Twenty-seven-year-old doctoral student Kara Simmons fluffed her hair and then adjusted her tortoiseshell glasses as she sat in her car and gathered her nerve. She didn’t really need the glasses, but felt they gave her an academic look. As she walked toward the building where she would lead her first group counseling session, she wondered about the three people Dr. Borderlon told her to expect. What hardships and tragedies have contributed to these people’s anger?
She found her assigned room and waited eagerly to meet her “clients.” The first person to arrive was a large man with a bushy beard bearing the remains of his breakfast. He wore a plaid flannel shirt with the sleeves torn out. His jeans were full of holes and his work boots were well worn. Despite his unsavory appearance, Kara felt sympathy towards the man. What previous tragedy has brought him here?
Next to enter was an attractive young woman who was the kind of beautiful only achieved with money. Kara suspected that the lady’s ample bosom, full lips, perfect tan, and blonde hair were not God given. What deep pain is she hiding?
The final person to arrive was a woman in her late thirties. She seemed an average mom in her sneakers, denim capris, knit top and low-maintenance hair cut. As she sat down, her large purse tipped over to reveal a wallet, water gun, cell phone, dog leash and a school visitor badge. What in her past has caused her anger?
Kara cleared her throat and introduced herself to the skeptical trio. “Hello, my name is Kara Simmons. Dr. Borderlon asked me to fill in for him because he’s ill. I’m working on my Ph.D. in psychology under Dr. Borderlon. I feel privileged to spend this time with you. To begin, let’s each introduce ourselves and share what brings you to anger management class.” Kara nervously nodded toward the man. “Sir, would you mind beginning?”
“I’m Ben. I drive a truck. There are lots of bad drivers on the road. They make me mad.” He leaned back in his chair and crossed his large tattooed arms across his chest. The others nodded their heads in total understanding. What am I missing? Are bad drivers the only cause of his anger?
Kara turned to the pretty blonde. “Tell us about yourself.”
“My name is Victoria. My anger stems from family issues.” Now we’re getting somewhere. “My parents are unfair. They, like, are insisting I get a job. They, like, even say they may stop paying rent on my condo. They have plenty of money. They’re cutting me off just to be, like, mean.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder and stuck out her lip in a picture perfect pout worthy of a lipstick commercial. That’s not what I was expecting for family issues.
Kara looked at the last lady. “And you?”
“I’m Bobbette and I’m angry. My son Todd’s teacher sent him to the principal yesterday for hitting a classmate. But did the little girl get in trouble? No! She’s always picking on my angel. And my son Brad was kicked off the soccer team. He’s better than the other players so the jealous moms make up stories about him.” Bobbette paused momentarily to catch her breath. “And then today the person in front of me at Wal-mart had twenty-one items in the express lane. Some people always expect special treatment.” You’ve got to be kidding me.
Kara looked at the three people in front of her in disbelief. That’s all they have to be angry about? She could feel her blood beginning to boil. Her head pounded and her hands shook. She couldn’t contain it any longer.
“I’ll tell you how to deal with your anger,” Kara said surprising herself with the force and volume of her words. “Get over yourselves. You people have nothing to be angry about. Children abducted from their parents. Drunk drivers who kill innocent families. Child slavery in Africa. Women abused by their husbands. These are things to be angry about. Not your petty problems.”
Six eyes stared in silent shock at Kara. Did I really just lose my temper in the anger management class I’m supposed to be leading? If Kara hadn’t been so disappointed in herself, she would have found the irony amusing.
Ben broke the silence. “Seems like we’re not the only ones with anger issues, lady.”
Kara looked sheepishly at the class. “Any suggestions on how we can control our anger?”
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