Chapter 1 – The Basics

The Basics

This chapter will teach the basic steps for developing persistent anger.

Practitioners of all levels will benefit, except The Gifted, who don’t need the help, and Weirdos, who are beyond it, however Novice students are advised to review the material frequently in order to become fluent in the fundamentals. A case study will illustrate the three key points.


Anger is produced and sustained by a simple, three-step process. The steps, and their catchy mantras, are:

  1. Ignore any feelings (e.g., hurt, sadness, fear, etc.) except anger.
    • Mantra:  Forget Emotional Intelligence, Ignorance is Bliss
  2. Interpret every unlikable event as one in which you are being treated unfairly.
    • Mantra:  Self-Righteousness Feels Better than Self-Esteem
  3. Pass responsibility for your anger onto anyone else.
    • Mantra:  Blaming Is More Fun than the Alternative


Forget Emotional Intelligence, Ignorance Is Bliss

Ignore, discredit, and disdain any feelings other than anger and its closest affiliates (e.g., rage, fury, apoplexy, irritation, mild annoyance, bother, dander, etc.).

Because feelings are all feely. And sometimes they feel crappy.

Really crappy.

Anger is called a secondary emotion because it’s a self-protective response to other feelings like fear, hurt, and shame.

The Gifted are skilled at disregarding those other, less useful feelings so that they can focus their energy on rage. They’re emotionally efficient and don’t let themselves get distracted.


STAY TUNED for The Complete Guide to Misery, Volume XXVII: Denial – Because You’re Only Lying to Yourself if You Admit to Yourself You’re Lying

MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! This incredible lack of self-awareness is a potentially timeless life strategy. You will enjoy the impact of denial on your psychological well-being for decades.


Because paying attention to feelings can lead to other problems.

For example, imagine that you are most of the way to completing your Master’s degree in Accounting, a second or third career which you chose because it seemed like a safe, responsible choice.

You are sitting in your Advanced Taxation class, feeling miserable (Congratulations! You’ve already accomplished what The Complete Guide is designed to help you achieve!), and trying to pay attention to the lecture, but are instead distracted and sweating, literally, over the thorny relationship between capital gains and losses. A supportive classmate, seeing your obvious distress, asks you if you are okay.

The question slips through your ruminations and you realize that another human being has just addressed you. You look your classmate in the eye long enough to escape the prison of your conscious mind, but, in your panic, dive straight into your unconscious and blurt out, in a room full of accounting students, “Yeah, I’ll be okay. It’s just that I’m not much of a detail-oriented person. And I hate numbers. Have always been intimidated by the whole ‘business and finance’ thing. Come to think of it, career-wise I was only happy when I was a performing musician.”

You hear a classroom full of future accountants gasp and look frantically around the room for support. Your atypically empathic classmate asks, “If you’re not detail-oriented, and hate numbers, and apparently love playing music, why on earth are you studying accounting?”

This question feels like cold water poured down your back. And you have the vague stirrings of an answer. Something about expectations? Being responsible and independent? Were the expectations yours?

You ponder for a moment and learn something about yourself [READER, FILL IN THE BLANKS WITH SOMETHING MEANINGFUL].

What do you do with your newfound self-awareness?


Ignore it.

Forget you felt or noticed a thing.

Here is the best internal response for the long-term production of anger and resentment.

“I’m almost done with my accounting degree, and have already decided I’m going to be a Certified Public Accountant no matter what. I did an internship with that Big Four Firm last summer, and even though I hated it, I was offered a position at a starting salary most of my friends, artists, philosophers and musicians, would take without question. I don’t care that I love entertaining people and was really happy performing. The Big Four position comes with benefits, of course. The cool accountants call them ‘benes’. That’ll make me totally independent. The parents and siblings will eat their hearts out. Anyway, it’ll take me about seven years to be a manager. And that’s when I’ll be pulling down the kind of bucks my Philosophy major friends won’t make in a lifetime.

I forgot. What was the topic of this monologue before all that money? Well, whatever, I’m sure it didn’t matter.”


For those who missed the finer points, the accounting student scenario was meant to point out how easy it is for people, including this author, to rationalize life decisions that serve as the long-term foundation for resentment and anger.


Now imagine that you are in a lousy relationship. With anyone. Partner, friend, Improv Comedy coach, etc.

