Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

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ed the head
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Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by ed the head »

Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

an·ger
ˈaNGɡər/Submit
noun
1.
a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.
"the colonel's anger at his daughter's disobedience"

It was autumn 2005 in the Virginia Piedmont when the family began to unravel. My ex-wife thought our eldest daughter was beginning to suspect I was her adoptive father. She wanted to tell her but I advised against it suggesting she was too immature and that we wait a while. She told her anyway and now at 13 she was in full rebellion mode. The first school report came in and all three girls had poorer grades with our eldest failing. We mutually decided that the best 'punishment' was take away telephone privilege until the grades came back up. She relished in her defiance and seemed to enjoy being caught on the phone or not completing homework.

I attempted to help all three complete their homework together at our dinning room table but I got no cooperation from daughter 'A'. On one such day her antics got the better of me and I found myself in an angry shouting match with her. Her mouth had become pretty foul of late and I don't exactly recall what she said that set me off when I told her to get in her room or I would put her there. Instead, she bolted for the front door and in my anger I kicked her in the butt on her way out. My ex came home from work shortly thereafter, and our neighbors let us know 'A' was safe at their house. After she came home we tried to deal with the situation. 'A' used the term 'beating' when referring to the incident. Soon, her younger sisters were too. It didn't seem to matter much to Mom, or to the Family Counselor, or to the Church Reverend that there were no marks, doctor or hospital records or physical evidence of any kind. It didn't seem to matter much that there were wild inconsistencies in the girls stories.

Making matters worse were problematic tenants in our rental unit next door. At the time I was not fully aware of the depth of the problems there. Their adoption of a new pit bull in defiance of the no pets clause of their lease caused me to very gladly issue them and eviction notice. My surprise was total and my despair complete when the phone call came. I was in the CO frame room when my boss told me about the conversation he just had with my wife. The tenant claimed I threatened him, my ex was backing him up and wanted me out. She also told him about 6 cannabis plants I had hidden out in the garden. In order to keep my job, I was to go destroy the plants, collect my personal belongings and leave my own home. I was shattered completely.

My boss thankfully arranged emergency housing but it was at a Christian shelter for the distressed. As such, they had quite strict rules on behavior including mandatory Church attendance. Though thankful for the room and board, it was a very difficult month for me in that environment as I dealt with all the above and finding a lawyer to help me.

I wanted a divorce with joint custody and began on that road with my lawyer. Ex-wife and/or her lawyer employed the child abuse card which prompted Child Protective Services engagement in the process. A precedent of presumption of guilt was established. In order to obtain court approval of joint custody, I would need to arrange for supervised visits with my two natural daughters, and the court was permitting daughter 'A' to opt out completely. I didn't like it, in fact it made me angry but I did it and later in court the witnesses who supervised the visits proved to be good witnesses of my good character.

As a preventative move, my lawyer advised I volunteer for Anger Management sessions. I did so but must admit I was not happy about it. The first session was pretty typical of any first session. The leader has everyone seated in a circle, and one by one everyone tells the story of why they are there. "I punched my boss in the face...", "I beat my son with a piece of rebar..." "I stabbed my boyfriend ...." "I kicked my daughter in the butt...". This last one actually got laughs. I discovered a lot of people really need Anger Management help and I also realized my issue was not Management but sheer volume of angering situations. This now included Anger Management.

Meanwhile, I begin to see my ex running around town with the tenant, 10 years her junior. I recall one day upon my joyful 'win' of unsupervised day custody of my two younger daughters driving down the highway with them when we were passed by their Mom and new boy toy heading to a hotel in North Carolina. Anger? You bet, I wanted to choke him every time I saw him, which was frequently.

It was a month after the divorce when she married him. Shortly thereafter, she took the kids and moved with him to the Pigeon Forge area of Tennessee and abandoned the VA property she was awarded in the divorce. It slipped into default on the mortgage which carried both our names, eventually going into foreclosure and ruining both our credit ratings. They divorced soon thereafter and he is doing time now. She remained there with the kids and is still there today.

Visitation became increasingly more challenging as time went by. As they reached their later teen years for about three years my daughters refused to come visit. It was during this period that their grand mother died.

Daughter 'A' has since had two children out of wedlock and an pain killer addiction. She has come for money a few times but has not shown any signs of interest in reconciliation. Since last spring she has lived only about 50 miles away and yet has had no time to come visit.

Daughters 'B' and 'C' now have kids of their own, and we have normalizing relationships. They still don't visit, but my visits to them are now loving and joyous.

So things are now not nearly as bad as they've been but not nearly as good as they could be. I do still mull over these events in my head daily and expect to do so for the rest of my life. Am I still angry? Maybe a little, at some specific things but mostly I am deeply saddened by it all. Now most of my anger is focused on the presumption of guilt I experienced by people who really should have know better.

Reflections on Anger and Anger Management by Ed the Head.


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Billy Hill
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Re: Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by Billy Hill »

I hope your future with your children & grandchildren is much much improved.

