Reining In One’s Passions

Dad was a relatively generous, moral man who was thought well of in the community and at his workplace. He was also someone with whom it felt like “walking on eggshells” was absolutely necessary. At the drop of a hat, he could explode into nuclear bomb-level rages that made us want to run for cover. To say he had anger issues is putting it mildly.

It wasn’t until he retired from work and remarried that his personality took a 180-degree turn for the better. It was almost as if he was reborn. Dad was not particularly religious and he retained his ultra conservative opinions. However, the new version of dad was refreshingly calm and collected. He had somehow successfully healed himself of extreme, toxic anger.

I see similar anger and rage issues manifest in idealistic political and religious reformers. An example would be the kind of people who participated in the January 6, 2021 insurrection and riot at the U.S. Capitol. There seemed to be no rational reason for their hateful violence–it appeared to be rooted in misguided passion. In videos of the seditionous activity, I recognized the similar, mindless rage I used to see about dad in the faces of the rioters. There is no reasoning with anyone who is possessed with extreme emotions. It’s nearly impossible to de-escalate such scenarios except through police or military action.

Being primates, any of us can become possessed by extreme emotions. Unscrupulous agitators and leaders are well aware of this fact. History is rife with examples of violent insurrections, rebellions, and international wars that erupted as a result of misguided, irrational passions. At the micro level, we have highway traffic related road rage and the all too common, troubling presence of domestic violence. Such behavior is the epitome of mindless existance.

To rein in one’s emotional, passionate reactions to emotions that are biting at the bit of control requires a fair degree of mindfulness. To fail in this, a person risks physically and mentally harming others. When loss of control is exceptionally extreme, rage results in criminal charges and the probability of incarceration.

One way of decreasing the possibility of surrendering to violent, vulgar passion comes about through the practice of thoughtful reflection upon one’s life circumstances. This is easier for people who have cultivated prudent reflection and contemplation upon life as ways of letting off steam. When wiser people honestly acknowledge that they are on the verge of losing control, they step back from the abyss of rage. This is an art in and of itself. One recognizes the triggers of extremely toxic passion then regains composure.

This is a personal art because individuals react differently to various scenarios. Certain situations cause little emotional reaction in some people but the same situations trigger violent anger in others. The art of reining in such passions involves awareness of when one is approaching the point of no return towards animalistic thinking and behavior. Everyone has a different point of no return, so it is best to pay close attention to where that is in one’s own being.

An important part of gaining wisdom is the ability to remain clear-headed as one plummets towards the paroxyms of extreme passionate reaction. Every impulse to give in to rage is a temptation to deviate from masterful conduct. Through mindfulness in difficult situations, one becomes masterful in avoiding personal and interpersonal transgressions that violate the boundaries of ethical and legal behavior.

In other words, to maintain control of toxic passions we keep a calm, steady grip on the reins of alertness and attention. To be able to control one’s poisonous passions helps ensure us of arriving safely at our destination.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 19th/20th century American journalist and novelist, Theodore Dreiser. “Let no one underestimate the need of pity. We live in a stony universe whose hard, brilliant forces rage fiercely.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
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14 Responses to Reining In One’s Passions

  1. Americaoncoffee says:

    Understood. But a lot of people are not aware of victims of a corrupt government has done. It would shock you. There are billions. To tell of their sorrows and the connections with January 6 will shock you but violate many who would prefer not to be exposed. We cannot judge others unless we’ve walked in their shoes. What makes me sad is how evil has twisted realties for the benefit of greed and underhanded empowerment.

    • swabby429 says:

      Yes, there a great numbers of victims. Those who were most victimized did not have the funds to travel well-armed to Washington. Many were eager for an excuse to commit violence.

      • Americaoncoffee says:

        And we are a network of many victims. If I could only tell you which widows, seniors were murdered and robbed of their wealth and inheritance, children taken from parents that were adhd, parents who were deaf and dumb, and the children adopted out. Pleas against corrupt situations and cases were posted on the White page (ignored); and when presented in court, each was thrown out of court and we know, judges always receive a kickback. Another biggy is the abolition of property which was tested WITH the attempt to takeover the Bundy Ranch in Oregon patriots and protesters went to Oregon prepared to fight. What I am sharing is less than moderate. I am not a person of violence but people can be punched to react in defensive ways. Especially when watching from a distance your child growing up in someone else’s hands. And if you go near, you will be jailed. This is not the USA America that I grew up in. The enemy or benefactors have made gains at becoming stronger by acts of taking peoples’ wealth and property, creating more regulatory agencies, creating homelessness and job losses through offshoring jobs and investment ventures, causing deaths and sicknesses through the COVID VAX, allowing for human destruction with street drugs, manipulating and further dividing political parties through media technologies. The state of the world’s affairs (fast-paced and confusion) affords the enemy new ways and means to gain control over the the world and people. The enemy is playing a divisive game with the the costs of living, food, energy, fees, etc. Their goal is to exhaust the monetary system, claiming wealth with tangible all goods, services and properties. The Ignorance of being played by a corrupt system is both heartbreaking and fume for fury. Please excuse any and all typos dear friend.

      • swabby429 says:

        These are all true and valid, as someone who has lived impoverished and sometimes did not have enough money to buy food, I get this. On the other hand, January 6th was not about this. The insurection was about political fanatacism and the 45th President manipulating his constituents into a fever pitch with false claims and accusations. In short, it was an attempted coup d’etat with the aim of overturning a legal and valid election. As far as impoverished people are concerned, the insurrectionists did not represent such people.

  2. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘Reining In One’s Passions’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

  3. It has taken me a lifetime to control and free myself of the anger that I unknowingly harbored for the first 28 years of my life due to domestic and state violence I endured during those early years of my life, first under British colonialism and then an autocratic government after independence. Violence within our society, in all of its manifestations, has a negative impact on our lives. The January 6 insurrection should be a wake-up call of the magma rising within the heart and soul of our nation.

  4. I do wish id have read this before work today however I can reflect upon it now… And I can also say that I didn’t hold my composure as well as that i possibly could… I walked away… I did give in a bit to the mouthing back and forth with the coworker but I also held it to just being about work and that’s a big step for me. Could I have done better no I did my best but am i able to learn from it …absolutely!

  5. rkrontheroad says:

    I am moved by the story of your father taking control of his anger and changing his life.

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