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Help for Anger, Impatience & Needing to Control Everything

05 Aug


I was wondering if there is a CD out for trying to stop controlling everything.  I need help with patience.  I get easily angered.



Dear John,

Usually impatience, anger and a strong need to control things have a lot to do with anxiety, depression and sometimes even posttraumatic stress.
Sometimes, it just comes from unconsciously adopting the style and psychological defenses of a parent who was like that. It’s more like a stable character trait than something that’s coming from the environment.

Often the roots of it can lie in the past, from a difficult, punishing or abusive parent, spouse or sibling, and we hand the “bill” to the wrong people in our current lives. 

Sometimes the reasons are more contemporary – like from being stuck in an untenable situation that has you feeling trapped and frustrated – and you may have been in it for so long, you no longer even recognize it as something that generates anger.

Regardless, usually guided imagery can help with this, at least to some extent.  The obvious choice is Anger & Forgiveness.  It’s a favorite and it addresses these things in a way that doesn’t reactivate your anger – you can listen to a sample here (please link to audio sample).  Most imagery – no matter what the topic – is going to have some impact, because it’s designed to slow you down, take you out of the irritations and thoughts swirling around in your head, and give you some perspective. This by definition balances mood.
I remember when I was testing out what was then our new imagery for Alcohol & Other Drugs.  One of our focus groups was an AA group from a prison, and the men were, as expected, a pretty angry bunch in general.  

After listening to the imagery, we got some surprising feedback.  A couple men said, right off the bat, that it seemed to take away their anger – at least immediately afterward and certainly for the next hour or so that we were all together. 

Several said they felt calmer, more at peace.  And a couple got connected to some warm and loving feelings that they had for a parent or sibling.  So even though the imagery was designed to reduce their addictive cravings, it also had this effect on their anger and mood.

I think it’s safe to say that any imagery or mind-body resource that slows you down and creates a more mellow feeling inside is going to reduce anger, and that’s most of them.  But I’d start with that one that targets anger first. If it helps but after a few weeks you grow tired of it, then you can move on to another one that interests you.  

Good luck and I hope it helps.

All best,

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award