Rodeos, Anger, and Adult Children of Divorce

I’ve attended my first rodeo! For you urbanites and millennials, a rodeo is like an old country fair on steroids. A country fair is an annual event where farmers and ranchers compete to see who has the best riding skills, livestock and vegetables. Families also sell items they’ve produced, and enjoy the carnival rides and food.

Bull riding was one event I saw. A cowboy gets on the back of a bull and tries to hold on for eight seconds while the bull jumps, jerks, and turns. It was exciting, but what does this have to do with adults with divorced parents? The bulls reminded me of anger.

Unresolved anger rates at the top of most lists of issues adult children of divorce (ACD) struggle with. Like those bulls, our anger can have a lot of energy, be erratic, and cause a lot of harm if unchecked.

Where Bull Riding and Anger Differ

One key difference between bull riding and anger is the bull rider knows he’s on a dangerous animal and takes steps to be prepared. Many ACD are unaware of their anger. Thus they don’t’ take steps to deal with it.

Another key difference involves who the rider is. In our case, we are the bull and our spouses, children, and others are trying to hold on. They are the ones at risk of being gored, trampled, or injured when they experience our tirade.

The Bible says, “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”1 I mentioned that the bull rider has to stay on for eight seconds. Doesn’t seem very long, but how much damage would your family or friends say you do in eight seconds with your anger?

Taming the Bull

So what can we do to tame the beast of anger?

  1. Admit it’s a problem. If your spouse or friends have said you have an anger problem, you probably do.
  2. Admit it is an affront to God. The Bible clearly states that “Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”2 Confess what you’ve done and said in anger and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  3. Admit that it is hurting the ones you love. An ancient saying goes, “A quick-tempered person does foolish things.” It is foolish to repeatedly hurt the people who love us.
  4. Commit to making a change. Colossians 3:8 says, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”3 Share your issue with someone and ask them to pray for you to overcome your anger.
  5. Take steps to make the change. Another ancient saying goes like this, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advise.”4 If you could stop your anger alone, you would have done it by now. See a leader at your church or a Christian counselor and learn the necessary steps to overcome your anger.

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  1. James 3:8 ESV
  2. Proverbs 14:17 NIV
  3. James 1:20 NLT
  4. Proverbs 12:15 ESV