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Introduction

Introduction

Tools for Anger Work-Out

By: James J. Messina, Ph.D.

Anger Work-Out
By Jim Messina

I painfully face the torrent of anger
In my head.
I tearfully see the targets of my
Rage, hatred and resentment
In my mind.
I sense the bile, panic, fear and terror
In my gut.
I convulse in quakes of volcanic magnitude
In my chest.
I violently pound on the pillow
And
Scream in earth shattering cacophony
In my room.
As
I grow in forgiveness and healing
In my heart
And
I increase in love and self-esteem
In my live

Goals of Tools for Anger Work-Out

In the chapters of Tools for Anger Work-Out you will explore the nature of the anger response.  You will look at current anger and at unresolved anger issues.  You will look at "anger in" and "anger out" responses.  You will review the behavior that is enmeshed in these anger response modes.

 

Anger, hostility, and aggression are often confused with one another.  In this book you will learn that anger is a healthy emotion that needs to be expressed freely but therapeutically.  Anger is a feeling that needs to be vented by itself without hostility or aggression.  No one deserves violent, raging behavior.  A direct assertive, thorough angry confrontation is better for everyone involved.

 

We must release the violence of our anger on "safe," inanimate objects.  This reduces the hostility and aggression that confuses us and makes us irrational. Anger Work-out is the releasing of our angry feelings through active, emotional provocative techniques.  Anger work-out enables us to function assertively and rationally, able to protect our rights when we feel violated.

 

To handle anger in a healthy, healing way is one goal of this author.  I have developed strategies to channel anger into healthy, productive behavior. Best of luck in your anger work-out. Forgiving and forgetting is possible through therapeutic anger work out.

Prologue to Tools for Anger Work-out

Dear Dad:
I have failed to thank you over the last fifty years for the many gifts you have bestowed upon me, gifts that have contributed heavily to my development as an angry, bitter, guilt ridden, depressed, and generally unfulfilled person.  I have so many personality and character flaws that I might never overcome them all.  Without your gifts I might have become a happy, loving husband and father whose successful career might have provided a deep meaning to my life and greater happiness, prosperity, and opportunity for my family.


