Our Inability To Manage Anger


fighting everyone

Written by Hend Fayez Abuenein

A man killed both his wife and her sister; a husband hammered his wife’s head open; a youth stabbed his college classmate to death; and another shot a man in vengeance: the misery pours out of the local press. In less than a week our press has reported more acts of murder that are seemingly unrelated, yet all that could be found in common between these crimes is that they were unjustifiable and avoidable with a little self-restraint.

But it seems that self-restraint is a characteristic we still have to create in our society.

If you ask anyone what he or she thought were the reasons behind such violence inherent in our behavior, which I actually did through social media, you would see the extent of how they accept this to be a social norm.

Some say it is sometimes it is only natural for a person to get angry and for one to lose control. But the thing is, we are more prone not to try the “control” trick in the first place. When Saleh Al Dweikat – the student who lost an eye getting beaten by a rampaged teacher – asked for a drink of water, he wasn’t set out to try anybody’s patience, nor was his behavior provocative in any way to justify getting beaten.

But what really happens to people who lose control is that they don’t even begin to talk. Whatever the matter, whatever the cause of anger, they don’t stop to think of the choices at hand. They resort to what they were taught at sometime in their lives to be the shortest, most effective and impressive of reactions – a violent one – leaving the possible consequences to be dealt with later.

We, as a nation, are in dire need for some anger-management training.  Our educational input, as well as our upbringing, totally ignores teachings of dialogue and debate. We are not taught to contemplate or accept the notion that we could be wrong, nor that we should accept the other’s opinion even if we disagree, nor that communicating thoughts is the first step out of dilemmas. This is when other cultures are incorporating the art of debate in their schooling systems and holding nation-wide debate contests.

On the other hand, our paternalistic society hails violence to be an act of manhood, pushing the limits of male-aggression even farther.  The violence on our campuses is nothing but proof that all it needs for two youths to start stabbing each other is a look of defiance. There and then, without a word spoken, they would start hitting each other, just to prove to the spectators “who’s the man”. That causes the loss of dear lives, and in the least harmful of cases, loss of future prospects.

To change the mindset of accepting violence as a choice, we have to integrate the art of dialogue and verbal expression into our education at very early ages, and work up to the ages where it is most effective. Even if that takes the next generation to show results, the profound change in our society that will save lives and ensure security will be worth while.

The Black Iris also comments on this subject.

[Editor's note: The phrase "despite a religious and historical tradition of kindness and generosity" has been removed from the previous version.]

despite a religious and historical tradition of
kindness and generosity



  • Yasmine

    Thank you very much for ringing the alarm here.

    That a person was killed is a tragedy, that educational institutions are being places of such a terrible act is a catastrophe and that some people are still justifying or even participating in such a violent episode is just traumatic.

    As angry as people can become, their anger must be conquered because if such horrible crimes keep taking place in the name of anger than we have proved our failure in education, politics, and social well-being.

    This is seriously alarming; it is not just a sole crime, it is the product of raising people to resort to anger and violence and even charging them with more anger and illogic.

    “What are we teaching youth?” that they can't achieve anything unless they resort to illegal means …it is time to tame the beast.

    James Russell Lowell said that “Not failure, but low aim, is crime” this is true in our case as a society; this starts at a youn age when parents showcase that there are other ways than beating up someone to get what you want, or that you can love your country and be proud without being very violent in expressing that.

    Tolerance, acceptance and diversity are things we need to learn before we start a fictional dialogue in which someone will eventually be killed or harmed for a very stupid reason.

    We need education that makes people thrive to be better people not lead them into being aimless thoughtless killing machines.

    To change this very ugly truth we are dealing with today; we need a closer look at our society, education, justice system, and families to begin with.

    Hopefully we won't hear about such horrible crimes ever again…though I am very sure things are to get worse if not addressed properly by the State and people.

  • kinzi

    Well said, Hend. It seems the root of lack of self-control is selfishness. It is in homes, on the streets, in businesses. Almost a cultural sanctioning of sustained toddler-hood. If someone doesn't get their way, they will scream, demand, hit and threaten to get it. It's elevated to art form with some local adults, male and female.

    If you combine it with the Western consumer -driven mentality of “Have it your way”, it is a recipe for future disaster.

    “We are not taught to contemplate or accept the notion that we could be wrong, nor that we should accept the other’s opinion even if we disagree, nor that communicating thoughts is the first step out of dilemmas”

    You hit the nail on the head. One of my friends said “'The Golden Rule' never took root in this region'. As much as I love Jordan, this is what I see as the invisible wall keeping back forward progress.

  • razanali

    well done hind :)

  • vickyissa

    Violence in Jordan has become an epidemic. we see it in the streets, schools, universities and unfortunately homes as well. people lost the ability to communicate!!!! anger is the trigger of violence. we should look into the reasons behind anger, what makes Jordanians angry, frustrated and depressed??? something should be done, and NOW…. before it's too late.

  • ramseytesdell

    I think it is horribly funny that people sit back and scratch their heads and wonder why kids will kill someone for sitting in their place on the bus. Really, you wonder why?

    Have you never seen a father and his kids? Or a mother teach her children the rules of the house? Have you seen the attitude people take towards animals? Its all violence. Actual or threatened. When you grow up learning that, its no wonder how you'll solve your problems in the future.

  • Guest

    Violence in Jordan has become an epidemic. we see it in the streets, schools, universities and unfortunately homes as well. people lost the ability to communicate!!!! anger is the trigger of violence. we should look into the reasons behind anger, what makes Jordanians angry, frustrated and depressed??? something should be done, and NOW…. before it's too late.

  • ramseytesdell

    I think it is horribly funny that people sit back and scratch their heads and wonder why kids will kill someone for sitting in their place on the bus. Really, you wonder why?

    Have you never seen a father and his kids? Or a mother teach her children the rules of the house? Have you seen the attitude people take towards animals? Its all violence. Actual or threatened. When you grow up learning that, its no wonder how you'll solve your problems in the future.