I started reading Thich Nhat Hanh's book Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames awhile ago and put it down in lieu of another book (Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart, which is excellent). I suppose I was looking for an "answer" in either book to calm my raging psyche. I haven't found one. I have learned that it's okay to feel anger, and that trying not to feel it is just like a double dose of punishment. I've never been much of a yeller/screamer, so I didn't have to learn how to avoid hurting others with it, thankfully. My specialty seems to be hurting myself. Emotional masochism.

What I find difficult in the Buddhist approach is that sometimes it seems like we're supposed to be doormats. We are supposed to look at WHY a particular behavior upsets us, and work with that. We are supposed to let other people do what they want, and only look at our own perceptions and faults. It seems sometimes that if I stand up for myself, and the other person takes offense, then I feel selfish. I realize that we cannot control other people, only ourselves, but I don't know where to draw the line between selfishness and assertiveness. I'm not at the point of letting go of desires, and sometimes I just want what I want from people.

At the moment I'm full of righteous anger and fury. I have not had an opportunity to confront the person yet, and I've spent way too much time plotting what I will say, what he'll say back, how I'll respond, etc. I have these imaginary arguments in my head. I perceive the ultimate uselessness and unreality of it, and I see how it causes me more suffering, but letting go of the feeling that I'm right, he's wrong, and he's going to have to do it my way or else, seems less likely than cutting off my arm. Him, he is not suffering due to my anger. He's probably sleeping. So all this angst on my part is wasted energy. And yet, I feel it so intensely.