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This is one of a series of articles on Lesson 4 - optimize your
relationships. These articles build on Lessons 1 - 3, and prepare you for
Lesson 5 (evolve a high-nurturance family) and Lesson 6 (effective parenting).
This brief YouTube video previews some of what you'll read
here. The video mentions eight self-improvement lessons - I've
simplified that to seven.
This article is for people
with "anger problems" in themselves and their
relationships. The article applies to all
relationships, including adults and kids. The article
anger 101 -
surface anger problems
primary anger problems
An anger "status
This article assumes you're familiar with...
intro to this nonprofit
Web site and the premises underlying
This article offers
perspective and options, not "quick fixes."
It provides practical options for (a) permanently reducing excessive anger and frustration in
you, andfor(b) responding effectively
to these behaviors in other adults and kids.
If you feel like
skipping the recommended readings above, you may be controlled by an
impatient false self.
My therapy client looked like a pro football player.In his late 40’s, this
big man sat on the couch with tears in his eyes, face screwed up like
a child. He said “My wife, the pastor, and our therapist all say that I have
an anger problem. I don’t see it!” This man's wife had
recently demanded that he move out of their home. They had married a year
before, full of plans and hopes - her second marriage, his first. His wife was talking mentalcruelty, abuse, and
divorce, despite the sincere covenant they’d made to each other
neglected as a boy, this anguished man wondered in his grief
if he’d die childless, alone, and unloved.
His wife could not tolerate the
he expressed his angers, and they could find no middle ground despite marital
and pastoral counseling.
Another client comes to
mind. She was a soft-spoken, sensitive diabetic Mom who weighed over 250
pounds before blurred vision and a blood-pressure surge scared her into losing
weight. She struggled with an unsatisfying marriage and job, excessive anxiety
about her only son, and trouble trusting a God who had allowed her to be
sexually molested as a young teen.
She had many reasons
to feel and express anger, but couldn’t. “I can’t get angry,” she said in a
little-girl voice, “I feel too
The one exception was with her
(wounded, unaware) husband, whom she scorned as a parent and a partner despite his best efforts.
from a disparaging father and her molestation, and her
repressed rage at her attacker, her mother dying when she was 13, and at an
uncaring God, were literally killing this mother as she turned 40. She
desperately wanted to live.
I could fill a book with
anecdotes of anger and frustration expressed by hundreds of
clients in my therapy office. I could add scores of tales of
seething unspoken rage that froze the faces and bodies of tormented
men and women, corroded their health and their relationships, and scared their kids.
My father, sister, and I grew up in such homes.
Is anger damaging or
nourishing your important relationships? Do
you avoid and/or get paralyzed by chronically angry adults
and kids? What are your and your family's
anger policies? Are they your own shoulds, oughts,
and musts, or have you unconsciously adopted someone else's, like your
parents; a mentor, or a religion? How is anger affecting the
nurturance level of your home and family? Have you ever thought or
discussed questions like these?
I suspect you’re reading
this because you seek to master some
“anger problems.” This article
proposes using anger
and frustration to
your relationships. Do you think that’s possible? This article offers core concepts, options,
and suggestions that you can adapt to help
use your anger as a
Your "Anger Profile"
Let’s start by you
interviewing yourself to learn something about you and anger.
Get undistracted, muse, and record your reactions to
each of these statements. Notice your feelings and thoughts as you do… T
= "true", F =
"false," and "?" = "I'm not sure."
I feel a mix of calm, grounded,
focused, "light," alert, aware, centered, purposeful, relaxed,"up,"
serene, and confident, somy
true Self is probably answering these
(T F ?)
see anger as a normal,
useful (vs. positive or negative) human emotion; and I
ability to feel angry as an asset in my life. (T F ?)
can tell the difference
between anger and frustration if I need to, and I know what
to do about each of these now. (T F ?)
other family adults see anger as a
useful emotion now, and they value their ability to feel and express
it. (T F ?)
What I learnedabout (a) feeling and (b)
expressing anger from key males in my childhood is … (what?)
What I learned about (a) feeling and (b)
expressing anger from key females in my childhood is … (what?)
I’m comfortable enough now with (a) how
I feel anger, and (b) how I express it with _ myself and _
other family adults and kids. (T F ?)
I’m comfortable enough now with how
our other family adults (a) feel and (b) express anger at _
themselves and _ other family adults and kids.
(T F ?)
