Anger Busting 101: The New ABCs for Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them

Overview


The award winning Anger Busting 101 is the first book to use the acclaimed Recovery approach to solve anger problems. It gives you dozens of quick tops you can use every day to diffuse anger early on. Author Newton Hightower expertly combines personal stories with scientific research and solid clinical data to give angry men and their families the hope and the help they need. You learn simple ways to end the destructiveness, heal the wounds, and start living the life you really...
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Overview


The award winning Anger Busting 101 is the first book to use the acclaimed Recovery approach to solve anger problems. It gives you dozens of quick tops you can use every day to diffuse anger early on. Author Newton Hightower expertly combines personal stories with scientific research and solid clinical data to give angry men and their families the hope and the help they need. You learn simple ways to end the destructiveness, heal the wounds, and start living the life you really want for yourself and your family.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Both of these titles address the destructive potential of men's anger and present step-by-step methods to effect positive behavioral changes. In Dealing with Your Anger (first published in Australia but edited for an American audience), Donovan, a psychotherapist and director of the Anger Clinic in Melbourne, offers a self-help resource that is also designed for practitioners in one-on-one or group therapy sessions. Using his many years of clinical experience with angry men and his own personal struggle with anger and a potential for violence, Donovan shares sensible procedures for understanding, reducing, and eliminating anger. He covers anger's definition, anger sources, emotional strategies for healing anger, practical ways of controlling anger, and positive uses for anger. Also included are Assistive Guidelines for Practitioners and an extensive notes section. Hightower, a licensed psychotherapist and director of the Center for Anger Resolution, Inc., in Houston, presents a highly practical and easy-to-follow guide for managing anger problems. Anger Busting 101 uses the author's Recovery Approach, which gives pointers for diffusing anger before it gets to the boiling point. This method debunks the psychological myth that stifling anger will hurt you. Hightower combines his personal experience, his clients' personal stories, and scientific research to support his methods for handling anger. His ABCs are Abstain from certain behavior and phrases; Believe in the principles for peace, happiness, and permanent change; and Communicate with new phrases. Donovan's guide is more complicated to follow without a therapist's guidance, while Hightower's is more straightforward and simpler to use on one's own. Both are well documented and are recommended for self-help collections in academic and large public libraries and for mental health practitioners. Elizabeth Goeters, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Dunwoody Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781886298040
  • Publisher: Bayou Publishing TX
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 449,306
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Newton Hightower is Founder and Director of the Center for Anger Resolution, Inc. In Houston, Texas. A licensed psychotherapist for more than 25 years, he is a popular speaker at national and regional professional associations and is a frequent guest on both radio and TV talk shows.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface: Destruction and Addiction
Introduction: Are You Addicted to Anger?

Section 1: The ABCs for Angry Men

Chapter 1: A = Abstain from these Behaviors and Phrases
Chapter 2: B = Believe in these Principles
Chapter 3: C = Communicate with these Phrases

Section 2: Decision Time for Women: When to Train Him and When to Dump
Him

Chapter 4: When to Get Rid of Your Man and Forget About Training
Chapter 5: How to Get a Pit Bull's Attention and Make Him Behave

Section 3: The ABCs for Women Who Are Training Angry Men
Chapter 6: A = Abstain from these Phrases
Chapter 7: B = Believe in these Principles
Chapter 8: C = Communicate these Ideas

Conclusion: You Can Live Happily Together
Epilogue
Appendices

Appendix A: Angry Men and Counseling Issues
Appendix B: Angry Men and Medications by David Kay, M.D.
Appendix C: About the Center for Anger Resolution, Inc.

Endnotes
References
Index
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First Chapter

Chapter 1
A = Abstain
Abstain From These Behaviors
"We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it."
-Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Alcoholics Anonymous
Introduction
The first question to ask yourself is, "Why am I reading this book?" The fact that you even have this book means that either you realize you have a problem, your wife is leaving you, the children aren't talking to you, you have been fired or are on the verge of being fired, or you are in trouble with the law. Or you may just feel guilty at how your anger is affecting your family and your life. Apart from the damage your anger is doing to your marriage, we know that conflict between parents is traumatic for children. Seligman and Seligman followed the lives of 400 children for five years, focusing on those children whose parents fight and those children whose parents do not fight. They found that children of fighting families are more depressed than children from nonfighting families. Seligman and Seligman noted:
Once children's parents start fighting, these children become unbridled pessimists. They see bad events as permanent and pervasive. Their workflow has changed from the rosy optimism of childhood to the grim pessimism of a depressed adult. I believe that many children react to their parents' fighting by developing a loss of security so shattering that it marks the beginning of a lifetime of depression.8
"What can I do to never blow up at my wife or family again?"
To fully recover, we rageaholics must abstain from certain behaviors. We must stop saying, "I'm not going to just sit there and let her talk to me that way" or "She is the one who needs to shut up for once." You may have made resolutions such as:
"I will never do that again."
"I will never scream like that again."
"I will never put my hands on her again."
Making resolutions like "I will never rage again" doesn't work. If it did, you would not be reading this book.
While our intentions are often good, we rageaholics just can't make our resolutions work. Simple self-talk and global affirmations about our "inherent goodness" don't work. Although we should be aware of our internal voices, we must also learn to develop new voices to replace the "soldier talk" and the heroic rescue fantasies discussed in this chapter. More than anything else, we must have a plan of action. What follows is an effective action plan for what we can do to abstain from expressing anger.
When Angry-Stop the Following 15 Behaviors:
1. Stop speaking.

