Anger Management Journal

Postby james_t » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:04 pm

Hello everyone,

My name is James and I am 34.

I actually used this wonderful forum and wrote a daily journal for one year on the addictions section starting on Monday 28th February 2011 (the day my life changed). I was a ten year daily pot smoker but am now 5 and a half years completely smoke free thanks in major part to the wonderful people (users and admin) who make this forum what it is. Reading the stories here and journaling my daily struggles and successes played a huge part in motivating me to stay clean.

Given the above it occurred to me recently how valuable it may be for me to journal the next journey in my life; eliminating my issues with anger. I have a terrible tendency to get really angry (infuriated) at my partner over the smallest things and have lost 2 people I love due to this. I don't know why she still sticks around but I know this is the last chance for me to make changes not only for my relationship but also for other areas in my life affected by this.

I have dabbled in a spiritual path in the past to curing what I consider to be a terrible disease but I feel like only now that I am free of my drug addiction am I ready to face this second challenge head on.

I am currently reading "Don't get Mad get Wise" by Mike George (for third time) in conjunction with watching lots of youtube videos by various people who have studied this topic in depth and trying educate myself on the root causes of why we get angry and potential ways of preventing ourselves causing this self harm to ourselves and others around us.

I have reached the following early conclusions:
- I create anger within myself. I am responsible no one or nothing else. External events do not cause the anger it is an independent decision I make myself to react with anger (emotion) to the event in question. Currently I lack control over this process but over the course of the next few months (and eventually a life time) of daily assessment and practice I hope to back gain control
- It is not necessarily possible to control all my thoughts and feelings of emotions but by catching them early enough through a process of awareness - I can prevent them wreaking havoc.

It is the second point I am really trying to focus on - becoming aware of my emotions/anger as it occurs. Talking to it. Seeing it as an independent "object" not part of me. Understanding it and through this process hopefully eliminating it. I plan to do this through daily meditation every morning starting off with just a few minutes at first and then assessment of how my day's situations and how I reacted and want to journal this journey here. I find doing this helps as it makes me accountable to doing this every morning/evening. Day 1 tomorrow. Lots to learn. Excited by the journey ahead.

I am not here to preach in any way and certainly do not have the answers and am not giving any advice, I understand different things work for different people and everyone;s situation is different. I am new to this and I have a lot to learn but am here to share my journey and learn from others.

I wish you all success and hope you all achieve the goals you have set out for yourselves.

Thanks, James
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Postby Leo Volont » Sat Sep 03, 2016 1:03 pm

Dear James

Welcome to this Corner of Uncommon Knowledge. I have no doubt but that you will be an absolutely Splendid Addition to our little Anger Management Family. You certainly have the Right Attitude.

Some of your History reminded me of my own. For instance, I had been ‘into’ Spirituality and supposed that being Spiritual would automatically keep me from getting Angry. Well, the only thing Spirituality does in regards to Anger is to make one feel Guilty about it, and, yes, we DO wish more people would have the Self-Consciousness and Awareness to at least feel “Guilty” about their nasty Angry Habits. But Spirituality is not that very well equipped for actually addressing Anger as a Problem and then Systematically Fixing It. Just feeling Bad About One’s Anger is not enough to actually Change any of the Causes and Underlying Dynamics that underlie the Anger. In fact, with the Sensibility that one’s Self is “Highly Evolved and Spiritual”, well, that may make one’s Anger even Worse! You see, that in many cases Anger is Caused by Frustrations and Disappointments, and Who is in a better positon for being Frustrated and Disappointed then a Self-Consciously Spiritual and Highly Evolved ‘Soul’.

