Anger Management: Barking up the Wrong Tree
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 August 2019 20:01
- Written by Steve Halley
People have commonly come to battering intervention programs thinking they needed help with managing their anger. Many have taken anger management classes in the past, but the problem continued. I normally listen as they explain many of the ways their anger has disrupted their lives. They believe that if they could get a handle on their anger, their life would get better. I listen to them intently before I explain that I have some good news and some bad news for them. The good news is that while I have met many who believe they have anger issues, I have never met anyone who actually did have an anger problem. The bad news is that the real problem is much more difficult than addressing “anger”. If we are going to address this problem, we are going to have to talk about fear. Addressing an anger problem without addressing fear is like barking up the wrong tree.
Battering behavior is never a result of an anger problem. Battering behavior is commonly driven by desire to dominate and control another. Anger is not the problem, it is a symptom of the problem. There are plenty of other tactics that serve the same purpose. Anger is commonly defined as a response to a perceived threat to either one’s self or others. Therefore, by definition, anger is a response to fear.