Stop telling yourself:
"I'm not going to just sit here and let her talk to me that way."
"She's the one who needs to shut up for once."
The all-time, fail-proof, safest action when we feel rage well up inside is silence. We must abstain from speaking, keep the lid on our pressure cooker, keep the valve shut and turn off the fire by stopping the thoughts that build up the steam. We either have to change our internal dialogue or learn to shut it off. One example of silence is illustrated by the following dialogue:
One Saturday morning Joe's wife asked him to accompany her on errands, something he hated doing. It was raining, the traffic was bumper to bumper and the one hour of errands had turned into four hours. Debbie, who had been in a car accident only a few months before, was panicking, criticizing and directing Joe's driving. Although Joe was getting angry, he decided to follow the principle of silence on the topic.
Debbie: "Why aren't you talking to me?"
Joe: "Sweetheart, I'm concentrating on driving."
Debbie: "Are you mad at me?"
Joe: "Not in the least."
Debbie: "Are you sure?"
Joe: "I've never been more in love with you in my life."
Silence is the number one behavior to learn. Being silent doesn't mean that we have stopped listening. Instead, it means that we are in control of our anger.
Silence and Anger Abstinence. When working at the Administration Hospital drug abuse unit, I met a new patient in the hallway. He said, "I understand you help people with their rage problems. I really want to go through this program, but I've never gone for more than three days without blowing up. What should I do?"
Without speaking, I motioned for him to follow me to my office, then to wait at the door. I got a 3x5 card out of the drawer and wrote on it, "WHEN ANGRY, DON'T SPEAK."
Puzzled, he looked at me. "I'm not sure what you mean? When somebody says something that makes me angry, I'm just supposed to say nothing?"
I gestured for him to hand the card back and in parentheses I wrote, "SHUT UP." and then waved good-bye.
The next day the patient came up to me and complained, "I can't take it. I just can't be quiet when someone curses me. I've never been able to take it and I can't imagine I ever will."
"Let me ask you something," I said. "If you were walking down the street one night and someone jumped out from behind a building and stuck a pistol to the side of your head and said, 'If you utter one sound, I'm going to blow your brains out,' do you think you could restrain yourself from speaking in that situation?"
"Well, yeah."
"Do you think you could restrain yourself even if he cursed you and said bad things about your mother and insulted you in all kinds of ways?"
"Yeah, sure."
Then, I explained, "I think it is possible to restrain ourselves. It's just that our motivation has not often been strong enough. Instead of saying things like, 'I can't stand it,' you can say things that will turn the fire off like, 'I can take it.' If your motivation is strong enough, you can practice not speaking. It can be done. I have seen many men do it when their marriages were at stake."
2. Stop staying.

Stop telling yourself:
"But she hates it when I walk out on her."
"It's my house; I'm not going anywhere."
What does "stop staying" mean? It means leave the scene quickly and quietly. Imagine an anger scale of 0 to 10. Zero equals no anger and ten equals rage. Once you have gone to 5 or higher, get out. It's probably too late if you wait until you get to 8 or above. In fact, once you get that angry, you won't be able to restrain yourself from speaking and you probably won't be able to leave. When you feel your anger start to go up the scale or if it just jumps up to 5, don't stay. Leave quietly.
How do you know when you've reached a five on the anger scale? Well, you should begin to monitor your anger signs to become aware of your internal states. Each person has different physical responses when he gets angry. Some people will sweat profusely; others will feel their muscles tightening. Some will get clammy hands, and still others will feel their blood pressure rising. Learn your anger signs.
Several years ago I ran an anger management course for domestic violence offenders. The men were required by the probation department to attend the course. To bring the points home, I used role-playing, with one man playing the wife and the other the husband:
Husband: (enters the room) "Hi, honey, what's for dinner?"
Wife: (exploding into profanity at full volume while standing inches from his face) "You don't deserve for me to cook, you #.$%&.*$%. If you want to eat, cook it yourself. I'm tired of cooking for you."
Husband: "I'm taking a time-out and I'll be back in an hour." (This is a real-life time-out, not the mutually agreed upon one described in most self-help books.)
Wife: (screams) "I won't be here when you get back."
Husband: (He goes out the door and closes it quietly. He returns in one hour-about 30 seconds in the role-play-and tests the waters.) Changing the subject, he says: "Nice weather we're having. How was your day?"
Wife: "Fine until I saw your %.&@$#*# face. What are you doing back here? I told you to stay away."
Husband: At this point, the husband decides to take a Motel 6 time-out and says, "I'll talk to you in the morning."
I explained to the group that the key point here is to stay away until your wife calms down. If she hits and you defend yourself, you can be arrested again.
Take as long and as many time-outs as needed for your wife to calm down. On the other hand, spouses don't like to be left, even during an argument. They will often say something like, "You chicken, come back here and talk to me like a man." (This comment pushed the buttons on most men in the group.) Or, "You're always running out when I want to talk to you."

3. Stop staring.
Stop telling yourself:
"I was just looking at her."
"I'm not staring. She wants me to look at her when she talks, so I was looking."
Couples who stare intensely at each other when they are angry are actually glaring. Looking someone in the eye in a hostile way is taunting and provocative. On the streets this kind of behavior has led to more than a few severe beatings and even deaths. Glaring is a primitive fight or flight response and is often a precursor to physical violence. Many ragers use staring and the "evil eye" to intimidate those around them.
Richard, Luanda and the kids were sitting around the dinner table discussing the upcoming weekend. The youngest child asked what they were going to do.
Luanda: "Nothing. There's no money this weekend. Your father bought season tickets for the basketball game and we're broke."
Richard: "I've been saving for those season tickets and the money didn't come out of the household budget."
Luanda: "Richard, all of our money is part of the household budget."
Richard stares angrily at Luanda.
Luanda: "Richard, don't give me that 'evil eye.' I'm not afraid of you."
Luanda stares back and Richard becomes angrier. Composing himself, Richard backs off and stares at the floor.
Richard: "Listen, honey, let's have a nice dinner and talk about the money problems later."
Luanda also backs off and Richard's anger outburst is defused. The family continues to have a pleasant dinner.

4. Stop interrupting.
Stop telling yourself:
"I have to interrupt because what she is saying is wrong."
"What do you mean don't interrupt her? She was the one who interrupted me."
It is sometimes impossible to tell who is interrupting whom when anger begins to rise. It is important not to interrupt and to allow others to interrupt you, but this is the one thing that most of us ragers feel we can't stand.
Why is it that we ragers always think we are on the verge of making some profound and interesting point when someone interrupts us? We say, "Wait a minute. That's the one thing I can't stand. I'm just about to get to the point here." We need to train ourselves not to interrupt others. If someone interrupts us, we must allow it. If interrupted, we need to go back to number one: Abstain from speaking. If we are getting madder, then we shouldn't stay. Our wives will notice the silence and they will notice us leaving quietly. They will also notice that we are allowing them to interrupt us without interrupting them.
I once had a session with a trial lawyer and his wife. Every time I started talking the attorney would talk over me.
Therapist: "Excuse me, I'm interrupting you."
Lawyer: "But I'm not finished."
Therapist: "You're never finished, which is part of your problem."
Lawyer: (angrily) "Listen, I'm paying you to listen to me and I'm going to finish."
Therapist: (laughing) "No, you don't understand. You are paying me to interrupt you because you want to stay married. This behavior is one of the reasons your wife is throwing you out."
Lawyer: "Okay, go ahead, but I don't like it."
If you have successfully followed the first four behaviors, you are on your way to controlling your addiction to rage and are now ready for the next stage.

