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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Anger

On Thursday June 3rd at approximately 11:30 PM my cousin was shot in the line of duty while he was responding to a trespassing call. A 16 year old boy shot at him 4 times with a 38 caliber hand gun hitting him under his shoulder blade with the third shot. The bullet exited a half inch from his spine leaving a nice exit wound. I got a call from my brother Todd at about 1:30 AM in the morning letting me know what happened to Brandon; “Brandon was shot while on duty and has been airlifted to Orlando Regional.” That is all he knew and at that moment I thought I had lost Brandon.

As a therapist, I am aware that anger is a secondary emotion that is triggered by a primary emotion such as sadness, embarrassment, guilt, etc. As I think about the primary emotion I felt after giving the phone to my wife and sitting on the couch, I think I was really, really sad, but that feeling only lasted about 20 seconds. Next, the rage overwhelmed me. It has been years since I have felt rage like that. I wanted to get my hands on the guy that shot my cousin. I wanted him to pay dearly for what he had done. I began fantasize about what I was going to do to him if I found him. I felt more anger as I placed calls to my uncle and his sister hearing the pain they were in. I was so angry that I didn’t even drop a tear the whole way to Orlando Regional.

On the way there, my wife who is also a therapist tried to encourage me to feel the pain underlying my anger but she was unsuccessful. The anger was just too overwhelming. I tried repeatedly to calm myself down, utilizing diaphragmatic breathing, positive visualization, and by trying to focus on the underlying emotions. I tried to stop feeding the rage by thinking about other things than what I wanted to do to the person who shot Brandon. Still I was unsuccessful.

I tell my client’s that being angry is not a bad thing. I tell them that anger is a normal human emotion that we all feel from time to time. But I always make sure to tell them that it is not the anger that gets us into to trouble it is how we handle it that becomes problematic. I had every right to be angry at the person who shot Brandon, but if I acted on the thoughts I was experiencing and behaved poorly, I would have done nothing but hurt the people around me more. If I would have lost control, I would have made the situation much, much worse. I was finally able to think about these consequences 5 minutes before arriving to the hospital and I calmed down. I got to speak to Brandon in person 45 minutes after getting that call, and I am so thankful for that. I am still angry about what happened, but I won’t allow the anger to control me. I am proud of you B.

Travis McBride, MA, LMHC

2 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful blog, I too am very happy that 1 Travis you controlled your anger and that 2 B is still with us and 3 the man who shot him has been caught and will have to pay now for his actions! Very touching Blog!

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  2. Thanks Sis! I want to publicly state that we are lucky to have you. You are going to do big things for us. Your belief in me helped tremendously. I will never forget it. Promise!!!

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