I have been reflecting upon the Tyra Banks “Fat Attack” and as a provider of anger management services, I must say that I am very proud of how maturely she handled this whole fiasco about her weight gain. So much is said about celebrates who, in fits of rage, allow their anger to get them in serious trouble. Not Tyra Banks. In my opinion, the way she has handled this situation is anger management at its best.
Let me frame Tyra’s response to her new found “publicity” as would any well-thinking anger management provider. I will use George Anderson’s world renowned anger management model as my framework for arguing that Tyra is the poster child for positive, effective anger management.
Anderson suggests that effective anger management must have four components: emotional intelligence, stress management, communication skills and anger management. The components I want to focus on are emotional intelligence and communication skills. Anderson-trained anger management providers argue that anger in a secondary emotion. Therefore, it follows that anger is often driven by other emotions, such as hurt, rejection, humiliation, fear, and many others. Instead of learning to communicate how we really feel, the person with an anger problem lashes out in rage; they get momentary relief, but the problem of painful emotions persist. Their anger will continue to hurt them and others.
What does this have to do with Tyra Banks? Imagine after building your whole career on your body image – and being loved by millions as a fashion model – how shocked she must have been to see such hateful pictures of herself being portrayed as fat pasted all over the internet and in print. Her emotions could have run the gamut from humiliation, disappointment, hurt, embarrassment, fear, anxiety, rejection, uncertainty, shock, disgust. Need I add more? This was the perfect recipe for an anger management fit. She could have said, “How dare they assassinate my character like that?” and, in rage, drawn up legal papers in order to file suit. But instead, Tyra appears to have processed her own emotions, and with maturity, used another of the
Anderson model tried-and-tested skills – communication – to share her feelings with the world in a way that would make any anger management practitioner proud.
The way in which Tyra Banks has been portrayed is enough to send anyone on an anger binge, but not Tyra. Tyra showed us that she is emotionally intelligent and that she can communicate in a way that allows her to access and share her true feelings. To Rosie and Donald, I say “three cheers” for Tyra Banks. In my mind, Tyra is a positive poster child for effective anger management. For more discussion on the Anderson and
Anderson model and other anger management topics, please visit www.andersonservices.com or www.masteringanger.com. For an
Anderson provider anywhere in the country visit www.anger-management-resources.org
Carlos Todd, LPC, NCC, CAMF