Resentment Blocks Love and Closeness

Resentment: “Bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly”

I learned about resentment when I was sixteen years old and basically had two things on my mind. The second thing was getting a car. I saw myself as a responsible boy who earned good grades, was no trouble to anybody and basically had a clean record.

So, I approached my dad about getting a car. Not a new car, mind you. Just transportation to get me to school, to work (part time) and, of course, to perhaps have more of an opportunity to take care of the first thing that was on my mind.

My father was old school when it came to parenting. He pronounced that a 16 year old wasn’t responsible enough to have a car and I couldn’t have one until I was at least 35. No negotiating. No discussion. End of conversation.

Today I am 70 years old and still remember the incident and the deep resentment I felt toward him – not because he said no – but because I perceived that my feelings didn’t matter to him on an issue that was a major part of my life at the time. And I deeply felt that I was being treated unfairly based only on my age classification instead of being judged for me as a person, on my own merits.

I couldn’t help feeling resentment toward him. But, I never expressed it. I just held back emotionally when I was with him after that, at least for a time. Of course I eventually got over it (and in full disclosure, he did let me drive the family car), but for a time I was much less eager to go that extra mile to do things for him, share things with him, or be in his life.

Most of us have had the experience of being treated unfairly – or at lest of having has the perception of being treated unfairly. Resentment often follows- even if the offending person doesn’t realize it.

(Side-note: A few years ago I mentioned the car incident to my now very aged father. He had no recollection of it whatsoever).

We can talk about resentment as being the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about or acknowledge, yet it is there. It is the wall that becomes erected between people which blocks good feelings or love from being experienced.

Resentment often doesn’t rage or even scream. It often just sits there looking innocent as it smiles at you, but underneath it is boiling and stewing. It spends much time plotting revenge or getting even so think on getting a mouth guard. Eventually it destroys love. In intimate relationships, it often kills sexual desire.

We can imagine love as being in a bottle. Then, resentment is the cork that prevents love from getting or expressing itself.

Love may try to escape by sneaking around the cork, but at best, just a little will get out.

As you think back over your life, has resentment bottled up love you had for a relative, for a friend, a partner, a child, a sibling, a parent?

You loan money to a close friend who doesn’t pay it back. Now that is all you think about when you see them or talk to them. Your good feelings toward that person are blocked.

You feel resentment toward your intimate partner whom you feel over controls you and your life. Suddenly you lose all sex desire for that partner and want to rebel against him or her.

You are your partner are living together and now it is time to buy a house. They make much more money that you do and want a pre-nuptial to protect themselves in case things don’ t work out. You are highly resentful that they don’t have more commitment to making it work.

As we teach in our anger management classes and explain in our workbook, dealing with the emotion of resentment is not easy for many reasons. It often involves sitting down and asking yourself what basis need is being blocked that is causing the resentment in the first place.

Then, the trick is communicate to the other person that you have the resentment, the reason you have it, and how you propose things get rectified or fixed. In short, talk about it instead of holding it in and suffering – or feeling guilty because you have the resentment in the first place.

It takes courage to do this sometimes, bu the payoff can be tremendous, as discussion often clears the air, relieves that pressure inside of you, and allows those love feeling to again flow.

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Anger Management As a Business- A Personal Journey

People often ask how I got into anger management. Actually, the truth is that ten years ago I was looking for a supplemental mental health business to my clinical practice that was cash-based, so I wouldn’t have to rely on unstable insurance payments for my livelihood, I found it necessary to acquire private health insurance.

As I recall. I was having coffee with a friend of mine who is a Bail Bondsman in Southern California, who deals with anger people every day. When I expressed my frustration with the insurance limits on my clinical practice, he said “why don’t you get into anger management?”

Somehow that resonated with me, even though I had never thought of it before, planning to get into home health care services. Seemed like it would fit my personality, fit my professional background as a psychologist, and would be good for the world.

And it would be a cash-based business.

I quickly discovered I could receive certification as an anger management facilitation by attending about 16 hours training by a leader in the field. (Interestingly, there are no state regulations for the practice of anger management) Of course, I was fully qualified under my psychologist license, bu the truth is you do not have to be professionally state licensed to do it. Visit for more info .

After completing my certification training, I hired someone to put up a website for me which I named The Anger Coach. Very soon I received my first call from a local business owner who said he wanted to come in that afternoon with a cash payment for anger management for himself plus his two sons. explaining he said “If my two sons are so angry, they must getting it from somewhere so I need help too.”

