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October 30th, 2009 at 10:26 am

Is anger the key? Dr. Henry Kellerman weighs in

Henry KellermanIn a series of posts for the Psychology Today blog, Dr. Henry Kellerman, author of Dictionary of Psychopathology, argues that while love may the world go ’round, anger is the key.

Anger, he suggests results from our efforts manage disappointment and our thwarted desires. It stems from a feeling of disempowerment and becoming angry re-empowers us. Kellerman writes,

When a person feels disempowered, frequently the only way to feel re-empowered is to be angry. And we all want to be empowered. Yes, anger is a re-empowerment, because like any other primary emotion, anger has a personality, and it is this personality that tells the story.

In the first post, Kellerman outlines seven personality traits of anger (“Anger has explosive potential. It wants to burst forth.” “Anger has an entitled frame of mind. It feels it has the right to get tough,” etc.) Of course, when anger is repressed a symptom emerges and in his second post, Kellerman explores how to cure the symptom. Kellerman outlines some of the steps:

5. The key to unlocking your symptom is to take it on faith that when you have a psychological/emotional symptom you are harboring repressed anger and by definition since it is repressed, you can’t feel it and therefore you’re not aware of it. BUT BELIEVE IT, IT’S THERE.

6. Therefore, you need to become a bit of a detective and try to identify the ‘who’ who pissed you off – who shot down your wish, and who therefore made you angry.

7. When you identify the ‘who’ and begin to feel the anger toward the ‘who,’ your symptom will in every likelihood, lift.

8. To reinforce the cure of the symptom it is usually very helpful to also do something related to the original wish although not necessarily in a way that will get the wish gratified. Just do something related to it.

1 Comment

  1. Tommy says:

    I feel a strong emotion that over comes me to the point where I feel my brain acutally shifting around in my head. After I feel this emotionn I get very sleepy almost drunk like. It comes on when I feel that I’m misunderstood, challenged about my personality, or questioned about an emotion that I displayed with someone who I thought I was safe enough with to let my hair down so-to-speak. I feel distanct from that person that triggered those emotions and I don’t want to be close or bothered with them. It’s hard for me to get past what those persons invoke in me but I do eventually. Ususally, it is a close and personal persons in my life, not someone I don’t know. Is this anger surpressed stemming from something that I’m not aware of? I try to find instances within my childhood or persons who I could be angry with but no one comes to mind. What’s wrong with me and why do such a strong emotion such as this takes me out to the point where I’m non-functional.

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