5. Stop cursing.
Stop telling yourself:
"Hey, you don't know where I work. Over there, everybody curses all the time."
"You mean I'm supposed to say 'ouch' instead of *&.%@#$+ when I stub my toe?"
One of the most important behaviors to abstain from immediately is profanity. The reason is not from a moral or religious point of view, but from a psychological and behavioral perspective. If we don't curse, we don't inflame our rage. If we abstain from all profanity, no matter what, it will immediately reduce the amount of anger we must manage. In other words, cursing adds steam to our pressure cooker and inflames our anger.
A few years ago I saw a patient who had recently been arrested on a domestic violence charge. Ralph had gotten into a fight with his 19-year-old stepson, and when his wife tried to break it up, he pushed her. The stepson's girlfriend called the police and Ralph was arrested. His wife filed for divorce and got a restraining order. In the office Ralph sobbed that he would do anything to get his wife back. He wanted to know what he could do today so that she would know he was changing. My answer was, "There's something you can do, but it's difficult."
"I'll do anything," he said.
I replied, "Stop all profanity. Everywhere and all the time."
"You don't understand. I've worked for the railroad for 20 years. How can I stop cursing?" he pleaded.
I asserted, "If you want to get your wife back, you'll be the only railroad employee who doesn't curse."
"I'll do it," he sobbed.
In the next session Ralph reported that he wasn't arguing with his wife over the telephone as intensely as before. He thought it was because he had stopped cursing. In the third session Ralph reported a romantic interlude. He felt things were finally going to work out and he would call if he needed any more therapy.
If you were to have a temper tantrum without profanity, where you stomp your foot and say, "Gee whiz, I'm really upset by that. Golly gee, that really frustrated me," then took a blood sample, there would likely not be any biochemical change. If you were to pretend having a temper tantrum with profanity, even though you were not angry, then took a blood sample, you would find a biochemical change. These changes would occur because the use of profanity for rageaholics starts the adrenaline flowing.
So, if we abstain from profanity, we will have less anger and people will be less angry at us. Some people can do this quickly; for other people, it takes a while to get a handle on it. Some men in anger groups have worked on stopping profanity for an entire year before they went through a full day without cursing. Other men have been able to do it almost instantly.

6. Stop name-calling.
Stop telling yourself:
"But she was calling me names. She's the one with the problem."
"I didn't mean it when I called her those names. She understands that I was just angry."
Name-calling is another way to produce steam. It is also a behavior that we rageaholics need to abstain from immediately. We need to stop using not only the vile, crude names, but also names like "stupid" and "crazy." Using those names inflames an argument. When we name-call, even in jest, our significant other doesn't know we are "just kidding" and doesn't think it is funny. Name-calling hurts others and it raises our anger level.
Name-calling is a destructive element in a relationship. If you call your wife a bad name, there's no going back. It could take months for her to recover. You may think, "I'm over my anger. Why can't she let it go?" Ragers don't understand the level of destruction caused when they call their partner a name. It's like former President Truman saying to the emperor of Japan, "It was just a couple of bombs. What's the big deal?"
A typical name-calling scenario might go like this. John is relaxing and watching television. Mary, his wife, has taken work home and is busily typing a report on her computer. Suddenly her monitor goes blank. Mary walks into the living room and nicely asks John to look at her computer. After working with computers all day, John is in no mood to troubleshoot computer problems at home. Mary keeps on asking him to see what's wrong with her computer.
Mary: "John, please look at my computer and tell me what's wrong with it."
John: "I'm not in the mood. I'll do it tomorrow."
Mary: "But, John, I need to get this report done for work by tomorrow morning."
John: "It'll have to wait. The NBA playoffs are on."
Mary: "I need it now. It will take only a minute."
John: "Okay, fine. Will you leave me alone then?" (John looks at the computer and finds that the monitor cable has become dislodged from its socket. He puts it back in and the computer works. Irritated at being interrupted, John blurts out, "You know, you're really stupid. Couldn't you figure this out by yourself?")
Mary is silent. Six months later
John: "Mary, would you help me figure out how to use this new food processor?"
Mary: "I can't help you. Remember, I'm stupid."
John: "Where did that come from?"
Mary: "Don't you remember telling me how stupid I am?"

7. Stop threatening.
Stop telling yourself:
"Sometimes I just want to warn her she's about to go too far."
"You are not going to talk to me that way. No one is going to talk to me that way. I don't take that kind of talk from anyone."
Those are threats that imply, "I will leave you or hurt you." Even subtle threats wreak havoc in terms of your partner's fear of abandonment. A typical dialogue that avoids threats might look something like this:
Justin returns home late after working at the refinery plant. Before coming home he stops at the tavern for a couple of beers. Heather, his girlfriend, is upset because he didn't phone.
Justin: "Hi, Honey, I'm home."
Heather: "Where have you been?"
Justin: "I was working late and then stopped off for a few beers."
Heather: "Right, you were working late and stopped for beers. Are you seeing her again?"
Justin: "Who?"
Heather: "Your girlfriend."
Justin: "What girlfriend? I don't have a girlfriend. I'm not seeing anybody but you. I've never dated anyone since we got together."
Heather: "I don't believe you."
Justin: "Honey, I really love you and I am sorry you don't trust me. I know it must be hard for you to have these suspicions. What can I do to help?"
Some women may find Justin's last statement patronizing and be suspicious of whether Justin means it. I would say to Justin, "Say it and mean it." If she doubts you, then convince her. This is no time for sarcasm.
The object is to make Heather feel more secure through the use of reassurance rather than argument, accusations or threats, which would only increase her anger and fear of abandonment.
Justin is thinking: "I can't take the accusations and suspicions anymore. It's driving me nuts. I need to get out of this relationship. If she doesn't trust me, I'll leave. Maybe then I'll find someone who will trust me." Instead of using threats, Justin remembers the behaviors for controlling his anger.
Justin: "Honey, I love you a lot and I'm sorry you don't trust me. I know it must be hard for you to have these suspicions. I will never see another woman and will never leave you, no matter what."
Heather feels more secure and calms down. Had Justin used threats, Heather's insecurity, anger and fear of abandonment would have been increased.

8. Stop pointing.
Furthermore, stop telling yourself:
"I was just trying to get her attention."
"I am not aware of my pointing-it's a natural thing to do."
Pointing a finger at someone is frequently an unconscious behavior. We ragers might need to ask our spouse and friends to tell us when we are doing this. In my therapy groups, members make each other aware of finger-pointing. Instead of pointing, you need to look at yourself rather than point at the other person. (It is physically true that when you point a finger, one finger is pointing out while three other fingers are pointing back at you.)

