I’ve been trying for awhile to make a connection between anger and passion. I had an amazing conversation with a woman in a restroom once about how passionate, healthy people end up with raging bombs of anger. And I think it’s because we don’t think being passionate is necessarily constructive. You’re allowed to be an artist who forgets to shower, a student who fails to sleep, a manager who misses too many meals. You’re allowed to be brilliant but drink a lot, do questionable drugs, participate in crazy sex rituals. But when you’re intelligent and organized and friendly, people are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. (I’d like to sidebar to Libby for a moment in thanks that when I moved out here, she suggested I go on a self-constructive binge rather than a destructive one).

See? This is how this goes every time I’ve tried to post about this. I start off on a good idea and then go into legitimizing that it’s possible to be healthy and passionate. So that was the point of that paragraph.

So say you’re one of those rad people who actually does things and looks out for other people and all that. Why would you go for an unhealthy relationship, or better yet – why would you stay in one? I’ve done it, too, so don’t be scared to speak up. And I don’t just mean Upper Case R Relationships, I also mean lower case r relationships.

I think it’s this: we seek out other passionate people. And anger is seen as a manifestation of that passion. (I do have friends who are legitimately angry at Bad People and who act upon it. I’m not saying anger in general is not ok, nor an unreasonable response at times.)

This isn’t well formed, but I wanted to get it out there. Because I’m having trouble doing an outline of this thought.

11 thoughts on “passions

  1. Oh! It’s like they got their return values mixed up between anger and passion because conflate them. No really, it is.

  2. I was thinking something similar yesterday – not really related to [rR]elationships, but just related to work. I’m *always* a ball of tension if not overt rage when I end a long day of coding, and yet somehow there’s nothing else I could see myself doing with my life (happily). It struck me as really odd that I’m pursuing my dreams and yet condemning myself to a life of bitterly sipping beer and trying to chill out at the end of the day. I actually think it’s starting to hurt my Relationship.

    The venerable Preston said back in high school – and was quoted to me by an English teacher, actually – that if you truly care about something, it will hurt you eventually.

    Sometimes I think it’s that genuinely passionate people (and I do count myself, somewhat) see the disparity between things as they are and things as they could/should be, and have trouble letting go.

    Then, maybe it’s just that debugging is stressful.

    • I like the idea of the discrepency between theory and practice being aggrevating. My only pet-peeve is inefficiency, which usually manifests as bad engineering. (Un)Fortunately, I come from a family of engineers and would rather take something apart and attempt fixing it (whether physical, programmable, whatever) then just route around it. Which causes all sorts of further aggrevation when I can’t fix it easily.

      How astute of Preston. Not surprised at all.

  3. I believe this is all covered in the Bible.

    Smite this, smite that. Because sometimes that’s the only way.

    The world needs an enema. Were always glad to see someone up for the job, even if they look like a dick.

  4. I have no idea if this is what you are really asking about, but here is my poorly formed response to your poorly formed post. Maybe between the two we can construct an actual concept of what the hell were talking about.

    Most people never learn to actually deal with their own emotions. Because of this they either violently shy away from certain emotions in others, or glomp onto someone else when they recognize a certain emotion that they want.

    For Big R relationships I have had balanced and mostly stable relationships where the passion was there, but not overwhelming, cute simple relationships with very mild passion, and OMG PASSION relationships with no balance or stability what so ever. I have never had the chance to be in a Big R relationship with loads of passion AND any kind of balance to it.

    My little r relationships rarely have any passion beyond a playful kind of flirting. I think that at least in my case, the lack of passion is often what separates the Big R from the little r.

  5. I am a hugely passionate person who was recently married to someone more stable, whom I met when I was 20 and dated exclusively for the last 5 year of it. It had a calming effect on my passions but eventually felt paternalistic. I am just venturing into the world of dating as an adult and figuring out where everything goes, getting back to being passionate without being a crazy teenager about anything. I think we tend to look for things, in all relationships, that lead us where we subconsciously want to be led, whether that’s more calming, or yet more passion.

  6. I’m a very passionate, though extremely rarely angry person.

    I did however, once, date someone with a very quick temper and aggressive style. He did get angry regularly.

    I think you’re in part right that anger is one manifestation of passion, and passion is attractive.

    I am also a consistently highly functioning person. I get a lot of shit done, and I do it well. Dealing with an angry person was a challenge for me. One more thing to do and do well. It challenged me to ground myself in the compassion that I truly believed in, and act on it consistently in the face of rage and chaos.

    It was an incredibly useful relationship that taught me a lot about mental health, anger, abuse, and life in general. But eventually things came to a head and I realized that I could be changing the world a lot more by challenging myself in other ways. And now I do.

    So, in summary, when you have to/want to deal with them, angry people can be a good way to foster compassion and patience (lord knows six year olds are sometimes angry people too!), but overall, dealing with angry people takes energy away from other pursuits in life.

  7. Honestly I don’t see anger and passion as similar emotionally as much as I see them similar linguistically. Any way you can describe one can be used to describe the other, and I guess that’s where they get linked as one in the same. To me, anger is something more hardwired, more lizard-brained that passion. It something that seethes under the surface and usually deflated or released in a fit of violence. Passion is something hides but takes over in a fit of creativity, it being a much more social or civilized response to the world.

    I guess passionate individuals are ranting rage bombs because of that undercurrent. It’s the individual lack of emotional control that allows the passion burst just as easily as the anger explodes.

    And now I think my first statement is mostly untrue.

  8. Part of it is the ability to see potential in a person. That alcoholic artist still makes amazing art, and the manager skipping meals is devoted to his company and will build its success.

    When someone is fighting demons, but still doing amazing things? I find that terrifyingly compelling.

  9. i love the world

    I don’t understand how to live in the world and not feel anger. My passions fuel my anger which fuels my passions which fuels my anger. But in trying to get control of my anger and live day to day, I’ve lost how to express either. The rage or the love.

    I’ve always been ranty, but my best times are when that anger was channeled into drive. Now I choke on it, till I end up in th ER.


  10. I think basically the essence of why someone is in or continues to be in an unhealthy relationship is because they have no or low self worth. People in GENERAL don’t feel like they “deserve” good things. Which sucks. I think they just end up thinking they are “lucky” to have someone & it’s kind of sad to me.

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