I had a run-in with anger the other day.
Sigh. I don’t want to admit what I’m about to admit, because, of course, in retrospect, it sounds so stupid and irrational.
Last week, I went to the dog beach with my dog and some old friends I haven’t seen in ages. We had a great time and my dog was awesome–she was so funny and everyone loved her as she ran around.
We got home and I bathed her. She behaved so well!
Then, after the bath, she was running around the living room, hopped up on the couch, and peed on the couch with me standing right there.
I was FURIOUS.
She is housetrained. There is no reason for her to pee inside the house, and especially not on the freaking couch. We have wood and tile floors everywhere, so the ONLY place she could f-up would be the couch. My nice couch.
To make things worse, two days earlier she threw up on the couch (after eating beverage coasters during the night!), and I had *just* finished scrubbing and cleaning the cushion thoroughly, only having put it back that day.
And we had had such a great day together!! She had a blast at the beach! I was feeling like a blissful dog owner and then she comes and pisses on the couch right in front of me.
All of these things together led to a red-hot, outrageous, unreasonable anger. I was so fucking furious.
And boy, did I yell at her. I didn’t hit her, but since I’m honest here, there was a part of me that wanted to smack her a little bit. I could feel it burning inside me–and I even recognized what was happening and that it was unreasonable–but I still felt it. I wanted her to know she did something wrong. How the hell could she do this? After we had such a great day? After I give her so much care and love? And after I had just cleaned the cushion? She had just peed outside a half hour ago! She knows better! Why, why, why???
I had to walk away. I told Jim I was so angry that I was almost shaking. I hated the way I felt, I knew it was unreasonable to feel that way, but of course I couldn’t stop it. I felt ashamed, too. How can this happen to me? I knew Jim would help me calm down.
To help me get over it, we left and got dinner outside the house, leaving the pup at home. I hardly said a word for a long time. Finally, the dark cloud started to fade. It was weird–I was worn out from those intense feelings. I was actually tired.
I want to mention that it is extremely rare for me to feel this angry. (btw–I don’t need to be chastised for feeling an urge to thwap my dog. I didn’t follow through with it, so I don’t need the shame. Save it. I already feel bad.)
I think the reason I was so over-the-top angry was because I felt a betrayal. I am very connected to her. We had such an intense day together, experiencing really high highs of fun and joy. Now obviously my dog was not set out to betray me. Of course I know that. But for some stupid reason, I couldn’t help but feel personally hurt when she pissed on the couch. I thought we had an understanding!
If the dog was human, this is what I would have said to her: “After all I do for you–everything–and after having an amazing day together, this is what you do?”
You might be thinking I’m crazy and assigning all sorts of human emotions to an animal. I fully realize this. I know it’s irrational. But my point is that anger isn’t rational. The feeling swept me up like a swelling wave.
A non-HSP probably would have taken the situation for what it was. The dog just had an accident on the couch. They might also be mad, but probably wouldn’t have felt the irrational betrayal and disappointment that I felt. Jim wasn’t angry at all, in fact.
Do you feel anger very intensely?