Friday, February 27, 2009

Revelations in Anger Management

Now I'm not one to obsess over things (well, sort of), but I did have some thoughts on my new approach to anger management, and I will say this-I am optimistic about it, because not only did we have a great day with it, but it seems to align with my views on life, as well. Kind of corny, I know, but bear with me.

What I tried yesterday was a little nutty but perhaps the best solution to my problem. I know a lot of people out there are saying, "Just go see a therapist, already." To that I would say, been there, done that. Therapy has it's usefulness, I won't deny that, but first off I would argue that it's not the only solution, and secondly I would say that, at least from what I've seen, it can be a bit self-indulgent if not addictive. That's just my opinion, however.

Besides, therapy costs money, and more importantly, takes time. Two things I don't have a lot of, so in many ways, it's just not an option. And much in the spirit of New England, sometimes you just have to toughen up and deal with your issues yourself.

With this in mind, I've found an interesting approach to anger management, and though it's only been one day, I felt good about it all. It works something like this. Anger seems to blind side me, I don't see it coming because life is all about unpredictable moments. IN FACT, now that I think about it, it's when things don't go according to plan that I lose it the most, especially for these stupid, trivial things that seem to upset me.

And as any parent will attest to, parenthood is completely unpredictable. There are so many moments when thing don't go according to plan, it's no wonder parents lose it all the time. Granted, there are some parents who are calm and collected in the face of chaos, and I have no idea how they pull it off.

So my approach is to keep anger in my mind all the time. Whenever possible, be aware that something is just around the corner that will tick me off, so that when it comes, I'll at least be somewhat aware of it and better able to soften it. The way it has usually worked is that some event makes me angry and I try to calm myself after the fact, but by then it's too late. My genes or my hard-wiring have already kicked in, and the only thing that will calm me down is time. Instead, I try to nip it in the bud before it even has a chance to fester.

I realize how completely insane this all sounds, but for all it's worth, and believe me, it's worth a lot, we had a great day yesterday, with no major flare-ups and no tears. Actually, one of the kids did start to cry because they didn't get a chocolate milk, but it was quickly overcome through reason, which means the tears were really just a ploy.

Anyway, as I've said, I think this is going to work. At the very least, it will keep me in the moment, rather than obsessing over future events that haven't happened yet or may never happen, I'm operating more in the here and now. Such a Zen approach to life, wouldn't you say?

When you really get down to it, a lot of frustration stems from trying to control things too much, especially when it really can't be done. Sure, you can nurture and illusion of controlling things, but let's face it, life is unpredictable; kids are unpredictable; the weather is unpredictable. Rather than try to control it, roll with it and accept it for what it is. In my case, anticipate it, and I'll be better able to deal with it.

I'm not trying to promote this idea that we should anticipate disasters around every corner, but I also don't think it's good to think you can control your universe, which just so happens to tend towards entropy.

And, at the very least, it will make life more enjoyable having less frustration and hopefully anger.

I know a lot of this just sounds like useless banter, because it is, but give me some time. I'm still working on clarifying my theory since it's in its nascent stage, but suffice it to say, so far, so good.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.


The Book Chook said...

I really hear you on this, Fred. I suspect I am a bit of a control freak. The way it manifests is a) getting taken aback easily when life throws a curveball and b) organizing way in advance for projects, making lists and trying to anticipate what might go wrong as if I can somehow prevent problems.

I know you are right. Going with the flow is so much easier on me, and on my family.

phredude said...

Hi Susan, There are definitely positives to good planning, making lists, and anticipating potential problems. Personally, I don't think it's necessarily a control issue, it just makes good sense. The problem I have is when things don't go according to plan, which they always do, and then I get frustrated and lose it. It's stupid and embarrassing, and makes the already unpleasant task of being around me all the more unpleasant. But I am working on it. Hope you're well.