9. Stop yelling, raising your voice, or talking in a mean tone.
Stop telling yourself:
"Yelling is the only way to get her attention and let her know I'm serious."
"I'm not yelling. She's not listening. If she would just listen, I wouldn't have to yell."
Like other self-destructive behaviors, raising our voices and yelling only fuels our anger. Like finger-pointing, we are sometimes unaware of how loud we are talking. First, we must gain some awareness of these behaviors. On a scale of 0-10 (0 equals silence), when you raise your voice to a 2 or 3, it needs to be brought to your attention. (How do you know if it's a 2 or a 3? Ask other people to let you know.) It is important for spouses, family members, friends and therapists to intervene early when we begin to raise our voices. They can say something like, "You are beginning to raise your voice. Please lower it." As a rager, our appropriate response should be, "You are right. Thanks for pointing it out." Having others point out to us when we are raising our voice and yelling will help us monitor our behavior.
Phil and Nancy are sitting around the kitchen table discussing how to pay their bills. Phil is becoming increasingly upset as it becomes clearer that they will not be able to pay their bills this month without borrowing money. The conversation goes like this:
Phil: "I'm worried. I don't know how we can pay the bills this month."
Nancy: "We'll manage somehow."
Phil: "What do you mean we'll manage somehow? We don't have the money. If you didn't waste so much money on clothes, we'd be doing fine."
Nancy: "Stop yelling at me."
Phil: "If you'd just listen, I wouldn't have to yell."
Phil: (composing himself) "You're right. Thanks for pointing out that I was yelling."

Furthermore, stop telling yourself:
"Hey, what is she talking about? I wasn't yelling, cursing or anything."
"This is how I normally talk. If she wanted some mushy-mouth guy, she should have married one. That ain't me."
The "mean tone" is an important but hard issue for rageaholics to understand. I often tell angry men that when they come for therapy, they think they've signed up for a quarter-mile race. They run the quarter mile, sprint the last few feet, and throw up their arms in victory, only to be told by the referee that this is a mile race. They have three more laps to run. What am I talking about?
Many men work very hard for several months to contain their yelling and cursing, yet their wives will say something like, "You're no better than you ever were." I warn men about this when they start. By itself, stopping angry behaviors is not enough. It's necessary, but not sufficient, to have a happy marriage. And it's definitely not sufficient if your wife is teetering on the edge of divorce. After a few months the wife will come into a therapy session to talk about how things are going:
Wife: "He's no better than he was."
Husband: "Sweetheart, I've gone three months without profanity, without name-calling, without blowing up and without raising my voice. I haven't thrown things. I haven't touched you in anger. I haven't slammed the door. What are you talking about?"
Therapist: "I will give you credit. I acknowledge you for these things because I am your therapist and I know you have changed and I know this has been hard work, but there are still things that your wife feels very hurt about that may be very difficult for you to understand."
Wife: "He still talks to me in a mean tone and that hurts me so much."
Husband: "A mean tone, a mean voice? I don't know what you're talking about."
Wives can point out to us when they hear a mean tone. Even though we are abstaining from the more obvious behaviors of rage like touching or slamming doors, our wives may feel that we despise or hate them, just by the tone of our voice. Although this is a difficult concept for rageful men to understand, it is very important. It starts what I call the other three laps to a happy marriage. I will examine the opposite of "mean tones" when we discuss communication later in this book. At this point, it is important that we become aware of any time we use a mean tone, a stern tone or a harsh tone.

10. Stop being sarcastic. Stop mocking.
Stop telling yourself:
"She doesn't understand that I'm just joking."
"She has no sense of humor. That's the real problem."
Sarcastic one-liners are fine for television sitcoms, but they don't work for maintaining a real-life marriage or a happy family life. When the actors leave the stage after delivering their sarcastic remark, they go back to their dressing rooms. After we drop a sarcastic one-liner, we have to stick around for the consequences. Often ragers don't realize how much pain and hurt our sarcastic remarks cause. We misjudge the impact of our sarcasm. We need to stop making wisecracks about our wife and family members.
While visiting her parents, Janet (a compulsive spender) received a gift from her grandmother. It was a beautiful necklace that had been owned by her great-grandmother. To show her appreciation, Janet called her grandmother to thank her.
In the past, Janet had taken gifts of jewelry and pawned them to help pay her bills. As the whole family sat around admiring the necklace, her father commented, "I bet as soon as you finish this dinner, you'll be burnin' rubber to get to the nearest pawn shop." Everyone at the table laughed, including Janet's husband and mother.
Angrily, Janet rose from the table and left her father's house. In fact, she was so angry she didn't return for a year.

In addition, stop telling yourself:
"I was just trying to show her what it sounds like when she snivels about work all the time."
"That's just the way I let her know when she's nagging me too much."
Having a long-standing problem with anger, Robert was overly jealous of his wife. He constantly fantasized that she was flirting with almost every man she saw. Robert was particularly upset when he thought Rachel was flirting with men over the telephone. Before going home from work, he called to talk to Rachel. The line was busy and Rachel didn't answer call waiting. Robert grew more angry and jealous as he drove back home.
Robert: "I'm home."
Rachel: "Hi, honey. How was your day?"
Robert: "Who were you talking to on the phone?"
Rachel: "Just a friend."
Robert: "Why didn't you pick up when you heard the call waiting? Were you screening calls?"
Rachel: (laughing) "Why? Are you jealous? I was only talking to Mindy."
Robert: (mocking Rachel's laugh) "Tee hee hee, I was only talking to Mindeee."
Robert's mocking made Rachel feel humiliated, put down and ashamed.

11. Stop throwing things, slamming doors, or banging walls.
Stop telling yourself:
"It's just a way to let off steam. Besides, I'm not hurting anyone."
"At least I don't break things like I used to. Now I usually just throw pillows."
We need to stop throwing things like pillows, keys and other objects. All objects including shirts, jackets and underwear should also not be thrown. Throwing is an aggressive act that is perceived as threatening and intimidating by those around us. Throwing things-regardless of how harmless the objects are-fuels our anger.


Also stop telling yourself:
"Slamming doors is just my way of letting her know I really want to be left alone."
"I don't see who or what it hurts to release my anger a little."
Slamming a door shut is the ultimate "last word." We ragers were trained in the "two slam exit method." First, we curse out whomever is in the room, then slam the door. We wait a few seconds, then open the door again, say a few more vile things, and slam it shut. This action results in several things. First, it fuels our anger. Secondly, it is a provocative act that reeks of intimidation. Thirdly, it says that we won't stick around to work things out. Slamming doors is also a good way to infuriate our partner or family member.
Jason had a long-standing anger problem and learned early the "value" of slamming doors. A recent fight with his wife, Marlene, over who was responsible for washing the dishes that night resulted in a fiery outburst.
Jason: "I'm not doing the dishes tonight."
Marlene: "Yes, you are. It's your turn."
Jason: "I'm not doing them. Period."
Marlene: "Then you won't be eating supper here tomorrow night."
Jason: (heading for the door) "You know, Marlene, you are acting like a real baby. I've had it with your stupid childish behavior." Jason walks out and slams the door. A few seconds later he walks back into the room and yells, "You are the ultimate self-centered princess just like your mother." He walks out again, slamming the door behind him.
Marlene: Finding his behavior too much to bear, she follows Jason into the driveway yelling, "Don't come back, you lazy, no-good jerk." Marlene's timing is perfect as the neighbors are milling around just in time to hear her yelling.
Jason: At the next counseling session Jason says, "I don't know what's wrong with Marlene. She followed me into the driveway yelling and embarrassed me in front of our neighbors. Marlene is really the one with the anger problem."

