Get the FREE e-Book, The Eight Tools of Anger Control from Dr Tony Fiore

Can a Relationship Survive Anger?

Contrary to popular opinion (even among professionals), anger isn’t necessarily bad or destructive to a relationship. All couples have conflicts and frustrations. It is not the anger itself that separates successful couples from other couples. Rather, what separates them is how anger is handled and how the partners communicate with each other while angry over the issues that bother them.

For instance, communicating with sarcasm or contempt are very destructive modes of communication that will bring down a relationship if done too often or too intensely. Another very destructive pattern of anger is something called passive-aggressive where the hostility is kept undercover, but the partner “gets even” with the other with snide remarks, emotional withdrawal, or underhanded actions which sabotage the other.

On the other hand, research shows that communicating anger in a straightforward way can be healthy for a relationship, as long as it is done correctly. For instance, successful couples use what is known as a “soft startup” which does not antagonize the other causing them to stop listening to you.

Furthermore, successful couples have the ability to complain but not criticize the other over an issue that is bothering them. Registering a complaint can be  healthy for a marriage, but attacking the character of your partner(criticizing)  over the issue is not.

As we teach in our anger management classes and in our online anger programs, successful relationships depend on partners having learnable skills to make the relationship successful. Among these is the skill of expressing and communicating anger in ways that resolve the conflict, that don’t drive an emotional wedge between the partners, and that allow both partners to feel better about things later.

 

Accepting Others With Limitations is a Challenge For Some

“I worked hard for my knowledge,” Bob said in a session, but “others want to drain me of my knowledge and skill so they won’t have to do the hard work themselves to learn it.” “Besides, they are so stupid and they are unmotivated to improve themselves.”

Bob was very much into self-development and self-improvement and thought everyone should be too. He would quickly become angry when he encountered people who just “settled,” were happy with an average life and saw no need to improve themselves.

Perhaps you recognize yourself or someone close to you in Bob. The following two thinking errors are causing  angst and anger in Bob and others who think like him:

1. That self-development is a universally good thing and everyone should do it. I would ask; “Why?” In my opinion, people have a right to NOT develop their full potental if they chose to live their lives that way. Who are we to judge others and what is good or bad for them? Besides, how do we know when people are at their full potential? Human beings often misjudge others and expect more out them than is realistic or possible.

2. That everyone has equal capacity to improve themselves. I believe that the motivation and ability to constantly improve oneself is probably distributed among human beings just like other skills – some people have a great deal of it (like athletic ability) and others not so much. We will be less angry if we find a way to accept this and view the world in this fashion.

If we can find a way to change how we think about things and how we view things, we can immediately change how we feel about them. Of course, you don’t have to, and you have a right to think any way to wish, but if you want peace of mind, try these thought changes and see what happens!

Do Anger Professionals Get Angry?

This is a common question that my clients either ask me, or want to ask me as they sit either in anger management class or in private consultation. The short answer is that yes, of course, anger management professionals get angry, like everyone else. But, hopefully the anger management professional uses his own teachings to manage his or her own personal anger. In fact, part of teaching anger management skills to others involves being a good role-model for your clients.

As you may have guessed, I had  an experience once in one of my classes in which a client did everything in his power to argue with everything I was saying, contradicted almost every point I made, and generally was being a major irritant to me and to the other class participants.  This client ( a professional person) in effect was competing with me, much to the detriment of everyone else who wanted to hear what I had to say, not the opinions of a class-mate.

I struggled internally with how to handle this person while being a good role model. This is a similar struggle many of you probably have, when forced to deal with a difficult person such as your child, a spouse, or a coworker. I could feel myself slowly becoming angry inside until I made some decisions to handle the situation differently.

What did I do differently? Instead of logically presenting more “research evidence” to back up my points and proving that I was “right,” I decided to de-fuse it by saying things like  “there are many ways to view this issue” and “thanks for your input,” and let’s have a talk about that after class,” etc.

This acknowledgement worked beautifully both for myself and for him. It immediately de-escalated the subtle “power struggle” going on between us. This participant needed acknowledgement that her viewpoints were perhaps valid too (even though, I obviously still not agree with her viewpoints). The other class members saw what was going on and hopefully acquired a new tool to learn how to deal with conflicts.

The lesson here? Direct confrontation often escalates anger while acknowledging the opinions or feelings of another person de-escalates anger, even if you don’t agree with them.