Take care bro.
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Re: Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by ed the head »

Thank you for the kind thoughts.
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Re: Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by CopenhagenCouple »

It saddens us to read about your troubles Ed, family disputes can be terrible and tear people apart. It is good to know that at least with your two youngest daughters, things are going the right way now.

The only people who win in custody battles and divorces are lawyers and shareholders in banks, we hope that you have also found a way for yourself out the mess that situation must have been.

It is impossible to understand the complexities and nuances of what went on in your relationship with your family, and with you at the time, from the few lines here, but we are sure that much, much more than anger issues on your behalf contributed to its decline.

It is hard to know a man just from what he writes, heck even to know anyone truly without a very intimate relationship, but you don’t come over as an aggressive or particularly angry individual in writing. Quite the contrary, you seem like a friendly and down to earth guy.

But emotions are strange things and in some situations even cool heads can get too hot and gentle souls be roused to rage. The both of us can be very passionate about certain things and sometimes that passionate nature turns to anger. Avoiding losing our temper is a struggle we both fight, and sadly still lose at times. How you deal with these aspects of this strange existence is something we guess we all have to figure out ourselves.

It seems to be so very different from person to person, what it is that drives them to anger or fits of rage.

Somethings we couldn’t give two flying fucks about seem to drive other people mad and vice versa.

The situation you faced is probably among the things we would all get very upset about, many would be a lot more than merely upset from the situation with your tenants, so yeah, you had some reason to be angry. Many reasons even.

Did that anger help you or hinder you? Did you need anger management then to better deal with it all? Do you now? Only you can tell we guess.

Having never attended a class, we can’t say for sure, but we do tend to be skeptical as to the efficacy of such processes. At least some approaches to anger management have been heavily criticized and maybe the group session approach in general isn’t really that smart in the initial stages of helping someone who really needs help dealing with severe anger issues. But that is a tangent maybe not so relevant to your OP…

From your writing in this post and in general on the forum, it seems that you have found ways to reflect on things and started a journey to a better place for both yourself and your family. We hope that you can continue on this road and that things keep improving for you in your relationship with your family!

CC
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ed the head
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Re: Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by ed the head »

Thank you CC for your reply, it was most kind of you.

Sorry to have saddened you or anyone else here on the forum. That was not my intent. My hope was that the positive vector at the end of this passage might prove to be inspirational.

You asked if that anger helped me? If by 'that anger' you mean the specific act of kicking 'A', definitively NO. It helped no one in no way and I regret doing it. You also inquired about the efficacy of the group sessions, the outcome of our actions was a topic each of us had to consider. On my part, this was not new information. A passage fro Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching says 'Violence, even well intended, will always rebound upon itself.' I should have known better and I erred.

Being so painful, my experience with Anger Management has indelibly imprinted itself within me and causes me since then to think long and hard before I speak any words or take any actions with situations involving 'a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility'.

Peace
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Re: Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by ed the head »


Tom Petty - Wake Up Time

You follow your feelings, you follow your dreams
You follow the leader into the trees
And what's in there waiting, neither one of us knows
You gotta keep one eye open the further you go
You never dreamed you'd go down on one knee, but now
Who could have seen, you'd be so hard to please somehow
You feel like a poor boy, a long way from home
You're just a poor boy, a long way from home
And it's wake up time
Time to open your eyes
And rise and shine
You spend your life dreaming, running 'round in a trance
You hang out forever and still miss the dance
And if you get lucky, you might find someone
To help you get over the pain that will come
Yeah, you were so cool back in high school, what happened
You were so sure not to have your spirits dampened
But you're just a poor boy alone in this world
You're just a poor boy alone in this world
And it's wake up time
Time to open your eyes
And rise and shine
Well, if he gets lucky, a boy finds a girl
To help him to shoulder the pain in this world
And if you follow your feelings
And you follow your dreams
You might find the forest there in the trees
Yeah, you'll be alright, it's just gonna take time, but now
Who could have seen you'd be so hard to please somehow
You're just a poor boy a long way from home
You're just a poor boy a long way from home
And it's wake up time
Time to open your eyes
And rise and shine
'Cause it's wake up time
It's time to open your eyes
And rise and shine
He who tries to shine dims his own light
worldcitizen1723
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Re: Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by worldcitizen1723 »

thank you for exposing your true nature by sharing this deeply reflective and honest experience. Wishing you and your daughters ease and grace along with rediscovered love. Hope to share a smoke with you some day.
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Re: Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by CopenhagenCouple »

Absolutely no thanks needed, and don't apologise for bringing us down a bit, the latter was more due to us personally relating to such family related challenges than anything else... :)

When I / We asked if the anger helped or hindered you, it wasn't in reference to your inability to control yourself in the situation with 'A', from your recount it appears that this was a reaction to frustrations building over a long period and not necessarily all of them frustrations directly related only to your relationship with 'A', but to some degree also related to your relationship with your ex and her influence on your relationship with your daughter(s). Whatever the trigger it appears that this behaviour, after all, is uncharacteristic of your nature... We / I was referring to the anger you felt after this situation, when seeing your ex with your douche of a tenant. Did this (to some very natural and healthy reaction) help or hinder you?

