I answered my front door, it was late, 10 PM. There stood my cousin looking like he could kill someone!
“I’m so angry, I have to talk to someone.”
I ushered him in and sat him down. His eyes were bloodshot and protruding and he started cracking his knuckles. I got each of us a can of beer.
“Well, what’s wrong?”
“Relax!” I said.
“The other day I was late getting up for work. On the way in, some jerk cut in front of me on the expressway.”
“Cousin, this anger isn’t any good for your blood pressure.”
“I know, I’ve taken two high blood pressure pills before I came here.”
“What did you do when you were cut off?”
“I did what any red-blooded man would do, I kept on his tail and honked my horn repeatedly.”
“Cousin, when you get upset, you shouldn’t react with anger. You should act the opposite, it might help.”
He looked like he wasn’t listening!
“Then when I got to work, I started getting pains in my right leg. The company doc said it was probably happening because I was getting older! I said: “Hey, Doc, my left leg is just as old and it doesn’t hurt at all!”
He sent me home to rest!
“Then to top it all off, my girlfriend came over with reservations for a Mexican restaurant. I told her Mexican food gives me indigestion.”
She said: “I like Mexican food!”
My cousin gritted his teeth.
“You see, it’s all about her, it’s what she wants all the time.” He raised his voice!
“What did you do then?”
“I refused to go and get indigestion!”
“And your girlfriend?”
“She left in a huff and I haven’t seen her since. I’m so angry with her.”
“Cousin, breathe deeply, in and out. Now calm down.”
“What can I do to handle this anger?” he said, anxiously.
“Well, you need to learn some coping self-talk, a sort of self-instruction when you feel yourself going over the edge.”
“What do you mean?” His voice was shaking a bit.
“When someone, like your girlfriend, upsets you, you need to remind yourself to relax and manage your emotions.”
“Do I have to talk out loud to myself?”
“No, you can think your self-talk in silence.”
“Cousin, do you have some examples of this self-talk?”
“Yes, when you feel your anger rising with someone, say to yourself: I’m not going to let them get to me, or say: I can’t change them with anger; I’ll just upset myself”
“Thanks cousin, I think I’ve got the gist of it.” He actually smiled!
“You have to learn to control your anger before it controls you!”
“Thank you, you are so helpful.” He left smiling!
The next day, he called me and said: “I got an email from my girlfriend asking me to return her picture because she was breaking up with me. This didn’t bother me at all. I simply collected several girls’ pics and sent them to her and asked to please keep hers and send back the rest. I can’t recall who you were!”
He laughed out loud, “HOW’S THAT FOR ANGER MANAGEMENT?”