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Where does anger come from, at the root?
With so many people, the issue is primarily childhood trauma. And when I say trauma, I'm not talking specifically about sexual abuse. I'm talking about children growing up in homes where parents tell them to shut up, don't encourage them, blame them, make them feel bad. Alice Miller, who has written many books on childhood trauma, talks about the different situations where children grow up so fearful of losing their parents' love, let alone voicing their anger against their parents. They stifle it, and it stays deep inside their soul. And then when they grow older, when they see things that remind them of the fact that they were disrespected, or that somebody didn't do something positive for them, or when somebody criticizes them, they lash out. And this is, I think, what is happening with whole generations.
I see many people with anger issues who often fail to relate their problem back to childhood issues. I was looking at the case of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. When I looked into his past—and this is not an excuse, but an explanation—they talked about how kids used to call him Noodle McVeigh; they used to hold him upside down over a toilet and torture him. Today we have school shootings. In these events where a child is bullied, or feels isolated and alone and sees no help coming, these are the kinds of tragedies that ultimately come down the pipe.
So it seems to me that anger management has to start at an even younger age. It has to start in the schools, and most importantly in the home. Rather than suppressing anger, which can have health consequences, we need to talk about our issues, either in therapy or with someone we're close to, a spouse, friend, or family member. I also teach people the power of meditation, which helps to quiet the mind, increase insight, and build awareness to help solve and relieve inner pain. In the end, I'm a great believer in love, and the positive approach of giving love and support to other people.