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Getting Anger Under Control

Dr. Walton will be presenting at this month’s Second Saturday Divorce Workshop on Saturday, October 8, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at our office in Woodland Hills. He’ll discuss combating emotional agendas, tips for better communication with your ex, how to help your kids through the divorce, and how to get through it yourself. Register now for $25 at www.thelawcollaborative.com/secondsaturday.htm or call us toll free at (888) 852-9961.

Getting Anger Under Control Is Easier Than You Might Think
By James E. Walton, Ph.D.

The first thing to understand about anger is that you, and only you, are responsible for your thoughts, feelings and actions. That includes anger and angry behavior. You are responsible for becoming angry and you are responsible for letting it go. No one can “make” you angry. Only you make yourself angry. Anger is a feeling. When we are able to put anger into words, we can clearly communicate our strong feelings to another.

Angry behavior is not a clear form of communication, rather, it is a form of acting out when we yell, scream, throw things or hurl insults. This behavior doesn’t express anger. It simply demonstrates our feelings of helplessness and our desire to force another to bend to our will through intimidation.

Uncontrolled angry behavior interferes with talking and listening. It is actually a very ineffective way of expressing anger. Instead of the receiver hearing clarifying words, they are left to interpret the behaviors, and often their interpretations are not what the sender was trying to express.

To better get anger under control, ask yourself if the angering situation is going to really matter 20 years from now. Then, ask yourself if you would rather be right or happy. Sometimes we prefer to be right, but usually we prefer to be happy. These are two techniques for reducing feelings of anger.

Never attempt to settle an argument when you are angry. Walk away, sit down and cool off. Deal with the situation later when you are rational. Feel with your heart, but act from your head.

Dr. James E. Walton, Ph.D. is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with a private practice in Sherman Oaks. Log onto his website at LAtherapist.com or call (818) 753-4865.