually people hold doors open for others, or do well in taking turns, and/or talk with common curtesy to others.
And this is where I start to meddle. I know from personal experience (on both sides of this) that we have a tendency to take our frustration out on those that we claim to love WAY more that others. Especially those that we claim to love and are weaker physically than us. I’m speaking directly to men with wives and small children now.
Why do we think it’s okay to vent our frustration on our wives and especially our children, when we wouldn’t treat a complete stranger with the same contempt?
For me, this was brought to my attention when my children were quite young by my lovely wife. One day after I lost my temper with one of our children, my infinitely more admirable wife confronted me with this comment “you do NOT want your children to grow up to be afraid of you”. It stopped me in my tracks. I had never thought about it like that before.
I had to really come to grips with my anger. You see, I didn’t even know that I was doing it, I thought I was being a good disciplinarian, I was teaching them right from wrong. But as my wife had to point out, I’m a large and scary individual anyway, and if you add shouting at them to the equation, I can be terrifying to someone literally an 8th of my size.
I’ve worked very hard to learn to control my responses to my children as well as my wife. I still believe that kids need to learn right from wrong and discipline needs to be performed to teach them, but I try never to lash out at them out of anger. I believe that my children respect me without being afraid of me, this has been my goal since the problem was brought to my attention.
So in conclusion. I think that fantasizing about turning into a rampaging, unstoppable, monster destroying all thing annoying is a perfectly natural response to the frustrations of this existence, but you’ve got to keep it a fantasy. Treat those you love, those in your care, better than the strangers you meet during the day. Put their feelings and well being above your frustration. Do NOT take your frustrations out on them.
Love them unconditionally, treat them with respect, put their needs above yours. It’s easy to lash out at someone who is under your guidance, but continually lashing out in anger will drive a wedge between you. They eventually grow up and you don’t want their memories of you to be filled with fear and intimidation.
I have some things that have helped me to learn to let the anger and frustration go. I’ll write about them if anyone is interested. I’m still not as good at it as I should be but I’m much better. Especially with my loved ones. Still working on my frustration with all of the other drivers on the road, but I’m still a work in progress. 🙂