_how to express
anger constructively with my mate, and _ I’m satisfied with how I've done
that recently. (T F ?)
I’m comfortable enough now with
how my mate expresses anger with me,
_ how often, and _ why s/he does.
(T F ?)
I can remain centered and aware (vs.
numbing out, fighting, or fleeing) when other people express anger at me now.
(T F ?)
None of our family
need to suppress significant anger now. (T F?)
I can _ clearly define the difference
and _ so can our other family adults. (T F ?)
My partner and I are able to
talk effectively about our marital
anger needs and conflicts.
(T F ?)
I can clearly describe our
home and family's policies (shoulds, musts, oughts, and have to’s)
about _ feeling and _ expressing
anger and frustration with each other now. (T F ?)
I want to _ show this profile to
other family members and _ discuss it with them. (T F ?)
Pause to reflect
on what you’re
feeling and thinking. If there are other items you want to
include in your profile, what are they? Jot down any questions, observations,
or actions that occur to you now, and review them after you finish this
article. Can you describe why you’re reading this
Let’s build on your anger
profile by exploring…
We humans are blessed with a marvelous range of
emotions: automatic neuro-chemical responses to our sensory perceptions.
without emotions would be robotic, meaningless, and probably brief, since
emotions promote our survival. Relationships that evoke few emotions are
boring, flat, and shallow. Have you experienced that?
Is it Anger
Do anger and frustration feel similar to you? You may feel
both at once, depending on the situation. Unaware
people often confuse these emotions and don't know the difference.
Frustration is a reflexive
response to being unable to satisfy current
Anger is usually triggered by hurt,
fear (e.g. a threat), and/or an injury.
this difference helps to respond appropriately to
each of these emotions in yourself and others. In relationship problem-solving, applying this
idea leads to "If you're angry with me, what am I doing (or not doing) that
hurts or scares you?" The same question helps understand and
resolve anger at yourself or another person.
Think of the last time you felt
"pretty angry." Were
you hurt or anxious, or did you feel unable to fill a key
need? Now think of your favorite "angry person." Is s/he
often hurt, feeling unable to reduce some discomfort, or both?
When you feel frustrated,
try asking "What need am I trying to fill
now?" When you're angry, try asking "What's causing my pain or
fear, and what are my options?"
expressing anger are different.Feeling it is
instinctive (hormonal and neurological). Expressing anger can be
controlled. Do you agree? Learning how to express anger and
frustration usefully ("impulse control") is a basic
Feeling emotions ranges from pleasurable (joy,
satisfaction, happiness, ecstasy) to very uncomfortable
(sorrow, agony, hurt, fear, shame, guilt, remorse, hatred,
terror, overwhelm, exhaustion, etc). Uncomfortable feelings
are often termed as "negative," which is associated with
Faces, bodies, and voice
dynamics broadcast anger even if we try to repress it.
Anyone denying or minimizing current
hurt and anger usually signals
false self controls
them - i.e. a subself feels it's not safe to feel or express anger
All emotions indicate current needs, which is
Relationships exist to fill mutual
needs, so emotions can help to identify and fill needs, and
nourish emotions. Do you agree? .
is Not "Negative"
Anger is an instinctive automatic reflex to guard against
injury, pain, and death. Your anger response is no more
than sneezing, urinating, coughing, or goose bumps. For several reasons,
unaware parents may teach kids that anger is negative or bad.
Parents rarely teach the difference between feeling and
expressing emotions. Did yours?
From this view, trying to repress feeling anger is
unhealthy - like trying to stop breathing or urinating. Trying to control expressing emotions can
help or hurt relationships and families. All families
develop rules about how and when to express various
emotions. What were the rules in your family about
expressing anger and frustration? Who made the rules? What
happened if you broke them?
Can you think of someone be who expresses anger or
frustration constructively? "Constructive" means
"strengthening mutual respect and trust." Now think of
someone who expresses these emotions destructively.
yelling / screaming
bringing up the past
One cost of being taught
that "being angry" is wrong is feeling you have to hide or repress it.
Another cost is feeling
guilt and shame for "feeling and/or
acting angry." Neither of these is justified, unless people
express the emotions destructively!
Imbalances in neural and
endocrine (hormonal) systems can cause harmful anger behaviors. These can be
hard to distinguish from wounded people who repress and
accumulate anger until it explodes. Competent psychiatrists can help to
differentiate and treat both of these. I suspect that organic imbalances can
be caused or amplified by serious
psychjological wounds – i.e. anger
explosions can be psychosomatic reactions.
