Anger – That Scary Old Thing
I’ve noticed that lots of people write about anger management on the internet. Seems like most of the suggestions have to do with thinking and controlling yourself. If someone has a problem with anger, a natural emotion, that means that their reactions are too large, too angry, maybe scary to those around them and probably lead the person with that problem to say things they are very sorry for after. It can also lead to violence.
Over 25 years ago I went to a series of monthly workshops and a weekly support group led by John Gray and Barbara deAngelis who were married to each other at the time. In those groups they talked about anger and how old, unexpressed anger was at the root of anger problems. They taught us a technique that I still teach my clients. It’s called a Love Letter because they explained that love is underneath all the negative feelings.
I had a different kind of anger problem. I thought I didn’t have any – anger – that is. Even though I was criticized and yelled at throughout my entire childhood (and early adulthood) by my mother. Of course, I did. I just didn’t know it. I had lost connection to it. Of course, I did yell at my kids and my ex-husband but I didn’t know I was angry.
If you have an anger problem, you might try using this letter writing tool. It’s kind of like having free therapy. You go through your feelings in a safe environment by putting them on paper in a prescribed way. No one gets hurt and you rid yourself of a layer of stuck anger and all the feelings underneath.
We used to say in our groups with John and Barbara, “If you want to feel better, write a Love Letter.”