Do you remember the old adage: Would you rather be “right” or be “happy”? I would modify that to: “Would you rather be right or create peace?”

Who Attends Our Anger Management Classes?

What is your vision of who comes to anger management classes or takes anger management courses online?

People often wrongly envision that our classes are filled with people who physically abuse their spouses, are court ordered, and are generally the type of people you wouldn’t necessarily invite into your home.

That got me to thinking of who actually has attended my classes in the last 9 years in both Long Beach and Orange. For starters, both men and women attend my classes, but more men. Some are court-ordered, but nobody attends for physical violence. In California domestic violence( DV) or spousal abuse is a separate program which is regulated by the state (anger management is not). We see our program as a prevention to the more serious DV issues.

The most common reason for attendance is “voluntary” although there are varying degrees of volunteerism. Commonly people are required to attend our classes if anger is an issue in divorce or custody battles. Some are “spouse” ordered, but others are mandated to come by their workplace (to keep their jobs). Most are very nice people- in anger management class. Nobody gets angry in class – it is other people they get angry at.

In terms of occupation, clients are all over the board, from physicians to lawyers to oil rig operators. We had a priest once who was required by his Bishop to attend 60 hours. We have had mortgage brokers, air traffic controllers, and teachers. Other interesting occupations have included bar tenders, business executives, and professional musicians.

Some people come to class to appease someone else without really seeing themselves as the problem in a conflictual relationship. Others admit they have an anger problem and want to do something about it. More and more parents are attending because they are fearful that their anger may negatively  affect their children, if it continues.  A small minority resent having to attend but generally have a change of attitude by the time they complete the program.

Often participants feels that “the other person” should also attend classes and learn the skills taught. For this reason, we offer a reduced rate for some of our programs for family members of our participants. While most clients attend by themselves, couples are also welcome, although it is not always appropriate to place partners in the same class.

Is Forgiveness Manly?

The following article is reprinted with permission from The Art of Manliness. Of course, forgiveness is tool #7 in our toolkit of anger management tools in both our local classes and in our online programs. Click here to watch our video of forgiveness as well as our other anger management videos, then read the following article which deals with the question of “Is it manly to forgive?

Enjoy………..

Is It Manly To Forgive?

“No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick — on account of the dampness of the catacombs. I hastened to make an end of my labour. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I reerected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!”

In the Cask of Amontillado, Edgar Allen Poe paints a haunting picture of one man’s mission of revenge. After bearing a “thousand injuries” and a grievous insult, Montresor decides he must punish his antagonist, Fortunato, “with impunity.” “A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser, says Montresor. “It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.”

And so under the guise of seeking his opinion on some amontillado, Montresor lures Fortunato deep into the cold, damp catacombs. When they arrive at a niche in the walls, Montresor chains Fortunato to a rock and slowly begins to wall up the enclave brick by brick, leaving the stunned and confused nobleman inside to die a slow and agonizing death. Montresor’s revenge is complete.

***

The idea of justified revenge is one of the most common themes in masculine literature, movies, comic books, and video games. From the Count of Monte Cristo, to The Punisher, to Red Dead Revolver, revenge is often the driving force behind our most popular stories.

For thousands of years we have cheered the manly and heroic character who personally sought to avenge the wrong done to him or to his loved ones. The more perfect and complete his plot for revenge, the colder the dish served, the more delicious and admirable we find it. When the evil doers finally get their comeuppance, we are filled with vicarious satisfaction.

The great satisfaction we derive from stories of revenge is quite understandable. Revenge played a healthy role for much of our evolutionary history. Within tribes, revenge ensured that misdeeds were punished and deterred would be wrong-doers from committing egregious acts in the first place. Eye for an eye. It was a rudimentary but effective way to mete out justice. And since it was men carrying out this basic form of law enforcement, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that our brains appear to be hard-wired for revenge.

So if the desire to seek revenge comes so naturally, why should we attempt forgiveness? Is forgiveness even manly?

What Does It Mean to Forgive?

As men I think we often resist the idea of forgiveness both because it seems contrary to the idea of justice and because it seems like an action born of weakness. After all, many people equate forgiveness with letting someone off the hook for their crime and allowing them to get away with wrongdoing. Doesn’t the lack of just punishment encourage the person to commit the same act again and put us in the position of condoning their crime? And if so, is forgiveness for suckas? For whipped push-overs?