Anger is emotional energy.
Energy used to change or create something is power.
help you to create relationships or
can damage them. Stay tuned for ideas on how to
use anger constructively.
A personal "policy" is a learned set of
beliefs + values + rules (shoulds, oughts, musts, and have
to's) that regulate our behavior and our opinions of
other people. From social training and
life experience, every adult and child evolves semiconscious policies about
feeling and expressing hurt, anger, fear,
needs, frustrations, and other emotions. Do you agree?
Our personal policies are created and enforced by our
Survivors of major early-childhood trauma are often unaware
of being controlled by Inner Children and their Guardian
subselves, They form and enforce our policies on feeling and
expressing our emotions.
perspective, read this
after you finish here.
policy is one which helps you and other people fill your needs, heal, and
grow.A toxic policy inhibits these. Have you ever identified your
anger and frustration policies? Can you describe other key people's policies? Can
See this Lesson-4
article on anger policies for more perspective.
How well people's anger and frustration policies mesh, and
how toxic or healthy their policies are, will shape whether
they have “major anger problems” with each other. This is
true of in each key relationship in your life, and with
Higher Power. Have you ever
identified your Supreme Being’s anger policy?
Anger and Healthy Mourning
and expressing pain and anger are essential phases of healthy
mourning. So repressing grief-related
or inhibiting them in other people will
stress you and/or them,
false-self dominance, and weaken relationships.
Typical kids and
adults always have significant prior
(broken bonds) to mourn.
is one of
five reasons for
U.S. divorce and "mental health problems." self-improvement
proposes how to understand and finish incomplete mourning. Adults' awareness of these anger
basics can help to do that!
take on a new perspective in the context of psychological
wounds. Adding this perspective will increase your
options to reduce and avoid “anger problems”
and between you and other people.
Anger and False-self
Premise - kids deprived of too
many psychological and spiritual
nurturances survive by automatically developing a group of protective
coping behaviors. Typical kids and parents aren’t aware of this, and regard the resulting attitudes and behaviors as “normal.”
Until in true
(Lesson 1), most adults (like you?) are unaware of...
subselves form their anger
and frustration policies and determine how they express
these helpful emotions.
Awareness of your
subselves can help you - or anyone - resolve all
your role and relationship
How and why do people like
my abuse-survivor mom client (and you?) repress their natural
anger reflex? I propose that different combinations of subselves cause this. For
example: you feel hurt, frustrated, and/or scared, and angry subselves naturally
start to activate.
Historian subself says "Every time we
showed anger (in childhood), we got ridiculed, punished, and rejected (hurt)."
Historian may also warn "Every time we’ve been around angry men / women
/ people we’ve gotten major pain!"
At the same time, your
Inner Critic and
Moralizer can sternly
decree "It’s shameful, to (a) feel anger and/or to (b) express it
publicly (or to certain people).” Your Catastrophizer may shrilly add “Don’t you dare feel or show anger! You know (something
awful) will happen!”
Abandoned and/or Scared young
fearful thoughts and feelings (“If we show anger,
(someone) will hurt me, and we
there’s no one to protect me!”). Your Shamed Child can add
inhibiting emotions and thoughts like “I don’t deserve to get my needs met.
I’m selfish and disgusting.”
Guilty Child may flood you with emotion and thoughts like “Oh NO! I’ve broken a rule again!”
People-Pleaser may plead “PLEASE don’t
feel (or show) anger, or Abandoned Child will be even more terrified!”
Your energetic Achiever may activate to distract you by
urging “Come on, get busy right NOW!” Still other
Guardian subselves may
flood you with weariness, and/or images and hungers for comforting sugars and
The emotional intensity and
clamor of these all these subselves overwhelms your wise
Self (capital "S"),
Spiritual subselves. To quell the
stressful uproar, your Guardian Numb-er rides to the rescue by controlling your glands so you don’t
feel hurt, scared, and angry.
Your Analyzer and/or Observer may
pitch in by distracting your Self with intellectual assessments of “What’s going
on here, and why?”
If your glands work and you do feel angry, your
clever Magician may convince you it’s some other emotion ("Naw -
you're just edgy and irritable.") .
