How Anger Scars A House

Lessons from locking a kid in a room (not on purpose)


The fan in the dressing room is bent and rotates all fucked up. I’m sitting in bed, looking at it, and it’s a whirlpool into the past. Why is the fan bent? Because I got angry at my son. I didn’t throw him into the fan or anything. Just a series of events ended up there, because I got angry.

We have scars from that (isolated) incident all around the house. The guest room has jagged gashes around the lock. The bathroom window was wrenched off its hinges. All because my son got angry, and I got angry as well. Anger is opening the door to chaos. Who knows where it will end up.

In our case, this was the literal problem. We couldn’t open the door. I put him in the guest room for a time out and stepped outside because I couldn’t take the screaming. Frankly, because I wanted him to ‘cry it out’. I was being a dick. Then he turned the latch, and locked himself in. Then, of course, he couldn’t get out. Showed me.

I went frantically looking for the keys while nearby construction workers tried to jimmy the lock, I went upstairs, looking for the spare keys. I got a ladder and climbed to the storage cupboards, opening them while the fan was on. They’re at the same level, and SLAM. Bent blade, lucky fingers, squeaky fan for life.

Did I think that my own impatience and anger with my child would end up here, with a fucked up fan near the ceiling? Nope. Chaos is a splatter. Who knows where it ends up.

So here I am, sitting in bed, watching the fan do a demented wobble around its axis and remembering this incident from over a year ago. That incident is scarred into the body of our house. Then I look down at my arm. I have scars there as well.

I have a fat, angry scar on my right arm. I gave it to myself. Not self-harm, just self-defeating. Early in marriage I was arguing with my wife and — in characteristically inane rage — punched right through a window. I don’t know what my point was here, or how it was supposed to be made. I don’t even remember what we were fighting about. Probably food.

I do remember looking down and seeing a two-inch blade of glass embedded in my arm. And the blood. I pulled it out in shock and we went to the…



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at