Gain insight by reading, exploring your history, and using awareness
techniques. Look for unconscious motives behind your anger. Were you
neglected, over-controlled, mistreated, or hurt as a child? Is there "unfinished
business" inside you that spills out into other relationships? Is it possible, if
you see other people as being inconsiderate, unfair, and mean, that you are
projecting your own negative feelings and hostile tendencies onto others?
Explore your thoughts and feelings that lie below the surface. Reading about
the sources of anger in others will help you find the origin of your own anger.
Maslin (1994) illustrates how anger can destroy a marriage. Her view is that the
dynamics are often unconscious, e.g. two people may fight all the time because they
both need excessive attention or need to be taken care of. Other couples may
constantly battle about jealous feelings or excessive attention to others of the
opposite sex, which may reflect underlying unconscious fears of loss or total
commitment. What you are angry about is often not the real problem. Reading can
help you find the secret causes.
Chapter 15 provides guided fantasies, dream analysis, focusing, Gestalt
exercises and other methods for increasing self-understanding of our anger.
An encounter group or self-help group can be especially helpful in uncovering
who we like and dislike--and why. It also helps us cope if we understand who
likes and dislikes us--and why.
It is possible to learn to relate and feel differently towards certain types of
people. Even if one has felt superior and been prejudice, extensive reading
about the abuse and awful conditions surrounding the American Indian, inter-
city Blacks, migrant workers, people in Third World nations, etc. may arouse
sympathy and a desire to help improve those conditions. Most people would
say, however, that it usually takes time and meaningful interaction with
individuals of the outgroup before one can truly claim to have overcome
his/her prejudices (See chapter 9).
Self-Help books and articles for anger problems
Id suggest starting with one fairly recent, professionally well
recommended book (try your library or a nearby university): McKay, M. &
Rogers, P. (2000), Beck, A. (1999), Ellis, A. & Tafrate, R.C. (1997), and
Tavris (1989). These are all good. As we have seen over and over again,
methods developed by research-oriented professions give leads to finding or
improvising self-help methods. See DiGiuseppe and Tafrate (2001) for a
comprehensive treatment model. Also, Schiraldi and Kerr (2002) have
gathered many anger control skills into an anger management sourcebook.
Expensive, well advertised programs have developed over the years, such as the
HeartMath Method (Childre, D., Rozman, D. & Childre, D. L., 2006), the Sedona
Method (Dwoskin, H. and Levenson, L., 2002), and other anger control methods and
workshops. These packages usually started with a simple book (about $15) that
grew to several books, a workbook, then audio tapes, video tapes, classes,
expensive workshops, and perhaps a series of individual therapy sessions are added.