If someone challenges this, this talented subself offers persuasive reasons why the
challenge is wrong. That gives ammunition to your
Warrior who distracts and defends by counterattacking (“There you go again, reading
my mind, telling me what I feel and blaming me.”)
All this happens in a few
secondsbelow your conscious awareness.
Little or no felt
hurt and anger, despite real
cause for it;
A chronic neuro-chemical
reaction which may weaken organs and/or your immune system. I suspect this
was contributing to my obese client’s weight, diabetes, and blood-pressure
problems and related anxieties at age 40;
The needs that
anger go unrecognized and unfilled, perhaps including the need to mourn;
passive-aggressive behavior and/or
("I am not angry!") that cause new
Part of your
identity (“I can’t or
don’t get angry.’) is strengthened.
promotes social reactions too, like distrust,
confusion, and anxiety.
Can you think of
kids or adults who cope with stress by reflexively repressing their hurt,
anger, and frustration and
perhaps denying or trivializing that? Each of them has a different set of inner-family
subselves and dynamics, but their outcomes are probably the same. Until they
learn about and want to change this protective reflex, repressing or numbing
uncomfortable emotions is
cause a cascade of other
degrade long-range personal serenity and health;
teach kids to inhibit
feeling or expressing some healthy emotions.
Have you ever considered the
causes and effects of repressing (numbing and denying) normal hurt, anger, and
frustration responses like this? Does the
above make sense to you? Does it apply to you and key adults and kids
in your life? If so, how is this repression affecting your
relationships and health?
Now let’s look at...
Emotions can be expressed
usefully or destructively Useful expression fills everyone's
needs in an acceptable way, and strengthens relationships. Destructive
expression blocks need-filling, and damages mutual respect and trust.
Three concurrent dynamics cause most
problems expressing anger and frustration: the
subself-interactions inside you + inside your partner/s +
between your groups of subselves. If each person is guided by their
true Self and wants to express intense emotions constructively (to
fill needs),anger "problems" are unlikely
Let's return to the story that opened this article. Unawareness
+ wounds + anger and frustration
outbursts were damaging my
client’s marriage and family. I suspect the “anger
problem” his wife accused him of boiled down to this: she and her son did
things that caused his subselves to feel ashamed, frustrated, guilty, or scared. Specifically, he felt his wife
chose her son over him,
and ignored his repeated protests and requests.
said his attempts to assert and problem-solve
harvested scorn, sarcasm, accusations, self-doubt, pain, and mounting
frustrations from his wife, not relief. Note:
neither he, his wife, nor their
pastor or marital therapist knew about...
this man's powerful
Rager, Rebel, and
broke free of restraining subselves and took over, to protect his inner Shamed, Scared, Guilty, and Abandoned
The former caused his voice to get loud and deep, his body to tense, his
face to scowl and flush, his voice tone to become domineering, and him to say forcefully “No more!”
He was referring to
the hurt he had bottled up from his stepson ignoring him, and his wife
accusing him of being “selfish,” an “ineffective stepfather” and “an abusive
husband,” and vehemently denying that she took her son’s side over his.
Underneath this outburst was
four decades of repressed anger, confusion, and sadness from
starting in his earliest years. These were magnified by
guilt, shame, and
other emotions related to the chemical
addiction he was managing.
This man’s boiling over and asserting limits scared his wife’s subselves
badly, and threatened them with the imminent loss of being in control
relationship. Her subselves couldn’t risk either of these, so they scornfully
pronounced that he had “an anger problem,” and demanded that he leave despite
his entreaties to work things out. When I asked her tormented husband if she'd
meet with him and me, she (her protective, distrustful false self) refused.
The Rageful Child subself
is born during agonizing neglect in our earliest years. S/He is usually stuck
in the past, and tantrums (screams, yells, throws things) hysterically when
core needs go unmet. This subself is primitive and emotionally volatile. S/He
has little wisdom or cognitive awareness to work with, and needs consistent
tender sensory comforting.
Rebel subself is often a teen. Part of her or his passion is irrational, normal defiance to assert and “do it (be) myself!” When part of a
ruling false self, the Rebel characteristically promotes black/white dramatic
thinking, sarcasm and c/overt criticism, and relentlessly arguing or sullen
silences, rather than listening, reasoning, and asserting calmly. Sound
Warrior / Amazon isanolder Guardian subself who promotes dedicated narrow-minded rage and
aggression to protect the tormented or terrified inner kids. The powerful
Inner Critic can contribute scathing anger too, often directed at the host
person (i.e. other subselves.) That activates the
Guilty and Shamed Kids, which causes… (more inner-family uproar).
