I learned more about human nature from my studies @ the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, than from Columbia grad school; but I have learned the most from my horses, cats and dogs. The subtitle of this blog could be “Our Pets, Ourselves,” because the human brain shares a limbic system in common with other mammals.
Like all blogs, this one is arranged with the first posts at the very bottom, and the most recent one at the top. A new reader who jumps in at the top may be baffled by my “so, anyway” use of animal metaphors or technical psycholinguistic terms. All (or enough to be getting on with) will be revealed by clicking on the “aggression happens” category @ the sidebar, and reading those posts from the bottom up, so to speak.
If that seems like “too many Therbligs [units of effort]” to expend, here’s the basic premise. Anger Management seminars always start with the notion that “anger is a secondary emotion: a response to a primary emotional experience, usually fear or humiliation.” As a Cockney would put it, something you do “gets right up my nose,” and anger is the sneeze that results. My group for Angry Young Men at a certain military clinic offered two additional anger-provoking “allergens”: intrusion and (the tort lawyers’ bread & butter) pain & suffering. By making like Sherlock Holmes and sniffing out which (combination) of these 4 irritants is “getting right up your nose” as you feel your hackles rise (and your “inner wolf” tune up to howl), you can often (sometimes?) avoid a full-blown, land-you-in-jail, unleashing of your anger. My everyday animal metaphor for this process is Lili, my long-haired German Shepherd, who is pictured at the top of this blog.