This is a question I’ve been asking myself lately:
Why do I have so much dread about the possibility of other people getting angry at me?
It really doesn’t make sense.
How can I figure this out?
Let’s start with a definition of the word “dread”:
v. dread·ed, dread·ing, dreads
1. To be in terror of.
2. To anticipate with alarm, distaste, or reluctance: dreaded the long drive home.
3. Archaic To hold in awe or reverence.
To be very afraid.
1. Profound fear; terror.
2. Fearful or distasteful anticipation. See Synonyms at fear.
3. An object of fear, awe, or reverence.
4. Archaic Awe; reverence.
1. Causing terror or fear: a dread disease.
2. Inspiring awe: the dread presence of the headmaster.
[Middle English dreden, short for adreden, from Old English adrdan, from ondrdan, to advise against, fear : ond-, and-, against; see un-2 + rdan, to advise; see ar- in Indo-European roots.]
When I use the word “dread,” I’m usually thinking of definition #2 (“to anticipate with alarm, distaste, or reluctance”) rather than definition #1 (“to be in terror of”).
But maybe all definitions apply, because sometimes I CAN feel terror about other people’s anger.
And that doesn’t really make sense, because — unlike a lot of other people I know — I’ve never (in person) witnessed the traumatic results of violent anger against another human being.
I’m very lucky, that way.
So why so much dread about other people’s anger?
Here’s a piece of data: I don’t feel that Dread Of Anger all the time.
As a matter of fact, I like telling people in therapy that all of their feelings — including anger — are welcome. And, when people have gotten angry in therapy, I have authentically experienced those times as helpful for all involved.
I don’t know if I’m going to figure this out today. And I’m going to have to leave for work, very soon.
I’m still baffled by my Dread of Anger.
(If you’re baffled by that photo, see here.)
However, at least I took a first step, this morning, by posing the puzzle in public.
Thanks to Andy Rooney, to other people who have posed (or are otherwise dealing with) puzzles, and to you, for reading today.