Dr. Mort Orman Reveals How to Never Be Angry Again

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Episode Description

Are anger issues hijacking your relationships? If you find that you (or your spouse!) constantly get angry over the smallest things, chances are that anger is an unwanted partner in your marriage.

While most therapists talk about helping you “manage” your anger, Dr. Mort Orman has developed a system that helps you eliminate your anger completely: No “management” required.

In this podcast episode Dr. Orman explains how our brain’s unconscious filters distort our perception of reality. That distorted perception often leads to feelings of anger, guilt, and other negative emotions.

By dissecting real-life situations through multiple lenses, Dr. Orman reveals powerful strategies for reducing and eliminating anger. That in turn leads to less conflict and stronger relationships.

If you or anyone you know struggles with controlling anger or guilt, this podcast episode just might change your life.

Show Notes

About Dr. Mort Orman

Dr. Mort Orman, M.D. is an internal medicine physician and a 40-year anger elimination and stress elimination expert. He has written 23 books on how to eliminate anger and stress without using drugs, relaxation exercises or other traditional management techniques. He is the creator of the 10-session Angry No More anger elimination program and The Ultimate Stress Relief System and training program. Dr. Orman has led more than 100 anger and stress elimination workshops for doctors, nurses, lawyers, business owners, entrepreneurs, other professionals, the clergy, and even the F.B.I. He has also been the official sponsor of National Stress Awareness Month in the U.S. every April since 1992. His newest book “Dr. Orman’s Life-Changing Anger Cure” is scheduled for release in March 2024.

You can connect with Dr. Mort on LinkedIn at Mort Orman, MD – Anger Elimination and on Facebook at Mort Orman.  You can also follow Dr. Mort on YouTube at I Can’t Believe I’m Not Angry Anymore and to learn more about Dr. Mort’s work visit his website at Dr. Mort Orman and you can find Dr. Mort’s latest book, Dr. Orman's Life Changing Anger Cure on Amazon.

April Special - Through April 30 you can download a free copy of Dr. Mort's new book here.

Key Takeaways From This Episode with Dr. Mort Orman

  • Dr. Mort Orman is an internal medicine physician and anger/stress elimination expert who has developed techniques to eliminate anger without using traditional anger management methods.
  • Anger stems from a 4-step process: 1) A trigger event, 2) Filtering the event through cognitive biases that distort reality, 3) Believing the distorted reality is the truth, 4) Feeling anger.
  • The three key filters that produce anger are: 1) Judging someone's actions as bad/wrong, 2) Perceiving negative harm from their actions, 3) Blaming them unilaterally.  
  • The key is recognizing that steps 2 and 3 involve unconscious filters that distort reality, leading us to believe our angry perspective is correct when it may be flawed.
  • To eliminate anger, we must question the truth of the filters causing it - is the triggering event truly "bad/wrong"? Did it really negatively impact us? Are we solely to blame?
  • Examining alternate perspectives and finding flaws in the anger-causing filters can dissolve the anger by revealing our distorted view of reality.
  • Most times when angry, at least one of the three filters is faulty or incomplete, causing an emotional reaction to a distorted version of events.
  • Overcoming anger requires practice at detecting one's own cognitive distortions and wrongness, admitting when the anger-producing thoughts are inaccurate, and viewing situations from multiple perspectives with compassion.
  • Dr. Orman's new book "Dr. Orman's Life-Changing Anger Cure" provides his full system and examples for eliminating anger by detecting and defusing the three cognitive filters.
  • Do you like what you've heard? 

    Share the love so more people can benefit from this episode too!


    Dr. Mort Orman Reveals How to Never Be Angry Again


     filters, beliefs, reality


    Karen Covy, Dr. Mort Orman

    Karen Covy Host00:10

    Hello and welcome to Off the Fence, a podcast where we deconstruct difficult decision-making so we can discover what keeps us stuck and, more importantly, how we can get unstuck and start making even tough decisions with confidence. I'm your host, Karen Covey, a former divorce lawyer, mediator and arbitrator, turned coach, author and entrepreneur. And now, without further ado, let's get on with the show.

    With me today is Dr Mort Orman, and Dr Orman is an internal medicine physician and a 40-year anger elimination and stress elimination expert. He's written 23 books on how to eliminate anger and stress without using drugs, relaxation exercises or other traditional anger management techniques. Traditional anger management techniques. He's the creator of the 10-session Angry no More Anger Elimination Program and the Ultimate Stress Relief System and Training Program. Dr Orman has led more than 100 anger and stress elimination workshops for doctors, nurses, lawyers, business owners, entrepreneurs, other professionals, the clergy and even the FBI. He's also been the official sponsor of National Stress Awareness Month in the US every April since 1992. He's just released his newest book, Dr Orman's Life-Changing Anger Cure. Dr Orman, welcome to the show.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest01:42

    Well, Karen, thank you for having me and I’m Looking forward to speaking with you and your audience.

