Thinking Distortions in Anger Management Problems

Posted on January 14, 2013

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anger 13For people with anger management problems, patterns of thinking are key in building and maintaining high levels of stress and anger.  Patterns of thinking also trigger and ‘validate’ the angry person’s choice of behaviors used to express anger.  For people who have difficulty with stress management, stating their needs directly, confusing anger with assertiveness and managing their emotions and emotional behavior, examining their patterns of thinking helps a great deal.

Thinking distortions–sometimes called thinking errors or thinking mistakes–are ways of thinking that support and fuel anger problems.  These patterns of thinking are learned and can be unlearned.  Anger management classes can help people with thinking distortions learn more effective ways of thinking that will reduce anger levels and eliminate problem behaviors.  This happens as anger management classes focus on building skills that increase emotional intelligence or how one will understand, use, manage and express emotion.

Thoughts and emotions are inseparable.  Thinking patterns trigger how we will emotionally respond to people, situations and events. Since thoughts are directly related to emotions and since anger is first and foremost an emotion, patterns of thinking are the basic building blocks of anger management problems.
 
Some of the common thinking errors that lead to problem behaviors and anger management issues are:

• Making excuses for one’s behavior
• Blaming others
• Justifying one’s actions
• Re-defining issues and problems to avoid focusing on one’s own responsibility and to put the focus on something or someone else
• Using super-optimism to convince yourself that, despite your behavior, things will go your way
• Lying by stating an untruth (commission); leaving out pertinent facts (omission) or by pretending to agree when you do not (assent)
• Making fools of others as a way of taking the focus of yourself
• Building up to dramatic behavior by accumulating ‘evidence’ that you should
• Assuming what others are thinking, feeling or are motivated by without asking them
• Ingratiating—‘sucking up’ to others to get your way, take the ‘heat’ off you
• Minimizing the importance of an issue or your own behavior
• Using power plays to manipulate others
• Playing the victim to ‘turn the tables’, get sympathy rather than be held accountable
• Creating drama to confuse the situation, exert dominance and control
• Not taking ownership of responsibility for your behavior, your part in the problem or the solution that is needed
• Maintaining and image that is important to you rather than dealing with real issues and feelings at hand

Anger management classes will help you identify the thinking patterns that you use and understand how they contribute to chronic feelings of anger and acting out behaviors.

Anger Management Classes in Houston, Texas

For additional information about anger control skills visit www.ami-tx.com or call 713-477-9105.

Gregory A. Kyles, LPC, CEAP, PHR, CAMF
Anger Management & Domestic Violence Institute of Texas
www.ami-tx.com
www.dvi-tx.com
www.gregorykyles.wordpress.com