Facing Anger

Meditations on Anger and Metabolizing Grief and Hate- Not easy but a worthwhile practice

I teach people practical tools to maintain their presence in the face of anger. Politically or in the therapy office, Anger is not going away any time soon.

As a couples therapist, I witness a lot of anger which can be prolonged grief, a protest, and feeling of hopelessness in not getting through to another person. Anger often invites a communication problem; almost always includes blame, with a demand that the “other person” change. When we are in the grips of anger, we often make demands and don’t get our needs met, because anger comes across as disdain, contempt, or at it’s worst a threat of violence.

Sometimes “other people’s” anger can take us aback, leave us blind sighted and stunned.

What I remember of childhood was that anger was rarely expressed in my family. I felt like it was bad manners and I was definitely taught to avoid it. As a child, I was taught to be afraid of it and felt totally unprepared to deal with it. Now I train therapists to realize clients can be secretly mad at us as therapists, and if a therapist naively fails to recognize our clients’ occasional anger at us, the result can lead to more than disappointment. We need to ask clients on a regular basis- What am I not getting that could change everything? We are not playing innocent bystanders but actively participate in the healing process. In any good relationship, when we recognize essential conflicts, rather than ignoring what is most important to those important to us, honoring anger becomes a means to become closer; otherwise, we risk derailing the best of relationships.