But true forgiveness shouldn’t involve ignoring the issues of justice. It does not preclude justified anger. It shouldn’t be a get out of jail free card you bestow upon everyone willy nilly. It is not something you agree to simply to avoid conflict. It should not involve being a doormat who allows someone to hurt you over and over again. It is not the same as reconciliation, and it does not mean that you forget what has happened, nor that you automatically trust a person again.

What it does mean is that you let go of both your ill-feelings towards the offender and your need to personally balance the scales of justice. It’s a process whereby the antagonism you feel for the offender is replaced with compassion.

Sound sissy? It’s not. In fact, summoning the strength to forgive someone can increase your manliness is a variety of ways-

Forgiveness:

Shows Maturity

The reason it’s easy to cheer for revenge in a movie is that typically the plot is set up in a very black and white way. The hero is an admirable and virtuous guy; the villain is pure evil and kills the hero’s family simply because his heart is a black lump of coal.

Of course the real world is rarely so simplistic. Seeing things in black and white is generally reserved for children.

At a certain point the boy must become a man. Maturity involves the ability to step into another person’s shoes and see things from a different perspective. It requires a mind that understands the human condition and recognizes people as truly complex creatures, with frailties, failures, and checkered histories.

You need not condone the wrong someone did, but you should try to understand it, and them. Okay, your dad was a dick, but why was that? Probably because his dad was a dick to him and that’s all he knows about being a father.

Did your friend do something completely out of character? What was going on at the time? Was he acting out of the hurt of his recent break-up?

Sometimes people do wrong us randomly. And perhaps these offenses are the most difficult to deal with. But even then the person typically has a screw loose; something is just not right upstairs.

Forgiveness can change your whole perspective on life and people. We come to see others as fellow travelers in this world; everyone’s walking around with various wounds and various capabilities for dealing with those hurts and angers. They’re not evil villains who are out to get you, but people stumbling around, trying to do the right thing, and sometimes failing miserably. Kind of like….you.

Involves Taking Personal Responsibility and Shunning Victimhood

Being a man means taking personal responsibility for your life. But we often hold onto our grudges because they make for handy excuses, excuses that keep us from finally growing up. We can’t forgive our dad for what he did to us because when we do we will no longer be able to use that as an excuse for our personal failures. We’ll have to move forward and accept full responsibility for our lives. And that can be scary.

When we hold onto a grudge, we hold onto our identity as victims. We let someone else’s actions define us. When we forgive, we decide that we define who we are.

Puts You in Control

By withholding forgiveness you feel like you’ve got the upper hand on someone. You can dangle reconciliation on a string, make them continually grovel with contrition. Grudges thus offer the illusion of power and control. Yet they can’t fulfill that promise.

Because ironically, the offender is still the one holding your puppet strings. Your mental state is dependent on them. You’ve made your happiness contingent on another person: you need to show me X and treat me like X for me to be happy. If we wait until the other person is sorry, we’re giving them control over us-we’re waiting on them. Don’t give them that power. When you choose to forgive you embrace your free choice and agency-no one can make you feel like shiz without your permission.

Grants You Freedom

When we hold grudges and plot our revenge, we limit our freedom. Yes, we get to keep the other person in prison and wield that power. But what we don’t realize is that we’re stuck in jail with them, having to play the role of the ever vigilant warden. You can put someone in the doghouse, but you better make room for two. Or as a Chinese proverb says, “He who seeks revenge should remember to dig two graves.”

Revenge eats us up from the inside. It’s a pile of coals that we hold in our hands, giving off heat while it burns our body. Once you let the other person go, you’re not just releasing them, but you’re releasing yourself, breaking free from the rotting prison and moving forward.

Allows You to Grow

What people usually won’t say out loud is that resentment and anger make us feel good-powerful, tough, untouchable. And having an enemy and plotting revenge gives our life purpose, a tent pole for our thoughts to revolve around. Where would superheroes be and what would they spend their time doing without an archnemesis?

But this kind of purpose is a dead end and a waste of our valuable energy, consuming us and retarding our progress.

When you come to a place of forgiveness, you can start to find meaning in your suffering. You figure out what you’ll do differently next time and come to an understanding of how the pain helped you grow and become a better man. Forgiveness can become a platform for leaping forward in life.

Requires Bravery and Confronting Pain

Blame and bitterness might make you feel powerful and tough, but they’re often a cover for the inability to face pain head on. Holding a grudge against your ex-wife, thinking about how much of a she-devil she is every time she crosses your mind is a coping mechanism. Continually drinking from the well of anger keeps the pain from the dissolution of your marriage at bay.