These are common
inner-family elements of someone who causes personal and relationship
“problems” by the way they express their anger.Like the
scenario on p. 1, these forceful, passionate subselves don’t trust the resident
Self and other Manager
subselves to keep the
Inner Kids safe enough.
Do you know any chronically
angry adults or kids ("rageaholics")?
They're probably burdened with a
disabled true Self, related
wounds, and inner-family
chaos like the above. Most of them will stay "stuck" in the anger
grieving their losses until they understand and accept their wounds and choose to
with a parts-work strategy like this.
Until you and
key others are
aware of (a) your inner-family dynamics and (b) how to have your subselves trust your
respective true Selves to lead them, you probably aren't aware of your
Guardian subselves' effects on your health and relationships.
help your family adults understand, identify, and resolve “anger problems."
Recall: a problem is an unmet
personal need in, and/or conflicting
needs between, two or more people or subselves.
One result of psychological wounds is repression
or destructive expression of anger. Another result is people stressed with anger
and frustration problems react only to the surface issues, not these primary problems
learning how to give other able people
responsibility for their own lives, and to avoid feeling
over-responsible for their needs, behaviors, and frustrations.
More premises about frustration:
Adults and kids who are often
frustrated (i.e. who lack these requisites) are not bad -
wounded and unaware. They merit compassion,
not blame or ridicule!
motivated adult or teen can learn to acquire the requisites above and avoid or
reduce significant frustration among their subselves and in their
family and other relationships!
Any informed parent usually guided by their
true Self (capital "S") can model and provide these requisites to their
Attitudes and beliefs like these comprise your personal policy on expressingfrustration. Pause, breathe, and notice your
What are you aware of now? If you just discovered something useful, what is
Reality check - think of a major frustration in your life. Then with
your Self in charge,
to discover what unfilled
are causing your frustration. Then try to identify specifically what
prevents you from filling those needs. Review these
You just read some basic premises that contribute to your and your
family's policies on feeling and expressing anger and frustration.
As a therapist and
person, I've often witnessed and experienced common "anger" problems
between people. Though details and causes vary widely, the main themes are few.
A core theme is: the “anger problem” is usually not the problem.
Repressed or expressed anger is a symptom of unmet primary needs
in one or both partners. What follows is based on this premise.
Think of an adult or child with whom you have a significant "anger problem." See if
problem is some version of one or more of these symptoms:
We try to resolve various problems and
one or both of us starts or ends up angry and/or frustrated. This makes
the problem worse. At times the anger, or avoiding it, becomes our
focus, and our original needs get lost.
One or both of us
is significantly scared, guilty, and/or ashamed of (a) feeling and/or (b) expressing
our own anger. We express angry “timidly” (a
double message) or avoid assertion
and conflict, so our problems go unresolved, and
stress inside and between us
3) At times, one of us "loses
it," and "loses control" (of what?) in expressing
anger and/or frustration, according
to someone. Restated: one of us may get inappropriately angry, or angry “too
often,” in someone’s opinion. The angry behavior may escalate into threats,
verbal or physical aggression, or
abuse; which paralyzes the other person
(specially kids), or
they leave or explode, rather than
One or both of us, and/or other family
members, are significantly intimidated by these anger eruptions. The
“exploder” may have follow-up feelings of remorse and apologize, and repeat
the cycle again. Someone may call him or her a “rageaholic” or the like.
4)One or both of
us doesn't feel normal anger, despite clear causes for it.
Variation: one of us judges the other as being “passive-aggressive” (expressing resentment, frustration, and anger covertly, and denying it). Typical symptoms:
over-intellectual, paralyzed, or numb in conflictual, confusing, and
having impassive or frozen faces and bodies, and
flat, unexpressive voice tones, in tense or conflictual social situations;
chronic teeth grinding, facial tics, muscle spasms and tightness (shoulders,
neck), back pain, ulcers, and/or hypertension (high blood pressure); and/or...
tendency to overwork
(this can have many causes).
More common surface "anger
One or both of us
denies that s/he’s angry, and the other insists otherwise.
Possible symptom: One or both of you are (a) chronically "irritable" or angry
at "the world," each other, and/or others, (b) you don't know why, and
the chronic anger is corroding your relationship.
