Anger Management Group – Patience and Wrath.
Over the years I have sat in many anger management groups, including two a week for the last eighteen months plus. I also ran an anger management group in the Community Services Board for about four years. Most of those attending were court ordered.
I can say that I have and do love all the clients that attend. I especially love the interactions between the members, where they become the teachers to each other.
So many have been so badly treated in childhood by angry parents and other trusted individuals. .
I have used various sheets, to help the process along and give us a focus for the 60 or 90 minutes as the case may be. Sometimes I found them very helpful and at other times had to depend on my clients to say how the material applied to them. They bravely answered questions that I did not even know were hidden in there in the materials and in the people attending.
Recently as we discussed what had occurred to cause anger in the previous week, the words that came up were wrath and patience.
Now wrath is a resentful type of anger and patience, in the ancient sense is the “ability to suffer.”
Someone might be looking for a way to work through their anger but fails to see that is what the class is for. As far as they are concerned, we are useless to them, especially as they grapple with the court ordered piece of the class, failing to see we are the messengers of the anger management group and are not the courts and their orders.
As time goes by however, we all settle into this rolling group which becomes a unit as some point as three or four or five start near the same time and they get to know each other and generously share their circumstances, not holding back at all. Good advice is also given out unexpectedly by clients, sharing what works for them, helping one and all.
Working on the unit about empathy, brought up the advice for a man to say to his wife that what he did hurt her. When he came back the next week, he shared that she stopped giving him a hard time over what he had done, just because he listened to her one time and acknowledged that what he had done, hurt her. We could all try this approach of acknowledging out part in a conflict, and noting that our actions did hurt the other person, deeply sometimes.
When one young man said he was looking for other anger management help, he found there was little on offer, and when he found one, they were booked up for a long time. I felt the slur on my offerings but let it slide on for a moment. Then I said to myself, he thinks little of my anger management group, why don’t I confront him about what he did to make his girlfriend angrier that ever.
“At any point before making the call, did you consider that this would not help your case and give you what you wanted.” He immediately went into why he had to set the world to rights in this case and say what he thought.
Other client said that he should not have allowed her to push his buttons, that she never lets others do that to her. Another said that he “sucks up” in order to get where he wants in relation to having time with his children. He was able to get a good custody arrangement and mostly what he wanted.
I mumbled that when it comes to anger, we all have to find what works for us. If we fall on our faces, we have to get up and try something else. If we always do what we always do, we cannot expect things to change.
Ancestral inheritance plays its part also and the young man later thought of his grandmother and how she was. Anger is a learned behavior we are told.
I might say that we came into the world to work on such issues as our anger. That patience is a part of possession of our souls and that this possession comes through suffering the other person to be the way they are until they see differently. We do not seem to be in charge of how the other person is acting. Walking away works for so many people.
Toward the end of his life, my father said he found his anger very difficult. I was helping/watching him dose a calf. His method was to put the medicine in a smallish bottle that he held in his hand. Then he would put it in the calf’s mouth and hold the animal steady as it drained down the throat. Naturally the calf thought this was not something he could comply with and he pushed with all his might and his tongue to stop the medicine going down.
When my father lost his temper he almost pushed the bottle down the calve’s neck completely. I stood by, seeing with horror, the bottle almost disappear down the calve’s neck. The calf helped cough it up and the medicine was gone down. That was when my father said “I have been trying all my life to manage my anger.” The following summer he was dead, lifted out of this life and his animal husbandry.
Often but not always liquor or drugs may have a hand on the dreaded punishments from the courts. I like to drag on that a little and sometimes the client will clean up their act completely, and other times they are determined to keep on keeping on with the booze. My training in motivational interviewing comes in handy as I flex those muscles of trying to motivate them into change. In these cases I need a lot of patience as I watch body language that tells me the client wants to block out completely what I just said.I gain a good rapport with them and the other clients sometimes help by telling how the substance abuse had harmed them and how they are managing their life much better without it.
Thank you for being on this journey with me in the anger management department. I always have to keep an eye on my temper, on the road and in other arenas. Please sign up for my blog and also share as that is the one way of getting my works out. Please pray for ma and I am praying for you as I sit in the light of the full moon coming in through my skylight. Love from Rose.