Harnessing Your Wild Side
- Friday, September 24, 2004
If these familiar and ferocious forces strike terror in your heart, you are not alone.You may know how these forces can overwhelm you, drive you to act irrationally, and you leave you feeling guilty and helpless. Or perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of anger or sexual abuse and you have the physical and emotional scars to show for it.
Indeed, there is little doubt that the mismanagement of sexual and angry feelings has wreaked havoc on our society. Consider these shocking facts:
Some 10 million children are likely abused every year by their parents and relatives. Most of these are loving parents who simply lose control. Two-thirds of these kids are under the age of three.
Estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current spouse or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend per year to 3 million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year. While anger is obviously involved, sexual impulses frequently contribute to the devastation.
Although sexual assaults remain the most underreported cases in the criminal-justice system, we know that every hour sixteen women confront rapists, and a woman is actually raped every six minutes. A total of over 96,000 forcible rapes are committed in this country each year.
A murder occurs in the United States every thirty-four minutes, and a violent crime is committed every twenty-two seconds.
Violence and out-of-control anger in schools have become a matter of extreme national importance. Far from being an isolated event, the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colorado – which took the lives of fifteen people in April 1999 – was just one of eight multiple killings by students within a two-year period.
Road rage is a similar kind of escalating problem. A growing number of men, women, and children suffer injury or death at the hands of wildly angry drivers using bats, golf clubs, knives, and even cars themselves as weapons. Even national celebrity Jack Nicholson became upset with the driver of a Mercedes-Benz that cut him off. Nicholson got out of his car at a red light and repeatedly struck the roof and windshield of his enemy.
It is with our passions as it is with fire and water. They are good servants but bad masters. – Aesop
But let’s get beyond all these “extreme” cases and talk about the way ordinary, well-intentioned people like you manage intense feelings. Have you developed healthy and effective ways to deal with your anger? And when you get sexually “turned on,” do you typically act with wisdom and good judgment?
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. – Proverbs 29:11
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