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Not so, says Tavris; not only does this ""ventilationist approach"" make the world a noisier place, but expressed anger often leads to a vicious cycle of escalating anger. And Tavris finds no difference between men and women in the expression of anger: The text is largely based on research in the social and biological sciences an extensive bibliography is provided , with a sprinkling of quotes from 50 interviews. Stimulating--and also potentially comforting--even if not fully persuasive.

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I give this book thumbs down for jumping from what the title is supposed to be called. The last chapter was about angry kids, in which I'm single, so why would I care, good luck. Nov 30, Braden Canfield rated it it was amazing Shelves: I read this while preparing a class on violence. This is an extremely well researched, comprehensive and useful book.

I particularly appreciated her analysis of how the misinformation of Freud's theories and the misunderstanding of Darwin's theories affected our cultural views regarding how anger works. She also does a fine job of exploring cultural contexts. Jul 06, Faizan rated it it was amazing. A fantastic, illuminating book that debunks many of the commonly held views on anger and shows how it is not 'intrinsic' but defined by society and culture.

Anybody interested in anger and agression, whether excess of or lack of, should read this. Oct 05, Nina Bradley rated it really liked it. One of the most comprehensive and illuminating books I've read on anger. This isn't self-help, but there is so much helpful information that it might as well be. I got this from the library and found myself over and over wanting to highlight passages.

Apr 22, David Becker rated it it was amazing. Really well-reasoned and original look at one of the basic human emotions. By thoroughly separating the feeling of anger from its expression, Tavris blows up a lot of common wisdom about the supposed danger of suppressing anger and comes up with common-sense guidelines for knowing what to do with your anger.

Feb 22, Monica rated it it was amazing Shelves: I have to read this book again and take notes this time. It is definitely enlightening and should be a must read to all of us. It seems that as grown-ups we have to be responsible people without having PMS or alcohol or whatever to blame for the fog that covers so conveniently our brains sometimes: Jun 12, Uriha rated it it was amazing.

After reading the first chapter of showing how other cultures see and feel about anger, i wondered how "civilized" we were. Sep 11, Monica rated it really liked it. Jan 18, Allison Thurman marked it as to-read. Aug 11, Hal marked it as to-read Shelves: Feb 23, Greg Collver rated it really liked it. Pretty good book, easy to read.

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I enjoyed the casual reading until the last chapter "A Rage for Justice". Then I had to make a few notes 4 pages. A very good chapter! Alison Peacock rated it liked it Sep 24, Noushin Parham rated it liked it Feb 27, Andra rated it really liked it Nov 29, Abe rated it really liked it Sep 23, N S rated it liked it Feb 17, Ana Goes rated it really liked it Feb 06, Jessica Star Rockers rated it really liked it Sep 24, Archie rated it really liked it Feb 11, Milad Shirzad rated it liked it Aug 07, Cordova rated it really liked it Apr 06, Rick Sanders rated it it was amazing Nov 19, George rated it it was amazing Oct 21, Janice Lewis rated it liked it Jan 29, Janette rated it really liked it May 06, Catalina rated it liked it Jan 06, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.


Carol Tavris earned her Ph. Tavris is also the author of Anger: Learn a language anytime, anywhere in just 30 minutes a day with Pimsleur. Get your free lesson today! Explore the entire Star Trek book collection, apps and more. Get relationship help, parenting advice, healthy recipes, and tips for living a happy life from our author experts. Get access to the best in romance: See More New Releases.

When I have told you --" "Oh, Swami, this is anger. You have not mas --" "Ah, but I have," the Swami interrupts. Let me tell you a story. As the incidents increased, everyone became fearful, and many refused to go to the temple. The Swami who was the master at the temple was aware of the problem and took it upon himself to put an end to it. Taking himself to where the snake dwelt, he used a mantram to call the snake to him and bring it into submission.

ANGER: The Misunderstood Emotion by Carol Tavris | Kirkus Reviews

The Swami then said to the snake that it was wrong to bite the people who walked along the path to worship and made him promise sincerely that he would never do it again. Soon it happened that the snake was seen by a passerby upon the path, and it made no move to bite him.

