"Never engage with a cat who has nothing to lose, nor a woman with fire in her belly with time to burn, as in such circumstances there can only be one winner who walks away, and it won't be you!
Most of us will have heard so many times about the many bad experiences and consequences that having too much anger can bring; indeed so many, that it is so easy to overlook that having and expressing anger is not the only natural but can also be healthy for you.
During the early 1970s, my life changed when I founded 'Anger Management', a discipline which, within a matter of a few years, mushroomed across the English-speaking world. Prior to establishing the process of 'Anger Management' (a process which identifies the best way of working with anger and aggression), my research into the response patterns of hundreds of people who could no longer control the way they responded to stressful situations revealed the presence of anger as being their most influential emotion. I found that from all of the emotions that a person is capable of experiencing that fear, anger and love are the holy trinity which predominantly governs our health and influence our happiness and hope factors. In particular, anger and love seemed to be our strongest and most powerful of all our emotions.
One thing I learned very early on if someone pulls the pin in a grenade and then places it in your hands, ready to explode, the best thing you can do is to get rid as soon as possible. Similarly, if one is carrying so much anger inside them that they must explode, then my best advice would be to get angry, but then get over it! Holding on to anger is futile and is like grabbing a hot coal with the intent of throwing at another, but instead burning oneself.
There are many positive things about anger though. Whereas sadness and depression usually lead to apathy, lethargy and inactivity, anger often brings about change. Anger can be the instigator to long-term improvement and specifically, instant gratification.
Without providing all the reasons, all non-assertive response pattern types, are shy people who wouldn't say boo to a goose or be able to overcome their acute embarrassment by having a gander at a saucy postcard. They feel unable to express their anger states, and in consequence, they go through their daily lives with constant high levels of fear which immobilise their level of social interaction. They fear all manner of new social situations and consider themselves less important than others and their views less valid. They rarely refuse requests and are therefore put on easily. They suppress their opinions and play all their cards close to their chest. They are constantly filled with high levels of stress and are more prone to anxious responses.
After almost fifty years of working with such types of person, my overriding job on every occasion in getting them to become socially more competent and confident in all situations was to get them to appropriately express their anger states.
My work with people who have undergone the bereavement process after the loss of a loved one always recognise that after the initial stages of loss, shock and denial have been experienced by the bereaved person, there is often the stage of anger to be healthily negotiated before acceptance can arrive. Often the spouses of partners who have committed suicide are left feeling angry about them leaving someone else to sort out their mess and to look after the children they helped bring into the world. Such angry feelings in the bereaved can also be present if the deceased person was an addict of food, drugs, drink or tobacco and as such, died many years before their time because they wouldn't give up their addiction. Some wives suffering the bereavement process may, after their husband has died, discover that they lived a second life and had a second wife and family in another part of town, or that the family home which the wife thought was owned outright and was her security in old age has three mortgages on it and bankruptcy looms large.
I even knew one young woman who was repeatedly raped by her own father between the ages of eight and sixteen and stayed silent all her adult life. By the time she was ready to confront her father for his actions and the hurt he had caused her, she told the group which she was a member of and which I ran, that she could no longer confront him and get rid the anger inside eating her up, because her father had died a number of years earlier. The group helped her by discussing her situation, helping to locate her father's grave and accompanying her to the graveside, while she expressed her anger over it as though he could hear her. She needed to physically express the anger inside her before she was able to move on.
I know that anger helped me considerably at the age of 11 years when I was run over by a large waggon, suffered numerous serious injuries and was told that I'd never walk again. I recall that during those three years before I could walk again, I was angry at my own stupidity of getting knocked down in the first instance when playing football on the road; I was angry at having a budding football career ended before it ever started and I was angry with life for picking me out to suffer this ordeal. I was particularly angry with the doctors who told me that I would never walk again because of a spinal injury I'd incurred. However, it was my degree of anger that gave me the strength to go on and not give up. My anger made me more determined that I would walk again; something which I did three years later.
I also remember the emotions I felt following the breakup of my first marriage when my wife stated she wanted a divorce. Initially, I felt tremendous disappointment. I then started to feel sorry for myself as the injured party in such situations often does, especially after she failed to honour the separation agreement we had established. I had left her all the money and had signed over a three-bedroomed mortgage-free house worth £80,000 and all of the family assets to my ex-wife, in exchange for being given custody of our two young children that my wife said I could look after better than her. When my ex-wife had all the money, assets and property rights legally transferred to her, she reneged on the custody agreement that we had made and instead, refused to allow me any contact of any description with my two sons for almost two years, despite the court ordering her to the contrary and imposing a short prison sentence in the event of her ignoring the court order.
This was the time when my anger levels were at their highest and my thinking at its most irrational. This was the one time in my life when I came the closest to knocking her house down or kidnapping our children and taking them to Ireland, where the law would favour my custody as an Irish born citizen. Despite all this, however, it was my anger which kept me going! It was my anger that would never allow me to do anything less than was possible for me to see my two children. I know now that had I been of non-assertive response pattern disposition, I might have ended it all.
So anger is both necessary and healthy to have at certain times and can spur one on to better things. As a general rule, however, never allow your anger levels to build up. It is far safer to always find appropriate ways of expressing your anger (vigorous exercise, running, sport, punching a bag or even going into the corner of a field and screaming at the top of one's voice, 'Stuff the world and stuff........'
Whatever you do with your anger, do not hold onto it. As my mother often told me, 'Billy, anger lives in the bosoms of fools.' " William Forde" June 22nd, 2017.