12. Stop all non-affectionate touching.
Stop telling yourself:
"She was out of control. I was just holding her on the bed so she could get control of herself."
"I was just defending myself when she tried to slap me."
It's unacceptable to touch in anger, including any kind of aggressive touching like pushing or holding. It's also a bad idea. If the police are called and your spouse or girlfriend has bruises, that is domestic violence. In that instance, you can be arrested and jailed.
Ed and Carol got into a fight when she found out he was having an affair with a co-worker. During the screaming and yelling match, Carol became overwrought with emotion and hit Ed. According to Ed, he held her down on the bed to help her regain control. When the neighbors called the police, the following dialogue ensued:
Police officer: "What's going on here?"
Carol: "He attacked me."
Ed: "That's not true. I held her down on the bed so that she could regain her composure. I was just trying to help her."
Carol: "Look at how he bruised me. Look at my black and blue arms. Is this helping me?"
After looking at the bruises on Carol's arm, the police officer arrested Ed on charges of domestic violence. He was not moved by Ed's attempt to "help" Carol. Ed broke the law by physically restraining his wife.

13. Stop telling "hero stories."
Stop telling yourself:
"I just wanted you to understand what really happened."
"I did pretty good considering I was provoked."
"Hero stories" are stories we tell about how we lost our temper or made a sarcastic remark. When we retell the story, it makes us look like a hero for standing up against someone. Seldom do we tell these stories with shame; mostly we tell them with pride. It's as if we are waiting for our audience to say, "What a man" or "Yeah, you really told her off." Often we find ourselves using profanity when telling and retelling the story. Telling hero stories is like getting two rushes for the price of one. We lose our temper and get a rush of adrenaline, then we call and tell a friend our hero story and get another rush.
I was running an anger group at the Veterans Administration hospital when a patient came in on Monday after a weekend pass. Larry started screaming and cursing about how he was going to kill his wife. As it turned out, his wife had left him for another man. He began describing to the group what he had told her on the phone he would do to them.
It was a hero story about how bad he was, how tough he was and how afraid of him they were. I told Larry to put his elbows on his knees, drop his gaze and talk about how he really felt. After a brief silence, Larry broke down and started sobbing about how hurt he was and how he was dying inside. Behind the hero story was not a warrior, but a man in great pain and anguish over the loss of a loved one.
Hero stories only fuel our anger by making us look bigger than we really are. They often hide pain, anguish and fear.

14. Stop sighing, clucking, or rolling your eyes.
Stop telling yourself:
"Well, it's discouraging to hear her complain all the time."
"My sighs just mean I'm tired. It wasn't directed at her. She's too touchy."
Another behavior to abstain from is using various kinds of sighs. These sounds are often a way to express anger, disgust or disapproval. The sighs can also heat up an argument, especially if people are overly sensitive to each other's moods.
Missy: "Let's go to a movie tonight. I really need to get out of the house."
Carl: (sighing) "What do you want to see?"
Missy: "You never want to go anywhere. All you want to do is sit at home and watch television."
Carl: "I said I would go to the movies. What's the problem?"
Missy: "Your sigh tells me that you don't really want to go. You are just doing this to appease me. I don't want to drag you anywhere. I'll just go by myself."
Carl: "I'm not sighing because I don't want to go to the movies but because I'm tired."
Missy: "Yeah, right."

If you have teenagers in your home, you are familiar with clucking and "tssking." (Clucking and "tssking" are special nonverbal techniques that teenagers use to drive their parents over the edge.) A typical conversation might go like this:
Parent: "Will you please take out the trash?"
Teenager: "Tssk."
Parent: "What did you say?"
Teenager: "Nothing."
Parent: "Don't make those sounds to me."
Teenager: "What sounds? Why are you getting so upset? I didn't say anything."
These nonverbal explosive responses generate a lot of hostility in marriages. More and more researchers are finding that couples express most of the hostility to each other in nonverbal ways, so the how is as important as the what that we say.

Rolling your eyes can intensify or even start an argument. For example, David and Leah invited a couple to their home for a dinner party. During the dinner conversation Leah talked in detail about their last trip to France, forgetting that she had talked to the couple about it before. Fearing that the guests would be bored, David rolled his eyes when she announced that she would get the photo album. When the guests left, David asked Leah if she had a good time.
Leah: "No. I was miserable."
David: "Why?"
Leah: "You embarrassed and humiliated me."
David: "How?"
Leah: "You don't know? You don't remember rolling your eyes when I said I'd get the photo album?"
David: "Honey, I was only kidding."
Leah: "Kid with someone else. Don't joke at my expense. Don't ever again humiliate and embarrass me like that in front of people."

15. Stop criticizing and stop lecturing.
Stop telling yourself:
"If I don't criticize her, how will she know when she does something wrong?"
"You mean I can't express any of my feelings?"
It is essential that we abstain from criticism. A lot of men with rage problems think our job is to help our wives improve by pointing out their shortcomings. Stopping this behavior in ourselves calls for a dramatic shift in values, something we will discuss later in this book.
Jack and Suzanne have been married for 10 years and have experienced marital conflict for most of that time. Suzanne is fed up with the marriage and has demanded that Jack join her in marital therapy. During the third session, the dialogue went like this:
Suzanne: "I'm tired of Jack criticizing me."
Therapist: "What do you mean? Give me an example."
Suzanne: "Last night I was cutting up cabbage for dinner. Jack walked to the kitchen counter and criticized the way I was doing it. He told me I should be cutting it differently."
Therapist: "Jack, would you give up criticizing her cabbage cutting in order to save the marriage?"
Jack: "I was just trying to help her. Isn't it my job to help her become a better cook?"
Therapist: "It's not your job to help her with anything she doesn't specifically ask for help with. If Suzanne wanted your help to become a better cook, she'd ask for it. Jack, I know you think criticism expresses your love and concern, but Suzanne doesn't see it as concern, only criticism."

