People are usually pretty good at managing positive emotions–it’s the negative ones that we need help with. And the king of negative emotion is anger. If love is the most powerful force for good in the universe, then it may be said that anger is the most powerful force for bad. Anger demands to be expressed. Even when it doesn’t get expressed externally, it makes its home in the subconscious mind and wreaks havoc in the life of its subject.
Dr. Christian Conte is the author of Walking Through Anger: A New Design for Confronting Conflict in an Emotionally Charged World. Per the book’s author description:
Christian Conte, PhD, is a licensed professional counselor, a certified Domestic Violence Counselor, and a Level V (highest level) Anger Management Specialist from the National Anger Management Association. He is co-host of USA Network’s The Secret Life of Kids and is a frequent guest on many national and local programs, including Good Day, ESPN Radio, and CBS’s KDKA. His Yield Theory training has generated successful results for violent criminals, family therapy, and professional athletes.
Dr. Conte gave a talk on YouTube in which he shared his 5 tried-and-trued keys to controlling anger–don’t be attached; don’t take things personally; learn when to let things go; be aware of what’s going on with your body; and learn how to say what’s really going on with you. They have helped me out a lot, and I’m sure they will help you out as well if you put them to work.
Hi, I’m Dr. Christian Conte, and in this video I’m going to give you 5 keys on how to control your anger. I run a website called www.DrChristianConte.com, which is all about emotional management because at the end of the day we all experience emotions, and we all certainly at some points in our lives experience anger. And to me, anger management is something that we all could benefit from. And anger management is so much more than just dealing with anger, it’s dealing with the emotions that surround anger. Look, I’ve posted some videos on YouTube before, but I’ve never really done it consistently. This video marks the first in a series of videos that I’m about to do on a regular basis. So if you like some of the information, I’m going to ask you to subscribe to this channel. If you have questions, put it in the comment section. I’m going to go through them, and I’m going to try to answer them each week on different videos.
So let’s come to these 5 keys to controlling your anger. Let’s face facts–all of us have anger, and there are ways to deal with it in a more effective way. When you think about the world today, when you think about how many people are exploding out of anger. How many people are losing control and hurting other people. It’s unacceptable. All of us–we’re challenged to have the discipline to handle our anger well. So I want to give you that. Look, I say we all have issues. If you’re alive right now, you have issues. That’s OK ’cause so do I. Do I look like a person who’s never been angry? Of course, I’ve been angry. I just know how to deal with it. I still get angry. But the difference is knowing how to handle that anger well. Sure, anger is going to come up for you, but follow these 5 keys, and I’m telling you you’ll handle it in a much more effective way.
So here they are. The first key is this: Don’t be attached. Now think about this, our egos–they have us wanting to be right in all situations. Think about the last time you’ve been in an argument with someone or a disagreement. Instead of being open to learning, which we all would say–we all say ‘I’m open to learning. . . I have a lot more to learn in my life.” Most people would say that, but then when it comes to an argument or a disagreement, all of a sudden it’s, “Hey, my ego is right. I’m defending myself to the end.” We become very attached. I’ve talked about attachment in this way before. I’ve talked about it as this. Let’s say that these are all my ideas. I put my ideas here [clutching books to chest] and I hold on to my ideas. If you disagree with my ideas, and I’m attached to my ideas, I get really upset. I think “How dare you disagree with who I am?” But if I take my ideas and I set them down over there [sets books down] and you disagree with my ideas, I can recognize “Hey, you’re not disagreeing with the essence of who I am. You’re just disagreeing with some of my ideas.”
So not being attached helps us in a significant way. Because I realize it leads to the second key of what I want to tell you about, which is don’t take things personally. Look, how many times have you allowed your anger to swell up and grow because you’ve taken things personally? One fact, as I’ve said at the beginning, we all have issues. We all have things that are going on in our lives. The problem happens when we start to take other people’s issues personally. Now a lot of times people will say, “What if someone is saying something directly at me.” Then they say, “It is about me. It is personal” I say “No, it’s not. It’s not personal.”
Look, in the comment section below this video you will see lots of questions emerge–positive things, people will say appreciative things. But there will definitely be people who just lash out and say mean things. I’m not going to take that personally. It’s not about me. If you don’t even know me, how can it possibly be about me? It’s about you. And when it comes to people saying mean things and lashing out at you, it’s not about you. It’s about them. When you learn that, when you really get that, ’cause I have a sense people understand that here [head] but then understanding it here [heart] is a lot different. But when you can learn to not take things personally it’s one of the greatest gifts you will give yourself. That’s why it’s one of the 5 most practical keys to managing your anger well.
The third key to handling anger well and to controlling your anger is learning when to let things go. All too often people have such a hard time letting things go. Why is it so hard for us? Why is it so hard? Because again, I believe it comes back to our egos. We want to have things go our way. So we say I’m going to put myself out there. And when I put myself out there, here’s what’s going to happen. And we become attached to our view. And until we learn how to let go of needing things to be our way, then we crumble when things don’t go our way. So letting go of needing things to go your way is a really important key to handling your anger well. And you say “Well, I never get anything to go my way. Things never go my way.” And it’s important to understand to not use extreme language. Because all too often we say “Never. Always. Can’t stand it!” And those words drive anger even bigger. So learning to let go of needing things to go your way is huge. Letting go is a powerful, powerful step.
