Fantasies make the world go ’round. And they keep me from murdering everyone.
I have a recurring fantasy where I’m in a pristine room with walls and floor of a blindingly white lack of color. (No, that’s not the whole fantasy. I don’t have a cleaning fetish. Just stay with me for a bit.) However, while untouched, the room is not empty. I look around, sedate. There are plates, vases, bowls, pots, large panes of intricate stained glass, flower mosaic lampshades, even a low-hanging chandelier. The light doesn’t glint and dance. Nothing moves. On the far side is a pyramid of crystal wine glasses surrounded by a village of painted porcelain figurines -all on top of a Windex-scented table top. Again, it’s made of glass. This ain’t the Antique Road Show.
It’s therapy time. Get out the Louisville Slugger.
This is what the intellectuals with aspirations of super villainy call “Destructotherapy,” or by those who dream up names for their Indie rock band, it is know as “Smash Therapy.” Clearly, it’s therapy that involves smashing things. The rationale behind it is that the exercise of breaking stuff provides an outlet for pent up energy, primarily anger. You’re allowed to vent all the malaise that you’ve been civilly keeping locked up. Pop that lid and let it all out. But you can’t do this just anywhere. We don’t live in a delicate, dainty world. You can even argue that our world is already broken in itself, but that’s another topic entirely. However, have you noticed how anal we are as a society about breaking our belongings? All this… stuff? Comedic genius George Carlin quips about our material obsession:
“That’s the whole meaning of life, isn’t it? Trying to find a place for your stuff… If you didn’t have so much Goddamned stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time. That’s all a house is – it’s a pile of stuff with a cover on it.”
You want to break stuff, but you don’t want to break your stuff. And you don’t want to break your friend’s or neighbor’s stuff (unless, of course, you actually do want to.) This is America, folks, the land of the almighty dollar. You can look up a place like the Anger Room, where you can reserve smashing rooms for 5 minutes (“I need a Break!”), 15 minutes (“Lash Out”), or 25 minutes (“Total Demolition”).
Letting loose, embracing your power, unleashing your inner animal. The surge of adrenaline can make you feel alive.
However, while I agree that uncorking that bursting bottle of frustration bubbly can be relieving and emotionally healthy – destruction therapy should be done with caution. I’m not just talking about wearing safety goggles and being careful about not bashing your own head in. The main point is this: everything in moderation. The mental dangers of this kind of “therapy” is that the exercise, the sudden popping of all that anger, might trigger a waterfall. The little Dutch boy’s finger is no longer enough. Now, instead of the hate eating you from the inside, you are being flooded by it, crushed by it. And in your sudden chaotic “freedom,” you thrash and splash and fight for air.
You don’t have to resign to your anger, but learn to accept it and realize that the stress isn’t all that bad. Life is rife with emotional outlets. And while the white room filled with fragile oh-so-breakable items is still a fantasy of mine, I know not to go too crazy. Or else I’ll end up in another white room with nothing but meds to keep me company.
Read on about smash therapy and anger with these links:
- How Anger Works (HowStuffWorks)
- Commonly Used Techniques For Destruction Therapy (Health Profession)
- Go Ahead, Smash Everything in the Room. It’s Therapy. (Time NewsFeed)
- Exploring Mass Destruction Therapy (Dave & Friends)
Bonus: And since we mentioned Carlin earlier, let’s blow off a little steam with a bit of laugh therapy with the comedic legend. (Warning: Some Foul Carlin Language)