Angry Couple

Is anger making you lose what you value most in life?

  • Do you feel like you want to stop angry actions, but you can’t seem to do it?
  • Do you worry that you will suffer a career setback because of your anger?
  • Are you afraid that you might lose the people that you love because of something you do or say when you are angry?
  • Are you concerned that you are giving your children a bad example?
  • Have you, through some miracle, gotten away with angry outbursts that could have ruined your career or your personal life?

Anger is like rocket fuel.  It can take you to the moon and the stars if it is well managed, or it can cause a disaster for the history books.  Your strong anger is a sign of a strong personality, and, if well managed, can bring you success you know you deserve.  But just as with rocket fuel, there is no room for error.

Your anger can be hard not just on you but also on your spouse and your kids.  And you probably grew up in an angry household and felt the wrath of one or both of your parents.  Unmanaged anger is transferred from generation to generation.  But you don’t have to give it to your kids—not the anger and not the trauma.  The legacy of anger can stop with you. 

Why are anger problems so common?  

Anger is a sign that something is wrong.  Anger is what happens when your mind, body, and spirit prepare for a crisis. But sometimes this indicator needle goes into the red and stays there needlessly. 

Forty-five percent of people regularly lose our temper at work.[1]  Almost a third say they have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger. One in five says that they have ended a relationship or friendship with someone because of how they behaved when they were angry.[2]

The trouble is that the vital skill of anger management is not taught to the general public.  Children are not taught this in school, and all around they see that might makes right.  Talking heads are raging on TV.  In fact, outrage has become a form of art in the media.  Bullying is a form of personnel management in the workplace.  And the 50% divorce rate is a testament to chronic unbridled anger in families.  It is a small wonder that anger problems are not more prevalent.

Anger Management Therapy Can Put You in Control and on the Road to Relationship Success

An anger problem is an unproductive anger management habit or habits.  There are several of these habits that could be involved for any person who is looking to strengthen anger management. 

There are four approaches we can take, and hopefully we will take all four.  These are the following:

  • BEHAVIOR: change the behavior –
    • The goal here is to understand what you do to get angry, what you do when you are angry, and which of your actions trigger anger in people around you.
      • How do you get angry:  What do you say and do?
      • When and where do you get angry?
      • With whom do you get angry?
    • Another goal is to find and learn effective behaviors that could replace angry behaviors.
  • THINKING: choose what you think and choose to think more carefully and more clearly – about the world, your anger, your ability to control it, who’s responsible for your anger, etc.
    • Reexamine justification for your anger
    • Reexamine
      • your understanding of your fate to be angry and
      • your essence as an angry person
    • Reexamine your supposed inability to manage anger
    • Reexamine other people’s responsibility for your anger
    • Reexamine beliefs that anger and aggression are good solutions
  • FEELING: regulate your anger and other emotions – including relaxation and meditation
    • How does your body feel when you are really angry?
    • What is happening in your mind when you are really angry?
    • What is the cost of letting anger out of control?
    • How important is it for you to stay in control?
    • What do you do to stay in control?
    • What is your experience with relaxation and meditation?
    • Would you like to learn new emotional regulation skills?
  • PERSONAL GROWTH: understand the meaning of anger in one’s life, etc.
    • Was there a time in your life when you were less angry?
    • What were you like then?
    • What were your goals and your values then?
    • How has anger changed you?
    • Who would you be if weren’t so angry?
    • What would your life be like if weren’t so angry?

But You May Still Have Questions About Anger Management Therapy

Q: I get angry so quickly that it happens outside of my consciousness.  How can anger management help?

If you get angry so quickly that it happens outside of your consciousness, then you are at risk doing things you will regret.  The problem is that you anger “muscles” are overdeveloped and you anger-regulation “muscles” are very weak.  Just as with real muscles, the solution is to develop coordination and strength by understanding what triggers anger and by practicing staying calm in mildly-provoking situations.  Then, just as with real muscles, you can increase the challenge.

Couples therapy is frequently a good format for working on individual problems, but it is particularly so in this case.  If you are not sure why and how you become so angry, your partner might have observed it many times and might be able to help.  In addition, your partner will start to see you through a more compassionate lens after seeing in couples therapy your commitment to anger management change.  It is one thing to know that your partner is going to be out of the house because he/she will be in therapy.  It is a very different thing to see your partner struggle and succeed in front of your own eyes with the issue you want your partner to be working on.  The latter cultivates compassion, respect, and patience in the partner.

Q:  I have had explosive anger all my life.  What makes you think that I can change?

Vast majority of people with problem anger have never received anger management therapy.  The anger management lessons that “life” hands out are usually harmful.  This is why anger problems are so common and without intervention usually get worse with time.  People with problem anger have never been given a chance to change.  Studies show that that anger management therapy works, and thousands of people have been helped by it.  So if you are feeling pessimistic about your anger, don’t despair.  If you want better anger management skills, you will have them.  People will notice the new you.  People will admire and respect the new you.

You can take back the control of your life.  Anger doesn’t have to be in charge of you.

Call me at 310-751-0616 to schedule an appointment or discuss your situation.  I return all voicemails and emails within 24 hours.

[1] The Sunday Times Magazine – July16, 2006

[2] Mental Health Organisation: Boiling Point Report 2008