You can fill in the details of the lousiness. Like Dostoevsky or Tolstoy wrote about unhappy families in the first line of The Brothers Karenina, each lousy relationship creates a unique path to misery.

Now imagine that you’ve done your best to make that troubling relationship more rewarding, but nothing has worked. For example, you’ve tried empathy, play, meaningful conversation, gentle confrontation, and humor to make the relationship better, but no matter what, you end up feeling miserable when you spend time with your Improv Comedy coach (Congratulations again! You are crushing it! Please tell your less miserable friends about The Complete Guide!).

Now practice convincing yourself to stay in that lousy relationship and give it all sorts of attention over your other, more rewarding, relationships. Continue to focus on the horrid situation, to the exclusion of other, more pleasant and rewarding activities, long past the point when the relationship with your Improv Comedy Coach was enjoyable.


This is not a subtle point.

A life full of lousy relationships is the foundation for resentment and anger.


MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! Seek out and cultivate emotionally exhausting and unsupportive relationships to ensure yourself a heapin’ helpin’ of depression, anxiety, and insomnia!


Have you noticed what happens when you let yourself feel emotional pain?

The floodgates open and out pour the feelings. Sometimes that includes tears.

Touchy-feely therapists call this attending to your inner child – that vulnerable part of you that uses a small, still voice. This is potentially a problem. Take the following quiz to determine your level of vulnerability.

Pop Quiz

What is your automatic reaction when you imagine your inner child? See interpretations below for each.

  • Automatic Reaction (AR): “Aww, isn’t that cute?”
    • You are a Weirdo. Please put down the book and walk away.
  • AR: “I’m okay with an inner child as long as I don’t have to change its diapers.”
    • Novice. It’s all learning curve for you.
  • AR: “Well that little turd better grow-up and face the real world soon.”
    • Intermediate. You are well-established in angry territory. But there’s always room for improvement.
  • AR: “That jackass of an inner child deserves whatever they get.”
    • Advanced. You are a role-model for many. And you’re sooooo close to becoming one of The Gifted.
  • AR: You immediately head to your local Urgent Care to see if you can have your inner child surgically removed.
    • Thank you, esteemed member of The Gifted.


Take a minute to reflect on your life. Think of all the burdens you’ve shouldered, the failures, short-sighted mistakes and long-term struggles. And feel the emotional weight of it all.

The frustrations, anxiety, embarrassment, and hurt.

Regret, remorse, guilt and shame.

And who needs that?

Why be tender and vulnerable when you can enjoy a brisk jolt of wrath?

In summary, focus only on feeling furious and ignore all other, less fun feelings.

Okay, you can throw in a little self-pity in the right context. Because self-pity is really more about being a victim than anything else.

And being a victim is what we’ll cover next!


Self-Righteousness Feels Better Than Self-Esteem

Treat your next moment of personal discomfort as one in which you’re being personally mistreated.

The key point is, to be angry, make yourself a victim. Even if a situation doesn’t involve you personally, find a way to make it an offense to your beliefs or sensibilities.

Respond to each moment as though life is happening at you.

Always make yourself the casualty.

Treat every interaction as one in which someone or something else does something to you and ignore your part in the process. Overlook your choices.

Following are a couple of life’s routine difficulties followed by the author’s favorite victim-generating responses and mantras:

Difficulty #1: Your phone, laptop, GPS system, blender, Virtual Reality gaming system, fire, or wheel are not functioning as advertised.

Response: Treat any piece of technology as a fully-functioning person that just refuses to do what you they said they would, rather than an inanimate object that works on the principal of “Garbage in, garbage out.”

Mantra for Technology: Why won’t this damn thing do what it’s supposed to?

Difficulty #2: You choose to hold open a door for someone, but don’t admit to yourself that you’re expecting a minimum response of “Thanks” because it’ll brighten your day. The other person doesn’t say “Thank you”.  

Response: Decide that you’ve just been treated horribly and the other person, if they can be called that, is inconsiderate. Overlook the fact that you chose to hold open the door and created your own expectations (more about this in Chapter Two!). Instead focus on what this other person did to you by omission. Then bathe in a bubble bath of victimhood.

Mantra: Why don’t people say ‘thank you’ when I hold open a door for them? People suck. Except people like me who hold open doors.

In summary, treat yourself as a victim at every opportunity.

And be prepared to fight vigorously to defend your helplessness.


