Anger Management Techniques - You Don’t Have to Hit to Hurt
Anger Management Techniques - You Don’t Have to Hit to Hurt
I can't believe I am being forced to take an anger management class for something that is completely not my fault! Doesn't it ever occur to you people that there are two sides to every story? Do you think women don't ever lie about stuff that happens just to make guys like me look bad so they can get their way about things? Yes, I yell at her - sometimes a lot. But she starts it or she takes something and blows it out of proportion and I have to defend myself. I can't just let her run over me. When she gets in my face, I get right back in hers but I NEVER GET PHYISICAL WITH HER. If I get angry enough and yell hard enough, she eventually backs off and that is all I care about, so then I am done. Yet, here I am up on charges because of a few pointless threats I made just to shut her up. This isn't fair.
Furious in Phoenix
Let's get something clear right from the beginning: inappropriate, out-of-control, aggressive or threatening expressions of anger are always abusive and destructive. Becoming angry is not the problem, it is how you express your anger and what you do with it that is getting you in trouble. It doesn't really matter what she is (or isn't) doing. You are always and only responsible for your own actions, and right now I would say you are your own worst enemy.
You have probably told yourself more than once that there is nothing wrong with getting mad as long as you didn't get physically violent. After all, everyone loses their temper once in a while. As long as you didn't break anything or slap anyone, and especially if you apologize afterwards, people should be okay with that. Geez, you are only human! Does any of this sound familiar?
Well, it is all wrong. Any aggressive, volatile, threatening or demeaning verbal expression of anger is abusive and destructive. It creates a dehumanizing atmosphere of intimidation and fear that can do more long-term emotional and psychological damage to the people around you - especially your spouse and children - than physical violence does. As a matter of fact, all victims of physical abuse report troubling instances of emotional or psychological abuse as well. In one survey of 234 physical abuse victims, 98 percent reported emotional abuse, and 72 percent agreed that the affects were even more damaging than the physical abuse.
So, maybe you are one of those people who have a definite problem with anger, but you always seem to stop just short of physically violent behaviors. You definitely have a short fuse; and your anger can quickly rage out of control and become irrational. Do you do a lot of screaming, accusing, and name-calling? How about door slamming, wall punching and tire squealing? Are you one of those people who have what we call "$500 reactions to $5 problems," meaning that you blow situations all out of proportion and create a crisis where none really exists? All of these actions are verbally and emotional abusive, and they can create long-term emotional damage in the people who are around you consistently, especially your family.
You may think that there is no problem because you never become physically violent, but here is what is really happening. Your family spends every hour of every day walking on eggshells around you, especially if they know you are under stress because of work or some other situation that has you on edge. They make excuses for you to your friends and neighbors. Even when you are having an anger episode, they try to pretend nothing is wrong, because they are afraid of what you might do or say next, and they don't want to further antagonize you. Instead, they try to calm you down and wait for things to blow over. Living with this kind of stress and anxiety takes a very high emotional and psychological toll on a family, especially on children as they grow and mature. It is like undergoing psychological torture as a prisoner of war. And that is exactly what your family has become: prisoners to your anger. But since your anger leaves no physical marks, it is very easy for you to minimize and pretend everything is okay. All the while, the emotional scars grow ever deeper.
Let's think about that for a minute. How does emotional abuse produce such severe damage?
Every anger addict needs a target to justify his angry reactions. The target is often an innocent bystander like his wife or one of his children. Whoever it is, this person is more than simply a target. She or he is actually going to become the Scapegoat, and will be blamed by the anger addict for causing the anger. Make no mistake about it, he or she is not the cause of your anger; he or she is the VICTIM of your irresponsible, angry outburst! As the victims, these scapegoats suffer regular, degrading emotional damage. Kids start thinking they caused the event, even though they didn't. Spouses start believing they could stop you from becoming angry if they just tried harder to keep you happy, even though that is irrational. As they live under this level of stress and anxiety every day, their ability to feel safe, to feel good about themselves, and to feel hope about the future is ground to dust.
In some cases, when you accuse and threaten people long enough, they may eventually decide to fight back. Maybe she has decided she can't take your attitude any more. Maybe there are kids in the house (you didn't say) that she is trying to protect. Maybe she is trying to trigger you so you will focus your anger on her so you won't attack the kids (stranger things have happened). Maybe a lot of things are also going on, but all of that is secondary to the fact that your inability to manager your anger in safe, sane ways is blowing up your life. Nothing will get better until you stop making excuses and accept responsibility for your own behavior.
Listen, Phoenix, you need to get into an anger management program. Maybe she does too, but even if she doesn't, you must do so immediately. The longer you lie to yourself about what is really going on with you, the worse things are going to be for you. I have worked with a lot of guys like you who were certain they didn't have a problem. I have a stack of letters from those same guys thanking me for helping them to get past their blindness and turn their lives around. It is not too late for you to do the same.
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