You may be familiar with his legendary temper, which in 2004 won him a seventy-three game suspension, the longest suspension for an on-court incident in NBA history. In addition to his anger on the court, Ron Artest (aka Meta World Peace) was arrested twice for violence against his wife. What you may not know is that this impulsive celebrity is using his star power for good. After winning the NBA title with the Lakers in 2010, Ron told a reporter, “I’d like to thank my psychiatrist. She really helped me relax.” Since then, he has met with U.S. policymakers to advocate for mental health in schools. Instead of leading the game in suspensions due to violence, he is leading the way on anger management.
I love this example for two reasons: 1) It shows that change is possible for even the mega star athlete with a traumatic past 2)Seeking help for anger is like seeking help for anything else like a toothache, broken limb or diabetes. Seeking help for our mental health is no different than seeking help for our physical health.
1. I don’t really have an anger problem. We have a little thing called confirmation bias-which is a psychological term that says “we think we’re great and tend to seek out information that confirms this view. Thus, when someone is telling us something contrary to what we believe, we tend to dismiss it or decide they are the ones with the problem. I will implore you to take an observational stance-perhaps you do not have any issues, but what if you do? What if you can take this class as a way to learn more about yourself in order to be fully present for the ones you love.
2. I don’t harm others but my anger can get uncontrollable at times. Anger looks different to different people. If you are depressed, anger can be in the form of self-loathing. If you are outwardly depressed, it will look like aggression. Anger can also look like sarcasm, passive aggression & cold anger. The way you know you need to work on your anger is when others start telling you it’s a problem. What I see too often is individuals waiting to come and see me until it’s too late-until their marriage has ended, they lost custody of their small children and their job is in jeopardy. Don’t wait that long. This 8 weeks will start you on a journey to self-discovery and you will wonder “why didn’t I start this sooner?”
3. Can people really change? What about my partner? He/She has the same issue. Yes, despite what all the personality tests show, people do actually change. But the thinking that got you into your situation, (and probably the reason why you’re reading this blog) is not going to be the same thinking that gets you out. The shift will happen but identifying that there’s a problem is the first step! Maybe your partner is to blame for why you get angry, and maybe not. The key point is, when you start to shift your behaviors and thought patterns from how you used to respond to conflict to a new way of communicating, your partner will notice and your future self will thank you! Your partner can either get on board with the new changes or he/she will be left behind. Most partners start to do their own internal work by watching you go through this transformation. It’s empowering.
4. What happens in a typical anger management class? A typical anger management class starts with a guided meditation, and then we do a check in, learn some key tools, and set an intention or personal goal for next time. Every session looks different but if you show up with an open mind, you will see change. Just being in this group will motivate you to become a more calm, more self aware individual.
5. I don’t know if groups are right for me. If you are saying this to yourself, then this begs the question: Why not? This is not your typical anger management group where I tell you to never get angry at anyone, ever. This is an exploration of what it means to be human among daily triggers-some of those triggers are unresolved trauma from your past. And when you feel like you can’t talk to the people you love about your struggles, the group is a safe place to let down the walls. We are all in this together.
Anger is ubiquitous. And out of all the other emotions, anger is the most passionate. It ignites and energies behavior. At the same time, It’s the most destructive (if not controlled). If you feel like you have anger you can’t control, I can help! Contact me today to learn how to successfully manage your anger. And, sign up for our 8-week Anger Management class!