Thursday, May 4

The uses of outrage

While I was in college I had the experience of dating a few guys who could best be described as, well, jerks. They had this amazing ability to say the worst things possible, and infuriate me in the process. It wasn't spite, it was mostly thoughtlessness, but the results were the same. I only confided in a few people, my best friend, and one of my four roommates. Somehow, though, all of my roommates seemed to know when I was angry. I think it was because they'd come home from class and find me scrubbing the floor like my life depended on it.

Yes, I'm an anger cleaner. I don't shout at people, I do the dishes. I don't slam doors or give cold glares, I clean the oven. In fact, the summer before I broke up with my boyfriend was the cleanest three months that apartment had ever seen. My poor roommates would tiptoe around the kitchen while I scrubbed the oven muttering under my breath. In retrospect they were probably afraid that if they made a mess I would snap at them. I sort of feel bad for the stress I put them through, but at the same time, there was that much less cleaning for them to do. I think it was a fair trade. :)

The weird thing is, it's not just regular anger that makes me clean. When I'd do bad on a test, or be frustated at work I'd go running. It was specifically relationship anger that would drive me into a cleaning frenzy. I'm sort of curious if there is anything subconciously symbollic about cleaning because I was mad at my boyfriend.

Luckily for me I married a wonderful man, who has yet to make me angry. The downside is, my kitchen spends a lot of time being very dirty.

1 comment:

Rich said...

Interesting... I've found myself doing the same thing when I'm angry/frustrated, and unable to vent directly (like when I'm mad at my wife).

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