Anger: Incident or Issue?

In the years that I facilitated my support group for estranged families, I primarily worked with older parents whose adult children had severed their relationship with them. The parents were perplexed: “I was a good parent”, they declared. “I gave my children the best of everything. There is no reason why they should be punishing me like this!”
Over the course of several months, I was generally able to offer the parents some insights into what the actual causes might be. One gentleman, named Howard, explained that he worked three jobs so that his kids could go to the best private schools, take dance lessons, and have every amenity they wanted. “How can she claim I didn’t love her?” he asked. “I gave her everything!” “Howard,”, I asked, “Did you care for her when she was sick?” “Of course not! I was working.” “Did you go to her dance recitals when she was little?” “No”, he stated. “I had to work to pay for those lessons.” “So when you say you gave her everything, what you really did was give her everything you thought she wanted or what you thought was best for her. Maybe what she really wanted was you, your presence. Maybe your absence felt like you didn’t care and having you present in her life would have made her feel loved.” He sat motionless, his mind deep in contemplation of what I had just shared. “I thought I was doing the right thing, being a good father.” “It’s not about right or wrong, good or bad. There was simply a miscommunication.” He nodded. “Go to her. Ask her to tell you what you did that hurt her and how she felt when you disappointed her. Listen without defending your actions. Acknowledge her feelings and experiences, for they are valid for her. Then apologize for not being the kind of dad she wanted. This is about her experience, not your need to justify yours.”
Howard, took my advice and for the first time in seven years, he and his daughter were speaking again. Although initially awkward, it was a beginning to an understanding and eventual reconciliation.

Consider the following in determining if anger is due to the actual incident or to a deeper issue:

Very often, a miscommunication of feelings and needs leads to a misunderstanding of what each party is seeking or how the other person’s action are affecting them. Each person views the relationship from their narrow perspective which can ultimately lead to hurt feelings and a breakdown in the relationship. These issues are left to fester until they reach the breaking point causing an ultimate outburst or separation of both parties. Even in more immediate circumstances, when one misunderstands anothers words or intentions, anger can ensue.
Solution: Speak clearly and honestly. Ask for clarification from the other party if you have any concerns about what they are saying or doing.

Very often we mistakenly believe that when an individual is irate, it is directly related to the immediate incident. It’s a case of the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Certainly we all know that a camel can support the weight of a single straw. Yet pile on enough over time and eventually the camel will collapse under the strain. So it is with humans: the incident occurring may seem relatively minor compared to their reaction yet it is actually the culmination of many smaller events that have never been resolved that can finally lead to an angry outburst.
Solution: Examine and address each issue as it arises. Some can be resolved internally without the need for discussion. For those of a more serious nature, speak up and discuss them as they occur.

Past Issue
A third possibility is that the incident itself is triggering a painful, unresolved memory from one’s past. Consider someone who was bitten by a dog: a toy poodle wanting attention is considered a pleasant experience for many. Yet for a former dog-bite recipient, it triggers anxiety and pain. The fear and angry reaction is not relevant to the poodle, but to a prior unresolved concern.
Solution: When anger arises, take a moment and examine its source. Is there some hurt or fear from your past that is fueling your response in the present? Contemplation of such can lead to a new-found awareness and subsequent healing.

Yet another source relates to how a person feels when in your presence. Someone may be comfortable listening to a criticism from one of their coworkers but be completely unreceptive from another. The first may be someone who’s opinion is respected or where the individual believes their intentions are honorable. One may be less trusting of the other if they believe they have a hidden agenda that is not in their best interest. Being suspicious of their motives can lead to feeling defensive at anything they perceive to be potentially threatening or disrespectful in any regard.
Solution: Learn to objectively observe what others are saying or doing. Separate the actions from the individual. Consider any validity to their words and/or actions. If none is found, let it go without incident and move on.

