A Recovering Rager's Creed
A rager, or rageaholic, is a person who is addicted to the expression of anger. While many people feel better when they "let it all out" a rageaholic should totally and completely abstain from expressing their anger.
If anger or rage is a problem for you or someone you love, the following creed will help get things moving in a more positive direction. Read this list each morning before beginning your day:
1. I will practice self-restraint as a *top* priority today. (Notice that it does not say, "I will practice standing up for what is right.")
2. I will act *the opposite* of how I feel, when angry. (Notice that it does not say, "I will share how I really feel.")
3. If I feel that my anger is about to erupt, I will *quietly* leave the situation. (Notice that it does not say, "I will stay around and process my feeling.")
4. I will find truth in *all* criticisms directed toward me today, especially from my partner. (Notice that it does not say, "I will explain my point of view.")
5. I will say, "You are right," in a sincere, meaningful way, when I am criticized. (Notice that it does not say, "I will say, 'You are right, but...'")
6. I will give an example of how the person who criticized me is *right*. (Notice that it does not say, "I will point out an exception to their observation.")
7. I will repeat the following sentence to myself today: "I am better off being *wrong* because when I am right, I am dangerous." (Notice that it does not say, "I need to stand up for myself when I am right." That is in the self-help literature for depressed women. Rageful men are not depressed women.)
8. I will avoid explaining myself in any way by saying, "I have no idea why I did that...it doesn't make any sense to me either." (Notice that it does not say, "I will make sure she understands *my* point of view." Life can go on without you being understood.
9. I will listen sympathetically to my partner when she tells me about her day. (That means maintaining eye contact and turning the television off...not just on mute.)
10. I will not give unsolicited advice to my wife or children. (That also means not asking questions such as, "Do you know what you should do?" or "Do you want to know why that happened?")
11. I will avoid blaming family members for anything today, especially if it was their fault. (Instead, say things such as, "It's not your fault you ran out of gas. That stupid gas gauge shows there is gas when there isn't!")
12. I will avoid trying to make any family member "understand" anything. (You may find out that they don't want to understand what you think is the moral or the "truth" of some situation.)
13. I will avoid trying to convince my child or spouse that I am being fair. (Enjoy the relief of *not* trying to convince your teenager that you are being fair, and just sympathize with them for having an unfair parent that wants to ruin their lives.)
14. I will look for an opportunity to sincerely praise everyone I live with, especially the cat I don't like. (Yes, every day! Pet the cat and say nice things to it. The children and your wife will know that you have changed...insist that you have come to have warm feelings toward the cat.)
15. I will humbly commit myself to removing my angry behaviors today, as my contribution toward a more peaceful world. (Realize that there is enough anger and grief in the world without you adding to it.)
Put this list on the refrigerator and ask your wife and children to remind you about it. When they do, calmly say, "You are right. I am sorry. I was wrong."
Newton Hightower is the Director of The Center for Anger Resolution, Inc. in Houston, Texas, and author of the new book Anger Busting 101: New ABCs for Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them. Visit Newton's website for more anger- busting ideas and a free email newsletter filled with guest articles and tips for husbands, wives, and therapists. http://www.angerbusters.com