Driving
This chapter has focused on controlling our anger in family relationships, but what we do in our family lives and what we do in the outside world are interconnected. Because of this, we must abstain from anger in our everyday lives as well. This includes activities like driving, where road rage is a reflection of our anger. It means practicing recovery driving.
Once I ran a course for men on probation for domestic violence. At the first meeting I announced, "I have the secret that will keep you out of jail for domestic violence while this course is going on."
"What?" they asked.
"Change the way you drive."
In unison they responded, "What?" "No way." "That's crazy." "Whaddya mean?"
"You can't expect to abstain from expressing anger when you get home if you drive all the way there with one hand on the horn and the other out the window with your middle finger up," I stated matter-of-factly.
I have often heard men in my office say that they will do anything to stop the divorce and get back into the house. When they ask what they can do today, my answer is, "Change the way you drive back to the office. That can be the first tangible evidence that you can change."
What are the guidelines for recovery driving?
1. Drive within 5 m.p.h. of the speed limit.
2. If you drive more than 5 m.p.h. over the speed limit, then drive under the speed limit for the next 10 minutes.
3. No honking of the horn in anger.
4. Once the other driver sees you, stop honking.
5. Stop on yellow lights.
6. If someone wants to get in front of you, let him or her in and smile. Avoid eye contact when another driver is angry at you.
7. Make no critical comments about anyone else's driving.
In Summary
Following the simple abstinence techniques described in this chapter is difficult and often painful at first. When men come for therapy, I tell them that depressed women often find therapy very relieving. For angry men, however, abstaining from anger during the first few months is difficult and painful. However, the simple technique of abstinence is effective in stopping anger and rage outbursts. It will also reduce the amount of anger you feel. The rewards that will come in your relationships and in your work life will make it worth the effort.

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Introduction

Are you addicted to anger?
In the mid-1980s John Bradshaw, author of Healing the Shame That Binds You, wrote about "rageaholics," those of us who are addicted to anger and rage. The model made sense to me. I worked with rageful drug addicts and I began to think of anger as if it were a drug. As I did more reading, I found that there actually are biochemical changes in our bodies when we rage, use profanity or pound things. Those of us who rage a lot have more health problems than people who practice containing their anger. The popular psychological theories that suggested a need to express anger for mental and physical health reasons have been proven false when put under the microscope of scientific research. The more we scream and yell, the worse our health gets, the more prone we are to heart attacks and the worse our rage problem becomes.
"Sure I get angry. Doesn't everybody?" This book is certainly not for all men. Some men may need to learn to express their anger, but others have become addicted to the expression of anger just like the alcoholic has become addicted to alcohol. As with the alcoholic, solemn oaths to use willpower to "control ourselves" have failed repeatedly. Still, we continue trying to do more of what has not worked.
If you have unsuccessfully tried willpower, solemn oaths, stopping drinking, marital therapy, getting all the anger out once and for all, exploring anger at your father, learning the appropriate expression of anger, meditation and some medication, you may be convinced that there is no way to stop the destructive power of anger. You may be beginning to lose your marriage, children, jobs and friends. You may be caught in the grip of an addiction even stronger than you realized. You may be a rageaholic.

"I thought it was healthy to express my anger." For the last 50 years the world has been saying, "Express yourself." "Let it out." "It's good for you to express your feelings." "It's bad for you to repress your feelings."
Seymour Feshbach, an early pioneer in anger research, explored hostility and aggressiveness by taking a group of young boys who were not especially aggressive or destructive and encouraging them to kick furniture and play with violent toys. They did so enthusiastically. Instead of draining these boys of aggression, the aggressive "play" actually increased it. The boys became more rather than less hostile and destructive. As opposed to letting off steam, expressing hostility toward another person may increase rather than decrease hostile feelings.
My work agrees with Feshbach, and it has led to this radical principle: Abstain from the expression of anger. As background for this alternative approach to dealing with anger, let me first develop in more detail the two theories of anger that have dominated the past century.
Two Theories on Anger Resolution: "Build-up/Blow-up" and "Expressive Anger"
One way to consider anger is what I call the "Build-up/Blow-up Theory of Anger." At the turn of the century Freud relied on the popular scientific theory of his day, hydraulic theory, to explain how psychic energy worked. In hydraulic theory, a pressure or force is either released or it causes pressure in some other part of the system. Let me use the example of a pressure cooker to link anger and hydraulic theory. Imagine a pressure cooker with a flame underneath and the pressure building up. The steam inside the cooker is equivalent to anger and one of the ways to release the steam is to take the lid off the pressure cooker. As a child, I used to ask my mother when she cooked chicken and vegetables in the pressure cooker to please take off the lid so we could eat our lunch. She said it was dangerous to take off the lid too soon. She ran cold water on it and I begged her again. Finally, out of frustration, she took the lid off, steam rushed out, and she got burned.
"Maybe if I get it all out, I will be okay?" Those of us with anger problems may be encouraged to express our anger. We may be told that it is good to get it out. We might be told that anger can even harm us physically if we don't express it. Many who believe in the hydraulic theory of anger even suggest a big release (catharsis) for anger.

Expressive therapy, often associated with encounter groups and psychodrama, encourages the pounding of pillows, yelling and screaming or psychodrama with players representing people in your past that you are angry at. In psychodrama, you are encouraged to yell and tell these people how you really feel. The cathartic model in psychotherapy was the first path I chose in my attempt to get the destructive aspects of my anger under control. In Los Angeles in the late 1960s and early 1970s, proponents of this model believed that our culture had been too restrictive about anger. We needed to "let it out" and "express ourselves." "Let those feelings out!" the facilitators would cheer me on as I screamed my rage.
This approach was believed to be a good antidote to the leftover repression of the Victorian era. The idea was that we could heal and become whole if we just let ourselves go and trusted our impulses.
There was value in this model for me and there still is value for many men in cathartic expression-pounding pillows and screaming profanity until exhaustion. The value can be to become less afraid of our anger, to experience the underlying feelings of grief. Often, tender yearnings hide beneath the rage. Sobbing comes after the screaming. The guilt about anger, hatred and rage dissolves to some extent when the rage outburst is accepted and welcomed by a therapy group. Crying in the arms of loving people and being held afterward can be a very satisfying experience. However, the research evidence does not support that using this model in any way reduces rage outbursts during the rest of our lives.
No matter how good and nurturing the cathartic experience was, my anger outbursts only got worse during this time.