Anger The Misunderstood Emotion

Then it became known that the snake had somehow been made passive and people grew unafraid. It was not long before the village boys were dragging the poor snake along behind them as they ran laughing here and there. When the temple Swami passed that way again he called the snake to see if he had kept his promise. The snake humbly and miserably approached the Swami, who exclaimed, 'You are bleeding. Tell me how this has come to be. It is an understandable mistake, for ambivalence about anger permeates our society. Once thought to be a destructive emotion that should be suppressed at all costs, anger is now widely thought to be a healthy emotion that costs too much when it is suppressed.

In the abrupt transition from Puritan restraint to liberated self-expression, many people are uncertain about how to behave: Some overreact angrily at every thwarted wish, others suffer injustice in silence. We are told in one breath not to rock the boat, and in the next that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Some people take a dose of anger like a purgative, to cleanse the system; others dread any ripple on their natural placidity and fear the loss of control that the demon anger, like the demon rum, might bring.

One friend of mine, a forty-year-old businesswoman, illustrates perfectly our culture's conflict about anger. She won't express feelings of ire, she said, unless she is really "boiling. Or open warfare -- very frightening. There's a fear that once you start screaming at people you'll end up like one of those hollerers on Forty-second Street.

If you start, where's it going to stop? When you express anger, the person receiving it doesn't simply say, 'Point well taken! Anger lust sits there, like an uncooked doughnut. Clark Kent never really gets angry at injustice, merely impatient: When David Banner gets angry, he becomes, uncontrollably, a giant green id, a bilious beast. He is not a man at all, super or otherwise. These incarnations of anger represent dual attitudes: Is it under our control, or do we have as much chance of telling it what to do as of regulating the carotid artery?

Is it a human blessing, or a bestial sin?

Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

The Bible does not answer, now recommending the furious smiting of the unjust, then the ameliorative turning of cheeks. Although my friend occasionally berates herself for her ambivalence about anger -- and spends a lot of time in therapy trying to "resolve her feelings" -- she is in fact part of a long and noble debate in Western tradition. In the eighth century B. When the Greek King Agamemnon appropriates Briseis, a girl whom Achilles has won in battle, Achilles' masculine pride is wounded.

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  4. Stifling his angry impulses to kill Agamemnon at once, Achilles retreats to sulk in his tent and pamper his rage. But Achilles feels better about sulking than my friend does. When the servant is found murdered, Qvist is arrested; and the trial that ensues for him is both legal and spiritual. At last, although he knows he is innocent of the deed, Qvist convicts himself of the desire. He remembers an earlier time when anger had defeated him, an experience that I expect is familiar to modern readers: No sooner did he feel himself alone than his anger disappeared.

    His bones seemed to turn to water, and a most awful sickness took possession of him. He sank to his knees, shaking, and covered his face with his hands This anger, which came upon him so suddenly and with such absolute power, had been the greatest trial of his life. Memories rushed upon him. The face of a young German student, blond, arrogant, and opinionated, rose before him. He felt again the sword in his hand, and in his heart the furious desire which had possessed him to kill that young man. The reason for the quarrel escaped him. Two more unlike stories you could not find, for the anger that is sweet to one hero is anathema to the other; Achilles nurses his anger and Qvist curses his; one uses his anger and the other feels used by it.

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    Over the centuries, the pendulum of opinion has slowly swung to the Qvistian position, a result of profound changes in our attitudes about the nature of humankind. About as soon as man could think, he thought thinking was superior to feeling. I use the word "man" advisedly, and not generically, either. I'm afraid man also thought thinking was not a female capacity. The battle lines were drawn early for what Pascal would call the "internal war" between reason and emotion, and for most of our history a brave confidence in reason prevailed.

    Reason, or at least religious faith, gave man a fighting chance to control anger, pride, lust, covetousness, envy, gluttony, sloth, and any other deadly sin that happens to be his weakness; philosophers and theologians sought to distinguish man from beast, and from woman, by praising his intelligence, rationality, and upright posture in both the moral and vertical meanings of "upright".

    And so, for most of the twenty-five hundred years since Plato, the healthy individual was someone who did not fly off the handle, who was not, in Hamlet's felicitous phrase, passion's slave. Far from advising emotional self-expression, our predecessors came down firmly on behalf of self-control: Hesitation is the best cure for anger The first blows of anger are heavy, but if it waits, it will think again.

