Anger Management Counseling Claymont DE
Marcus Hook, PA
Aversa Counseling Group of Chester County , LLC
By Nancy Ross-Flanigan
A milestone birthday was approaching, and instead of celebrating quietly with my husband as I usually do, I wanted more festivity. When I heard that a local restaurant was throwing a Mardi Gras party, I put out the word to a bunch of pals—offering to foot the bill for everyone’s tickets—and ended up with a decent number who said they were as ready for a night of fun as I was.
As the evening neared, we emailed excitedly back and forth, mostly silly stuff about what we were planning to wear. Mallory retrieved the sequined bustier her sister had borrowed; Emily hunted in the basement for some feathered finery from New Orleans. I paid for the dinner ahead of time and splurged on glittery masks and other party paraphernalia.
By party day, the ranks had thinned a bit—a nasty bug was going around—but I still expected a table full of merry guests. When a couple of others also failed to show up at the restaurant that night, I was disappointed—and concerned. Had they also fallen ill? Was there an accident, a family emergency? The next day I found out that in fact, my absent friends’ excuses for standing me up were pretty lame: Both had just flaked out, exhausted from daytime commitments they knew they had when they’d accepted my invitation.
When I heard the news, I could feel the anger bubble up inside me, making my head throb. But what to do with it?
It’s a question to which I’ve never found a satisfactory answer. I could try to hold in my fury, but whenever I do that I end up seething, my thoughts swirling into ever-greater spirals of self-righteousness. Lashing out with a torrent of angry words didn’t really seem appropriate to the offense, either, yet the thought of meekly forgiving and forgetting made me feel like a doormat. I’ve been stuck in this conundrum for years, never sure of the best way to handle this explosive emotion.
I need a different way of dealing with anger, and it turns out that a lot of other people do, too. With road rage, desk rage, air rage, and other extreme expressions of anger on the rise, conventional wisdom about how to handle hot emotions is shifting. Psychologists used to advise expressing anger as soon as the feeling surfaced. Bottling it up only led to lingering resentment, they maintained, and all that pent-up hostility could poison personal interactions and harm your health. But now experts say that while repressing your anger altogether isn’t a good thing, unleashing it in the heat of the moment only generates more fury.
“Anger produces more anger,” says psychologist Robert Allan of Weill Medical College of Cornell University, in New York City. “Typically it gets people defensive, and they respond to the anger rather than to the intended message.” Outbursts are unhealthy, too, causing blood pressure to spike and raising the risk for all sorts of heart-related problems.
So outbursts are out, and repression has been rejected. That leaves a third path, one we’ve been hearing about ...
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