When I was teaching in my anger management recovery group at the Salvation Army, I had a man interrupt me and say, “When someone makes me mad, I tell them off. That’s just the way I am.” I responded, “So what I’m hearing you say is that when you feel angry, you blow up. That’s just the way you are and you don’t want to change. Is that right or am I misquoting you?” He said, “That’s right. Why should I change?”

I had recently found out that this man has a 1½-year-old daughter. So I responded, “It’s certainly your choice whether you want to change or not. But what about your daughter? Do you want her to grow up and be like that?” He paused, thought for a while, then said quietly, “Good point.”

I’m not sure if he’ll want to change or not. But the next time he raises his hand I’m going to ask, “Do you want to change or do you want to talk?”  Because if he just wants to talk and not change, he doesn’t really need to say anything anyway. If someone doesn’t want to change, we don’t need to waste our breath because it won’t be helpful.