Peoples Worst Enemy
Posted on September 24th, 2017

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

A young girl just over 16, whom the writer was sponsoring for her education at a private international school, decided to elope with an unemployed youth of 19 years of age last month, just ahead of her GCE (O/L) examination in December. This nonsensical act devastated all her parents’ ambitions and expectations. It makes us difficult to comprehend the mentality of the present day youths who get blinded by infatuation at such a tender age. It may be too late for her to realize her folly now, but certainly she has dug her own grave, influenced by two of her friends (girls) according to the principal of the international school, who had advised the girl’s mother on several occasions, when he came to know how she played truant.

The girl’s mother did not pay much attention to the school principal’s prior warnings and advice, but now she is heartbroken and repents in the absence of any sign of hope of her daughter’s whereabouts, despite lodging a police entry. In the meanwhile, the girl’s father is in uncontrollable rage. He had been building too many castles in the air about her ending up at university level and even beyond up to professional status. In his fury he has warned his wife not to accept the daughter, even if she were to end up at their doorstep at any moment. He considers his daughter to be ‘dead’ and, immediately upon hearing about the news of elope, wanted to give a ‘seventh day alms giving’ too, which is customary among Buddhists when a person dies! His wrath is so deep and harsh that he has warned his wife, with serious consequences, not to entertain the daughter in the event of her coming back. In his rage, he bundled up daughter’s books, clothes, and entire belongings into a sack and wanted to burn them!

This incident makes others to think about how to control anger and to bring about justice, peace, and fairness to each other in society, as the responsibility of creating enmity within human beings is dependent upon people themselves. Most people automatically react with anger upon hearing about various forms of misdeeds, torture to fellow human beings or reading about child molestations, rapes, and killings.

Types of anger

Parents get incensed and irritated when they see their children get up to deceit and shams. A small child’s attempts to touch a hot iron, for example, may cause any watching parent’s adrenalin to rise and react at times with anger. When someone cuts one off in traffic, the other driver’s blood pressure will rise up at rocket speed. Anger is normal and a healthy emotion by default and, for health reasons particularly, one has to deal with it in a positive way because uncontrollable anger can affect one’s health and relationships equally.

In the case of a parent’s anger mentioned earlier, having seen the small child’s attempt to touch a hot iron is mainly attributed to the parent’s reflex arc with love towards the child to protect the infant getting injured. On a different perspective, a tiny insignificant incident can make one angry, for instance, when a person gets frustrated in getting something done out of a government office without having to oil the palm of someone – no one can blame him for losing his temper.

If we were to speak about the current feelings about politicians associated with bribery and corruption in our country, the inference would be utter rage. In fact, the voters got rid of the previous regime on the premise of eradicating corruption, and elected a new administration called Yahapalanaya to see that justice and honour prevails. Having promised the voter to bring about just and fairness in governance, but hopelessly failing to honour their promises so far, except performing television dramatics to expose a few of the so-called perpetrators, people’s anger and frustration could be justified. A recent news item about a school principal who accepted a bribe of Rs 25,000 to admit a child to the school was found guilty, and a magistrate ordering her eight years of rigorous imprisonment as against politicians and ministers of the previous regime, who have cases pending for millions for playing out tax payers’ money, having only brought to the FCID and Courts and then released on bail takes the cake. The Central Bank Bond scam, proposed new Kandy expressway and extension to the southern expressway at present stand in front of the public eye as sore thumbs.


When one becomes agitated one can easily become restless and frantic causing the person to come out with unnecessary and unwarranted statements, which one begins to regret only later. Also, not everyone who loses their temper treats and calls the other as his rival or enemy, but anger is one of the most devastating emotions which can ruin a relationship, break a longstanding friendship, capable of creating enemies. In some quarters anger is considered as a positive emotion to get what you want. Just by getting angry won’t cause others to change their attitudes always. Equally, it becomes impractical to make an attempt to change others through anger because an individual’s rage is extremely minute compared with the wrong doings and injustices of the world today. No matter what, therefore, getting stressed out through anger is certain to be harmful to a person’s heath.

Wrath can be divided into two groups, ‘justified’ or ‘unselfish’ anger and the ‘sinful’ type. For example, if a wife a gets irritated having noticed that her husband has used her shampoo to the last drop leaving her with nothing to wash her hair, it could be treated as momentary or justified anger. However, if a certain act is done purposely to irritate or hurt another person, it becomes the second-degree anger, which tends to drag on for hours, days and may be for years. That type of anger is converted into a sinful type.

Anger is a normal healthy emotion by default. It can run from a full range of a blameless sense of injustice to petty hatred, culminated in whims and fancies of taking revenge and cowing, prior to intensifying modes of hatred and physical violence, crime, and war.

Psychologists advise people to assess the level of the problem and take appropriate action to deal with the issues that crop up, but when someone gets angry, such theories are seen as irrational to follow because any kind of positive thinking is lost within the split second of an exploded situation, and the force of anger becomes too dynamic to overcome with any rational limitation. They also say “Your anger is all about you and you will never deal with it until you look inward to examine yourself.”

There are several recommended tips to get rid of one’s anger. One would be to go to a quiet place and breathe deeply until one is calm and relaxed. Even in Yoga practice, breathing is highly recommended to bring calmness. Listening to soothing music, use of a stress-relief toy (e.g. stress relief ball) is also recommended as anger relieving exercises. The main thing to remember is to refrain from senseless babbling and to collect one’s thoughts before speaking.

‘The sharpest sword is a word spoken in wrath’. – Gautama Buddha

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