The Anger Fallacy: Uncovering the Irrationality of the Angry Mindset

The Anger Fallacy: Uncovering the Irrationality of the Angry Mindset

by Steven Laurent, Ross G Menzies

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781922117205
Publisher: Australian Academic Press
Publication date: 02/03/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 785 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Steven Laurent is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience in treating psychiatric disorders. He is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, where he has taught on Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, and Drug and Alcohol Disorders. At present he works in private practice in the Inner West of Sydney. Steven completed a Masters in Clinical Psychology at UNSW, where his thesis centred on emotion perception in ‘psychopaths’. Laurent’s interest in anger arose in the 1990s during the completion of undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Formal Logic at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Ross G. Menzies has been providing cognitive-behaviour therapy for anxiety, depression, couples conflict and related issues for over two decades and is currently Associate Professor in Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. He is an active researcher and currently holds over $5 million in national competitive research grants. He has produced four books, over 140 international journal manuscripts and book chapters and is regularly invited to speak at conferences and leading universities and institutions around the world. He continues to attract patients from across metropolitan Sydney, rural NSW, interstate and from overseas, with many individuals and families travelling thousands of kilometres to receive treatment at his private practice. The present book is his first major work on anger.

Read an Excerpt

Constructive anger?
There’s an alarming number of popular books on anger describing a certain kind of anger expression (usually the polite, moderate kind) as ‘constructive’. Anger’s constructive, they say, when it’s framed as a mutual problem.
What?! Mutual problem? Constructive? Anger? Bollocks. Anger is in its essence adversarial. In a conflict, focusing on mutual problems, or common interests, is a very smart tactic, but it is the very antithesis of expressing anger.
Think about what a mutual problem looks like (in the absence of anger); for example, when you and a friend work together on a crossword puzzle, or when a husband and wife discuss what to do about a leaky roof.
Passing off your anger at someone as an attempt to solve a mutual problem is usually a little manipulative:
[A mother to her son] When you spend two hours on Facebook, it really ticks me off. You don’t want to tick me off now, do you? No. So it seems we both have a problem here.
Can you see how this is not an example of a mutual problem in the same manner as the crossword and the leaky roof? The mother is trying to frame her angry response as part of the hard landscape of the Facebook-problem. But it’s not. It’s obviously not. She just added it. If your son is obsessed with Facebook, and this angers you, then strictly speaking: you’re the one who has a problem with it. This doesn’t mean it’s your fault; it just means you’re the one bothered by it and wanting it to change, not your son. From your son’s perspective, you’ve added a problem (an angry mother, an impediment to Facebook usage) that wasn’t there before. So now you both have different problems, not a mutual problem. Don’t get us wrong here: your son’s excessive Facebook use may well have negative repercussions of which he is unaware (e.g., sleep deprivation, repetitive strain injury, early onset myopia, narcissism), and these are well worth pointing out to him; but then your problem is ‘how to communicate these ill effects to my son’ or ‘how to persuade him to stop using Facebook’. Similarly, giving a student a detention may be constructive; but feeling angry at him hardly is.

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