We use bitterness as a way to keep ourselves from having to mourn a loss. Once we let go of the anger, we’re forced to confront the pain directly. Forgiveness involves taking a risk; we have to open ourselves up to the past hurt and the potential of being hurt again. And that takes courage.

Creates a Manly Legacy

Perhaps the manliest benefit of forgiveness is the way it enables you to not only free yourself from being locked inside bitterness, but how it creates a powerful legacy for those who come after you. You may come from a family where generation after generation has been hurting each other and keeping those feelings locked up, sickening the men from the inside.

Instead of making the same mistakes with your kids as your parents did with you, forgiveness says, “The buck stops here with me.” You have the courage to acknowledge and feel the pain and then to let it go instead of passing it on. You have the power to weld a new link in the chain of generations, and manliness.


Single Because of Anger?

criticism

We often get calls from single people who request help with anger management because they have just lost another relationship due both to their anger AND  the  inability of their boyfriend or girlfriend to deal with their criticisms, angry outbursts, or  sarcastic ways of communicating. Fact is, if you are used to communicating in an angry way, you might find a partner who can tolerate it and deal with it, but the reality is that most can’t and won’t. They  just decide to move on, if they feel your anger is out of control.  After all, one can only deal with a porcupine for so long.  As I have described in other blogs, poorly managed anger is one sure way to tank your relationship.

Of course, when an angry single person seeks consultation, their first remark is usually that they wouldn’t be so angry if their partner only would.……(fill in the blank) or wouldn’t………..(fill in the blank) or wouldn’t have.………(you get the idea).  Yes, we empathize. That is probably true. However, what brings down the relationship is not the anger itself. Rather, it is how you and your partner deal with it that makes the difference. If your anger is justified, your challenge is to take responsibility for it, control it and learn how to communicate the issue in a way that is more effective and doesn’ t blow you partner out of the water, so to speak.

This requires the use of the eight tools of anger control that we teach our anger management students locally and in our  10 and 16 hour online distance learning classes. Recently, I discussed these tools  and  was interviewed  by Hadley Finch, of “Tribe of Blonds-“ an internet website and radio show devoted to singles. Topic of the show was : A Lasting Love – Your 8 tools to Control Anger and Keep Love Alive. You can hear the interview by going to http://bit.ly/bBM6ZR

Learning to handle anger with your partner is actually a task of learning to communicate more effectively with each other about issues that bother you in the relationship. Some issues are solvable while others are not in the sense of one person or the other needing to change something. Learning to accept that which probably is unchangeable as well as learning how to resolve conflicts around those issues that indeed can be changed are skills that will go a long way to lasting love and making a relationship work for you!

How To Tank Your Relationship- Lesson 2

blackandwhitethinking

In our last blog, we taught you Lesson 1 of how to tank your relationship: React to bad behavior by your partner  in way that indicates that you think they are 100% wrong and you are 100% right. Then assume that there is only one way (your way) to view or look at the situation, so there is no need to try to see things from the perspective of your partner.

Today we continue with our lessons on how to tank a relationship- just in case Lesson #1 hasn’t worked for you yet:

How to tank your relationship: Lesson 2- Handle anger toward each other poorly.

african american couple fighting

To tank your relationship, get “stuck” in your anger either as the partner with the original anger or as the partner who is on the receiving end of anger. Either way, getting stuck in anger can quickly turn to  disgust. Eventually, you might even get to contempt for your partner which is a deathblow to most relationships. With a contemptuous attitude, you don’t even bother to get angry back at your partner because you tell yourself “I won’t stoop to my partner’s level by getting angry.”  So you stonewall (don’t talk at all to your partner), become passive-aggressive (get back at your partner in a sneaky way), or emotionally shut-down.

Fact is, research on successful couples (as described in a book by marital therapist Brent J. Atkinson called “Emotional Intelligence in Couples Therapy”) shows that anger itself is not a dangerous emotion for marriages. Many highly successful couples regularly blow up at each other. Blow-ups are not necessarily destructive (within limits). Rather, partners getting stuck in their resentment for having been attacked is an equally serious  issue that brings down a marriage.

That is because when a person fails to stand up forcefully when feeling disregarded or criticized harshly, they almost always harbor resentment and in internal attitude of contempt (That is, they think of themselves as “better”  in some sense than their exploding partner.) And, as mentioned above, having contempt toward your partner is a very serious problem in terms of longevity of the relationship.

