a primer on anger

My study of anger began when my daughter was small. Her expression of anger challenged me, and my own troubled me. I needed an easier relationship with anger to better serve us both.

The most useful of my learning about anger has come from the developmental psychologist Dr Gordon Neufeld's work on aggression.  What follows is a summary of what I've learned from him about anger.

the knot of rage

This feels so raw and so unexplainable. But there’s such a power in letting go of the good girl that accepts more than her share of blame for everything that’s gone wrong. Usually, Jenni said, she asks people to accept responsibility, to consider, “What’s your part? What is yours to own?” The good girl, though, accepts more than what’s hers. Rage is kept at bay, and beneath that, hurt and loss and grief. She invited us to take off the mantle of blame and let rage have a voice.

the burden of anger

Parenting can fill you up, but wow can it take you down. There are days when everything feels hard and you're so worn out and irritable and you're trying to hold it together but you keep snapping and maybe you yell and for a moment you recognize just how much anger you're carrying around inside and how often it's leaking or even bursting out of you onto your kids and you know it has to stop. You have to stop. You're not abusive, but you can be hurtful. And you're done, you're really done, but how do you change?