At that point, I was encouraged, very excited, and I knew I was in business. For about two years I conducted classes several times a week, using the system in which I had been trained. But relationships became strained with mother ship. Another provider who was tethered to the same ship was having similar troubles, so we had lunch one day and decided to develop our own system of anger management which we thought would be a vast improvement over the system in which we had been trained.

Hence, Century Anger Managementwas born along with the client workbook Anger Management For The Twenty-first Century”

Our next step was to start training other people how to do it. This we started to do with much success. holding certification trainings through California. Then we added an online training so we could certify people in our system across the country and in other parts of the world.

At this point, we have certified hundreds of qualified people, including many military providers who use our system to help returning troops handle their emotions when back with their families. Our system is also used in many substance abuse rehabilitation facilities, correctional facilities, and faith-based community programs.

The personal reward value to all this has been tremendous. Anger Management has doubled my income over the last ten years and provides a great feeder into my private therapy practice. The success of our company also taught me that instead of complaining,stressing, and demanding, it is often much more productive to find a way to build a better mousetrap – at any age. (I was about 60 years old when all this started).

I still conduct local classes twice a week from which I get constant feedback from clients about their struggles in communicating with others and managing their anger. They tell me what works for them – and what doesn’t. I listen and often make changes to the system based on their feedback.

For instance, I am learning that having a partner attend a class or two greatly increases the success of the primary client. The system just works much better if both people understand it and are on board with it. The next step will be to find a way to make this happen on a regular basis; the challenge, of course, is that many times the partner does not see themselves as part of the problem!

I see another mousetrap in my future…….

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Anger Management in Action: How Can I Be More Patient?

body language-angry young woman

Meet 25 year old Julia who came to our local anger management class for help with the question “How can I be more patient?”

Seems that Julia was constantly irritated with other people.She tried not to be, but her impatience and irritability constantly leaked out with her body language, her attitude, and her sarcasm.

She was not angry in the classical sense of the term- that is, she did not blow up, she did not yell, she did not explode. But she was constantly frustrated, she was often very stressed out, and she found herself almost always disappointed in people around her. This included co-workers as well as loved ones at home.

Inside her head she was saying to herself things like:

  • how can they be so stupid?
  • why they they do it right?
  • why can’t they think like I do?
  • Julia was very bright. She was also a very quick thinker, often two or three mental steps ahead of those around her.This made is difficult for her to be accepting of others who might not have been quite as mentally agile as her, or to tolerate people who had a different thinking style from hers.

    Julia’s problem has its roots in her expectations of people and things. Learning to recognize and adjust expectations is anger tool #6 in our system of anger management as is explained in detail in our anger management book titled “Anger Management for the Twenty-First Century.”

    The gap between what we expect and what we get creates many negative emotions including disappointment, anger, and chronic unhappiness. Learning to adjust expectations is a process which begins with being mindful of what are expectations are to begin with. Mindfulness involves becoming aware of what is occurring in your or body without judging it.

    Awareness without so much judgment is not easy because we live in a society in which we are constantly taught to judge things. Often we “should” ourselves to death throughout our lifespans – convinced that we “know” what is best, what he truth is, exactly how to do things, how others should be or live, etc.

    On the job, we get frustrated because employees don’t “own” their work or don’t buy into the company vision like we do as managers. Adjusting your expectations involves reminding yourself that if they saw things as you did, they would have YOUR job.

    Adjusting your expectations at home requires you to remember that much of what you get upset about involves opinions about how things “should” be – not absolute facts. Just because you believe something doesn’t automatically make it true; your partner may have an equally valid belief or opinion.

    As Julia learned these thought skills, she gradually did become more patient and less angry. She was able to accept that sometimes truth is a point of view, that others have a right to their opinions (even though they may be wrong), and that just because we want something or someone to be a certain way does not mean that they are that way, want to be that way, or that they necessarily even should be that way.

    Finally, Julie learned to accept that many people do indeed have limitations; that does not mean we should get angry at them because of their limitations. Yes, some people are indeed mentally slow, have an irritating personality, have limited skills to do things, have the wrong values in life, are lazy, etc etc. But, I ask, why get ANGRY over these things? Other response possibilities would include ignoring them,having compassion for them, helping them, giving them much more latitude, etc.

    Think about it! Feel free to leave a comment below.

    Anger Management in Action: Forgiving an Affair

    Jim and Mary had what appeared from the outside to be a good marriage. They met in Australia, but ten years later found themselves building a comfortable life in Southern California with 2 children,a mortgage, and stable careers in music.

