Misperceptions about anger management

by Sep 26, 2013Anger Management Counseling, Rage

It’s time to clear up some misconceptions about anger management.

It’s all guys.

No it isn’t. Anger is an equal opportunity defense mechanism, and women are as troubled by it as men.

They are all out of control.

Well, yes. When they are in the grip of a rage attack, they are “out of control.” However, these are some of the most moral and tightly controlled folks you will ever meet. And that’s part of the problem. Water dammed up and unleashed can obliterate a city downstream. And so it is with anger and rage.

Meditation is the answer.

Meditation can be one of the answers. But to assume that 20 minutes of daily quiet contemplation will overmake an ancient and powerful defense is nuts. Rage emits from a primitive part of your brain. All the considerations you have about getting angry are in a less powerful and more recent part. A committed program of exercise, a 12-step program, prayer, meditation and yoga can begin to tackle this mental habit. Your anger has a REASON and that reason needs to be said out loud and amplified and echoed and elaborated and empathized with and then healed. There are no tips, there are no tools. It’s not easy or quick. It takes time to create an angry response, and it takes time and careful listening to mine this experience for the unexploded ordinance hidden in it.

So then what is it?

It’s a symptom. Of depression. Of trauma. Of disorganizing shame. Of despair or intolerable anxiety. Of self-loathing. It’s loud and it pushes people away. Tears and shakiness might bring help. This person learned that there isn’t any help, so the cry for help contains a shove and a diss and a frisson of terror.

It’s getting worse.

You got me there.

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Elizabeth Singer is a therapist and anger management specialist in New York City

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The Difference Between Anger and Rage