Imagine not being able to submit your assignment and you had to go to meet the lecturer in his office in a Nigerian higher institution setting. If the lecturer cusses at you or abuses you or insults you and even curses you in some cases, all you would say in return is ‘sorry sir’. Even if you had a genuine excuse and he doesn’t care to listen, all you will continue to do is to apologize. You are not going to be tempted to get angry, isn’t it? When he eventually collects the sheet from you, you will be full of thanks and rejoice that he didn’t reject you outrightly.
Forget about that first scene and imagine this scenario. Your parents gave you a task to do and you haven’t done it. Your parents were about to return and your younger sibling decided to chastise you by calling your attention to the fact that you haven’t done what was expected of you. In the process, he cusses at you and even insults you. The thing he says is not as much as that of the lecturer but he says some things. What is your reaction going to be?
I am sure, you are already fuming about how you will talk angrily at your younger sibling and even flog him. Even if he was your older sibling, you may not beat him but I am sure that you will not spare words. Again, I am talking about a typical Nigerian or African setting.
What we have in the scenarios I painted is what I tag, SELECTIVE ANGER and that is what most people do. A lot of people get angry but they control their anger when it is coming from other quarters. The same words their lecturers said and they didn’t flare up, their parents or siblings didn’t say up to that and they displayed bursts of anger. You didn’t get angry at your lecturer because you know that YOU DON’T HAVE A RIGHT TO DO SO. If the settings change and you are in a private university or in a country where the law clearly defends your human rights, I am sure that you would have reacted angrily to the lecturer but you were restricted because you know you dont have a right to get angry in that case.
To be free from anger, you have to first let go of that FEELING OF ENTITLEMENT. You have to know that you do not have any right to be angry. That is the way I live. I believe it is not in my right to be angry at people. I can talk on issues or address matters but the person involved has all my love and not my fury.
In clear terms, people dont have uncontrollable anger, what they have is selective anger.