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Anger Management

How can I control my anger?

(this is raw unedited text, computer transcribed directly from the audio, without voice inflection, pauses etc. Sometimes this results in the text implying the opposite of the intended meaning.)

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Julie, you're having difficulty with anger?

Yes, I have like an anger problem. I deal with my boyfriend a lot. Even if it's like little argument I do and I have a bad attitude, I get real frustrated real easily. I don't I need to know how to make myself calm down if I need to maybe get on medicine.

Okay, before you get answers, I've got a few questions. Can you give me an example, recently of something he said? Or did that triggered your anger towards him?

So I don't know, I can't think of anything. But they were arguing and it could be over anything a little, I give me a thing. The thing with my boyfriend, this is what he does. We will argue about something and he'll ask about it. And then ask again or ask constantly, like more questions and this and this and it keeps going. And he doesn't drop it. He just keeps going and going. And he makes me yell,

I can give you better advice. If you give me an example. For example, we didn't know what restaurant to go to. Or he wanted to know what I did with the paycheck. And I told him, you know, what is it give me an example? Okay,

we'll say I lost something of his or I didn't want to do something away.

Yeah. Give me the visual, I want to be able to see it.

Okay, they I didn't clean the bedroom. Okay. He would be like wanting to clean the bedroom? And you would say what?

I don't know. Or I didn't have time. What do you mean, you didn't have time? It doesn't take that long to do it. Why didn't you do it?

And I would probably say, I don't know. And he'll just keep going and going and going and going.

Why didn't What do you mean? You don't know? How can you say you don't know? When you know what you did during the day? Why couldn't you have picked up? You left your clothes all over the place? You said you were going to make the bed? You didn't make the bed? Why didn't you do it?

Is that exactly like? So? So when are you?

Okay? So here, he doesn't stop? Can you notice? Can you? Can we flip it? Can I can let's say that you're having company over and you ask him to clean the bedroom? And he says, Yeah, I'll clean it. Now ask me the questions. I'm I am now, the boyfriend in charge of cleaning the bedroom, you come home and you see that the bedroom is not cleaned when I had promised that I would clean the bedroom. What are you going to say to me, you're the boyfriend, you're you're now in the position of having, you're expecting it to be clean, and it's a mess. So what do you say?

I will just say, baby said you're going to clean the bedroom? Why isn't it clean?

I don't know. What's your gut response?

So maybe he keeps asking me questions because I keep saying I don't know what the problem is. I don't know what to say.

Okay, you're vague onto it. The problem is, is that if you give him a vague response, it sounds like you're brushing him off. And that's why he persists. He wants an answer. Now, let me give you a concrete contrast. Julie, let's say that you say to him, . . .

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Hey, I got to interrupt this because we've got to pay some bills. 30 seconds. That's it. A very quick ad and then Ellen will be back :

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The problem is, is that if you give him a vague response, it sounds like you're brushing him off. And that's why he persists. He wants an answer. Now, let me give you a concrete contrast. Julie, let's say that you say to him, or let's say that your boyfriend asked I'll be the boyfriend again and asked me the question. Why didn't I clean the bedroom?

Wanting to clean the bed, the bedroom before I get home?

You know I had planned to I know I promised that I would clean the bedroom. And then I started watching the TV program. I was watching the Patriots and the Giants game or I was watching something and I completely forgot about it. I am so sorry. How do you feel now?

Okay, what if I, what if I do answer him like that? And I don't say I don't know. And then what if he just keeps going? Whoa.

Okay, well, we'll push me. I'm him. And I don't do it.

Well, you said you're going to Why didn't you do it? You knew that you had to be done. You know

what it sounds like you're really frustrated with me. What happened? I'm naming what I'm hearing from him. If you're feeling frustrated when I name it, does that make you feel worse or better?

Probably better.

