The black birds in Angry Birds are the ones that are bombs. They explode every time! Sure sounds like me when I was drinking.
The most common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression. ~ Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions 2011, p 52
Many addicts are skilled at directing their anger against others. They use it more effectively as a weapon of punishment than as a legitimate expression of their own frustration.
I like the quote from the 12 X 12 because it covers the four common emotional reactions of alcoholics and names the real source: emotional insecurity. We alcoholics are insecure to the extreme and stay that way, if we don’t take The Steps. Life is hard. Life as an active addict is harder. That’s still no justification for abusive behavior. There’s no excuse.
I compare the people in an abusive addict’s life to the pigs cowering in shelters. Is it any wonder that they run to the tall grass, erect shelter after shelter and eventually don the hard hats? The explosive behavior of the abusive Black Bomb birds is predictable and inevitable.
Situations that call for hard hats:
- abusive language (name calling, yelling, berating)
- abusive actions (hitting, shoving, grabbing, throwing things)
- consistent arguing sessions that do not move toward solutions
- argumentative behavior that doesn’t allow for solutions
So don’t even try to use words to respond to those listed above. Words don’t help and may make your life even more miserable, if not endangered. Refuse to engage.
In going through the Steps, I faced and confessed my abusive behavior. I consider it God’s grace that I was able to move beyond that. The serenity didn’t happen until I dealt with it. I was fortunate in having a friend in my life that did not excuse my behavior. It had to stop or I was going to lose my friends. It was the deepest pain I’ve ever experienced, but it was undeniably a gift—a gift of truth.
As they say in Al-Anon, You didn’t cause it and you can’t cure it. I might add, but you can sure continue it. By not taking care of yourself, you don’t help them find a solution, but you might help them become better at abusing others by excusing and allowing the bombarding to continue. When you don’t draw a line, it only helps them to feel more justified in their anger.
What can you safely say to someone who is angry? Not much. In fact if the person is angry and just venting, but not looking for a solution, the less said, the better. I’m constantly surprised how often angry people are looking for a target, not a solution.How do you react to the Black Bomb birds in your life? What the pigs do—that makes sense. Get away and hide.
Suggested strategies for hard hat situations:
- avoid the individual
- create your own space
- find a mediator (counselor, arbitrator or lawyer)
- eventually? consider cutting off all contact, at least until they get help
There is nothing we can do when someone loses control of themselves. We cannot help. Helping an active or dry (no bottle and no steps) alcoholic is a misnomer. It’s not ‘help’; it’s enabling them to continue to be out of control. Really, the pigs are right.
PS: I dealt with the Angry Black Bombs first, because they are the nastiest and you really can’t do much with them but protect yourself. Next: What can we do about the Angry Birds that are not so abusive? Keep comin’ back!