You really seem to like the book "Don't get Mad get Wise" by Mike George… you read it 3 times. Anyway, I was curious and so I looked it up on A… that Big On-Line Distributor. Well, its author seems like one of those New Age Seminar People. They write books about Anything that their “Target Audience” might buy, and they do it with all the intensity of somebody doing a homework assignment that they will get paid for. I suspect their Publishers respect their Author’s Business Plan, and so they lay plenty of Tested and True Materials at their Author’s disposal, and Especially Stuff that Tests Well in Public Surveys (Who Cares about the Truth… Sell People what they Want to Buy). I suspect in many cases that the Publishers actually Write the Books themselves, and hire the “Authors” because they seem to look like they can Sell It Well at the Seminars. Yes, while Authors are about making Money, for the Publishers it’s their Life Blood Business, and I doubt whether they would wish to Depend Upon an Author for Results in Anything they Know they could do Better Themselves. And about the Seminars… well, Who can’t memorize a few easy Feel-Good Warm and Fuzzy New Age Platitudes… and just keep repeating them over and over again for an entire Weekend… and SMILE a lot. And be cute so that the Women, and even some of the Men, will Swoon over you. THAT is most New Age Authors. But, yes, your Favorite – Mike George – well, certainly he must be the Exception that Proves the Rule. It is truly remarkable how such a Knowledgeable and Dedicated Anger Management Expert was able to succeed so well On His Own Professional and Ethical Terms in such a Corrupt, Predatory and Putrid circle as the New Age Book and Seminar Business. Well, That should be enough of my Pet Rant… But my calm and considered experience of such books, given a wider exposure to the Anger Management Literature, well, it is exasperating how simplistic and pandering such Professional Authors who Write About Everything can be.

Here is a suggestion. Why not read Anger Management Books written by Educated and Trained Professionals. You know, people who actually Know and have Worked With Anger Management Professionally, well, they write Books too. One of my favorite authors is Ronald Potter-Efron. He is a Psychologist, and while he has written a number of books, they have ALL been about Anger. You should read the Reviews and pick the one you think you would like the best, or that you think best suits your needs. But there is one Book that I tend to re-read and it is “Anger Management” by Peter Favaro, who by Profession is a Forensic Psychologist. What recommends his book is its superior organization – though a bit overblown and ambitious at times, I have found that it treats More of Anger better than Most Books.

Oh, may I share a couple of my Favorite Tips? First: I have found that most cases of serious and explosive Anger are propelled for the most part by a large surge of Adrenaline – the Fight or Flight (or Freeze) Hormone or Secretion. So many people complain of Instantly Blowing Up, and it always sounds to may as though Adrenaline is the Culprit. But the important thing to understand is that Adrenaline is NOT Instantaneous. If One Becomes Aware and Sensitive to it, then one can Notice the First Telltale Sign of an Oncoming Adrenaline Rush. The Books often mention this. Personally I have found that The Very First Indication of an Adrenaline Release is in the Tightening of the Jaw Muscles – Clenching the Teeth. By Noticing THAT I am able to Shut Down the Adrenaline Rush before it has a chance to become Generalized throughout the Nervous System. One has to Act Quickly because there IS Something to the General Public Perception that Angry Blowups are Instantaneous, as I believe a person has Less Than Two Seconds to shut down an Adrenaline Rush. Hauling One’s Self down out of an Anger Episode after a Full Charge of Adrenaline has swamped the Nervous System, well, I don’t think that too many people have been able to totally Master that Skill. Adrenaline just seems to Earthy and Primal to be compatible with Polite and Civilized Conduct.

Another one of my Tips… and you may be practicing this already… is to NEVER use swear words. Swear Words, in Every Language and Culture, seem to be the Gate Keepers to Anger. The First Sign of Diminished Self Control in almost Every Case of Anger is the Onset of Swearing. Yes, it may be argued that Swearing and Anger are only Incidentally Connected, but through Practice and Extended Observation I have come to believe that it is just simply More Difficult, if Not Impossible, to Work Up a Red Hot Anger Episode if one maintains correct and publically accepted Language Forms. Also, even if One IS Angry, as long as one continues to use Polite and Civilized Language, well, HOW Would Anybody Even Know that you are Angry? People would tend to conclude only that you were ‘Flustered’ or ‘Upset’… but you would be free from the Odium of having been perceived as overtly Angry. It could be the difference between Keeping or Losing the Job… Keeping or Losing the Friend or Loved One.

Well, that should be enough for this evening. Again, Welcome to this cozy little corner of Uncommon Knowledge.
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