Mastering Anger/UNTITLED 2


(This is not a spam question or a homework question)
I was wondering would you please tell me: is it a fact that a impossible friend can give you high blood pressure?

If it is a fact, would you please explain to me in a simple way that I can understand: how can you keep calm?


Hi, Cameron,

Thanks for your question.

In my understanding, no person can MAKE you feel anything!

However, based on what you carry around inside of you (beliefs, old emotional wounds, etc.), you can have a REACTION to someone that can increase your blood pressure. The other person can't make your blood pressure go up, but they can be the catalyst for your own system to make your blood pressure go up.

When another person "pushes our buttons," we have a tendency to react by getting angry, irritated, etc., all of which CAN increase your blood pressure. (This usually happens if we hold our emotions inside of us, rather than allowing them to pass through us. If we hold the irritation inside of us and seethe, for example, our blood pressure can go up.)

What is important is that WE are in charge of our buttons, however! Any time someone does something that irritates us, we have the choice to react by getting upset, staying neutral, or laughing! Our reaction depends upon what we pay attention to. If we get locked in to reacting to what the other person does, our blood pressure is likely to rise. If we pay attention to what we want to/choose to pay attention to, we can have another reaction (that usually does not make our blood pressure go up!)

So, to answer your second question, a person keeps calm by separating from what is happening, paying attention to what we choose to pay attention to, rather than to what that person draws our attention to!

In my experience, our earth is a "Giant School," to which all of us come in order to learn and grow. When someone upsets us or irritates us, that person can be seen as our "teacher," stimulating us to figure out what we can do SO THAT we don't react! We get to ask ourselves "What would I need to do to take power in this situation--power over myself? When I can have power over myself, you can no longer have power over me--whether it is to upset me, or to raise my blood pressure!"

One exercise I like is to remind myself:  That is you over there in that body doing what you do. This is me over here in this body, being the person I am. You are there--separate from me--and I am here, learning what I need to learn and not reacting to you if I choose not to react to you!  When you allow the other person to be separate, you don't have a reaction to them or their behavior.

The principle with which I work is to "pay attention, not to what you want to overcome, but to what you want to BECOME."  Whenever someone irritates you, focus on where YOU want to go, rather than getting lost in where the other person takes your attention.

I hope this will be helpful to you in your life.

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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"

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