Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Author, Mental Health Therapist, Researcher, Expert in Attachment Trauma

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Anger Management Is Not the Answer

iceburgMany folks tend to think anger management is the answer when it comes to problems with anger and aggression.  Sadly,  I have never found anyone suffering from high levels of anger who benefited much from anger management skills.  I think it’s all about finding what emotions and thought processes are driving the high level of reactivity and anger.   Many children and adults with “anger problems” have difficulty tolerating intense feelings and lack feelings of safety and connection to others, leaving them with heightened feelings of distress, mistrust, and separation or alienation.  They may carry negative perceptions of themselves, others, and the world based on early life experiences in which they learned it is not safe to trust or be close and came to believe they were inadequate.  They are easily overwhelmed by fears, confusion, stress, and anxiety.   Acute distress is triggered by interpersonal interactions,  reminders of traumatic memories, and vulnerability due to fatigue, hunger, or loneliness.  When our children have problems with anger, we have to look far below the surface.  To do that, we have to be willing to hold our breaths and dive into their deeper emotions and thoughts with them, without judgments.   Healing and changing deeper thoughts and feelings of reactive children requires walking with them on their journey with persistence, patience, and compassion.

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