Anger as an Identity

by Rusty Fleischer, Program Director

girl-107163_150On one of my visits home, to Israel, Jerry joined me and while we were there we did a number of workshops on anger. It is not a surprise to say that there are a lot of angry people in Israel. What was surprised us with realizing that many Israelis see their anger as part of their identity. In fact, one young woman even said to us, “Who would I be without my anger?” Wow, that was really an eye-opener for us. We heard the fear of losing her present identity, something she knew so well. We heard the fear of taking a risk and stepping out of her comfort zone. We heard the fear of change by making different choices that would bring different results. It’s like, “the situation may be lousy but it is my lousy and that is what I know!”

When you are stuck in your anger it leads to blame and shame and punishing others for your hurt. It is allowing your feelings to control your behavior instead of thinking things out and making rational and healthy choices. It affects every walk of life and every relationship whether it is with family, friends or coworkers and prevents healthy communications, first of all with yourself, and with others.

As to this young woman’s question, “who would I be without my anger?”, it’s hard to say, but I strongly believe she would blossom and thrive, and be a happier and more fulfilled person.

Have you ever thought who you would be without your anger?

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