Anger and Aggression: Act in Haste, Repent in Leisure

Sometimes, My Clients are Just Brilliant

Too Hot to Eat

In the Solutions Training for Aggression Reduction (STAR-Men’s) class, I am working with a man from Saudi Arabia. His troubles started after an arrest for assault based on arguing his wife. He claims he didn’t do anything violent. I actually believe him, going only on his description of the event. So, of course, I could be wrong.

He admits to lashing out in the past and owns up to behavior he is not proud of at times.

It just so happens that I am working with him individually. Unusual for me. It is usually a group educational practice.

The Great Anger Metaphor

I’ll keep this simple. We were in session and he was talking about how easy it is to get carried away and do self-defeating things when we are angry. The ‘we’ he was talking about was men. I can admit to being part of that we, even if it is a generalization.

Here is what Joe (not real name) told me. When you get angry, take care because it’s easy to create all kinds of new consequences for everyone concerned. Quoting him, “Something I have learned is that when I get angry, I tend to act badly. I’ve learned to regard my anger as a great meal that is still too hot to eat. If you eat it when it is too hot, you will just burn your mouth; you ruin the meal.”

If we bite into food that is too hot, it doesn’t really matter how good it is, does it? I like the metaphor.

Act in Haste, Repent in Leisure

If we act out in the heat of anger, it doesn’t matter then how good we’ve been in the past. One foolish act can destroy or at the very least, badly damage a relationship.

So, let’s just let the emotion cool before we act. It’s never how we feel in those situations that matters. It is always what we do next.

What will you do next, next time?


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