You are here:

Mastering Anger/good news bad news.


hello ilene,
I am now over the situation with the waitress at the restaurant, because another incident has popped up. my mom and i were out for an evening walk. along the way, we crossed paths with a very attractive young lady, who was walking her dog. my mom asked her how she was doing, but i didn't hear any reply. i was going to say hello to her, but she didn't make any eye contact. it would have really made my day if she'd just said hi back. instead, we got the cold shoulder. i know that politeness is usually half and half with people, but this situation has really got me down. it sounds funny but if she'd been a guy or unattractive, it wouldn't have bothered me near as much. i guess i'm getting angry, because things keep happening, and i know they'll continue to happen. thanks again for your time!

I have time for only a brief answer, Greg. Thanks for asking this question. Thanks for taking the time to rate my last response, too.

When you respond by really going down when something as casual as this happens, it really indicates that you are FAR too influenced by other people! Whether someone responds to you, as I said before, may have nothing to do with you. Allowing her reaction (or non-reaction) to have such an impact on you does no good in the world, and is very hard on you.

Things do continue to happen--over and over--because our deep, inner self is trying to get us to learn and grow (in this Giant School I told you about). Each time the learning is presented to us, it tends to be a harsher lesson (this is so we are strongly urged to "get it"). Instead of focusing on what you didn't get, work to find out what it is, exactly, that is bothering you. In "should" terms, this incident sounds like you're saying to yourself "an attractive woman 'should" want to respond to me (and my mom) whenever we're around." What's the truth, here? If your "should" is true, then all attractive women, without fail, will respond and greet you. Since that is not happening, consider that at least some people may have other things going on and may not even be aware that other people are present! What percentage would you say? 10-20 percent? In that case, when she doesn't respond, you can say to yourself: Well 10-20 percent of all attractive women who cross paths with me are not responsive. When she doesn't respond, you can just remind yourself that "she is part of the 10-20 percent" and then let it go.

BTW, hurt is under anger. It sounds like you really feel hurt by such scenarios. Check inside of yourself to find out why this is hurtful, and move to heal your hurt. A good book for you to read is Harriet Lerner's "The Dance of Anger." She has another book, "The Dance of Intimacy," that would also be good for you to read. If you're not a reader, consider getting a recording from your local library and listen to the material.

Given how "hair trigger" this response seems to be with you, Greg, I would like you to consider doing some psychotherapy. The sooner we end issues like this, the less likely they will become chronic conditions and mess up our life over a matter of years. If you can go to a therapist, I really think it would be a good idea for you to go and get regular help with this issue until you are able to leave it behind you.

My best,


Mastering Anger

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Ilene L. Dillon, M.S.W.


As a "Recovering Angry Person" and psychotherapist, I have thoroughly explored Anger and its related emotions, hurt, fear, depression and guilt. I'll give a free half-hour of coaching to anyone who can ask me a question I cannot address!


36 years as a family, individual and group psychotherapist. 15 years of teaching for California Probation Officers and Psychotherapists. Author of "Exploring Anger with Your Child" (now "The ABCs of Anger in its updated version). Personal, clinical and group work with anger, including in the parenting arena.

C.A.M.F.T. (California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists) N.S.A. (National Speakers Association) Professional Member since 1984

Magazines: Woman's Day, Personal Excellence, Care Notes Newspapers: Marin Independent Journal, The FAX, San Francisco Chronicle, in-house publications for therapy organizations Books and CDs: Total of 17 published works (

M.S.W. from University of California in Berkeley Two California Licenses: Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Social Worker Lifetime Jr. College Instructor License in California Host of Internet radio program (since 2004)Full Power Living, focused on "awakening the world to the power and importance of human emotions"

Past/Present Clients
Write me for a partial list; or look on my web site,

©2016 All rights reserved.