"I've been told that I need to learn to express my anger appropriately." Again, let's imagine a pressure cooker, but instead of taking off the lid, let's set the pressure valve to slowly release the steam when it reaches a certain intensity. For example, we might say to our spouse, "I have some feelings of resentment toward you" or "Your behavior in the last few days has created some growing feelings of resentment" or "I would just like to let you know that I am feeling angry toward you because of your behavior last night at the party."
The idea is that we can express anger in a contained, appropriate way, and let the steam out gradually. Many of those who rage have been to therapists who think we haven't been taught how to express our anger appropriately; the therapy begins by attempting to teach us the appropriate expression of anger. If the "appropriate expression of anger" is used around resentment issues in a structured way, some of us can use it beneficially.
Following my experience with expressive therapies, I thought learning this appropriate expression approach was the answer for me, so I began learning, then teaching, the appropriate expression of anger. My wife said I was an excellent teacher and could do well in role plays, but even though I knew it in my head, when the adrenaline rush hit, I was gone. Typically I would start by saying, "Sweetheart, I would like to sit down and share with you after dinner." (That's called making an appointment-which is good.) Then, when we got comfortable, I would say, "I have been feeling angry and resentful about some things."
She would say, "What?"
I would reply, "What? You don't even know what?" and then I would go into a rage. She said I did well for up to 30 seconds but could never get past that.

A Different Theory of Anger: Rage as an Addiction
An alternative theory from the first two theories of anger is the "abstain," "dissolve" or "containment theory of anger." It suggests we leave the lid on the pressure cooker, keep the valve closed, and turn off the fire underneath it. Now, what happens if the pressure cooker just stays there? If we let the pressure cooker stand there long enough and we take the lid off, there is no steam. Steam equals anger in this image, so if you just let the pressure cooker (us) sit there, the steam turns into something else-cool water.

"When angry, I don't say anything?" It will take some work and practice to keep the lid on; it is hard not to let a little steam seep out of the pressure valve and not to take the lid off. The idea is to keep the lid on tight, and to let the anger turn back into peace.
In the 1970s some authors suggested that we have a "Vesuvius Hour." Vesuvius is a volcano in Italy that erupted and buried the thriving city of Pompeii. The idea was that when we got home, rather than having a cocktail hour, we would erupt like a volcano, scream and yell, and call our spouse and children ugly names. Our children and spouse, in turn, would call us names, yell and scream. Everybody would get their aggression out for the day and have a peaceful, wonderful evening. But we know now that this practice actually aggravates the feelings and intensity of anger. The research that documents how anger makes our health and relationship problems worse is reviewed in Anger Kills5 by Redford and Virginia Williams.
Carol Tavris6 in her comprehensive study, Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion corrects some common misconceptions about expressing anger:
Myth #1: "Aggression is the instinctive catharsis for anger."
Reality: Aggression is an acquired cathartic habit, a learned reaction practiced by people who think they can get away with behaving this way.
Myth #2: "Talking out anger gets rid of it-or at least makes you feel less angry."
Reality: A series of studies indicates that the overt expression of anger can increase it. Tavris suggests that before speaking out, evaluate whether you want to stay angry or not.
Myth #3: "Tantrums and other childhood rages are healthy expressions of anger that forestall neuroses."
Reality: As Tavris states, "The emotions are as subject to the laws of learning as any other behavior."

What are the signs that rage has turned into an addiction?
All addictions have symptoms, which allow us to recognize these problems as addictive diseases. The signs of addictive diseases are self-stimulation, compulsion, obsession, denial, withdrawal and craving syndrome, and unpredictable behavior. Like alcoholism or drug use, anger meets many of the criteria.
Self-Stimulation. For those of us who are rageaholics, expressing our anger is self-stimulating. It triggers our compulsion for more anger. For example, let's pretend that we are going to provide treatment for alcoholics. On the way to the treatment center we stop and buy a case of beer. When we get there, we tell the alcoholics in therapy that they just need to do a lot of drinking to get it out of their system once and for all. This, I believe, is similar to when therapists tell men with rage problems, "You just need to express yourself and get it out of your system." It is just as absurd.
The more alcoholics drink, the more they want. The more we ragers rage, the more we want to rage. One way to define alcoholism is that when the alcoholic ingests alcohol, it sets up a self-stimulating system in which he craves more alcohol. The more alcohol a person drinks, the more alcohol that person wants. It is the same way with rageaholics.
Compulsion. Anger addiction or "rageaholism" is the compulsive pursuit of a mood change by repeatedly engaging in episodes of rage despite adverse consequences. Rageaholics are individuals who continue to rage compulsively without regard to the negative consequences. It is the compulsion that signals the disease of addiction. Despite all judgment, reason, insight or consequence, we continue to use "the substance" compulsively.7

When we can no longer control how much or when we rage, we have crossed the line into addiction. Brief periods of abstinence from rage may occur because of guilt or concern about the loss of a mate or of a job, but eventually, despite the best of intentions to control our tongue and hands, the rageaholic will be off again on another tantrum.
When control is lost, we ragers have entered into a crucial phase of addiction and may never again be able to return to the controlled expression of anger. Once this point is reached, we cannot predict what will set us off or how far we will go with our behavior. Our behavior is often as puzzling to us as it is to those around us.

Addicts will try anything to solve the problem except to stay away from the substance or behavior that triggers the addiction. Once the compulsion is triggered, all efforts at control fail.
In all forms of addiction, the control over thoughts and behavior is lost. As addiction progresses, our losses become increasingly profound and our life is no longer under our control. We are at the mercy of anyone who provokes us. Our thought processes become dominated by the addiction and we look for opportunities to indulge our addiction. Anger, revenge and rage take over. Our life becomes a booby trap, baited with pride and vengefulness as we wait for someone to offend us in some real or imagined way. As one client said, "I used to have trouble going to sleep at night because it would take me two or three hours to imagine killing everybody who had ever pissed me off, so I could fall asleep."
Obsession. Rageaholics are frequently preoccupied with resentment and fantasies of revenge. Those thoughts sometimes rise powerfully and allow no other thoughts to enter. No matter how hard we try to stop them, ideas of outrage and revenge predominate. The force of anger is sometimes irresistible and followed by action. Therefore, the preoccupation with the "wrongs" of others and revenge continually leads to rage. Progressively, these thoughts crowd out all others until our life becomes chronically revenge oriented. At that point, anger controls our thoughts.

Denial. Denial keeps anger addicts trapped. It is the mental process by which we conclude that the addiction is not the problem-it's them. Ignorance of addiction and the inability to examine ourselves work together to keep anger addicts stuck. Knowing no other way to live, we deny that there is anything wrong with us. This system of denial ensures that the process of rage and righteous indignation will continue. It is the speck-and-log-in-the-eye confusion problem. "Take the log out of your own eye before trying to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye," Jesus admonished. Yes, we ragers are right; there may be a speck in our wife's eye, the other driver may indeed be wrong. But our focus should be on the log in our eye-that rage.