Caution: Only read the next paragraph if you have decided NOT to tank your relationship:

So, what is the healthy way to handle anger in a relationship? First, if you are the primary angry partner, learn to communicate better and deal with normal angry feelings more effectively without destroying your partner or the relationship in the process. There are many ways to handle anger so that you get a better result and you get more of what you truly want from your partner! These techniques (including something called a “softer startup”)  are what we teach in local anger management classes as well as in our online distance-learning program.

Second, you do not have to suffer in silence if you are in relationship with a person who handles their anger poorly.  The trick is to stand up for yourself and deal with the issue rather than “stuffing it” and building resentment through the years. (Of course, do not put yourself in a dangerous situation by standing up for yourself with a truly raging or violent partner).

Research strongly shows that partners of people who act badly in any way (including anger) have more influence than they think on future occurrences of that bad behavior by their spouse. You do not have to tolerate it and can even change it to some extent if you do the right things.

Anger Control Starts at Home

A recent incident that I observed brought home to me one reason why it is so difficult for the world to achieve peace. Almost everybody says they want peace, but yet become combative when they begin to see themselves as a “victim” rather than an aggressor. This is because when you see yourself as a victim, it is relatively easy to take the next step to justify aggression.

Take a recent incident the day after Thanksgiving I observed during a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in a small town. It was about 6PM and we were heading toward the town square to observe the lighting ceremony which signified the start of the holiday season. We were walking across the street in what we thought was a crosswalk. A lady in an SUV was frantically trying to find a parking place before the ceremony. She ignored us in the crosswalk as she rolled through; my friend became so angry he kicked the SUV as it passed. As we continued walking, the lady pulled her SUV over and confronted my friend and the following “conversation” took place:

Lady: “You a__h___. There was no crosswalk there.”

Friend: “F___Y__.”

Lady: “You wouldn’t know how, you a___h___.”

Then, each went his own way in a huff. Mind you, this was during a celebration of peace, goodwill, and neighborly love.

Both people in this exchange saw themselves as the victim of the other because each has a viewpoint of what caused the problem and escalated the angry and irrational exchange between two two otherwise rational, mature adults.

If this can happen so quickly in this situation, it is no mystery why couples conflict, family members learn to hate each other, and nations go to war with each other. In all these situations, nobody sees themselves as in the wrong. As we teach in our anger management classes, most conflicts occur because of a clash of what is perceived as two “rights”- not a right and a wrong!

We encourage people to start taking responsibility for their own anger and how they handle it. My friend would have completely avoided the whole incident if he had not kicked the SUV in the first place but had had empathy for a woman who was desperately trying to find a parking  spot for her family before it got dark. The woman could have avoided it had she apologized to my friend for perhaps going through a crosswalk when she shouldn’t have and apologized for perhaps scaring him.

Both could have just ignored the whole thing and let it pass. There were many options for each on how to handle it, yet both unfortunately chose the aggressive option and thusly escalated each other. With so many children watching the interaction, one wonders what negative lessons they were learning in how to handle conflicts!

Hopefully,  in the year 2010 more people will focus on how to be peacemakers instead of warriors, conflict resolution experts instead of bullys,  and forgiving human beings insted of revenge and retribution seekers.

Peace to all in 2010.

Dr Tony

Is all anger modifiable?

Anger clearly has clear evolutionary value. That is, it is there to protect us so we can survive. If this is so, can we change it? Do we even want to change it? The answer to the first question is that it probably depends on the depth of the problem. There are many ways to define “depth” but one way to measure it is the extent that anger is powerful for the person- like if someone truly believes others in general are out to get him. Anger has less power when anger is specific to a person in your life (like your boss or your ex-wife). The evidence so far seems to indicate that anger is much more modifiable for people who’s anger has low power for them.

As for the second question, the answer again is “it depends.” We teach in our anger management classes that the ultimate criterion for this is the answer to the question, “How well is it working for you?” Anger expression is a behavior, and like all behavior, has a purpose or goal. What is your goal when you get angry? Get others to do something? Express yourself? Get your own way?  if you are not achieving your goals (or the cost if too high, even if you do achieve it), why continue that angry behavior?

Try something else and you will be a more effective- and happier-  person.

Dealing with anger over job loss

I have been receiving calls lately from people experiencing a great deal of anger over recent job loss due to the deteriorating economy in the United States. They are asking how they should deal their angry feelings and what advice I might have to help them cope with what is usually experienced as very scary and traumatic event, especially if others might also suffer such as family members.

