Anger is considered by many to be the scourge of the 21st Century – with over-stressed, time-hungry lives and increasing expectations leading the average person to fly into a rage four times a day.
But one anger management expert is not only helping to call time on fiery tempers, he’s also offering crucial help to the victims of anger, thanks to a series of innovative workshops being launched across the country.
The British Association of Anger Management (BAAM) and their nationwide Beating Anger Clinics have just launched the End of the Line – Enough is Enough courses in several cities including Newcastle, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, London and Brighton.
The one day courses help men and women who are living with angry abusers learn coping strategies and a greater understanding of the situation they are dealing with.
They are aimed at real people like Alison *, who lived 18 years with a verbally and emotionally abusive husband before finally having the strength to leave the volatile relationship after he turned his aggression on their teenage daughter.
As Alison explained: “Seeing my husband go for my daughter made me finally realise that I had to get out of my marriage – ironically up to that point I had stayed thinking it was the best thing to do for the children. But it was by going on the course that I finally started to make some sense of the emotional chaos and abuse I had been living in for years, which in turn helped me to gain back some control of my life.”
One of the country’s leading anger Guru Mike Fisher explained that victims of anger and emotional abuse are all too often over-looked, with specialist help mainly being targeted at the person creating the problem.
He said: “Anger is very much a part of our society now as is so regularly demonstrated – from motorists losing control on the roads and rival football fans clashing to individuals struggling to deal with day to day stresses. Recently one Cardiff woman even smashed up her local bakery, causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage after they sold out of her favourite cupcakes. While anger itself is a normal process that has allowed humans to evolve and adapt, if it is not managed and controlled, major problems can occur, as in Alison’s case. For the first time these new workshops are targeted at the victims of anger, or survivors as we prefer to call them – helping people to recognise the core mechanics of the abuser’s agenda, how they themselves comply with it, and most importantly help them to choose a way forward.”
These programmes will be delivered by highly trained anger experts from the Beating Anger clinics nationwide.
The one day workshops will investigate subjects such as the drama triangle, power and control, traumatic bonding, self esteem, setting healthy boundaries and resolving conflict.
They are being held in a variety of locations across the country including ones in Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Derby, Birmingham, Worcester, Bath, Oxford, Colchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bromley, Harrow, London, Guildford, Brighton, East Grinstead and Portsmouth.
Anyone wanting any more information about the workshops can contact
The British Association of Anger Management (BAAM) on 0845 1300 286 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
*Alison is not her real name – it has been changed to protect her identity
When Alison married her teenage sweetheart at the age of 19 she thought life couldn’t get much better.
However the rosy glow of being a newly-wed soon evaporated when she started to become the victim of her husband’s sporadic outbursts.
Alison explained that there didn’t appear to be a trigger as such for the verbal abuse, such as the dinner not being made or the house being untidy. Instead he would just suddenly erupt at something Alison would say.
However as her husband maintained the veneer of being a laid back, gentle man outside the home and constantly accused Alison as being the cause of his temper, Alison’s confidence began to erode and she stayed on, trying to look at ways of keeping her husband calm.
Alison said: “The hardest part was that I couldn’t really talk to anyone – all our friends and family thought my husband was such a gentle man and had no idea of the man that lived behind closed doors.”
As Alison struggled to keep things together, the couple went on to have three children. But further cracks started to appear in their relationship and the verbal abuse became more frequent and the behaviour increasingly more controlling.
Alison added: “Again there didn’t appear to be any obvious triggers and after the rage had stopped he would always say it was me who had caused it, before collapsing in a heap and apologising, adding that it wouldn’t happen again.”
Sadly it was a promise that he repeatedly broke, but Alison felt trapped and unable to leave – grounded by the thought that she must keep her family together for the sake of the children.
Alison added: “Obviously everyone I talked to thought he was such a gentle man too and would quickly dismiss anything I had to say and tell me that I should stay with him and try to work things out – that it was the right thing to do.”
Years of walking on egg shells and appeasement followed, with Alison regularly suffering bouts of depression and her health started to decline too.
Alison added: “I tried to keep as much as I could from the children, but I later found out that during his outbursts they would hide under their beds until it was all over.”
After nine years, Alison finally managed to persuade her husband to go to marriage guidance classes with her, but in hindsight she admits that is was a “papering over the cracks” exercise.
She added: “I didn’t really focus enough on the abusive part of our marriage in those classes and whilst on the surface things improved for a while and we went on to have another baby, soon the problems started to reappear.
Like many abused people, Alison started to feel withdrawn from life, losing her confidence and social skills and at times feeling depressed and trapped.
Those problems continued until one day last year when her husband went for her teenage daughter as she left the house.
Alison said: “We all weren’t ready to leave and my daughter said she wanted to walk on ahead. This led to a disagreement between her and my husband and he suddenly erupted, screaming and shouting at her outside the house. I was horrified and I think it was the first time the extent of his problem really hit home to me. I will never forget the fear in my daughter’s eyes and something snapped in me.”
After repeated attempts to get her husband to seek help for his anger failed, Alison finally asked him to leave the family home.
Then in the summer a friend of Alison’s noticed an article in a national newspaper about the BAAM courses that were being piloted for people that had suffered because of anger.
Alison added: “It was a year after my husband and I had separated and if I’m honest I couldn’t have done it any sooner, but I am so glad I did. I guess I needed to try to make some sense of everything that had happened and why my husband had been so angry. Going on the course gave me such a fresh insight into my life and the way I had been living for years – I essentially sacrificed what was me, including all my thoughts and feelings, to devote my life to appeasing my abusive husband and trying to stop his outbursts.”
“It was so helpful to hear of other people in similar situations which reinforced the fact that it wasn’t my fault and that my husband’s behaviour was neither normal nor acceptable. I never thought that I would be a single mum with four children but I now realise that I stayed in my marriage for too long, believing it was the best thing for my children. Hopefully now though we all have a new fresh start without living day by day in fear.”
Notes to editors:
Information about those suffering from the effects of other peoples anger
Mike Fisher, the ‘brains behind BAAM’ has worked with over 14,000 people in 14 years, trained 166 students to a Diploma standard and has over 24 years of experience in the field of human potential and personal growth.
Mike is known as the leading guru and expert in the field of anger management in the UK and has contributed to hundreds of radio interviews, magazine and newspaper articles and many television documentaries including ‘NASTY BOSSES’ BBC3, ‘THE ANGRIEST MEN IN BRITAIN’ 2002 – ITV1 Landmark Films, ‘ANGRY BRITAIN’ 2004 – Landmark Films, ‘LOSING IT’ BBC3, ‘VIOLENT FATHERS with Kilroy Silk’ BBC3, ‘BEAT IT: ANGRY WITH MY FATHER’ 2006 Landmark Films.
Mike´s book Beating Anger published in 2005 has sold well over 65,000 copies and his new book Mindfulness and the Art of Managing Anger will be published by Leaping Hare Press in April 2012.