The Pain of Ill-Will

Ill-will is a poison.

Growing up I thought I wasn’t very aware of my sense of ill will, anger. I think partially because any attempts at getting rewards from it were unsuccessful, my bully at the time was much bigger and stronger such that the outbursts of anger I did have were profoundly ineffective. Reflecting now I see plenty of times when I was angry. Over time I’ve become more sensitive and understanding of the gradients of irritation as ill will as well as more aware when I am outright angry or rageful in the moment.

Never has harboring ill will helped me be effective and get what I want. When I was a kid I was once angry that a dear friend of mine had cut off our relationship. I spent the entire recess period walking around the playground ruminating on anger. I didn’t end up feeling better nor did this help my relationship. Other times when I was youthful and angry I would destroy my own possessions, throw things away I wanted out of spite. In anger I have hurt myself and others

That hurting of myself and others has taken a variety of forms. Self injury, yelling, damaging relationships. Anger feels, at least to me, as a vicious sickness. Boiling water under your skin that demands you do something to get it out. Yet it never really ends up helping to do what it says. What use is a broken controller, torn up photo or the wounded feelings of my mom

In the moment that ill will can feel righteous, as if you’re going on a holy crusade and deserve to lash out at me everything. That feeling is short lived and disastrous. It doesn’t produce a beneficial result for anyone. As a consequence of the numerous experiences of hurting myself and others as a consequence of ill will, outbursts of anger have become like poison to me. A poison that still comes up, like when I angrily call a patient a dick.

I notice ill will most in my more passive less active dislike of police, capitalists and oppressors. I don’t think this anger is unwarranted, murder and destruction aren’t likeable actions. Yet in having this experience of ill will I’m not actually helping people who are oppressed by these groups, nor am I helping the oppressors to renounce their actions. In a way it’s only helpful to the oppressor, my anger makes me less effective, less helpful, unfocused. Distracted.

It’s an understandable feeling to have. It’s also a painful and distracting feeling.