Anger self help literature recommendations?
June 12, 2018 10:17 PM   Subscribe

A friend has anger issues that are affecting his personal relationships. He tells me that he has tried therapy and it has not worked for him. He is not open to trying more therapy. He is open to reading self help literature and working on it, on his own. What are the best books for someone with this history?

I realize this is a tough ask. This is someone who is skeptical of therapy and the language of therapy. I also recognize that he might not even genuinely want to try, and may be just going through the motions of reading this literature only to throw up his hands and say it's all the same bullshit.

On the other hand, I have to imagine that skepticism, close-mindedness, and denial are precisely the types of issues that anger management therapy and literature should seek to address in order to get through to someone who lacks tools to cope with anger. An anger management therapist whose words are overly flowery and rambling is probably not going to get much traction with someone whose problem is impatience.

Would anyone be able to recommend a good book or two to start out with? Bonus points if you were That Guy or That Gal and you found a book that worked for you.
posted by keep it under cover to Human Relations (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Managing Anger with CBT maybe? I haven’t read it. Just seen it a few times.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:08 AM on June 13, 2018

He could try meditation, specifically Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness. There's a great 15 min "Meditation on Emotions" that helps cultivate a state of centeredness and acceptance, but it also is *really* great for processing all kinds of emotions in a manageable and compassionate way.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 4:13 AM on June 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

skeptical of therapy and the language of therapy

I had a similar friend and I called upon my meager humanities education to tell him about some themes in the Iliad and the rage of Achilles and how the contrast between him and the wily Odysseus was sort of about taming man's primal nature for the requirements of the modern-era-slash-Homeric-Age-Greece. I don't know if that's actually true, my memory is kind of hazy from early required college courses, but that's what I said.

Anyways, I tried to take the angle of portraying the anger as a positive thing in some respects in isolation, but impractical for interacting in society. He engaged with that idea and at least skimmed the Wikipedia article on the Iliad, I think.

I also recommended The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense to him and he tracked down a copy and said he found it helpful... my impression was that the types of conversations and manipulation it discusses allowed him to think about the sorts of interactions where he gets angry from more of a third-party observer perspective.
posted by XMLicious at 5:33 AM on June 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Carol Tavris' Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion and Harriet Goldhor Lerner's The Dance Of Anger are good places to start. Lerner's book is addressed to women but would help anyone.
posted by Amy NM at 6:50 AM on June 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Your pal might appreciate the no-effing-around "anger busting workbook." What the site and book itself lack in elegant design they make up for in no-bullshit solutions and actual *work* for people (who especially may be skeptical of therapy) to do on themselves right away. You can get into it and make changes immediately as well as with an eye to long term health and serenity. It's a wise book for rageaholics -- it calls ppl on their shit, requires humility and admission of personal failings, and gets right to work helping to clean up the messes, and prevent future ones.
posted by crawfo at 8:33 AM on June 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

If anger is affecting his personal relationships, I recommend Love Without Hurt. I bought it for my somewhat angry boyfriend. He was too angry to read it, but I read it myself and it is helping me approach relationships with more compassion and patience, even if I don't feel like I had unusual anger issues to begin with.
posted by LakeDream at 4:23 PM on June 15, 2018

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