Some readers might be thinking, “But what if I have actually suffered abuse or horrible treatment? Don’t I have the right to feel angry and not be made fun of?”

Non-satirical response: Yes, you have the right to feel angry and not be made fun of. Anger, a desire for justice, and other similar internal experiences are normal responses to mistreatment. This book isn’t arguing against your right to feel what you feel. Nor is it making fun of anyone who is angry at suffering an injustice.

However, to be clear, taking revenge in any form, especially violence, is 100% against the spirit of this book.

This is satire, and written for people who want to laugh at how chronically angry people make themselves angry over and over again about petty nonsense. If you are a lifelong hothead who might have a sense of humor about yourself, then you might enjoy this book. If you are someone who, for whatever reason, cannot tolerate this level of satire, then the rest this book will not be much fun for you. It just gets snarkier.

Seriously, the last section of this book stretches the limits of good taste. It’s a miracle this thing is in front of you. So, if you’re upset already, run now!


Feeling anger after being treated badly is the bare minimum and only acceptable for Novice students.

In order to be one of The Gifted, it’s not enough to have been mistreated. Any of The Gifted that have suffered a misfortune of any kind have come to the conclusion that they will never not be angry until that bad event never happened. And that they will always be angry because of it.

I’ll repeat that, because it bears a second look, and I don’t trust a few of you to read that last paragraph again.

In order to be one of The Gifted, it’s not enough to have been mistreated. Any of The Gifted that have suffered a misfortune of any kind have come to the conclusion that they will never not be angry until that bad event never happened. And that they will always be angry because of it.


The next time you face something distressing or uncomfortable, convince yourself that you don’t have control over any part of the situation, including how you choose to respond.

And that whoever, or even whatever, contributed to your current feelings of distress and discomfort is mistreating you.

Because in the moment of truth, when you want to be furious, there is nothing more valuable than believing you’ve been wronged.

When you convince yourself you’ve been wronged, you have the moral grounds to take a self-righteous stance.

Then you feel powerful.

Important. The point of the arrow hurtling towards the target of injustice.

Look for trouble. Otherwise, you might miss opportunities to strengthen your self-guided sense of superiority.

The biggest benefit of self-righteousness is the ego bump you get from feeling a step above someone else. The importance of inflating one’s ego, for the purposes of anger production, will be covered in Chapter Six of this volume.


It is not enough to have made yourself the victim, though. That will only take you so far for so long. The key is to stay focused.

Keep the anger going indefinitely by concentrating your attention on how you were mistreated. If you get distracted and focus on anything else, such as the realities of the situation around you, anyone else’s needs, or whatever else it was you were doing or going to do for the rest of your day, you risk weakening your momentum.

The Gifted have a remarkable ability to lose perspective. Think of the last time your angriest friend had a temper tantrum. Have you ever noticed how much they exaggerate? They talk about how they were wronged by some minor slight as though they just escaped from a torture chamber.

Amplify how horribly you’ve been treated. For example, if you call customer service for any company, and have been waiting on hold for ten minutes, remind yourself of how it has felt like forever so you’ll be ready to tell the customer service rep who finally takes your call that, you’ve “been on the phone all #!%!*@^ day.”

In summary, to guarantee a lifetime of anger, interpret every event as unfair or unjust and make yourself the victim. Once you’re the victim, you can feel justified blaming anyone else for making you mad.


Blaming Is More Fun Than the Alternative

Treat your anger as though you are a tourist on an emotional river cruise.

The Gifted’s life motto is that their anger and whatever behavior accompanies it are justified responses to unfair situations such as other people treating them badly.

So, the next time you’re angry just convince yourself that the feeling is the natural by-product of everyone else making you feel that way, and that you’re only feeling furious because other people are inconsiderate or rude, act like jerks, etc.

In short, stop being responsible for yourself. This deflection of accountability is critical and has to be done before you have the chance for self-reflection, or time to consider your role in managing your own emotions.

Find someone on whom to pass responsibility for your feelings. Preferably someone you don’t like. That way you can responsibly be irresponsible while ruining an enemy’s day. Feed two birds with one birdfeeder or something like that.  

This step will keep you locked in a cycle of feeling like a helpless victim of the world and other people.

Some of you might be struggling with the paradox that to truly make yourself angry, you have to blame someone else for making you angry. Too bad. Do it anyway.

