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Frank Mulligan: Mad about you - not

Frank Mulligan

So-called “medical” experts have warned against internalizing anger for years.

What a pile of hokum.

Such misinformation would make me demonstrably angry if I weren’t holding my feelings in check right now.

What’s actually important is to ignore angry feelings and go on as if nothing is bothering you.

And I don’t mean pausing to take deep breaths, counting to 10 or chanting your special mantra.

Nope, I mean remaining as oblivious as Donald Trump’s speechwriter.

Never admit you’re angry, either.

If someone mentions to you in passing, “Gee, I’m sorry I set fire to your car the other day. That was certainly careless of me. You must be terribly angry,” simply shrug and walk away.

The “shrug-and-walk-away” technique is classic anger internalizing.

Other time-honored methods include:

· Silence

· Muttering something unintelligible but neutral

· Looking at your feet

· Humming the “Love Boat” theme

Each of these techniques allows you to avoid acknowledging you’re angry or even fully conscious.

It’s important to remember that anger is like someone who’s constantly borrowing money from you. If you see it coming, run the other way.

If someone makes you angry on a regular basis, find ways to avoid talking to that person.

One way in which this can be accomplished, made popular in old situation comedies, is to find a third person with whom you can converse and relay messages to the person who’s a constant source of irritation.

Here’s a scenario:

You: Um, Fred, could you ask Arnold to pass me that antique porcelain figurine. It’s an extremely valuable family heirloom.

Fred: You mean the one he’s sitting on?

You: Yes, that would be the one.

Fred: Hey Arnold, could you pass, (insert your name here), that antique porcelain figurine?

Arnold: Huh, sure. Whatever …

See how easy that was?

In future columns, I’d like to discuss how humor lacks healing power, the bright side of wallowing in depression, and why people with a positive outlook are so annoying.

This lifestyle-advice stuff is easy.

Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at fmulligan@wickedlocal.com.