Interesting. So when you validate when you name where he is that when you recognize another person's emotional state, it doesn't mean that you agree with them. But you recognize that it diffuses the situation they feel heard they feel listened to. So they don't have to play the broken record and keep asking, hammering you with the same question over and over again. Does that

makes sense? I just need to make sure that I don't say I don't know. You need to.

I don't know as a killer. You don't you don't want to be fake. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself the question. Well, why didn't I clean the bedroom? Well, because I'm angry with you said we'd have run you've said we'd have an intimate moment this afternoon. And you didn't even touch me and I'm angry with you citing clean the better. If you can be honest with me friend about the difficult stuff, you'll have a much healthier relationship because then you're not putting pressure on weapons one another to play mental guessing games to wonder what each other's doing and people always assume typically assume the worst. With anger itself. Anger is the emotion that says it's not fair. It's not fair. And so you know, it's it's you're saying it's not fair. You keep asking me questions, but he's also saying to you, it's not fair, you're not answering my questions. Some of you end up being mutually frustrated with one another and it doesn't lead to a good relationship. So the alternative is just one of them. There are many different skills. There's a book, Dr. Weiss singers anger workout book, there are many different little workbooks you can get that can give you a whole bunch of skills. Today, we talked about how to act on this phone call, how to actively listen to him, and name his emotion and not to be vague to tell him instead of the I don't know is which is really a brush off. You tell him what's actually going on, Julie. So I hope that helps.

And here's a little more from Dr. Kenner

(From TV)
Smell my hands. I'm just so proud. I have stopped for gas and I pumped it myself. It's part of a new kick I'm on. I'm learning to be handy. I depend too much on other people. So I'm doing it myself. Feel that. That's the start of a first rate Callous. I got my first work shirt this morning. And tonight, I'm tackling the squeaky hasp on my cigar humidor.

And that's from Frasier. And that's Niles, obviously, and he pumped his own gas by himself. And he's building up those calluses. And think in your own life of things that you don't do, that you're perfectly capable of doing. And that by not doing them you feel inadequate on some level, like some people say, Well, you know, my husband always balances the checkbook, and I wouldn't know where to even begin, or you know, something, I wouldn't know what to do, how to change a tire if I ever had to. And occasionally give yourself the opportunity to say, No, even though I can delegate this particular tasks, such as balancing the checkbook, this time, I want to do it myself, because I want to know that I'm capable of doing it myself. It's your policy towards your own mind. Can I can I do this or not? Rather than saying, Oh, it's just not me to balance a checkbook or it's just not me to change a tire. I remember once being stuck in the rain, and no phones and seitan was this is pre cell phone air era. And I had to change my own tire. And after I did that, I felt like I could conquer the world. Now that sounds ridiculous. You can't you know, it's just changing a tire. But it was my attitude. It was like, I can figure this out. I know I'm stranded out here. It's pouring rain. And I've got a car I haven't the foggiest idea of how to change a tire. But I learned about lug nuts, I learned how to use my body weight to get the lug nuts off and how to change the tire. And so you want to use your mind well, to pursue your values and to when you get when you hit a roadblock where you just say to yourself, oh, it's just not me. If it's something that's unimportant, then it doesn't have to be you. But if it's something that is important, and you're drawing the conclusion that your mind is somehow inferior, then take the opportunity to do that thing and to show yourself that it can be you


For more Dr. Kenner podcasts, go to Dr. And please listen to this ad . . .

Here's an excerpt from the selfish path to romance the serious romance guide book by clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner and co author Dr. Edwin Locke, who is world famous for his theories on goal setting:

A good antidote to reckless spending is to ask the following questions before buying anything, especially the big ticket items. What is the real reason I or we want this? Is it to show off? Or because it's a real value to me and my family? Would I even want this if no one other than my partner knew that I had it. Did I choose it using my own judgment? or just because others said it was desirable. Is this the best possible use for this money? Is there something that would be more valuable to us in the long run, like putting it in investments or savings?

You can download chapter one for free by going to, and you can buy The Selfish Path to Romance at