Anger Management
C5 The Wright Stuff
8th May 2008
00:00 Presenter
What I’m interested in is the fact that anger is a feeling and that we all have it. So often people go on anger management programmes—and I went on an anger management programme for my own anger, and that’s how I then went on to train myself and become a facilitator—I went thinking, “I don’t like anger. I never want to be angry again.” But it’s not like that. Human beings feel anger.
00:19 Matthew Wright

[overlap] Are we being…But some people deal with it better than others. (Absolutely) And is that something we learn, or is that how we’re born?

00:28 Florence Terry
I don’t know. But I do know that certainly we can learn to deal with our anger differently. So anger management is about we’re all humans, we all feel anger. When you come on anger management you feel angry; when you leave the anger management course you’ll still feel angry—although most people feel less angry when they’ve been on anger management. I felt much less angry.

The issue is, how do you actually deal with that feeling of anger? And that’s about the angry behaviour. And is the angry behaviour explosive?—which is how we often think of (Okay) anger: throwing phones. Yes, go on!

00:59 Matthew Wright

Now, we’ve got some nice calls lined up! If people – if you want to jump in, in any way with advice or anything, please feel free to. And likewise Sandra. Let’s throw it open to you guys at home! Angry people. Amy.

01:09 Amy

We’ve got Harriet on line 1.

01:11 Matthew Wright

Morning, Harriet! (Morning, Matthew!) Hi there. Are you an angry lady?

01:13 Harriet

A lot of the time yes, this morning no!

01:17 Matthew Wright

Good, glad to hear it! And likewise. So what makes you angry?

Harriet, Bexley Heath
01:20 Harriet

Loads of things. My biggest thing at the moment is probably people that don’t clear up after their dog!

01:25 Matthew Wright

Yeah, that makes me angry.

01:26 Harriet

That winds me up ‘cos I have to walk through a park three times a day to take my children to school and back, and school and back, and school and back!

01:33 Matthew Wright

How – so when you say it makes –

01:33 Harriet

And then two or three times a week I have to clear dog muck off my children’s shoes.

01:37 Matthew Wright

But when you say it makes you angry, how does that manifest itself?

01:40 Harriet

I tend to scream at people in the park if I see them leaving dog dirt. (Okay!) I’ll be really worried. Like I’ll be, you know, sort of mumbling under my breath, if you like, because I won’t swear in front of my children. But I sound a bit like sort of that cartoon character that used to go, “Rrrrrrr!” you know! (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!)

Harriet, Bexley Heath
Get angry in the car but uses music to calm her down
02:00 But I find that if I’m, you know, if I’m in the car I can get really wound up by people. Another thing: I do think that in general that we have too many constraints on us in life and too many deadlines and “You’ve got to be here and you’ve got to be there!”
02:11 Matthew Wright

It’s like Will said earlier: there’s not as much – it certainly feels as though we don’t have as much freedom any more,
freedom to –

02:15 Harriet

No! I mean, I don’t. You know, people sort of assume for me, because I’m at home with my children, that I have nothing to do all day. Now, I have to say this is the first time I’ve seen your programme in about three months, because I don’t even normally get a look-in at the television. You know, you’re running around all day. Like I say, I go to and from school three times a day—it doesn’t leave an awful lot of time to do other things.

02:36 Matthew Wright

Harriet, stay there. Florence, do you want to –

02:38 Stephen

Harriet, stay there. Florence, do you want to –

02:41 Matthew Wright

There’s nothing more irritating than someone saying, “Calm down, dear,” though!–

02:43 Stephen

Yeah, but I really find the notion of people being angry very, very alien to me.

02:47 Matthew Wright

But you’re incredibly relaxed! I mean, I don’t know you very well, but I’ve worked with you for a few weeks now, and you are Mr Mellow!

02:55 Stephen

But – and that’s a good way to be. I think if you’re that angry that you will abuse someone in the street for their dog fouling, if the consequence of that was them slapping you in the face, you’d soon calm down!

03:05 Matthew Wright

But I understand Harriet’s anger about it, ‘cos it’s so bloody thoughtless and selfish!

03:11 Stephen

It is, it’s thoughtless, it’s irritating, but why are you going to give yourself so much grief being angry about it!