One or both of us
get angry, and other family members get drawn in to cause household or
family uproar. We do little or no effective
7) Our best attempts
to improve any of these, perhaps including therapy, don’t bring permanent
resolution and improvements.
Common results from focusing on
surface anger / frustration
problems like these include...
conflict avoidance, or too little
effectiveconflict resolution. This
increases personal and household
tension (dissatisfaction), and distrust of your resolution abilities.
These cause more inner and mutual (secondary) conflicts.
inconclusive, adult arguments
over surface problems that weaken the relationship, and raise kids' and
adults' frustrations and insecurities.
a child is acting out an adult's unexpressed
anger or is in a family-scapegoat
(victim) role, which
is defocusing the family's
attention from facing the adult anger problems;
a wide range of physical health problems,
causing family members chronic financial and related
"floating anxieties" and/or
depression. Some people feel that depression is “anger turned inward,”
which may come from healthy or incomplete grief.
Is this a fair summary of common
"anger problems" in your experience?
Now lets review...
Primary Anger Problems
Combinations of these core factors cause most (all?) surface angerproblems...
One or more angry people are ruled by afalse self before or during confrontations. A mix of fearful,
guilty, or shamed
subselves can (a) block your feeling
hurt or scared and angry; or
subselves like Rageful Child, Rebel, and/or
Warrior and maybe
others overwhelm your true Self, and cause “rage attacks” or “explosions.”
exploder's reactions afterward depend on their mix of other subselves. If s/he
has powerful Shamed and Abandoned inner kids, they'll
have one or several
AMagician ("It never
Peacemaker ("It was awful! It's
all my fault. I'm so sorry! Forgive me? Give me one more chance?”);
ABlamer ("Don't you see how you
made me get angry? It's your fault!"); or...
ASad / Depressed One ("I feel
so bad about it, I just can't get out of bed..."); etc.
There are many other possible active Guardian subselves, like
Whiner, Numb-er, Victim/Martyr, Addict, Distracter, etc. Often,
several Guardian subselves act at once to protect Inner Kids.
negotiate win-win resolutions
Reality check: can you name the seven skills and
when to use them now? Can your other family adults and older kids? Are you consciously using the skills
to fill your personal and mutual needs?
More common primary anger problems...
One or more people (i.e. your ruling
subselves) may haveunrealistic or harmful attitudes and beliefs about...
hurt, anger, neediness, and frustration ("They're negative!"),
hurt, angry, needy, or frustrated people ("They're
selfish, rude, weak, or bad!”), and
anger's causes and outcomes ("Anger never helps").
of you may be unaware of your anger and frustration policies (values
and rules), and/or you don't
know why or how to improve them. And/or...
One or more of you may be unclear on the difference between feeling and expressing
anger and frustration, and the implications of that; And/or...
One or more of you (a) are unaware of
these primary problems, or (b) you deny that they
apply to you, or (c) you minimize their importance.
The bad news: unrecognized, these core anger / frustration problems will degrade your health
relationships, and stress your family and others.
The good news: your family
adults can reduce or heal each of these primary “anger” problems, over time
- specially if you help each other do so!
and reflect - do these primary problems make sense to you? Do they seem
believable? If not, why? If so, are you motivated to assess for and reduce these problems
in your relationships now?
Expressing Anger and Frustration Constructively
unaware people express or repress anger and frustration automatically. Have you
known anyone whose way of expressing anger and frustration earned your respect?
Your disrespect? How would people describe
your way of expressing these normal emotions? What criteria do you use to
award your dis/respect?
Premise - expressing hurt, anger,
leaves all people involved feeling (a) safe, (b)
promotes each person involved filling their
nourishes, rather than stresses, the
self-respect and relationships among all people involved.
Would you edit these criteria in some way? Do they
fit the people whose anger-styles you admire?
Compare these sample expressions of
anger to what you usually say. Option - imagine how you would feel
react if someone said things like this to you - calmly, with comfortable eye
"When you (do or don't do ____________), I feel
hurt and (really) angry (and/or) frustrated!"
"I feel really
disrespoected by you now. That
hurts, and I feel resentful and angry!"
"When you put your needs and feelings ahead of
mine, I feel hurt, disrespected, resentful, and angry!"
"When you keep interrupting me, I feel
disrespected, hurt, angry, and frustrated!"
"When you don't keep your commitments to me, I
feel disrespected, hurt, and angry!"
