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Anger Management

Do you "blow up" for no real reason?
Do you take it and take it and finally explode?
Do you have to say "I'm sorry" -- a lot?
Do your kids feel you "take things out" on them?
Have you experienced "road rage"?

All of us get angry from time to time -- it's a normal human emotion. But frequent, excessive, or misdirected anger can harm relationships with others. It can also negatively impact performance in all areas of your life.

If your answer to any of the above questions is "yes", you may want to consider working with a therapist to develop better methods of managing anger.

The main tool for anger management is learning "time-outs" -- when you take a break from the situation to be able to cool down and come back to it later.  During a time-out, be careful of the 3 D's (don't Drink, don't Drive, don't Dwell).  And partners have to learn to allow time-outs.  Following someone to another room or outside defeats the purpose of the time-out and can escalate the situation.  The key is building trust that you do intend to return to resolve the situation but are using the time-out to avoid escalation and further harm (whether verbal or physical).

I ran a court-ordered domestic violence perpetrators program for several years and know that there are a variety of techniques to successfully manage anger. But you have to do the work.

I also want to state inappropriate and harmful anger is a problem for both men and women -- domestic violence (whether verbal or physical) can be perpetrated by either sex and, indeed, is more often than not, mutual. Also, being under the influence often exacerbates and escalates the anger.

I also find that understanding where anger comes from can often help. The tool I find most valuable here is the Karpman drama triangle (shown below) that demonstrates the basis for anger, particularly in relationships, and how it can be transformed into healthier actions and responses. I help clients identify how they move back and forth between various dysfunctional roles, and, most importantly, how they can move into functional roles (the key is responsibility)

"I'm blameless"


Rescuer           ==          Persecutor
"I'm good"                           "I'm right"

 Check out the hints on anger management at  www.apa.org.  A useful book on anger management is Overcoming Anger and Irritability by William Davies or The Anger Workbook by Les Carter, PhD and Frank Minirth, MD 
I would be remiss in not mentioning the Women's Center of San Joaquin at 209-941-2611 which provides immeasureable aid in providing a safe house and assisting in cases of sexual assault and rape.  Also there is the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org.

A father made his son pound a nail in the fence
every time that he lost his temper.
After a while, he stopped losing his temper
and the father made his son pull out the nails
one by one.
But the boy realized even though the nails were gone
the holes were still there --
the holes we leave in other people's hearts (unknown).