 Let me enumerate those self‑serving gifts:
  • Thank you for not holding me when I was frightened, hurt, or just wanting to be loved.  I was literally scared stiff that winter at the age of about four when you spanked me for being afraid to walk that long dock over the river.  It loomed high over the water; the cracks between the planks seemed like chasms.
  • Thank you for always shooing me off to Mom if I wanted or needed help with something.  You didn't have time to help me tie my shoes, pull a splinter from my hand, or tell  me why the birds sing.
  • Thank you for the Exlax you forced down me when my brother was being potty trained.  I was still only four years old and curious as to why Mom made over him just for sitting on the potty.
  • Thank you for never reading me stories or the comics.  We just might have had a laugh or two together and I might have crept into your heart.
  • Thank you for the abject guilt you laid on me with that obscene lecture when I was caught "playing doctor" with my little girlfriend.  We were both simply curious at the age of six or seven, yet you made every word sound foul, nasty, and lewd; made our actions seem despicable and unforgivable.
  • Thank you for one of your favorite greetings to me when ever I wanted to talk to you:  "Don't bother me now, I'm . . ."
  • Thank you for one of your favorite expressions of love:  "Get out of here before I bash your head in."         
  • Thank you for your support of my attempts at music:  "Don't practice (the piano or trumpet) while I'm home.  I don't want to hear that noise."
  • Thank you for taking me to my first Boy Scout meeting, dumping me at curb (in the early evening), and picking me up what seemed like hours later.  I never found the meeting and never joined the Boy Scouts.
  • Thank you for avoiding my school functions, church plays, and band recitals.  Mom tried to make it all right, but I saw through those flimsy excuses she made for you.
  • Thank you for never playing ball or any other games with me; you wouldn't even watch me when my friends and I played ball in the field down the street.
  • Thank you for never helping me put together a model airplane, boat, or car; I finally learned to do it by myself and didn't need help from anyone.
  • Thank you for the lickings I got at home for getting one at school.
  • Thank you for the lickings I got, for whatever, until I cried; and for the lickings my brother got until he cried; but sometimes he wouldn't cry for so long a time.  I would often begin crying before he would.
  • Thank you for all the backhanded compliments:
    " 'B' is OK, but why didn't you get an 'A'?"
    "An 'A' is OK, but why didn't you get an 'A+'?"
    "Two A's are good, but you could get all A's if you tried."
    "If you had only tried harder you could have been in first place."
  • Thank you for your concern for my safety and well‑being by repeating:  "Don't get into any trouble because it will reflect on me."
  • Thank you for sharing with me that Mom was "frigid and had never had an orgasm."  I have heard since that there is no such thing as a frigid woman, only inept lovers.  It might also have been that she knew she was only a surrogate for one of your girlfriends.
  • Thank you for constantly telling me how Mom kept you from fulfilling your desires.
  • Thank you for always telling everyone who would listen how you tried to fulfill your desires, but Mom just wouldn't have it.
  • Thank you for always broadcasting how you wanted to do things, but Mom wouldn't let you.  It was a constant source of woe to me.  “Look at poor Dad; he's so mistreated.”
  • Thank you for all your lies, even about insignificant things, then stretching each lie even further in an attempt to get out of it.
  • Thank you for lying to people about the quality or condition of your car and other goods when you were selling it or trading it for another.  You set such a good example of "do as I say, not as I do."
  • Thank you for lying to people about your accomplishments. Even though you were good enough as you were, you had to exaggerate your accomplishments to feel you had the peoples' respect.
  • Thank you for letting the air out of the front tires and causing me to lose control of my car during that race.  The car had been handling beautifully.  I had beaten the club champion's time in the previous event and would have been in first place if I hadn't gotten the two‑second penalty for skidding over the "stop" line.  You probably had to stop for air in the tires when driving the car home that day.
  • Thank you for calling me home from my engineering career.  I abandoned my engineering career so that we might develop a mobile home park or a fish farm.
  • Thank you for summarily dismissing all the sites I had selected for the project as "not right."  You wouldn't even look at my research or listen to my logic.
  • Thank you for listening to your barber, bartender, mechanic, and even the lawn man before you would listen to me regarding development potential.  That site you said wouldn't be ready for development for another twenty years was developed as a mobile home park within the 12 months. The neighborhood is now one of the hottest in that area.  A very small portion of that site was sold a couple of years later for more than what thirty acres would have cost us, and the mobile home park finally sold for over $3,000,000.
  • Thank you for allowing me to waste a year of my life plus spend all of my savings before you decided you didn't want to participate in any real estate development deals with me.
  • Thank you for leaving mom without a retirement pension.  When you retired you opted to take a greater pension for as long as you lived, which meant that the pension would stop when you died.  Thereafter mom would get nothing but social security.  You could have opted for a lesser amount initially, which would have provided a continuing pension for mom if you had died first plus a continuation at that rate for you if she had died first.  Since you died soon after retirement, neither of you enjoyed the retirement pension you had earned.
  • Thank you for leaving mom without even an insurance policy on your life.  You sold life insurance for over thirty years, yet the only policy you left was the small one the company provided as an employee benefit, the one you had no choice about.
  • Thank you for the sexual innuendos you frequently drew into the conversation when speaking to my wife, daughter, sisters‑in‑law, or female friends.  They often sounded more like veiled propositions than humor; rarely were they done in mom's presence, and never were they appreciated by your audience.
  • Thank you for molesting your granddaughter.  She was so confused by the incident, which you dismissed as a misunderstanding saying "Why would my papa do that.”  My brother and I were angered by your actions, but not at all surprised.  We never did tell mom for fear she would kill you; we didn't want to lose her to jail!
  • Thank you for refusing to accept the responsibility for your own well being when it was discovered that you had kidney cancer.  You knew you had to abide by a special diet, that you must take your medicine faithfully and exercise to remain ambulatory.  Instead you indulged yourself in self-pity and insisted on being waited on hand and foot until the day you died.

For all of the above I thank you enough to let go of my anger and see that none of it ever hurts me again.
Your son

Background on Tools for Anger Work-out

Over my career I have written a number of articles related to self-esteem. In 1992 Kendall Hunt Publishers published 9 books which were a summary of the articles which I had written related to self-esteem. In this section we will focus on the seventh of the Tools for Coping Series all of which were published in 1992. The book is Tools for Anger Work-Out.

 

This was the seventh book in the Tools for Coping Series (1992) by James Messina published by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, Iowa. Tools for Anger Work-Out was then published on coping.org website in 1999 which was sold to Design Media in 2008. In 2009 over 100 of the articles which were chapters were transferred to Livestrong.com in January 2009. What follows are the original order of the chapters from the 1992 version which have been revised, edited, updated and reformatted. It is our sincere hope that you will find Tools for Anger Workout a productive tools in your arsenal to help you become all that you are capable of becoming.