"When you neglect yourself, I feel worried,
ignored, and frustrated!"
"When you won't help me (fill some current
need), I feel (really) disappointed and frustrated!"
"When you need to avoid taking responsibility
for your actions and you deny that, I feel frustrated, and I lose respect for
I feel frustrated because you won't join me
in evolving a constructive anger policy for our family."
"It really makes me feel used, disrespected,
hurt, and angry that my boss
ignores my needs and expects me to work so much overtime without extra
pay or time off."
"It hurts and frustrates me when you pay
more attention to your child than to our daughter."
"I feel REALLY frustrated, hurt, and angry
that you ignore my requests (disrespect me), and keep making major
purchases without consulting me!"
"I'm pretty frustrated. I need you to
"You seem really frustrated. Can you say
what you need, and what prevents filling it?"
Options - scan these common communication tips and blocks,
and then go back over each example above and imagine what a destructive
expression would sound like.Note what is not part of
these examples -
name-calling, swearing, and labeling ("you are so insensitive..."),
generalizing ("you always / you never..."),
hinting ("I'm sort of bothered that
blaming ("You make me throw things!")andthreats,
bringing up multiple problems, and...
focusing on the past or the future.
you've just read is abstract and theoretical.
How can you put these ideas to work
for you and the people you care about?
looking at specific options to use anger and frustration constructively, see
where you stand: T =
"T(rue); F = F(alse), and "?" = "I'm not sure" or "It depends on..." (what?)
that my relationship with ________ would significantly improve if we resolve some
primary “anger problems”
together. (T F ?)
describe what “false-self dominance” is, and I know how to
assess for it in me and
other people. (T F ?)
(a) the anger
problems I have with ________ are surface problems (symptoms), and that
truly resolve them, we need to identify and fill the primary needs causing them. (T F ?)
I can (a)
clearly describemy and my family's anger policies (beliefs and values) now; and (b) I feel we can
upgrade them if they significantly lower our family's
(T F ?)
I accept that
I am causing halfof any
“anger problems” with (someone), though I may not see how yet. (T F ?)
describe(a) what a
personality subself is, and (b) thedifference between an
problem and an
interpersonal anger problem now. (T F ?)
clearly describe why I'm
reading this article, and whether I’m getting what I need here, so far. (T F ?)
I feel some mix of calm,
centered, energized, light, focused, resilient,
up, grounded, relaxed, alert, aware, alive, serene,
purposeful, and clear; and I believe
true Self is guiding my personality now. (T F ?)
Pause, breathe well, and
observe your thoughts and emotions now.
Everything you’ve read so far is “what are the problems with feeling and
expressing anger and frustration?”
Now let’s look at your…
and others have some
significant “anger problems” now, you can...
Deny or trivialize
the problems, intellectualize (analyze and explain) them, and/or postpone
resolving them. Or you can…
you have a problem, but do nothing now. Endure
the short and long-term consequences together, and rationalize or deny you’re doing this.
The consequences may include unintentionally
kids psychologically, not teaching them how to use anger
constructively, and risking relationship damage or loss. Or you can...
Blame someone for
your mix of (surface) anger problems. Avoid taking responsibility for resolving your part and for asserting your
primary needs. Or...
Consciously try to resolve your surface anger problemswith or
without professional help, and cope with mounting frustration and anxiety
over time; Or you can learn how to...
keep your true Self
your personality in calm and
stressful situations (Lesson 1), and...
validate all your emotions as natural
and useful, and learn to...
anger from frustration in you and
feeling anger and frustration
from expressing it; and
you can learn to......
identify and assert your needs and
boundaries effectively (Lesson 2); and
learn how to relate
and respond to wounded, unaware
adults and kids (Lessons 2 and 4); and you can learn to...
use anger and frustration
energy constructively - i.e. to
problem-solve and enhance your relationships and mutual respects (Lesson 2).
your thoughts now. Can you imagine committing to learn these powerful
This Lesson-4 article is for people who seek to understand and reduce "anger problems"
in their lives. It proposes:
the important difference between (a) anger
and frustration and (b) feeling an emotion and expressing it;
feeling emotions is healthy and normal,
never "negative." Expressing emotions can be controlled, and may be
"negative" (harmful); and...
how normal personality subselves affect
feeling and expressing anger and frustration; and...
anger problems, and a set of primary needs underlying them, and...
specific options for using anger/frustration