The Anger Habit Workbook
The Anger Habit Workbook
Pain is our jailor, jail, and liberator in this world.
Props to Allan Tsang for title inspiration.
Any solution to the very tough problem of anger can’t be either overly simple or complicated. Building on Dr. Carl Semmelroth’s work, I came up with four steps that resulted in an acronym that I hope will help users get to the root of the anger problem. RAD(D) is short for ‘radical’ which also means ‘root’. RAD(D) also refers to something kind of cool and appealing in a way that startles you, though it was in more common use in the 80’s. I hope RADD helps you and your clients break your anger trance and make progress in being more calm, confident and effective. It is well worth the effort. Memorize it and be RADD 😉
Recognition of the anger you feel
Acceptance that you are mentally impaired when angry
Determination to solve the problem that provoked the anger later when you are unimpaired
Diversion of your thinking from ‘fuel for anger thoughts’ to anything else until you are unimpaired (15 minutes)
You need to feel safe , so you let your guard down. Seems like it should be the opposite, right, you need to feel safe, so put your guard up?
But think about it – having your guard up is work . It takes energy and effort. You do it because you are in a situation where you are not feeling safe. But as you expend more energy, you begin to just want it all to be over, to not have to work so hard. You look for ways to get yourself into a position where you feel safe, where nothing dangerous is supposed to happen, and you let your guard down. Big time negotiations have been won and lost in the bathroom of all places because someone spills some information critical to the negotiation. They thought they could put their guard down. They needed to feel safe so they acted like they were and ended up blowing it.
Think about road rage. Why does it happen? When you are in your car, you feel safe and you let your guard down. As a result, when something happens on the road that feels unsafe or unfair, your emotions explode. You would never act that way while walking or standing in line at a store register.
And who do we treat the worst? People we love. Why? Because when we are around them we relax and our guard goes down so if something happens that we don’t like, our emotions explode. If a stranger does the same thing, we have our guard up, and we don’t give it a second thought, unless you are in a car 🙂
But the key point is that our need, our belief that we need to feel safe, is dangerous to us. I think what we want to try to do is be very selective about putting our guard down, and when we put it down, be ready to put our guard back up so we are not at the mercy of our emotions.
More from Carl Smmelroth’s Anger Habit Workbook:
From birth most of us are surrounded by a multitude of things that we didn’t earn and didn’t arrange – the air we breathe, the car we are given, the food made available to us, the concern of others about us. It is very difficult to understand why. So we are apt to assume it because we deserve people’s concern and attention. We deserve everything we get just because we exist, because we are who and what we are. We don’t easily see that what we receive is given to us as a gift. Instead of an attitude of gratitude for what we get from others, we are apt to develop an attitude of entitlement.
This phenomenon has a lot to do with why we prefer learning about leadership over negotiation. We love to appoint ourselves as leaders, but seeing ourselves as negotiators strips us of any sense of privilege. The false sense of security that self-importance gives us is hard to relinquish. Very hard. It actually is ultimately very freeing, but initially scary to decide to put effort into mastering negotiation
And naturally, it helps you earn your way to leadership.
Wim Chase LICSW
Academic Coach www.campnegotiationinstitute.com
I love Carl Semmelroth’s work. This is from his book – The Anger Habit Workbook:
A major source of anger is a person’s sense of self-importance. Self-importance is quite different from self-esteem. In fact, it is a major barrier to the development of self-esteem. Your self-esteem assures you that you have the ability to deal with whatever occurs in your life with competence and grace. Self-importance leads you to assume that whatever you want or need is owed to you because of who or what you are.
People with high self-importance assume what they want is owed to them due to the fact that they want it. People with high self-esteem do not hesitate to attempt to earn their way in the world.
I will add that one of the symptoms of self-importance is that it hides from the person in whom it resides.
Self-importance makes it very difficult to hear no, and that is a major problem since negotiations begin with no. The Camp system of negotiation requires that all self-importance be addressed and eliminated before the negotiation. If you become a student at CNI, you will be taught how to eliminate it.
Wim Chase LICSW
Academic Coach – www.campnegotiationinstitute.com
1. Smother it. Problem with this approach is the anger may build in you internally so much that you will lose it one day and do a lot of damage to yourself and/or others.
2. Express it. This sounds fine – sometimes it is referred to as ‘being assertive’. Reality tends to be though that it often leads to arguments, as well-intentioned as you may be.
3. Refocus on your goal: Anger is a behavior that has as its goal the solution to a problem. Having a problem with your anger means you use or fantasize about attack as the tool to solve too many problems in your life.
( Dr Carl Semmelroth)