When students come in to an anger management class they usually have certain expectations. I like to
put these expectations out in the open and address them early on in class in order to prevent
disappointment or early drop out. This allows for a better beginning into a journey that can feel
overwhelming and seem impossible at times.
Although there are many things people imagine they will get out of anger management classes, one
unrealistic belief is often the idea that once you begin using the tools, people around you will
automatically change and relationships will magically get better. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true.
Although changes will begin to occur and you'll begin to feel better about your own responses and
behavior, others may not always feel the same way about the new you. It's important to understand a
few things realistically in order to stay motivated throughout the journey ahead and not feel completely
discouraged when things don't work like magic. Here are some things to expect when starting to make
• Patterns have been in the making for a long time. You have most likely been in your relationships for a
while (this includes all types of relationships). In that while, you've also created patterns that are
inevitably hard to break, not only for you, but for the person or people around you. Being mindful that
others do not know what you're learning and may not change at your pace is important.
• Remember that others may be intimidated or threatened by your change. Sometimes people become
so entrenched in toxic relationships that when one person starts to get healthy, they become more
angry and insecure about their own flaws and mistakes.
• People may test you. Because you've been a certain way for so long, people may have a hard time
believing if the changes are real. This can be very frustrating. It's important that you focus on the next
• Stay consistent and you'll notice that others will slowly begin to accept your changes and, more
importantly, you'll begin to feel good about you. Don't give up after one or two tries of something new.
Change takes time and mistakes are bound to happen. It takes PRACTICE!
• Be patient with others as they adjust and make mistakes with you. Remember, you have the
advantage of being in a class. They may not.
• Always keep your goal in mind. Your goal should be to be a better you, not to change others.
Sometimes those around you will not change. Maybe they don't want to or are just not ready. Whatever
the reason, you cannot control how others respond or what they're willing to do. You can only focus on