The first piece of of advice is to think carefully about how you are going to cope with the situation in your head.  Any stress, including unemployment, can be interpreted or explained to yourself and others in a variety of ways. What you tell yourself (self talk) can have a drastic affect on your emotions. Tell yourself some things and you will dial up your anger; tell yourself other things about why this happened and you can dial down your anger.

People who deal better with job loss tell themselves things like (1) Don’t take it personally- thousands of people have been layed off in the current economy, (2) Anger is not the right response to this situation – it will not solve anything except make me and others around me miserable, and  (3) I will survive this and it need not affect my whole life ,(4) It will not last forever, (5) This might be an opportunity to develop or find an even better job, business or employment opportunity. Write these and other self-talk statements on a card, if you need to, and read them to yourself throughout the day.

In addition to working on your thought skills, develop a daily life structure to help you find another job, or develop resources to actually improve your employability. Action often helps to reduce anger and action feels much better than sitting around “stewing” about the situation. Resentment is an emotion that doesn’t move you forward in life.  Instead, make a plan to work finding work. Think of other skills you might have that you could transfer in your job search, instead of just the ones that were needed in your last job. Lastly, start networking with others and getting the word out that you need a job. Many new jobs are found by someone knowing someone who knows someone.

 

 

 

 

Š

Poor Anger Control is Bad For Society

Extreme conflict, violence, and intolerance are all anger-based social issues that greatly affect marriages, families, children, the workplace, and entire cultures. Take the fact that it is estimated that between 2.3 million and 10 million children are exposed to intimate partner violence (parents fighting) each year in the United States alone. Or the fact that in Los Angeles  county (California), as one example, there are an estimated 1300 street gangs with over 150,000 members; the vast majority of violent incidents involving gang members continue to result from fights over turf, status, and revenge.

Angry teens increasingly are front-page news as they return to schools and shoot victims they perceive as prior tormentors. Most unhappy teens of course do not resort to shooting those who may have rejected them. Instead, they suffer silently with their brooding anger often to the detriment of their grades, their social lives, and their self-esteem.
In the business world, there is no question that poorly handled anger, frustration and resentment sabotage productivity. Studies show that a high percentage of time on the job is spent engaging in or trying to resolve conflicts. This results in wasted employee time,mistakes, stress, lower morale, hampered performance and reduced profits or service.

Intolerance of those that are different from us in any way often sets the stage for anger based problems in our society. Unfortunately, people often ridicule, condemn and put down others who may physically look, behaviorally act, or mentally believe differently than they do. It is important to remember that “different” isn’t necessarily “bad,” as some misguided people reason. Getting angry at people or groups of people because they do not share our values or our ways of looking at the world (or they refuse to change to be likeus) leads to untold resentment, generations of conflict, and escalating feelings of hatred toward others.

Controlling anger is good for yourself and the world around you. 
For more information on our numerous programs for anger control and certified programs to teach anger management to others, please visit http://18.191.66.198

New Beginnings – Dedicated to Cjon Damitri Patterson

At the brink of every New Year we make promises to ourselves and to the ones we love to change. Often we’ve made the same promises every year for the last decade and find ourselves repeating the same negative habits, hurting ourselves and the people we care about.

In some circles the number 8 is thought to represent new beginnings and 2008 is touted as the year of new beginnings.

The thought is hopeful but can people really change?

The answer is yes people can change. I can’t afford to think otherwise. Why because there is so much about me that needs improvement.

To tell you the truth anger management has never been a real problem for me. I did not say I’ve never been angry. I fall under the category of angry people who hold their emotions in and it eats them alive from the inside out. Come to think of it, I guess that is a problem but it’s not the biggest problem I face.

A dear friend of mine passed this weekend. We shared a similar struggle.

He was full of life, talented and hopeful for a new beginning. I guess he got it. He got his new beginning.

In a way I envy him. My new beginning will not come so easy. It will take work and discipline. It will take change.

Can people really change? Yes people can change. I can’t afford to think otherwise.

Dedicated to Cjon Damitri Patterson: The composer of the musical theme for Angry in L.A.

Cjon your spirit and music will live on.

Posted with permission by The Anger Coach from the blog of :
Daybreak Counseling Service

www.daybreakservices.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/angryinla
http://myspace.com/angermanagementeacher
310-995-1202