Anger Management

Learn to manage anger anywhere, in twelve instructional sessions.

Determining Your Vicious Circle

Mad Science consists of three steps, spelling out M-A-D: 

  • Monitoring anger  
  • Abstracting from the data and forming hypotheses  
  • Doing something different  

The Vicious Circles are part of the second step, where you start forming hypotheses about what makes your anger tick.  This means you step back and get a bigger picture of things, which can help you plan what to do next.

After you learn about the six Vicious Circles in session five, the next question that might arise for you is, "Which is my Vicious Circle?" 

First, I suggest you think not of a single Vicious Circle, but rather of plural Vicious Circles, because these generally overlap.  There are three ways of determing your Vicious Circles, and I recommend that you do all of them:

A. Take the I-Rate exam, which asks about how angry you would become in various situations.  At the bottom of the form is a scoring section, which sums up the scores for the various Vicious Circles.  I recommend that you also look at the individual questions where you scored the highest, and this is shown in the last column of the scoring section.

B. Download the Anger Record List Form by right-clicking here, then saving it to your desktop.  It is a fairly hefty, powerful pdf form, so be patient.  There is space there for ten Anger Records, with a checklist for different feeling groups.  Use this for ten days, or until the form is filled, taking care to fill out all the columns.  The form needs to be left open for the ten days to perform the calculations, because if you close Adobe Acrobat Reader and reopen, the form will lose all its data.  The alternative way of using the form is transcribing incidents from the Anger Records you have already recorded.  The scoring sheet at the bottom will give three scores that can be useful in determining your Vicious Circles:

  1. A count of the number of times a certain feeling area was listed in the form, corresponding to the various Vicious Circles  
  2. A number that sums up the Intensity of anger corresponding to each feeling group, which can indicate which feeling group triggers the most powerful anger.  
  3. A number that sums up the Grades you gave yourself, corresponding to each feeling group.  

C. Use your intuitions.  The calculations above indicate mathematically which areas seem to be the most problematic areas for you.  However, I have always maintained that the most important way of determining your Vicious Circles is by using your own intuitions.  Read the descriptions of the Vicious Circles, and ask yourself, "Does that sound like me?"

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