Member Rara Avis
And if we are able to take our anger out playing video games, Isn't killing a couple thousand of polygons better that an actual person?
But that's precisely where I start having serious problems with this whole issue.
There are three ways to deal with anger.
One way is to suppress it, something most of us do on an almost daily basis. Your boss is a jerk, your teacher is an idiot, and your parents just don't have a clue. But as reasonably intelligent humans, we quickly learn that expressing our anger at authority figures usually carries a price. So we swallow our anger and let it become a dense knot of dissatisfaction lodged uncomfortably just south of the sternum. Contrary to common wisdom, suppressing your anger isn't necessarily unhealthy. Most of the time, your boss turns around and does something nice or your teacher gives you a good grade or your parents tell you how proud they are and all the anger that was swallowed melts into nothingness. Suppression of anger only becomes unhealthy, I think, when it becomes constant and the lump continues to grow.
The other common way to deal with anger, and the one suggested here, is to redirect it. When I was a teen, and later in the Marines, I used boxing to that end. I'm sure violent video games would serve the same purpose, and probably with a lot fewer bruises than I suffered. Unfortunately, redirecting anger is just another way of suppressing it. That's fine as long as the knot in our guts melts from time to time, but when the anger is allowed to continuously grow, the redirection has a terrible tendency to grow with it. For most people, hitting people while in the ring or shooting imaginary snipers is a harmless diversion. But for those who cannot rid themselves of their anger, it is a step in the wrong direction. As the anger escalates, so too does the violence, until gloves and little buttons are no longer enough. What was a diversion for most becomes a path for a few. Tragedy ensues, and people suffer.
Both suppression and redirection of anger necessarily depend on other people to help us melt the lump of anger in our gut. I get mad at my boss. He does something nice. The anger dissipates. But if I get mad at my boss over and over and over, and he never seems to do anything to counter-balance my anger, something is going to eventually blow.
I believe there is a third way to deal with anger, one that doesn't depend on others. I believe it is the only way that truly works.
The first step is to stop trying to control other people. I'm guessing that 98 percent of the anger in this world is a direct result of wanting someone else to do (or be) something and having them refuse to cooperate. This is particularly true, I think, in close relationships. I want her to call more often. I want him to send flowers for no reason. I want more respect. I want to be trusted. Anytime you allow your happiness to depend on the actions of another human being, I guarantee you will eventually be hurt, disappointed, and angry. This is particularly ironic, I think, because most of the time what you think you want isn't really what you need. You don't really want flowers for no reason. You want reassurance and security, and that will NEVER come from someone else. Wanting something from someone else usually reflects something missing in yourself. Deal with that, instead, and stop putting your destiny in someone else's hands. When you stop trying to control people and let them be who they are, you'll rid yourself of most reasons to get angry.
The second step is to stop letting other people control you. This is even tougher for most of us than the first step. Why are teens, as a group, often more angry than adults. A large part of it, I think, is because they feel as if they have no control over their own lives. If you absolutely positively NEED that job or that friendship or that relationship, then you have lost control of your own life. And nothing, I think, is more likely to lead to anger than that feeling of helplessness. The alternative, of course, is to have enough confidence in yourself to know you can get a better job or a better friendship or a more fulfilling relationship. You may ultimately choose to do none of those things, but giving yourself the option by believing you can will restore your own sense of control.
Finally, I believe the only real way to deal with anger is to learn to understand other people. Learn to recognize their imperfections and appreciate them for who they are. Your boss is a total jerk? WHY is he a jerk? I guarantee if you learn to see his motivations and desires, his insecurities and frailties, if you truly gain a deep understanding of who he is, you will no longer be able to be angry at him. You might still well disagree with what he does, but your understanding will temper your anger. That little knot just below the sternum will fade because of YOUR actions, not because of someone else's.
In my opinion, video games, most movies, and most television are all a complete waste of time. But in moderation, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Humans NEED to waste time, maybe just as much as we need to eat and sleep. I don't think video games need to be justified beyond their simple enjoyment, and they most certainly should not be used for anger management. To paraphrase a common slogan, video games don't kill people. People kill people.