Anger Group Workshop

 Anger Management Workshop - Firm, Clear Boundaries Help Control Anger Triggers

by James A. Baker (2010/November)

Firm, Clear Boundaries Help Control Anger Triggers


How can you get people to leave you alone? It seems like people have all these expectations of me – my kids need things, my boss and my coworkers keep piling stuff on me and my husband is always pressuring me, too. I just can’t take it anymore. A girl at work put something on my desk yesterday and I blew up at her, because I already told her I was too covered up. I ended up in my boss’s office and it wasn’t pretty.
At the Breaking Point in Boston

Anger Management Workshop – Firm, Clear Boundaries Help Control Anger Triggers

Dear Breaking Point:
Our lives are intertwined with those around us, which sets up the potential for conflict at any time. Any interaction with someone else represents an opportunity to feel threatened or rejected or hurt – and therefore angry – every day. Many of these people have expectations of you and make requests of you, which can create plenty of friction and trigger anger episodes. Until you learn how to create and enforce good boundaries, this is going to be a continual problem.

Requests made to us by others, or expectations others have of us, fall into four different categories:

Reasonable requests or expectations – These involve things that most people would normally see as appropriate, or things they would usually agree to. When your boss assigns you an important project that needs to be completed by next week, that would be considered a reasonable request for the circumstances.

Unreasonable requests or expectations – These involve things that most people would normally consider to be inappropriate, or things they would not agree to. When your boss asks you to double the number of hours you are working, for the same – or even less – salary, that would be considered an unreasonable request.

Anger Management Workshop – Firm, Clear Boundaries Help Control Anger Triggers

Requests or expectations you want to fulfill – Whether a request is reasonable or unreasonable, you always have the right to fulfill it if you want to. Just be honest with yourself. If you are only agreeing to it because someone has pressured you, manipulated you or made you feel guilty for not doing it, then that is NOT the same as wanting to do it. However, if you want to do it, if it would please you to do it and you would be glad to do it, then do it. It is your life.

Requests or expectations you don’t want to fulfill – Whether a request might be deemed reasonable or unreasonable, you always have the right to say no if you want to. There are all sorts of legitimate reasons for not fulfilling a “reasonable” request. Say your sister invited you to spend Christmas with her family. However, you have already bought non-refundable tickets to spend Christmas skiing in Colorado. It is okay to say no to your sister.

The concept of boundaries is based on the principle that you have a legitimate right and responsibility to participate in choices that affect you, and respectfully but honestly decide what you will and will not agree to. Setting boundaries applies to every area of life, from things as volatile as sexual harassment to issues as simple as lending out your lawnmower.

Anger Management Workshop – Firm, Clear Boundaries Help Control Anger Triggers

Identifying your own boundaries.

Here is a simple way to determine your boundaries with anyone. Get out a piece of paper and, at the top, write out the name of the person you would like to set boundaries with. Then spend a few minutes thinking about the way you and that person interact. What do you like about this relationship? Is there anything that you would like to change or stop doing? Now draw a line down the middle of your paper and make two separate lists, one that defines what you want to do and the other defining what you don’t want to do. Under each category, list everything you can think of regarding your relationships with this person:

This is what I like:
This is what I don’t like:
This is what I want:
This is what I don’t want:
This is what I will do:
This is what I won’t do:
This what I need:
This is what I don’t need:
I will say yes to these things:
I will say no to these things:
Communicating these boundaries to others.

Here are the steps to follow to set a boundary with someone.

Anger Management Workshop – Firm, Clear Boundaries Help Control Anger Triggers

Step one: Identify the reason someone is making a request of you. Make sure you understand the situation and know the reason for this expectation or request. Perhaps you might try asking a few questions to clarify things before proceeding with explaining your boundary decision.

Step two: Explain your situation. It is important to be honest, but there is usually no reason to be abrupt, sarcastic or cruel. You don’t actually owe most people a detailed explanation for your choices, but explaining your point of view may help them to understand that you are not attacking or rejecting them.

Step three: Enforcing the new boundary; usually this means saying no to a request or an expectation someone has laid on you.

Anger Management Workshop – Firm, Clear Boundaries Help Control Anger Triggers

Here is an example:
“It seems to me that what you are asking for is that I would sign up under you to be a distributor of a new long distance service which might eventually make us all very wealthy and allow us to retire in five years. Is that right? Even though I appreciate you thinking of me, the truth is that I have no interest in the offer, and I have no time to commit to it. So, I am going to say no, and I would also request that you not invite me to any more meetings.”

Setting boundaries puts you back in control of your life by empowering you to participate in decisions that affect you. As you become more effective at setting and enforcing boundaries, the need to use anger as a weapon against pressure from others will gradually ebb away.


If you struggle with out of control anger, or if you are concerned about someone who does, then you know how difficult it can be to find effective tools and programs to overcome this very destructive problem. Most options are very expensive, require months of therapy, and are still only marginally successful for many people. Why doesn’t someone create anger management lessons that are simple, inexpensive and which provide highly effective anger management strategies for conquering anger problems? Here’s good news – someone has!


Welcome to the Anger Management Training Institute! We offer a variety of Court Certified Anger Management Classes which include our Anger Programs and Online Courses, Seminars, and our award winning Online Class to help people just like you overcome Anger Problems through the simple but effective Anger Management Techniques which are practiced and learned in James A. Baker’s Best Selling Book “The Anger Busting Workbook” by Bayou Publishing. Our fast and effective Anger Courses, Classes, Workshops, and Anger Management Seminars have helped over 60,000 individuals just like you resolve their anger management therapy issues and regain complete control of their lives. Get fast Anger Management Help.

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