03:15 Matthew Wright

Well, let’s hand the controls over to Florence here. What would you say to this lady?

03:19 Florence Terry

I would say just what I said before, about the fact that it’s not about whether you should feel angry; it’s about whether you do! So, the caller, you do feel angry, and that is that. So the question then is, what do you do about it? Does it serve you to be angry? Well, it sounds as though actually it makes you unhappy. And certainly if you did get punched in the face there’d be consequences you didn’t like. So it could well be that working on your anger, going to an anger management course so that then you feel less angry, could help.

03:49 Matthew Wright

Any handy tips, any handy tips? If we haven’t got time or we haven’t got the inclination to go on a course, are there things we can do in our daily lives right now? You could give us suggestions to chill us out. Nice mellow music?

03:59 Florence Terry
Absolutely! And at the same time it is important to realise that this is a difficult issue. The anger management course that I’m involved in is 30 hours, and so there aren’t quick fixes. But the obvious things are to back off. You talked about hormones earlier in the programme: when we are angry, that is because our bodies have got different hormones coursing through us, and they affect the way we think so we don’t actually think straight and we don’t think calmly and therefore we behave out of character.

So one thing to remember when you’re angry is to think, “I am now filled with hormones and I’m not thinking straight. So I need to back off, I need to calm down, so that I can think about an appropriate reaction.” Perhaps better to talk to the police in the area about…

04:47 Matthew Wright

There you go! All right, Harriet, that sounds like good advice. I’ll tell you what I do: I get out little cocktail sticks with post-it notes on them saying, “Not a good dog-owner,” and I put them in the poopies and then let my neighbours know.

04:56 Sandra??

You do not! [laughter]

04:56 Matthew Wright

I have done that, several times! And it’s not angry, and I think it makes a point that all the local neighbours go by, and I’m hoping that one day that they will confront them so I can whack ’em one! [laughter] Now, Harriet –

05:04 Celebrity Guest

It’s not angry—it’s weird!

05:08 Stephen

I would love to be walking round the park and seeing you bending down like that!

05:10 Matthew Wright

Putting my little cocktail sticks in! Harriet, thank you for the call. Let’s have one more, Amy. A quick one, please.

05:15 Amy

We’ve got Jan from West Yorkshire on line 2.

05:17 Matthew Wright

Jan, good morning! (Morning, Matthew) Morning. Are you an angry person?

05:22 Jan

No, I don’t think I’m angry. Quite feisty at times.

05:25 Matthew Wright

Okay. Do you think we’re born angry or made angry?

05:29 Jan

I think we’re all born with temperament. But it’s how that temperament’s dealt with. And I think that’s down to parenting. I think children have to be taught what is and isn’t acceptable. You know, there’s a saying, “Show me the child at 7 and I’ll show you the man.” Because angry children grow into angry adults, don’t they.

05:50 Matthew Wright

Yes! I mean, I totally – the temperament thing. I mean, my mum always used to say about my sister and I, just very, very different temperaments. And I’m sure all the parents today with two kids or more would have the same thing. But I don’t know whether part of it’s actually in your genes and can’t be changed? Managed, I think, though—maybe that’s why it’s called “anger management” rather than –

06:08 Florence Terry

I do want to chip in here!

06:09 Matthew Wright

Go on, a quick one.

06:10 Florence Terry

I want to chip in to say that when we say angry adults – angry children grow up into angry adults, I think that’s making the same mistake about the fact that anger is just a feeling. (Yeah) So to me it’s more about if a child is angry how do you deal with that? And one way is, of course, to suggest it’s not acceptable behaviour. And if you do that, then the child is going to bottle it, and maybe then they will do things like Sandra, eating,(Yes) because that’s acceptable. So actually I think it’s important to allow people to express their anger but express it appropriately.

06:42 Matthew Wright

Right. Good advice! Good advice. I think it’s fascinating! Jan, thank you for that call. Don’t lose your rag, though, folks—I’m afraid we’re going to have to leave that one there! Stephen too, he can come round and mellow you all out! [laughter] So easygoing! Sandra, thank you very much for joining us as well. (Thank you)And likewise Florence—brilliant advice! Thank you!