    Karen Covy Host01:46

    And I am really looking forward to speaking with you, and I'd like to start, before we dive into the material, with your backstory, because I find this fascinating why go from internal medical doctor to stress management and anger management expert? How did you get from one place to the other?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest02:06

    Well, it's an interesting story. Basically, I had a lot of anger and stress myself as a young in my 20s, my 30s, when I started my medical practice. So I had my own issues and I couldn't. No matter what I tried to do, I couldn't solve those problems. I couldn't clear them up and get rid of them. Where other things in life, when I'd run into obstacles, I had usually been successful. And this was very frustrating because no matter what I tried and I tried all the standard anger management stuff and stress management stuff it helped a little bit, but I'd wake up every day and I'd still be the same angry guy. It was like Groundhog's Day, which is interesting because that's my birthday, is February 2nd.

    Karen Covy Host02:48

    So it was literally a movie about you.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest02:50

    But it was frustrating because I really, you know, I felt bad that I couldn't control it and I couldn't succeed at solving this problem, and I had anxiety problems, I had relationship problems, so I had a lot of other problems, the anger contributing to the relationship problems for sure. So, and then the other thing is I'm sitting there taking care of patients, so you see patients come through every day and you can easily spot the angry ones from the not so angry ones and you get to see what happens over time. You know most people don't have that perspective when they go to work. They don't see what happens. And you know people are coming in and they're telling us firstly, you're seeing who gets strokes, who gets heart attacks, who gets divorced in your patient population, who gets estranged from their kids, who gets addicted to alcohol and other substances, and you're seeing there's much more of this in the angry population than the not so angry population. And you're sitting there with your own anger issues realizing, hmm, if I don't figure this out pretty soon, I may end up like, of course, most of my patients were older than me at the time when I started, but I may end up in a few years down the road with having these same kinds of issues.


    So that experience of both having my own problems and seeing the impact of what those problems can do in human beings at the same time, that spurred me on to decide to do personal development work, which a lot of busy professionals don't do because they figure well, I'm too busy to do it. But to me it was an imperative. I knew that I had gaps in my understandings of what it means to be a human being, that they didn't teach you at medical school. So I spent a couple of years doing personal development work and cobbled a bunch of stuff together from different programs and eventually came up with a system that shocked me at how well it worked and enabled me to really understand for the first time what was going on inside me whenever I got angry in a way that I had never understood before, and then that gave me the power and the control to step in and do something about my anger, which I had never been able to do before. So that's how I ended up in that arena from my own personal suffering and failures.

    Karen Covy Host05:04

    And when you found this, you did all the work. You did the personal development work. It led you to try to work on your own issues. Were you able to solve your own problem?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest05:15

    Absolutely yeah. So I've eventually and it didn't happen overnight, but I eventually figured out how to stop getting angry. So the last 40 years of my life I've had very little anger. I used to have tons of anxiety and particularly public speaking fear. I mean, I would have never volunteered to do anything like this. I would have been a basket case. So I eliminated all my public speaking fear and I've been speaking like crazy for the last 40 years. And my wife and I are about to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, which never would have happened if I hadn't figured out this anger puzzle. You know that had been hamstringing me for, you know, and ruining all of my relationships prior to that time. So, yes, I solved, you know, all of these major issues that I had, and then they were all related. The solutions were all related. They all had a similar pattern to them. Once I figured one out, I could easily figure out the others all had a similar pattern to them. Once I figured one out, I could easily figure out the others.

    Karen Covy Host06:06

    That's fascinating. So I've got so many questions for you, but let's dive into the question that I know everybody wants the answer to right now is what's the solution?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest06:16

    The solution is you have to understand, we've been misinformed about our emotions in general and about anger in particular. A lot of disinformation. It's not just in the political arena, it's in lots of different areas of life where we've been misinformed. And so we have this understanding, this common sense, understanding of cause effect when it comes to our emotions. So, like when you get angry, you clearly see the thing that's making you angry. Somebody's doing something or somebody lied to you or betrayed you or broke a promise or did something. You feel the anger immediately. Okay, and it looks like it's a one-two direct, one-two cause effect relationship. The problem is it's not. It's actually a four-step process. It's one, two, three, four. It's just that steps two and three are invisible.