Withdrawal and Craving. As with any addiction, anger has a detoxification period. This is a very vulnerable time when addicts often feel unreal, like we have given up "who we are." Craving is high during this time. Those who abstain from name-calling, profanity and yelling during this period report more depression than usual for the first three months. Afterward, however, if we have achieved complete abstinence and maintained it for 90 days, we find we no longer think in profane or disparaging terms. It may even become shocking when we hear others do it.
Often in an anger hangover, we feel that we can probably do what it takes to live the rest of our lives without expressing anger-and without violence, verbal or physical. Typically, during the first 90 days of abstinence, ragers feel vulnerable and spend a lot of time thinking and hoping for a situation that will allow us to use violence for some heroic purpose. These heroic rescue fantasies are a symptom of our craving for anger like the heroin addict craves a fix. We are restless soldiers hoping for what Teddy Roosevelt called a "nice little war."
It may be time for us to "beat our spears into plowshares." Many of us were trained to be soldiers by our culture through physical contact sports and the military. It got into our blood and hasn't yet gotten out. It is interesting to ask ourselves when we last needed physical violence or the threat of physical violence to prevent injury to ourselves or someone else. For me, the answer is something like 45 years. All those chivalrous violent fantasies we think we need to protect us and our families from robbers and murderers need to go. In fact, our family is actually in much greater danger from us than some external threat. Constantly rehearsing break-ins and car jackings will not help us in our recovery.

Unpredictable Behavior. Another definition of alcoholism is that when an alcoholic drinks, there is no way to predict his or her behavior. He may drink appropriately from time to time, just as the rageaholic may express anger appropriately from time to time. However, when the alcoholic starts to drink alcohol, all bets are off. No one knows what is going to happen. He or she may drink appropriately or may disappear for days. When rageaholics start to express anger, no one knows where it is going to go. The most likely thing is that we are going to explode, rant and rave. How can we then relate to "the appropriate expression" of anger?
We rageaholics would like to learn how to express our anger appropriately just like alcoholics would like to learn how to drink appropriately. But can we be taught to do this? Yes, you can be taught, but when the adrenaline hits, it's an excuse to blow up. We keep arguing that we are expressing ourselves appropriately. While there are some exceptions, I encourage those with rage problems to abstain from the expression of anger for one year.
Remember, this plan is only for that small percent of the population who have rage or violence problems. (The approach described here is not for everyone.) For those addicted to anger, it won't work to express our anger. We have tried it and know it has never worked. Many of us have been to therapy for years and have worked very hard at learning to express our anger appropriately. However, we often feel frustrated and don't know why we can't learn it. In fact, we may feel relieved when we decide it is all right to give up trying to express our anger appropriately and begin to learn how to abstain from the expression of anger altogether.
Do you have an anger problem? A Self-Assessment Test
Answer true or false to the following questions. Please be honest, not a "lip-service honest," but fearlessly and searchingly honest. There is much to gain and you don't have to share the results with anyone but yourself.
Anger Self-Assessment Test

T    F   1.        I've had trouble on the job because of my temper.
T    F   2.     I fly off the handle easily.
T    F   3.     I don't always show my anger, but when I do, look out.
T    F   4.     I still get angry when I think of the bad things people did to me in
                the past.
T    F   5.     Waiting in line really annoys me.
T    F   6.     I often find myself engaged in heated arguments with the people
                who are close to me.
T    F   7.     I sometimes lie awake at night thinking about the things that upset
                me during the day.
T    F   8.     When someone says or does something that upsets me, I don't
                usually say anything at the time, but later I spend a lot of time
                thinking of cutting replies I could and should have made.
T    F   9.     I find it very hard to forgive someone who has done me wrong.
T    F   10.    I get angry with myself when I lose control of my emotions.
T    F   11.    I get aggravated when people don't behave the way they should.
T    F   12.    If I get really upset about something, I have a tendency to feel sick
                later (frequently experiencing weak spells, headaches, upset    
                stomach or diarrhea.)
T    F   13.    When things don't go my way, I "lose it."
T    F   14.    I am apt to take frustration so badly that I cannot put it out of my
                mind.
T    F   15.    I've been so angry at times I couldn't remember what I said or did.
T    F   16.    Sometimes I feel so hurt and alone that I've thought about killing
                myself.
T    F   17.    After arguing with someone, I despise myself.
T    F   18.    When riled, I often blurt out things I later regret saying.
T    F   19.    Some people are afraid of my bad temper.
T    F   20.    When I get angry, frustrated or hurt, I comfort myself by eating or
                using alcohol or other drugs.
T    F   21.    When someone hurts me, I want to get even.
T    F   22.    I've gotten so angry at times that I've become physically violent,
                hitting other people or breaking things.
T    F   23.    At times I've felt angry enough to kill.
T    F   24.    People I've trusted have often let me down, leaving me feeling
                angry or betrayed.
T    F   25.    I'm an angry person. My temper has already caused lots of
                problems, and I need help changing it.

Scoring the Anger Self-Assessment Test. If you answered true to 10 or more of these questions, you are prone to anger problems. It's time for a change. If you answered true to 5 questions, you are about average in your angry feelings, but learning some anger management techniques can make you happier.
The Most Important Test. For most men reading this book I suggest that you not spend one second arguing with your wife as to who has the anger problem. One of the purposes of this book is to teach you how never to have an argument with your spouse. Before you get to the section on communication, you can start with a critical practice right now: 1) Find truth in what your wife says. 2) Start your sentence with, "You are right." No "buts" keep your butt out of the way. 3) Repeat 1 and 2.
Now your wife tells you, "You have a horrible anger problem. You have to read this book, Anger Busting 101." The old you might have said, "I have an anger problem? What about you? You are the one who needs to read it." The new you might say, "You are right. I do get angry way too much."

In Summary
There are many myths about anger that may make it harder for angry men to change their behavior. There also may be a question as to whether you are a real rageaholic. Most men would be glad to find a way to live a happier life and have a happier marriage. There may be some suggestions you can use to achieve those goals. You don't have to decide if you are a rager or how bad of a rager you may be.
In Section I we will address the new ABCs of managing your anger: Abstain, Believe, Communicate. Not all angry men are the same. Section II is designed to help women understand which men can change and which men cannot. It will also help women learn ways to get their man's attention. Section III examines the ABCs for women who are trying to help their men change.
This book is written primarily for angry men and the women who have to suffer them. The principles and techniques discussed in this book can also be applied to make most marriages more rewarding, regardless of the amount of rage in the relationship.

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