Psychological Self-Help

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teeth, and imagine what you would like to say to him, 'You lousy
bastard, you can sit in an office, completely safe, but look what your
bombing orders have done. Look at these children, some without
limbs, some burned, some blinded!' Imagine showing him around the
ward and...get him all the names you can think of." Get
mad verbally and physically; hit a pillow; kick a bean bag; shout. If
you can't do these things, see the next suggestion, i.e. (3). 
When you can experience anger to these social situations, the next
step is to learn to get angry about everyday things in your life. Make a
list of irritating situations. Describe some scenes in detail, like the war
scene, and repeat them to yourself over and over and get mad. After
you have learned to detect and internally experience your anger, then
you can start learning to be assertive (see chapter 13). None of these
exercises are ever intended to encourage actual hostility towards
another person. 
Some of us can feel angry but we can't express it, not to another
person or even alone. You may feel too self-conscious to hit a pillow or
scream in your car. You may know you would like to smash in a
person's face, but you can't hit a punching bag. 
You need a friend to give you "anger training." The idea is to
express anger more thoroughly by getting your whole body into it. You
need a coach--your friend. Make believe that your friend has your
towel and you want it back, now! He/she teases you with a real towel
and refuses to give it back. The objective is not to just get the towel,
rather the purpose is to learn how to express strong physical anger
(without hurting anyone). In a loud, gruff voice, demand your towel.
Look him/her in the eye, no smiles. Your friend does two things--
refuses to let you have the towel and coaches you on how to show
anger. Get your whole body into it: arms, shoulders, back, brace your
legs and pull hard, not just a little one handed tug. The friend might
tell you to kick, growl, cuss, frown, and use whatever parts of your
body that are not involved. Don't turn the exercise into a game. It is a
hard, serious task. When you have practiced getting angry for a few
times, you are ready for the next step. 
STEP THREE: Vent the unwanted emotion full force until it is
You may find yourself in two conditions: (1) overwhelmed with
intense emotions and needing to get them under control or (2) boiling
with "bottled up" emotions inside and needing to express these
feelings. The venting methods below work well with both conditions.
Primarily we are talking about anger (frustration) and sadness. You
may find it easier to gradually express stronger and stronger emotions
until you feel safe to totally "let go." 
If angry, find a private place where you can make noise (if
necessary reassure the neighbors everything is okay). Obtain an
object you can hit: a punching bag, a large pillow, a bean bag chair, a
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