The fourth key is this: being aware of what’s going on in your body. I call it being mindful of what’s going on in your body. In other words, if I say to you how many times in your life have you snapped at someone when really you were hungry. Just about everybody watching is going to be like “OK, that was me. I did it.” If I say to you how many of you were angry with someone else because you were really just overly tired. I would say a majority of people are going to be like “I guess I can think back to a time when I was arguing, but really I was just overly tired.” If I say to you think about a situation where you were stressed out and you snapped at somebody. All of things happen to us. Hunger, fatigue, being stressed. Even something as simple as being overly heated. It can agitate us.
When we’re not aware of what’s going on in our body, we start to make up a story. So we get hungry, and we start to say “I feel agitated, and because I feel agitated, I must be upset about this.” And then we make up whatever story, and then we get really upset about it. Whereas if we were well-fed at the time, we probably wouldn’t have gotten so upset about the same thing. So it’s really important to be mindful about what’s going on inside your body. The more mindful you are, the more aware you are.
Then you can get to the fifth key. For me, the fifth key it’s simple to understand but it’s really hard to practice. And that’s learning how to say what’s really going on with you. Listen to that. Learning how to say what’s really going on with you. In other words, if I’m hungry I can say–instead of snapping at my wife–I can say, “You know what, honey, I’m just really hungry right now. Now’s not a great time to have that conversation because I’m so hungry. Let me grab some food here real quick, then we can sit down and talk about it.” Or–I’ve written about this a lot on my website–www.drchristianconte.com–I’ve written about this a lot. There’s an old adage that says “Never go to bed angry.” And I think that’s silly. And I think it’s outdated. Because if the only reason is because you’re both overly tired or one of you is overly tired, then by all means go to sleep. Go to bed angry. When you wake up in the morning and you’re well-rested, the odds are–listen if you want to keep fighting, keep fighting–but the odds are that you probably won’t want to.
Being mindful of what’s going on in your body and expressing it accurately. So many people across the country–I go all over and speak across the country. I get to interact with thousands of people. It sounds so simple, but why is this so hard? And I believe it’s so hard for most people because we’ve gotten into these behavioral patterns of just not learning to express what’s going on with us. Once you start to do it–and believe me, every technique I’m talking about, these 5 keys to controlling anger. As soon as you’re done with this video, turn this video off and start practicing it, and watch what happens. In other words, if you’re feeling a certain way–let’s say you’re feeling anxious. Instead of lashing out in anger, say that. Try it. Just try saying it. “You know what, I’m really sorry, but I kind of feel really anxious right now. I think it’s making me feel a little agitated. And I feel a little angry. I don’t think it’s about you, I think it’s about me, and let me deal with it for a little bit.” See, the more you learn to express that accurately, the more effectively you control your anger.
These fives keys to controlling your anger management–trust me, I’m telling you–these are really important things, so try them. I’m going to start posting videos more regularly, so any questions that you have leave a question in the comment section. If you like this video, I’d really appreciate if you hit like, and go ahead and subscribe to the channel. And you’ll know whenever there are new videos posted. Listen, we all have issues. We all have anger. And that’s OK. Sometimes, we need to be easy on ourselves as we’re learning. What I taught you today–whether it was a review for you or not–what I expressed today in this video maybe you got it here [head], but we got to work on practicing it here [heart]. I wish you all much peace. For more information on me or the emotional management that I teach, visit www.drchristianconte.com
I cannot and will nor speak for anyone else, but I had the ultimate misfortune of being in the right place at the wrong time to study a master of anger, my birth father. He never knew it, but he taught me everything I never wanted to know about anger. Moreover, he taught me well how to manipulate others into believing the “myth of using anger as a weapon.” Every night, home from work, I would watch as he worked himself into a rage over nothing at all, same process every evening including Saturday, and Sunday. Complain, complain, complain, bitch, bitch, bitch, Bitch, Yell Yell Yell YELL, BOOM, BASH, BANG, CLATTER, Clatter, clatter (the latter being bodies flying into walls or rolling down stairs.) After my mother died when I was about nine, though I did not know it at the time, my sisters were being raped and otherwise molested. This lasted till the mid-60s when every last one of his children either moved away, got married really young, or like me and a few of my brothers who ran away. Anything you want to know about anger, don’t be araid to ask. Two of his sons became family abusers, two including me never had children, one died young, and the other two tried their best, but did not succeed in stopping mental abuse. One sister did not have children either.
I am not looking for pity, or sympathy. I have dealt with my childhood as best I can. But facts are facts, my siblings and myself were terrorized, and we all suffer or suffered CHILDHOOD PTSD, though I have no idea is there even such a diagnosis. One brother never admitted he was abused, but he was the meekest man I ever met, until late in life when he met his second wife, who somehow helped him to heal. He had a good seven years before he died. I thank her for that.
Me, I was fortunate to turn 16 in the mid-60s. I dropped out of society, joined the hippies (which is a fallacy, you could not join a group of individuals who thought for themselves!) I have been a pacifist all my life, but I can be very self-assertive when necessary. I will go to my cremation as a spiritual atheist, and a responsible anarchist. I will leave you to decide if those are oxymorons, or actual conditions of life.
Thank you for providing yet another platform for my story. Hopefully, as time goes on, the human race will outgrow its need for violence, but especially its viewpoint on anger. Anger is not an emotion, it is a choice. We as humans need to learn how to make better choices.
I’m sorry you had to go through those things. I can’t imagine what that must be like even all these years later. Sending you light and love from where I am.