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Be Less Aggressive Towards Others: Advice from a Tasmanian Devil 🐾

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Advice from a TASMANIAN DEVIL from The Whine Bar by Ally Brown CPC

When someone mentions the words Tasmanian Devil, the first thought that comes to mind, at least for me, is the overexcited, blubbering, spinning, crazy character from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. The rest of you may know those cartoons as Looney Tunes. If you follow me or my writing, you will come to understand that I tend to make up my own words and phrases to refer to things, like the Bugs Bunny show being all encompassing for the Looney Tunes division, as well as all other short films and cartoons done by Warner Bros.

But I digress.

A few years ago, not thinking something with such a strange name in a cartoon could be real, I needed to know if Tasmanian Devil could be found in the encyclopedia. Ok so it was a lot of years ago. I was blown away to find out they are in fact real but have very little in common with their artistically created counterpart.

Tasmanian devils are not average sized goofy creatures who blabber, drool and spin around to places.

They are about the size of a small dog and are the largest carnivorous marsupial in existence today. They will eat just about anything, and I mean anything, living or dead. However, they are natural scavengers and love to feast on dead animals, using their tremendous bite to devour the very last tidbits of any creature – even its bones. CSI would not be able to solve this crime. If food is scarce, this determined critter will eat up to 40% of its body weight in food in a single sitting, storing fat in its tail for use until any food is more readily available. Note to self: thick tail means healthy little devil.

Tasmanian Devils prefer to live alone but will get together with others of its kind to engage in an all-out gnarling snarling tug of war with the sole purpose of ripping a carcass apart to ensure that every bite is spoken for. The Tasmanian Devils will ferociously and without question, bite deep into another of its kind to victoriously claim its desired meal, or as a form of defense. This act of aggression is actually contributing to the species being listed as endangered.

Tasmanian devils are susceptible to a rare form of infectious cancer that causes tumors on their face to grow and interfere with their ability to eat, causing them to starve to death. In complete contradiction of how things usually work, it appears that the more aggressive the Tasmanian Devil, the fewer bites it has and the more tumors it develops. The aggressive devil bites an infected lesser aggressive one over and over, contracting the infectious disease. In a counterintuitive way, the aggressive devils become super-receivers as opposed to the super-spreaders we have grown so accustom to hearing an effort to defend itself or obtain food, it is actually killing itself.

Now take humans.

Aggression is also causing our demise.

What do you think of when you think of the word aggression? Getting barked at by your boss? Getting yelled at by your loved one over something that seems trivial? Punching a wall? Fist fights? Bar room brawls? Road rage? MMA fighting? Using a gun to “solve” a problem?

Well, you would be right. Somewhat.

If someone is short fused or annoyed over an extended period of time, we say they are irritable. When someone is feeling tense, sensitive or on the edge, the smallest of incidences can ignite a harsh reaction. Irritability is that heightened state of emotion caused by an internal source having an external effect. For example, the person does not know how to manage their emotions so they just snap at whoever is nearby. It is usually short lived and will resolve itself once when the mitigating factor is dealt with.

And then there is anger. Anger is a normal emotion, one that we all experience, one that we all feel, in response to certain triggering circumstances within our environment. Anger is usually short lived, very specific and directed at the cause of the anger. It is important to note that with anger there is no intention of causing actual harm to another.

Aggression, however, is next level. It is a behavior or an action taken as a result of, and as a way too, express that anger in an unhealthy way. Whether known or not, Its purpose is to harm someone physically, psychologically, or both. How this aggression manifests can be mild too extreme and everything in between.

Aggression can be in the form of comments that are hurtful in not only what is said but how it is said. Examples would include, but not be limited to, insulting someone, and swearing or yelling at them. On the more extreme aside, aggression can include acts of violence, such as throwing things, and hitting someone or something. Additionally, aggression can include any threats or actions meant to show dominance, instill fear or cause displeasure.

Think of it in terms of road rage. . .

Anger would be the feeling you get when someone cuts in front of you, causing you to slam on your brakes to avoid a collision.

Aggression would be screaming the F-bomb out the window at the offending driver, or following closely behind him on the highway in an effort to intimidate him.

Now, think of it terms of someone you are in a relationship with - be it friend, partner or colleague . . .

Anger would be the feeling you get when you have a dinner reservation or a meeting and you are running so late you haven’t even gotten in the car yet to head to your destination.

Aggression is belittling or yelling at your partner/friend/co-worker because you perceive – true or not – they that person is the cause of the tardiness.

As you can see, if anger goes uncontrolled and escalates to a state of aggression that it can become a real problem. Whether aggressive behavior is displayed once, or over and over again, the results can bring about many unwanted challenges.

Division within the family

Strained relationships

Legal problems

Job loss

Financial issues


Physical injuries due to fighting or risky behaviors

If the displays of aggression continue uncontrolled over longer periods of time, whether constant or sporadic, the results can be devastating and life-altering.

Separation and divorce

Loss of custody of children

Social isolation and/or withdrawal

Chronic unemployment

Substance abuse and addiction

Worsening legal problems, including arrest, fines, and incarceration

Brain injuries and/or permanent physical disability due to excessive fighting or frequent risky behaviors

Physical issues such as increased anxiety, high blood pressure and migraines

In order for the Tasmanian devils to remain on this planet, they must evolve to be less aggressive. In order for the humans to have a long, happy, healthy existence on this planet, we must learn to be less aggressive.

Anger can be a positive and useful emotion, if it is expressed in a safe and appropriate manner. It can ignite wonderful changes to occur and lead to miraculous discoveries.

So next time you want to release anger that may cause problems with family, friends and work colleagues, learn some long-term strategies to manage that anger. Exercise, learning relaxation techniques and even counseling can help you avoid taking that anger to the next level. Trust me, you will be much better off for not taking a bite of the devil that is irritating you.

Fun Fact:

Tasmanian ‘devils’ are named for the sound they make. When European settlers first came to Tasmania they heard blood-curdling shrieks, growls, snorts, screeches and sniffs from deep within the bush. To them it sounded like they were surrounded by demons. Hence the name Tasmanian ‘devils’.


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