The final option is related to one’s perception of what is transpiring. We all tend to see things from our own view point. Our beliefs, prior experiences, expectations, and such often prohibit us from seeing the truth. It’s imperative for us to examine our perception to be certain it is accurate and serves us well.
Solution: Examine your beliefs to be certain they are based on truth rather than inaccuracies. Enlist the assistance of others if necessary. Make any necessary adjustments.

In conclusion, we can see that there are many possible reasons for one’s anger. Keep in mind, that it is not necessarily the immediate incident that is causing an angry response but rather the issue behind it. Therefore, take a moment and examine the incident objectively. Ask yourself, “If this was an isolated incident, would I be reacting so strongly? Even if this incident is important, if it was occurring at another time, with another person, under different circumstances, would it still hold the same significance to me? Would I still respond in the same manner?”
Answers to these questions and more can offer significant insight into the real issues behind our indignation. In doing so, our response may be more in alignment with the relevance of what has transpired. Always give yourself the opportunity to inquire as to whether your anger is related to the actual incident or to a deeper issue.

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She Let Go


The other day I was looking for a short meditation to ground me and bring me some peace. All of the turmoil in my life had brought me to an energetic stand still and I needed serenity and solace. As always happens the Universe provided me with an answer to the dilemmas I was facing. The deadlines, the self imposed pressure, the lack of connection with what I was doing. This poem was offered as a reading during a short meditation and so spoke to me. I wanted to share it with you and I will be reading it this week on The Night Shift with Susan Dintino at 7:00 PM. I will also discuss what it means to let go. Taking your questions in the chat and your calls. Enjoy this beautiful poem by Rev. Safire Rose


She Let Go
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments. 
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, 
without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a 
book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back. 
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. 
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. 
She didn’t journal about it. 
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. 
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. 
She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go. 
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. 
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. 
She didn’t call the prayer line. 
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. 
There was no applause or congratulations. 
No one thanked her or praised her. 
No one noticed a thing. 
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. 
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. 
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. 
A small smile came over her face. 
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

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Meet Harlem’s Queen of Comfort- Melba Wilson- May 18


“The way I see it,” says Melba Wilson, “Soul food is the foundation of American comfort food.”

She’d know. For Melba, a Harlem native, or as she likes to say “I am Harlem born, bred, and buttered,” owns one of  most influential soul food restaurants in New York City’s most exciting dining neighborhood, aptly named Melba’s.

Like many children, she grew up watching her mother and grandomother cook and learned to love food, and soul food, in the process. But, Melba actually went into marketing and sales after school, anything from cosmetics to limo driving, finally entering the restaurant business on a lark when the great Sylvia Woods, Harlem’s Queen of Soul Food and owner of the world famous Sylvia’s, called and asked Melba to spearhead the 25th anniversary of the restaurant.

Melba did such a good job that Sylvia offered her a postion at the restaurant, starting her love affair with the hospitality business and eventually leading to her opening her own place.


Melba’s is located on the corner of 114th St and Frederick Douglas Blvd in Harlem, New York

Opened in 2005, Melba’s was an almost overnight success, with a family style menu that as Melba likes to say, “blends my Carolina heritage (her family is from South Carolina), with a dash of extra spice, a little urban edge, a taste of the melting pot, and a few ‘dee-lish’ twists.” It’s also been covered regularly in foodie magazines, and Melba even “Beat Bobby Flay” with her fried chicken recipe, now renamed Throwdown Chicken in honor of that accomplishment.


Fried Chicken and Waffles

Comfort Food’s reigning authority, Melba Wilson joins us to talk about her passion and new cookbook Melba’s American Comfort (Atria Books) on The Connected Table LIVE Wednesday May 18th at 2:00pmET.  This show will permanently podcast to and the Free iHeart App.

melba book cover_240x340_67

#1 seller in biscuits and muffins. Click book cover photo for link to purchase.


Melanie Young and David Ransom are the insatiably curious culinary couple. Connected on Twitter@connectedtable Facebook/connectedtable. Learn more at

Melanie Young and David Ransom are the insatiably curious culinary couple. Connected on Twitter@connectedtable Facebook/connectedtable. Learn more at