by Dr. Larry Nieters, Advisory Board member –


To a good friend:  “Wow, you were at the Apple store all afternoon and still didn’t get your phone fixed?  Wasn’t this the third time this month?  You must really be angry—aren’t you?”

“No, I’m not angry.”

“Wow, how could you not be really angry”

“Well, I’m not.  I’m not jumping up and down, tearing things up, screaming, being totally out of control.  I’m not angry!!”

“Not frustrated?”

“Well, sure I’m frustrated.”

“Not peeved, annoyed, irritated, put out, irked, bugged, griped, displeased, sore?”

“Yes to all of the above.  What’s your point?”

“Well, what I see is someone who is denying his feelings and not expressing them openly.  You’re right that you are not going crazy with rage, but unless you can express your feelings effectively to the point that you have discharged the emotional charge connected to what’s happened to you, you run the risk of stuffing your anger into your body where it can pool up with other discontent until it affects your health.”

“There you go with than anger thing again. I told you, I’m NOT ANGRY!”

“Listen, anger comes in degrees.  It’s not a case of whether you’re angry or not; rather, it’s how strongly you might be feeling it.  Think of an imaginary ‘angermometer’ with a scale of 0-100.  At each multiple of 10 there would be a word that for you expresses that degree of anger.  You make up your own glossary.

For instance, at 10 it might be “irritated” and at 50 “pissed off,” and at some point you might actually say “angry,” but beyond that there would need to be room for “seething,”“livid,” or “enraged.”  That’s where you are out of control or you need to release your rage physically in a safe outlet like working out with a speed bag or running laps.  That way the intensity can decrease to the point that you can use your words effectively to let someone know that something uncool has happened to you and what it is that you need.”

“OK, you got me.  Maybe I wasn’t blowing my cork, but I was angry and I still am.  I’d say at the moment that I’m about a 40, which is ‘ticked off.’ I can now see myself giving them a call tomorrow when I’m calmer to let them know what it’s been like for me this month and to tell them that I want a replacement phone that’s covered under my warranty.  OK, it’s good to get angry—as long as it’s at a manageable level.  That’s what can get good things to happen.”

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