Let the Rain Fall Down

Yes, I used to listen to Hilary Duff.

My stress levels have been high lately, and as a result, the thoughts in my head start swirling at a tiresome speed.  They aren’t helpful, but at least I know that the thought itself is simply a thought, just like the experience of someone with road rage.  It’s not about what that car in front of us is doing, really.  And once we can separate ourselves from that, yes, we might just breathe a sigh of relief.

Emil Coccaro, a professor and psychiatrist at the University of Chicago, has studied Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) for many years. People with this disorder repeatedly respond with violent or verbally aggressive outbursts, disproportionate to any given situation. (Not all road-ragers have IED, but road rage can be a symptom of it.) He says that the psychological root of this behavior is often something called Hostile Attribution Bias—the belief that every accidental injury or threat is purposeful, and personal. People with IED over-personalize every interaction, and then over-react with immediate aggression.

The biases we have as human beings are so interesting to me.  Breathe in, that car might just be having a bad day.  Maybe their dog died.  Maybe their car just started having problems.

It reminds me of a time in Bible school when E told us how she was driving a bus on the freeway and it was having problems so she couldn’t go faster than like 40 miles an hour, if even that.  Imagine all those people who were glaring at her, honking at her, wondering what was going on.  Poor E.  And poor ignorant people.  If they had known, they would have spared themselves a lot of negative feelings.  We all thought the story was hilarious, though.  Good times.

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