    It was a Tuesday afternoon when Mary discovered that Jim had been having an affair for the last three years with his first love in high school She made the discovery accidentally while causally going through his cell phone texts when he was in the shower.

    As many partners would, Mary went ballistic, her anger and rage fueled by deep feelings of hurt and betrayal. For 12 hours straight she demanded that he tell her everything – every encounter they had, every sexual detail, every intimate thing he had told her about their marriage, etc.

    Anger Management would clearly be an essential component of any successful affair recovery process that Jim and Mary would undertake.

    While Jim was terrified of losing his family and his life as he knew it, managing her justified anger was Mary’s challenge. Because her ego and self-esteem were severely injured and trust in Jim had been shattered, she was sure she would never be able to forgive Jim for his behavior.

    As a consequence, she asked him to leave the house, a request he complied with after talking to his children. Jim was clearly a man slinking away from his previous life full of shame, guilt, and regret.

    In our local anger classes and in our online anger management program, we teach that forgiveness is often an essential tool of successful anger management. This was most certainly true of Mary.

    Therapy started by recommending two books to Mary, both written by Dr. Janice Abrams-Spring: After The Affair and How Can I Forgive You? In her later book, Genuine Forgiveness is reframed as an intimate dance, a hard-won transaction, which asks as much of the offender as it does of the hurt party.

    Following Dr. Spring’s recommendations, in therapy Jim learned how to perform bold, humble, heartfelt acts of repair to earn forgiveness, such as bearing witness to the pain he caused, delivering a meaningful apology, and taking responsibility for his offense. At the same time, Mary learned to release her obsessive preoccupation with the affair, to accept a fair share of responsibility for what went wrong, and to create opportunities for Jim to make good.

    An excellent book on sexuality and the meanings of marital infidelity “Mating in Captivity” written by Esther Perel was also recommended to the couple who found it quite helpful and enlightening.

    Jim and Mary made it – their marriage ultimately not only survived, but thrived. On Jim’s part, among many other things, he learned how to communicate much more assertively(another tool of anger management) to his wife instead of “stuffing” his feelings about things that bothered him. For her part, after learning to forgive her husband, she turned her attention to her sexual inhibitions and attitudes which had caused Jim much sexual frustration in their relationship.

    AngerCoach Show – Episode #15 – Peace at any price?

    This month we discuss the whether the concept of “Peace at any price” is really valid when dealing with issues that come up in marriage. When dealing with problems in any relationship, assertive communication will often yield better results because it communicates feelings better than simply “clamming up”.

    AngerCoach Show – Episode #11 – Anger and Sex

    This months episode we discuss the relationship that sex and anger share. As a practicing Psychologist and Marriage Therapist, I have come across many couples who experience sexual frustrations in their relationships. Often times anger can arise from sexual frustration, and as this episode discusses, sexual frustration can result from anger. In this podcast we teach four practical and easy-to-employ techniques for reducing sexual frustration and anger in your relationship.

    Please note: This anger program and these anger tips are not meant to substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or advice. If you have intense, serious or chronic anger problems, or you have to deal with someone else who does, you should immediately consult a mental health or medical professional for help.

    Introducing: The AngerCoach Mobile iPhone/iPod Touch app!

    The AngerCoach Mobile

    We are very excited to announce the release of the AngerCoach Mobile iPhone/iPod Touch app available in the iTunes app store!

    With the pace of technology catching up to our busy schedules we feel this new platform is the ideal way to deliver the timely and practical content the AngerCoach provides. People of all ages and backgrounds can access these useful anger management tools in the palm of their hand. Not only does the app provide skill building tools for the 8 tools of anger control, but it provides an easy way to monitor your progress and access constantly updating tools for 6 unique anger zones.

    Click here to download the app via the App Store, and remember to tell us what you think!

    Anger Coach Free Resources: Blogs, Podcasts and Videos

    Dr Fiore/ The Anger Coach continues to produce educational materials to help individuals, couples, and families deal with anger, conflict, and stress. Just click on the resource listed below to access the material. Feel free to pass on the material to anyone who you think might benefit from it.


    Blogs and Podcasts

    Conflict Resolution- How to apologize correctly to resolve a conflict.

    Family Stress- 6 tips for parents to handle child anger.


    Quick Anger Tips

    empathy video


    Anger Coach Free Articles

      iStock_000009458411XSmallThe Anger Coach provides many free articles on a variety of topics including relationship anger, family matters, anger on the road, workplace anger and coping with other people such as the bully and the passive-aggressive person. Simply click on the link of interest to you and you will be taken to the article.