Don’t Be So Scared of it. It’s Okay.

by Rusty Fleischer, Program Director –


Recently someone called the office requesting to speak with Jerry. He was referred to us by one of our clients. He told Jerry that he would like to “meet” with him by phone and find out more about what we teach at Anger Alternatives. Jerry gave me his contact information and asked to send him some of our materials.  I called him to find out what he specifically wanted to receive. In our conversation he explained that he was interested in learning more about our program in order to support his clients who are dealing with anger. After hearing this, I explained to him that a one-time phone conversation with Jerry would not give him what he is requesting and in order to avoid disappointment, I suggested he either schedule time for one-on-one training or join our anger support group, the “Stoppit!” Program. He agreed with what I said and related to his phone-time with Jerry  as an opportunity to get to know Jerry a bit, after that he would decide which path to pursue, if at all. Up to here it all sounds good.

The scheduled phone time arrived and in the course of the conversation, this person revealed to Jerry that he was actually calling in reference to a relative of his who is dealing with anger issues and wanted to get more information to pass on to his relative.

When Jerry shared this with me later on in the day, my first reaction was “What’s that about?” (As if I didn’t know!) “What is so scary about having an anger problem?”  My second reaction was to sit down and write this post.

Historically and culturally in our homes, schools and churches we have been taught that anger is bad, anger is wrong, we shouldn’t be angry and if we are angry we certainly shouldn’t show it. Consequently if you are angry, you are bad and wrong and ‘”shame on you”!

Although it is hard to break those thought patterns and behaviors, trust me when I say it is OK to be angry. It’s OK to feel anger. What is not OK is the anger related behavior. There is a difference between having feelings and acting out on them.

So my request to you is to learn how to accept and not to be scared of your anger feelings. Even more so, learn how to use your anger instead of letting it embarrass, limit or control you.

And If you are ready to address your anger and learn tools to accept interpret and redirect your anger, now is the time to contact us.


  1. Often depressed people report having great difficulties expressing any kind of anger. Instead of becoming angry with someone who has provoked them, the anger is turned inward against some part of the self. They don’t even kick the cat; they kick themselves. These people have a way of making everything their own fault so that no matter what happens, they can blame themselves. Others talk about anger as a useless emotion, i.e., “What good does getting angry do anyway?” Intellectually, they attempt to convince themselves and others that anger accomplishes nothing so why bother. What they don’t realize is that this style drives anger beneath the surface and forces it to find a more indirect avenue for expression.

    • Thanks Hans for your comment. I agree with much of what you are saying.There is the strong connection between depression, anger and shame or in what you are describing, self-shaming. It is an attitude of self-victimization that often leaves the person stuck where he or she is, and challenged to take a risk move out of that place. When we work with clients of this type we find that one of the biggest humps for them to get over is accepting that it is OK to be angry and to separate the anger feeling from the anger-related behavior (which is not OK).

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