Using Anger Management as a shaming tool limits it effectiveness


Mark Field Conservative MP hit the headlines this week when he was seen to manhandle a Greenpeace a protester who had interrupted the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Mansion House speech.

This brought a couple of issues to mind about the work we do in anger management.

Firstly, Greenpeace are using this to generate headlines and one of them was that Mark Field should go for anger management. Whether he has a genuine anger management issue or not I don’t know and therefore cannot comment.

What I can comment on is that if we use anger management as a punishment or as a shaming device, as it was used in that headline, then it reduces it’s impact. 

We have many people come to us who have been sent, do not wish to attend and who are skeptical that we are talking about anything relevant to them. These are all shame based reactions to the way they have had our work introduced to them.

I am happy to say that every one of them has left feeling enlightened, inspired and really happy they had the privilege of attending one of our weekend workshops. 

If they had not been shamed in to it then they may have come with a more open mind and got even more out of our work.

Read our testimonials and you will spot a couple that are obviously from those people.

The second issue is that of provocation. There is no doubt that many women invading a place where formality is respected and where drink has been consumed constitutes provocation. The challenge Mark Fields has, which I am sure he recognises, is that his behavior was unacceptable and that now dominates the issue.

We get exactly the same issue with clients who come to see us and cite part of the issue is their partners provocative behaviour and our answer is always the same which is, while your unacceptable behaviour eclipses the issues others present, you will always be the one being shamed and being told you need to see us.

In summary, anger management really helps people and it is a great way to understand yourself better and develop strategies and tactics to stay calm. Using shame to change someone’s behaviour is, in our experience, a blunt instrument.

If your reaction is disproportionate to events you leave yourself exposed to judgement and criticism.


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