LOVE this talk by Russell Kolts, given at TEDxOlympia 09/18/15, beginning with his point that we are born with a bend toward a particular temperament.
John has been a wondrous influence taming my anger issues. I grew up in a morass of emotional confusions, leaving me pretty much a mess by the time we connected.
Mom had problems expressing any “negative” emotions, especially grief & anger, two feelings that so often lead to growth understanding compassion. She went to extraordinary lengths to “protect” herself from them.
Dad had what’s an unclear comfort zone with anger. My brothers & a sister-in-law described him as a profoundly angry man, while my older sister & I experienced his as a healthy, appropriate anger. Ah, the complexities of family dynamics!
My 65+ years experience with anger is that more people seem to be like Mom & my older sibs – perplexed & discomforted by feelings, especially anger – than the reverse.
Being so much younger than my surviving sibs – by 8, 10. 14 years – could see the impact of ducking & dodging direct connection over issues, apparently experiencing directness as a danger, preferring triangulated, indirect methods that left me cold.
Russell talks about the role of compassion, something I grew up seeing – well, actually NOT seeing, but noticing its absence. What became the Senior Family after Dad’s death at 63 substituted used nasty cracks, snide asides & slams to direct confrontation – it vented their anger without serving any discernible use. Mind you, I took the same route – until my teaching practicum, when the classroom teacher I was working under asked why I used cynicism & snark with the children; I didn’t realize I was – more accurately, I didn’t realize that it was unusual, because that was how my sister & oldest brother talked all the time.
Praise be, I was blessed to be born with a sunny, positive nature & with an innate curiosity that left me open to hearing & heeding critical comments, left me eager to hear voices like Claudia’s, 42 years ago, and now Russell Kolts’.
Russell Kolts is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Eastern Washington University, where he has taught for the past 16 years and has received numerous honors including twice being named the associated student body’s Faculty of the Year.
Dr. Kolts has authored and coauthored numerous books and scholarly articles, including The Compassionate Mind Guide to Managing Your Anger, An Open Hearted Life: Transformative Lessons for Compassionate Living from a Clinical Psychologist and a Buddhist Nun (with Thubten Chodron), and the forthcoming Buddhist Psychology and CBT: A Practitioner’s Guide (with Dennis Tirch and Laura Silberstein).
Dr. Kolts has pioneered the application of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) to the treatment of problematic anger and regularly conducts trainings and workshops on CFT.