At the very least it,IMO, does not warrant anger management classes and as you seem to have taken much more away from your studies of philosophy and your own reflections than you did from the content of those classes, one might doubt their efficacy beyond prompting you to reflect on things...
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Re: Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by ed the head »

CopenhagenCouple wrote: Wed 25th Oct 2017 04:04 pm Absolutely no thanks needed, and don't apologise for bringing us down a bit, the latter was more due to us personally relating to such family related challenges than anything else... :)

When I / We asked if the anger helped or hindered you, it wasn't in reference to your inability to control yourself in the situation with 'A', from your recount it appears that this was a reaction to frustrations building over a long period and not necessarily all of them frustrations directly related only to your relationship with 'A', but to some degree also related to your relationship with your ex and her influence on your relationship with your daughter(s). Whatever the trigger it appears that this behaviour, after all, is uncharacteristic of your nature... We / I was referring to the anger you felt after this situation, when seeing your ex with your douche of a tenant. Did this (to some very natural and healthy reaction) help or hinder you?

At the very least it,IMO, does not warrant anger management classes and as you seem to have taken much more away from your studies of philosophy and your own reflections than you did from the content of those classes, one might doubt their efficacy beyond prompting you to reflect on things...
:? Sorry I am so late coming to this :?

You asked "when seeing your ex with your douche of a tenant. Did this (to some very natural and healthy reaction) help or hinder you?"

Good question.

As I recall it was late April that I was betrayed, May was consumed with arranging shelter and securing child custody rights through court mandated supervised visitations. In June my lawyer suggested proactively engaging in the anger management program as a defense against their untrue allegations. I believe my classes had not yet started when I first encountered ex-wifey with douchebag, so no the class did not help. I clearly remember anger mixed with disgust and disbelief. My first instinct was to strangle him until dead. Fortunately before acting my rational mind kicked in and I thought through the ramifications. Me in a jail cell meant no way to support my kids. I told my ex-wife that seeing douchebag made me angry and that there was no reason to bring him when we handed the kids back and forth, but I think she already knew that and she continued to do so. I think it was in September of that year when I saw douchbag in passing with no ex-wife or kids present. I had the same feeling of rage, but augmented to a very large degree. By this time, I had attended the anger management sessions and they probably helped to reinforce what I already knew. Actions have consequences so think them through. At this point, the family therapist we had been seeing suggested that I might benefit from additional therapy. Having lost confidence in the effectiveness of her therapy, I concocted my own therapy by planning a trip to Europe and my first Hajj to Amsterdam in October 2006. First things first, I needed help getting my head straight. I flew to Norway to visit my cousin Charles. After soaking up the peace and quiet of his home island we embarked on a healing journey involving the ferry from Bergan to Trondheim, and an overnight rail trip to Oslo. Charles is a good listener, and a better advisor. He advised I consider relocating back to NY where I could make better money, be closer to my aging mother, and permit my ex the opportunity to come to her senses and possibly follow for family reconciliation. Having gotten my head straight, next step on the agenda was getting my head completely f-ed up so it was onto Amsterdam. Here is where serendipity steps in. After Charles suggested I consider relocating, and before I went to the airport to get to Amsterdam, I got an email from an ex-colleague (Jason) who was now fishing for an engineer in NY :shock: :D Jason and I had both worked for Tim, who lived in UK. As luck and/or serendipity would have it, I already had plans to see Tim after visiting Amsterdam :D :shock: It didn't hurt that Jason had gotten his present position through a connection I made with him to Rosario. Anyhow, the job came through and I was there just shy of 10 years.

The natural anger over douche bag never subsisted. I had the same urge to strangle anytime I saw him. Ex-wifey married, then divorced him. I am told he has since died. Dead or not I still want to strangle him.

Problem child A's condition has worsened. I am shielded from a lot of what goes on, but I am aware CPS has intervened and put her two children in the care of their maternal grandmother (out of the pot, into the fire). When I've visited, she has been very illusive and I only see her coming and going. Invariably, she calls me when I am on the way home to ask for money.

Problem child B still has problems but at least we communicate. She selected a partner with the same addition as sister A and is dealing with the error.

Problem child C has grown more alienated, neglectful and verbally abusive. She is very influenced by child A.

Thankfully there is a child D up here where everything is more or less normal.

Anger doesn't help any of this so I stick to patience, simplicity and compassion - like Lao Tzu advised
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Re: Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by free_phil_spector »

ed the head wrote: Thu 12th Oct 2017 12:45 pmI also realized my issue was not Management but sheer volume of angering situations. This now included Anger Management.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U272cRGm6tA
It's so easy to laugh, it's so easy to hate - it takes guts to be gentle and kind...
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Re: Reflections on Anger and Anger Management

Post by ed the head »

free_phil_spector wrote: Tue 25th Jan 2022 04:07 am
ed the head wrote: Thu 12th Oct 2017 12:45 pmI also realized my issue was not Management but sheer volume of angering situations. This now included Anger Management.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U272cRGm6tA
Thanks for this Mate, it's good to laugh over it.
8)
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