I was asked for advice on what to do about anger – so I explained as simply as possible how we do the Anger Habit:

  1. People who get angry (let’s just say it’s ‘us’) do so because we have a strong sense of justice and fairness…
  2. We believe/decide that something is not fair or is unjust – or we believe that Other People should do things our way i.e. obey our ‘rules’
  3. In other words we want to be able to control the behaviour of Other People
  4. But, of course, Other People don’t want to be controlled by us – so they refuse to obey our rules
  5. So we get angry – sometimes even violent – in the hope that this will intimidate the Other People, and that they will give in and behave themselves according to our rules.
  6. But until we give up this need to control Other People – and accept that they won’t obey us – we’ll continue to get angry and continue to have pretty unsatisfactory relationships.
  7. However some people with the ‘anger habit’ find it very difficult to give up this need to control Other People
  8. Because they don’t like the thought of others ‘getting away with it’
  9. So they carry on getting angry.  Getting frustrated.  Losing friends.  And even losing their liberty, if things get out of hand.
  10. Until eventually (hopefully) they realise that they cannot control everyone else in the world and that sometimes people will get away with it. That’s how it is

(There is a series of articles dealing with anger in our Mind-Body Health website : http://www.pe2000.com/anger.html)

2 thoughts on “How we do the Anger Habit”

  1. When I worked with disadvantaged and troubled young persons – anger was a big big issue. These young people went into anger crazed storms.

    When asked they would say people pushed them into “flipping” then their anger would escalate into major physical abuse and damage to property and people.

    One of the really useful insights learned at NLP sessions with Reg is why and when people “choose” to become angry and what is the effect and outcome that their anger creates.

    When I talked with these young persons and asked. “why do you choose to become angry” and what is the thing/act that you use to make yourself angry. The effect was quite profound, the young persons found this most intriguing and if we went through (mild) exercises that made them angry they would be quite shocked to find that they got to a point where they chose to be angry, and “why” they chose to be angry.

    So the understanding that it was themselves that were making choices about anger was actually quite empowering for them and gave them the alternative of not being angry.

    One young person that I worked with, had devastating bouts of anger very destructive and frightening, when we worked together and delved into why and when he chose to be angry – it was like a revelation for him, especially when I suggested that he could be angry, just like most people from time to time get angry, but he needed to control his anger as it was his choice to be angry and he couldn’t blame others for his anger and the effects of his anger.

    The bit that he liked most about our work together was the fact that he was aware of when he chose to switch his anger on and the fact he could be a little bit angry without the violent and abusive behaviour of going berserk.

  2. Seems to me that being angry with yourself is much the same. It’s about accepting yourself and the that you may let yourself down or do something that violates your own values on occasions. So don’t lose your temper, don’t beat yourself up, re-frame it, lose the angry self-talk but don’t lose the lesson! My re-frame is that I don’t get angry with myself – I discover more about my values and how to live in harmony with them.

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