Cluelessness to ​​​​​​​ Consciousness

Chapter 1 Excerpt

The Journey From Cluelessness To Conciousness

When I grew up there was an elephant in the room and its name was ANGER!  That elephant lived with us but nobody acknowledged its presence.  We all had complaints and aggravations and we bit at each others’ heels too often.  How different it would have been if each of us had possessed more love and respect for each other and ourselves.  Instead, we were an irritable bunch constantly criticizing each other while putting on a “normal” face to the outside world.  That’s how I developed an anger habit I didn’t know I had.  I also developed a huge fear of other people’s anger and caved too often to “stay safe.”

Many of us torture ourselves with guilt about our anger.  Now that I know about anger habits I often spot them in others who, like me in the past, hold much of their anger in their unconscious minds.  That’s why anger management must begin within.  I began to understand this as I worked for a Ph.D. in Psychology.  Teaching Anger and Conflict Management classes for over ten years at my local community college and counselling grieved and angry clients have also given me many opportunities to learn how people are affected by anger, their own and the anger of others.  A particularly revealing finding was that many people torture themselves with guilt and regret about their anger.

I still have not fully mastered anger management.  However, I have gained some knowledge about why we get angry, what we allow it to do to us, and how we can turn things around and handle it skilfully.  An anger habit acts as a block to good feelings of peace and happiness.  At times I wonder how often I refused to let myself feel joy because I was nursing a grievance.  In this book I want to tell you how I chipped away at that block.

I grew up clueless about how self destructive I was by allowing my anger to lead to negative self talk, poor attitudes, and actions I felt bad about later.  I didn’t know how to stand up for myself whenever I got mad except to lash out.  My own out-of-control anger contributed to loss of relationships and opportunities.  When I “swallowed” my anger it didn’t go away.  The results were anxiety, depression and illness.

Getting Out of the Anger Habit Rut

It’s easy to see what anger does to others but I didn’t see it in myself until I turned the corner—one small step after another over time.  It started when I found the courage to observe myself and tell myself the truth about how vulnerable I was to anger.  Just like having a low-grade fever, I gradually realized I had a low-grade gripe with the world and a short fuse to boot.  I’ve been working ever since to get out of that rut—to build self understanding and genuine self-love and respect as well as new assertive anger management habits.  In the process I’ve learned some ways to help myself.  

Now, I’m devoted to helping anyone else who wants the same—a process of correction —waking up—listening to my inner teacher who puts me in touch with my right mind, “the wizard,” instead of my wrong mind, “the lizard.”  My right mind understands that we all want the same things—love, inner peace, and harmonious fun relationships.  My wrong mind has destructive motives.  It is overly critical, judgmental, quick to be offended, and ready to fight.  It spurs destructive actions, holds grudges, and waits in the bushes for chances to get even when I’ve been holding on to resentment.

My right mind, and yours, have helpful motives, make good decisions and seek happiness for ourselves and others.  It understands that feelings of anger do come and go as part of being human.  It helps us meet the challenge of managing ourselves when we feel those feelings.

You have an internal teacher with a right mind too—everybody does.  It’s always there waiting to be put to use.

Can Anger Habits Be Broken? 

Anger habits can be replaced!  Learning how to view and think about anger-provoking situations begins the process.   Using effective anger management habits and assertive strategies for handling those situations can occur next.  In time they become replacement habits.  I have benefitted from this process.  My anger flares less often, and is less intense.  Also, I return to peace more rapidly than I did in my earlier years.  I’ve become more tolerant and forgiving of others and myself.  Most important, I’m learning to accept and love my core self which sets the stage for these positive changes to keep happening.  They can happen for you too.  

 Anger Management is more than controlling our actions—what other people see us do.  It begins within because actions are driven by thoughts and feelings!  In the chapters coming up we will address all three.  For example, in Chapter Two we’ll focus on how anger and guilt feed on each other becoming a painful vicious circle.  Anger often leads to guilt which drags us down fostering more anger.  Around and around it goes unless we break the cycle.  Let’s accept that we all get mad at times.  The only good use of guilt is to teach us what we need to learn.  Then, for the sake of our sanity and health, it’s gotta go!

In each chapter I want to help you “plug in” your right mind and become your own coach and supporter.  We will look at calming steps to take in your  heart and mind when you become upset, anger triggers, anger traps, communication do’s and don’ts, anger in your family, and assertive strategies for handling difficult situations and conflicts, and lots more.


CLARIFICATION!  Love of oneself and others takes many forms: respect, understanding, empathy, acceptance, fairness, kindness, patience and affection.  It is the foundation for every idea and suggestion for managing anger in this book.  Now, I need to be clear on this point: ABUSE—physical or psychological—must never be tolerated in any setting.  Allowing yourself or anyone else to be a victim of abuse is NOT anger management.  If it is happening in your home, workplace, or anywhere else please seek professional advice.


This Book Offers Guided Journaling!

You will find many opportunities to write down your feelings and thoughts about what you have read as it applies to your own life.  Writing from your heart will help you focus on key concepts so you will grasp them at a deep level.  It helps you search and clarify in your mind what really matters to you so you can re-examine assumptions and patterns of behavior that aren’t your real truth.  Writing also helps you commit to new helpful ideas and calls to right minded action.  After having written something positive like an affirmation read it back to yourself out loud.  This increases the ability of your brain/mind to accept it even more deeply.  Use your best handwriting as a way to show respect for yourself.

Since this book offers you many opportunities to put personal information on its pages, you may want to keep it in a private place.  Another option would be to keep these pages clean and write your responses in a separate notebook you keep private.  

If you are in a relationship where anger and guilt are relevant topics you might each have your own copy to write in, or separate notebooks.  At certain points you may wish to share your written thoughts with each other regarding the ideas in particular chapters.  As you share remember to listen, listen, listen, and to accept and respect each others’ feelings.  Focus on shared needs and desires as the base for strengthening your relationship.


It’s time to write. 

What is your inner teacher saying to you right now?  


How has your right mind recently helped you when you were angry about something?


What thoughts and actions does your wrong mind bring about that you would like to change or eliminate?  After you write them down cross them out as a symbolic way to get rid of them.



Remember!  Your internal teacher and right mind are always there waiting to be put to use!


Life Work:  For the rest of this day let your inner teacher guide you to use your right mind whenever something—major or minor—annoys you.


In Chapter Two let’s take a closer look at how anger and guilt feed on each other and why we need to give ourselves a break..