PRO TIP: Anyone will do in a pinch.

Once you hand over your emotional well-being to everyone else, you can deny the subsequent feelings of shame (see prior section for details!), and the cycle of anger will keep itself going indefinitely.



Eve was already in a crummy frame-of-mind because she’d been woken by a telemarketing call about her car’s extended warranty.

“But I don’t have a #!%#@ warranty for my car!” she’d shrieked into the phone while aggressively mashing the device’s hang-up icon earlier that morning.

And her commute had taken minutes longer than expected.

Eve froze behind the wheel as she watched another car pull into her favorite parking space. She had claimed that spot, silently to herself, weeks ago. She felt she’d earned the right to do so after being with the firm for over six months. Now she felt like she’d been punched in the gut. Kicked in the teeth. Stabbed in the heart.

Eve thought of Job, who was the pawn in a crappy bet between the forces of good and evil, lost everyone he loved, had everything he cared about taken from him. Oh, yeah, and his body was covered in painful sores and boils. That was part of the bet. What kind of sadist wrote the Old Testament, Eve thought?

Eve felt her plight was equivalent to Job’s, give or take a few details.

She pushed down the oncoming wave of grief and despair and told herself, “Stay focused. Now is not the time to fall apart.”

She slowed as she passed the other vehicle, allowed herself to enjoy a flash of adrenalin, which she interpreted as the first indicator of a visit from her old friend rage. Then she focused on identifying the wretch who’d invaded her territory. She took a long, glaring look in the offender’s car but didn’t recognize the driver. She quickly found another parking spot nearby to keep an eye on the intruder. She wanted to meet them face-to-face and feel what it was like to look into the eyes of pure evil.   

Back at the office, Eve caught up with the offender in the lobby as he was headed for the elevators.  He was wearing a Visitors badge and going to the top floor, which Eve recognized as signs he was a client. Or potential client.

She decided, client or not, what’s wrong is wrong and he needed to know it.  

She told him that he was a guest and, before he visited next time, should probably think about whose parking space he was stealing. Unless, she thought aloud, he was just a selfish person who didn’t care about others. She said that he must not have been very caring because they just met, and look how furious he had already made her.

Here she was, in a rage on the elevator and her workday hadn’t even started yet. And it was all his fault for taking the one thing she enjoyed about this job, her parking space.

Eve said this just as the elevator doors opened to the penthouse conference room, where the company’s officers, including her boss, were waiting to greet the new client. The new client. Eve’s latest nemesis.

Eve was called into her boss’ office later to discuss the client incident with her boss, her boss’ boss, and her boss’ boss’ boss’ private chef. Her boss’ boss’ boss was busy and couldn’t find anyone else except the chef to substitute.

“We’re concerned about your treatment of our new client in the elevator, Eve,” said the chef. “And we’re going to have to put you on a Performance Improvement Plan to make sure that we don’t have any more incidents like the one this morning.”

Eve was hurt that her company wasn’t taking her side, but she knew that the only way to deal with this situation was to rage. “What you should be concerned about is that client acting like a guest here, rather than stomping around like he owns the place,” said Eve. “And I can’t believe that you’re treating me this way. Ooooh, you’re just making me so mad. I’m going home for the day to get away from you people. That’ll give you some time to rethink how you treat your employees.”

She was proud of herself that she’d held a strong line about her parking space and rights as an employee.


What You Can Learn from Eve

Eve demonstrated the three key steps to becoming angry.

First, she steadfastly disregarded all feelings except rage and its kin. She pushed aside feelings of grief and despair at losing her parking space, and later ignored feelings of betrayal over her bosses taking a client’s side over hers.

Second, she made herself the victim of the client for taking her self-designated parking space, the one thing she claimed, with only a whisper of self-pity, to like about her job. And she made herself a victim of her bosses for putting her on a Performance Improvement Plan.

Third, Eve blamed the client and her bosses for making her mad. She treated her anger as though it was a billiard ball that had just been idly minding its own business when it was violently struck by the cue ball, in this case the client parking in her spot, and was just following the laws of physics. This kept her in the victim role and perpetuated the cycle.  


Not everyone can be a Eve on their first try. It takes years of dedication and practice to make oneself a victim so easily. But when you do, toxic hostility will pour out of you. So, Novice and Intermediate students, take heart and stay the course!

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