Anger Management and the Family Court


*the following is a repost from 7/27/11

Anger Management is almost routinely ordered in high conflict divorce cases. So much so that I’m not sure why they don’t just have you attend anger management along with the mandated co-parenting class they make you attend!

It may surprise you that I am a graduate of Anger Management. I seem so together, right? Well, duh, because I went to anger management is WHY I seem so together! Nothing can make a person more unglued than a years long, high conflict divorce.

If you have reason to think that you may end up court ordered into Anger Management, why not just jump into the deep end of the pool and attend on your own? There may be nothing more effective to ever happen to your case! I wrote about my own experience in “Beating Your Ex at Their Own Game“. If you read that post, you’ll see how that turned my case around. Just think how nice it would be to show the court your Certificate of Completion the next time your ex wants to bring up your “anger issues” in court. Then of course, it might also be a good time for your attorney to bring up those “anger issues” that your ex has, too. The court will look favorably upon you for being proactive and you may get to make your ex look like the fool they are. It’s a win-win situation for you and a lose-lose prospect for your ex because the courts love Anger Management.

As I mentioned previously, I am a graduate of Anger Management. As much as I was opposed to going to Anger Management back then, I am very thankful that I went! It really changed my life! When I decided to go to, it was a court strategy and nothing more. As I came to accept my decision to go, I realized that I was hoping to also learn how to choose a healthy relationship in the future. I have learned how to do just that. I also learned how to recognize toxic relationships with siblings, friends, coworkers, you name it. I examined all of my relationships. After recognizing the relationships that were sucking the life out of me and gave me nothing in return, I have cut those relationships out of my life. I don’t involve myself with people like that anymore. I can recognize those people from a mile away. All of those toxins contributed to my anger and frustration. I only engage in healthy relationships now. Because I cannot change others, I’ve changed who I choose to involve myself with and it is fantastic! I must add that I met one of my best friends in Anger Management, too! What a bonus! Everyone there was just like me! I didn’t have to feel alone anymore. The great thing is that a majority of the class has also been court ordered into anger management. It is incredibly helpful to find out that you are not the only one having these court issues. Oh, yes, it is very disheartening to know that so many people get stuck in the court system, but it is good when you no longer have to think, Why me? Other people are able to get divorced, be done and move on. You find out that it’s not true. Many people are in the same boat!

Don’t look at attending Anger Management as something the court is forcing you to do. Look at it as something you are doing for your life and future. Also look at it as something you are doing for your kids. It doesn’t have to be a bad experience. It is what you make of it. Go in with the attitude that you want to learn how to have healthy relationships and you’ll be excited to go each week. It is so much easier on you to attend Anger Management on your terms than to react to court ordered terms! You are in control of where you go. You can hopefully choose a center that will be covered under your health insurance. You can choose a time and place that fits into your schedule, rather than the court sending you where ever they want, miles away, not covered by your insurance and having it possibly interfere with your job. Take your power back. Every thing is relative to how much of your power you give away. Once you learn that, you will make mincemeat of the Family Court System.

Would it seem like a positive thing if it was referred to as Assertiveness Training? That is where Anger Management started from. I think if the courts would call it by another name,  people would be a little more willing to consider it! I know of a therapist who calls anti-depressants anti-stressants. He thinks that is really more what they do and it’s also easier to accept taking something because you are stressed, as opposed to taking something because you’re depressed. It really does work. People are more open to anti-stressants. It’s all in a name, really. Oh, well, for now we are stuck with Anger Management.

When I decided to go to Anger Management, I didn’t think I was angry. I don’t need that, I thought, but again, it started out as a court strategy. I made fun of it in the lead up to the first session. I was imagining those crazy bitches that were going to be in there and I’d be afraid of. The night before the first session, I watched the movie Anger Management (Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler, 2003), had a couple of Mike’s hard lemonades and laughed my ass off about it. I was certainly not taking it seriously. Then I went, found out that all the women were very much like me, started learning about healthy relationships and believing that I could actually end up in one someday and I was almost sad to complete the 20 weeks! When I started in Anger Management, I was ashamed to tell anyone that is where I was going. I didn’t want anyone to find out. I would tell my coworkers I had to rush off on Monday nights to attend a class. That wasn’t a lie, but a half truth. All so that no one would know. Now, however, I have no problem telling people that I went to Anger Management. My boyfriend knew very early in our relationship. There were a couple of men I had dates with prior to meeting my boyfriend and I told them about attending Anger Management and found out they had, too! I tell almost everyone I know because it truly changed my life and I do recommend it to people. I don’t agree with the courts ordering it because just like everything else, if you don’t want to help yourself and refuse to see a problem, they can court order it over and over again and it won’t do you any good. Unfortunately, they still like to order it regardless.  It makes them feel as if they are “helping” you.

Anger management is not helpful just for dealing with an ex who makes you nuts or as a court strategy, it can help you in so many ways. Like I mentioned, you can learn how to find healthy relationships. You will also learn skills that help in the work place. There isn’t any aspect of life that Anger Management can’t help.

If you are considering an Anger Management Program, the one I attended is in Golden Valley, MN at what was formerly called Pyramid Counseling Center. It is now Headway.org. Their site has men’
s, children and adolescent Anger Management listed. They used to have a women’s group as well, but you can check with Nancie Hamlett, who was the facilitator for my group there. She can direct women to a program. There is also an Anger Management group in the same building that my office is in, The Win Institute

You, too, can go through Anger Management and have a sense of humor about it. Not to mention, how cool would it be to date someone who also went to anger management?? A couple of guys I had dates with had also been to Anger Management. You just might see me at one of my class sessions wearing this shirt. I have this magnet on my refrigerator. Wow, isn’t this the truth? If you’d like to ask me any questions about Anger Management, give me a call or email.





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About lifesdoorsmediation

I am a mediator, Life and Divorce Coach and an Instructor of a High Conflict Divorce Program.

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