    Seneca In the march towards Truth, anger, selfishness, hatred, etc. A man who is swayed by passions may have good enough intentions, may be truthful in word, but he will never find the Truth. Gandhi To behave rightly, we ourselves should never lay a hand on our servants as long as our anger lasts Things will truly seem different to us when we have quieted and cooled down. Montaigne The principal use of prudence, of self-control, is that it teaches us to be masters of our passions, and to so control and guide them that the evils which they cause are quite bearable, and that we even derive joy from them all.

    Descartes Short temper is a loss of face. Whereas Plato assured us that reason ego could control our worst impulses, Freud and his followers bet gloomily on the id, on the sway of instinct. Plato and his intellectual heirs tried to show that man was better than beast; Darwin showed that man was just another species of beast, and many of his successors now argue that most beasts are wiser and kinder than man.

    Popular ethologists students of animal behavior such as Konrad Lorenz, Robert Ardrey, and Desmond Morris and lately the sociobiologists such as E. Wilson make an impassioned case that man is not a reasonable creature. Because the legacy of Darwin and Freud has so profoundly shaped contemporary attitudes about anger, I would like to offer a few reminders of what they did, and did not, have to say about this powerful emotion. I do not wish to imply a "great man" theory of historical change here.

    It takes countless intellectual contributions to chip away at an establishment view of the world, before it falls; and although Darwin and Freud are the best examples of the theories they promoted, they were by no means the only ones. Further, scientific and theoretical ideas must fall on fertile ground if they are to take root, and the social and economic conditions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have surely buffeted human self-confidence, making the world ready for evolution and psychoanalysis.

    But Freud's and Darwin's theories represent a crucial pivot point in Western thought: A baby bird, struggling from its nest, has made its way to a precarious perch on her clothesline. Terrified equally of flying and falling, it does not budge, but whimpers piteously. The mother, chirping her support and encouragement, shows her baby how to take off, flutter around, and land. No luck; baby doesn't move. The mother becomes chirpier.

    She flies off, leaving baby in panic. Suddenly, from a nearby tree, comes an angry, unmistakable paternal note, a deep squawk: Baby stops whining at once and soars away. The Bird Family scene seems so familiar to us that it is almost impossible to describe it without using anthropomorphic terms: The fledgling is "terrified," "panics," and "whines"; the mother "encourages," the father remonstrates sternly.

    Charles Darwin, for all his powers of observation, likewise had no difficulty in seeing human emotions in the animals he studied. In Descent of Man, he wrote that animals feel pride, self-complacency, shame, modesty, magnanimity, boredom, wonder, curiosity, jealousy, and anger -- in short, all the blights and delights of the human species.

    He was talking about dogs that live with people. And one day, while walking in the zoological gardens, he observed a baboon "who always got into a furious rage when his keeper took out a letter or book and read it aloud to him; and his rage was so violent that, as I witnessed on one occasion, he bit his own leg till the blood flowed.

    Darwin's purpose, however, was not to equate people with baboons, in spite of what we call each other in the heat of anger, but rather to demonstrate that the origins of virtually all the human emotions could be found in lower animals. Emotional expression, he said, serves the same adaptive purpose. The smile, the frown, the grimace, the glare: Darwin sought to establish a theory that applied to human beings and to other species, and in so doing he significantly tipped the balance between reason and rage in favor of the latter.

    When animals are threatened or perceive danger, they do respond in ways that we liken to anger: Hair if the animal has hair stands on end, pupils dilate, muscles tense, fins flap, warning growls or chirps or rattles sound, and the organism readies itself to fight or flee. When provoked by another stickleback, a male stickleback must attack, for it is programmed to be a feisty fish.

    If a foreign wolf enters marked territory, the defending wolf is not going to be laid-back about it. In The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, written in , Darwin argued that rage is a simple response to threat, which requires an animal to become aroused to defend itself. In fact, Darwin actually defined rage as the motivation to retaliate: Indeed, as Darwin's stringers in India, New Zealand, China, Australia, and Europe assured him, the symptoms of rage are identical in people throughout the world.

    The face of rage, for example, is not learned. It is as much a part of species equipment as a nose or a pair of eyebrows.