Cognitive Restructuring For Anger Management--Part II
In my capacity as an outpatient psychologist of over twenty-five years,
I run across eight issues, over and over. Anger management is a mindset
that negatively colors every one of them, if not addressed. In the previous
article, I addressed some ways to mitigate uncontrolled anger, using not well
known Cognitive Restructuring techniques. Pleas read the
previous article on this subject.
Be realistic. Sometimes, our anger and frustration
are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives.
Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural
response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural
belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our
frustration to find out that this isn't always the case.
The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not
to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle
and face the problem. There are many injustices in the world,
and no amount of effective anger management will change this.
If you are stuck in circumstances beyond your control,
make a coping plan, and check your progress along the way.
Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself
if you regress or can’t change negative reality. If you can
approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a
serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to
lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the
problem does not get solved. Sometimes life can be just awful.
We all lose jobs or suffer the death of someone close. During
these times, your priorities might better be focused on the nature
of reality, not stuck in your emotional reaction to it. For
those who fail to negotiate such experiences, chronic pessimism
and negativity can result. For those who transcend life’s potholes,
spirituality may take root. Be open to trying different behaviors.
The usual ones sound like they came right out of a Boy Scout’s manual,
so I’ll just list them. Be: direct, honorable, focused, persistent,
courageous and passionate. Recognize what is appropriate vs.
Lastly, is it good to "let it all hang out?" Is it good to just
unload somewhere when all else fails? Some psychologists say this is
a dangerous idea, citing that people can use this notion later to
justify hurting others. Some psychologists say that "letting it rip"
actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you
(or the person you're angry at) resolve the situation.
I think this is generally true, especially for current conflicts.
However, there is one technique that I have found to be fruitful for
people who have suppressed or repressed lots of anger over a long period
of time, and who have nowhere else to turn to vent. Because this is a
special case, I have described this in Appendix B at the end of my ebook,
Anger Management, Types I and II. monograph. This technique is not