Do you get angry?
Maybe you are angry right now.
I know I get angry.
Sometimes I even get angry about being angry.
An author I respect, Gary Chapman, wrote a book on Anger. And since I get angry occasionally, I thought I should read it. The title of the book is “Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion.” (You might be familiar with Gary Chapman. His most famous book is “The Five Love Languages.” You know, the one that says don’t hug Dave or send him a gift; do something nice for him.)
Chapman does a great job of defining anger and advising us on how to handle our anger. I should warn you, like me, Gary Chapman is a Christian, so he uses Bible verses and Biblical examples to get his points across. But it makes the book more potent because he mentions that Jesus got angry. This is powerful because it shows us it isn’t anger that is the problem. How we manifest it, that is the issue.
The most notable time I was angry was when my children were young (6, 8, 10), and it was bedtime. The bedtime routine was pretty simple. Brush your teeth, put on your pajamas, and get into bed. Same routine every night.
One night they were doing other things (again). I lost it, most likely because I was mad about something else. I said, “It’s the same daily routine: brush your teeth, put on your PJs, and get in bed. I shouldn’t have to tell you every night. Maybe I should post it on the wall right here.” Then I punch the wall. Hard enough, my hand went through the wall.
My children took me seriously enough that they didn’t leave their rooms, so they never saw the hole. Sue and I patched the hole that night and hung a picture over the spot until we sold the house 13 years later.
When I think of anger, I think of that night.
I thought about that night several times during the 3-4 hours I spent reading the book. The chapter titles give you a good feel for what they are about. So rather than summarize each of them for you, I will give you the titles of the chapters, and you can judge for yourself.
- Where does Anger come from?
- When Anger can do good
- When you’re Angry for a good reason
- When Anger is wrong
- How to handle “bad” Anger
- Explosions and implosions
- The Anger that lasts for years
- What about forgiveness?
- When you are Angry at your spouse
- Helping children handle Anger
- When you are Angry at God
- I’m Angry at myself
- Confronting an Angry person
If you struggle with anger occasionally, I suggest reading the book. It will give you perspective. The key for me was knowing that anger isn’t necessarily evil. The book is going to help you deal with your anger more effectively. The book also will help you with forgiveness and moving on.
The final chapter on confronting an angry person is golden. It highlights the need to listen. To let the other person understand you are listening.
Like his other books, Chapman includes a quiz in this book. The quiz will assist you in determining your level of anger.
I highly suggest reading the book before recommending it to someone you suspect has anger issues. We are all affected by anger. It is wise to begin working on yourself before attempting to help others.