Channeling the anger in a useful way….

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    So I’m having a weekly session with a psychologist and driving in my adapted car to get there. Torbay’s a big general hospital with car parks around it. Clin Psych is bang in the middle though and there’s a disabled space so I drive up, only to find that the space is occupied by a builder’s van. I look around but there’s nowhere else so I drive out. The main car park areas are miles away, I’m hurting really badly and I’m gonna be late, so I put a wheel on a grass bank and stick my blue card up. I’m not the only one, it’s not an ambulance access, so I reckon “what the hey….”

    Just as I’m about to get out there’s a rap on my window, it’s a traffic warden. I open the window and cop the prepared lecture. It’s short and to the point – “you can’t park here, I don’t care about your blue card, I’m just going to put a ticket on that one and if you’re still here when I come back…..” and off he goes.

    I am furious. He hasn’t listened; he hasn’t even looked at me or asked me about my disability, I want to tear him limb from limb – so I climb out and address his departing back. (I’ll digress here and explain that I spent most of my life as a builder, so I’m skilled in vile cursing) “Hey,” I cry, “wait a f***ing minute!”
    Hey, I might have got the same reaction if I’d shot him 😉 He stops dead and then turns round. Before he can draw his pencil I engage him and plead my case…..


    It’s important to notice that I hadn’t sworn AT him. I hadn’t insulted his heritage or anything, I’d just used a colourful adjective to get his full attention. I carefully explained the situation regarding the builders in the disabled space, without swearing, and he immediately marched off saying “follow me in your car” and went and dealt with the situation.

    Honour was satisfied: the builders got told off, I got my space and I was able to thank him for his efforts on my behalf. “It’s all part of the job, lad” he said. I resisted the temptation to say ‘ only if you’re doing it properly’ and wandered in to laugh about it with the psychologist.

    The point is clear. We have to make human contact if we are to expect humane treatment, and it really works if we can use our feelings to emphasise our case. It’s all too easy to get caught up in ‘them’ and ‘us’ – clients, doctors, offenders, cops and all the other sub-divisions we use to map the world with. Anger is a potent energy – we just have to adapt it to suit the scenario.



    That was such a good way of dealing with the situation.

    I must admit that secretly, I like traffic wardens. There are so many of them in our local town and I see them as guardians of the disabled spaces!!


    Thanks Sue!
    I too have an inkling of what a thankless task being a traffic warden is, and that really helped with framing my response. It was naughty but necessary, and I’m shamelessly bumping this post to draw attention to it.

    I want to make the topical connection between anger and dignity here. If I’d gone totally with my feelings I might have got arrested, definitely would have got a ticket, and would probably have missed my session with friend the Clin Psychologist. I.e. a total failure on all counts.

    Being able to let an edge of my anger show in a more passive way was incredibly useful. I got everything I wanted without having to dump ALL my anger on him, which he wouldn’t have deserved anyway. Just enough to let him know that I really needed his attention & help. Bless him, he recognised it all right – and once he’d engaged he was as kind and sympathetic as a person could be.

    It was proof, if you like, of how well my work with the psychologist had been.




    My experiences of psychologists are also very positive. I was not dealing with anger surrounding my chronic pain, but all the other stuff that goes with a change in lifestyle, pressures on work, inability to do what I want and when I want to, and ultimately the way I behave to those who are closest and who I can be “myself” with.

    When this was first suggested I turned it down as I couldn’t believe I was being told I was mad… understanding was minimal-I thought that I was a strong and determined character who could deal with it myself, thankyou very much. However, after a very persistant pain consultant tried many times to offer this, I finally begrudgingly accepted-she was brilliant and me and my longsuffering husband met with her for many weeks-I would highly recommend it.

    Pain has ruled my life for many years-sadly, and I have spent many years searching for a cause and a cure-I now see I am looking for a more effective way of “managing” it, rather than it managing me-I have stopped looking for a cause, as I see it is real, those who know me understand that and those who doubt me, have it explained in a very factual way just how it effects my life. I am a calmer person-the pain is still there, but it is part of me, not the other way round.

    If psychology-anger management or any other support is offered-I would recommend it should be jumped at.

    Hears to a more comfortable evening as I have not had a good day today-ugh!!!!
    Liz x


    Thius is a really useful thread. We need to vent as we feel cheated and mistreated. That isnt the same as bitterness but you hardly get praised for barely managoing everyday tasks. Life is unbearably hard anmd difficult at times while we get in the way of others more able. Coping is a long slow hard learnt discipline and we do need all the help available to us. That isnt all drug related as the mental issues are hard. Most know on here that it has been a long determined haul for me which makes easy reading but getting there one tough journey. I still have an element of sense of loss as we all will have. At times it gets weary and further still wearier when we least expect it. My life is heaven to as it had been but that is still hell. There is no way out other than to practice patience and hope. It will never become right but it can become better and coping is an essential ingredient. Good luck and keep those chins up ! Like you Ross my life changed instantly also.. I still wish it could reverse as quickly


    This is a great thread and really made me think, Im usually know for being such a polite and considerate person, but must admit that since ive been in a lot of pain my tolerance to irritating things that I would usually ignore has become very short! I dont mean to be a cross puppy, but its just hard adjusting to life being so much more of a struggle, so thanks, made me think about this as an issue, and hey I get free counselling or clinical psycology through work, so maybe i may use the service to help with adjusting.
    gentle hugs
    sarah xx

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