    Karen Covy Host07:10

    Okay, so what are all these four steps?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest07:12

    So the first step is the same. It's the things that happen that trigger us. Okay, those are the same. And the fourth step is the anger, and that's the same, okay. But there's two steps in the middle that happen inside us, which is why we don't see them.


    The first one is we don't realize that we don't see reality the way it actually is. We don't see life the way it actually is. We see it through a set of filters. Our brain and our body have sort of developed habitual ways of looking at things, perceiving things, and we actually have like filters. So we're not seeing the full reality, we're just seeing a filtered down version of reality that comes into us and that is what we're reacting to when we have an emotion.


    And the problem is those filters are sometimes faulty, sometimes they leave things out, there's missing puzzle pieces. We don't get the whole picture, we only get part of the picture, but we think it's the whole picture. So we think we're operating on the truth about what's happening in reality and based on that, we get angry. Unfortunately, a lot of times there are holes in those filters, there's things that are distorted about the reality that we see and we actually are responding to that distorted reality and that's what's causing our anger. And it's all happening inside, invisibly, so we don't see it happening. So that's the second step, the first invisible step.

    Karen Covy Host08:38

    Okay, wait, let me interrupt you before you go to the next step.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest08:41


    Karen Covy Host08:42

    What causes that distortion? I mean, we all think that we are seeing the world as it is. Yes, and you know. You and I both know, like neuroscience tells us and quantum physics tells us. Maybe that's not exactly true, but how do we figure out if the way we're looking at things is distorted or is maybe closer to what actually is?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest09:07

    Well, how we got to the distorted place is evolution, as we, you know our brains, our brains, you know there's so much data coming in to our senses, throughout human, you know, civilization. There's just too much stuff coming in for us to handle it all. So our brains evolved to kind of chunk it down, to simplify it, to put it into bite-sized pieces that we can work with and make decisions and, you know, and go about our lives and run away from threats and things like that. That's all how we survived in prehistoric times. So our brains developed this filtering and we have hundreds of different filters for different things. And then, as we grow up and we have life experiences, they all factor into how we filter things and how we see things. You may react to one event one way, same event. I would react differently because I've got different built-in filters than you do. So we all have these filters and they're invisible. We don't see them, which makes us believe that we're just seeing pure, unfiltered reality, which is not correct. It's misinformation.

    Karen Covy Host10:06

    So would that be true of everybody? Like everyone is filtering information and the only question is all the time Is it a question about do we have faulty filters?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest10:18

    It doesn't mean it's always faulty, but there's a good probability that some of these filters are going to be faulty because, again, don't forget, the filtering process takes all the facts of reality and it chunks it down, so it leaves stuff out. It has to. It's because it's not letting it all in, because we can't handle it all, our brains can't handle it all, so, inherently, it leaves stuff out. Ok, sometimes that's important, sometimes it's not important. Okay, or sometimes it's critical or not critical, but it's always filtering, it's always leaving stuff out. We're never seeing the whole spectrum of reality as it actually exists outside of us. Whatever the heck that might be that we can't tell anyway. But whatever comes in, is not the full picture, okay. So that's step two. Just think about it. We have all these cognitive biases, we've got hundreds of cognitive biases. Those are filters, yeah, okay, they cause us to see things in certain ways or think about things in certain ways, and they may or may not be consistent with reality.

    Karen Covy Host11:16

    Now let me interrupt you just for one more second. That seems to be a pattern for me in this interview is to interrupt you, but there's so much here that I want to dig into for anyone who's listening, who doesn't understand what a cognitive bias is. Can you explain that?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest11:33

    It's a conditioned way of looking at the world that our brains develop. Some of it's genetic and hereditary, some of it's as we go through life. But we develop these little shortcuts, we develop these little theories and our ways of looking at things and then they become biases, so they bias our perception. So we tend to see through that filter, and sometimes that filter is useful and sometimes it's not Okay. So, for example, there's a confirmation bias is like the most you know, the biggest one where, if we believe something strongly, we're going to tend to filter out, you know, arguments or facts that don't fit our opinions, and then we'll love, we will gravitate towards the ones that do and we'll feel really strongly positive towards the ones that do and we'll feel negative or even not even notice the ones that don't.

    Ok, well, we'll have that sort of cognitive filter based on our beliefs. So if I'm which I'm not, but if I was a very religious person, I would have a certain set of religious filters where I'd see the world through, you know, and if somebody comes along with another religion, promoting their religion is different than mine, I'm going to dismiss that because it doesn't fit my filters. Okay, right, in the religious space, right, so it's like that for everything. I mean, if you just look at, if you look at what's happening politically today, it's just like you know, all over the place, people have different filters and different ways of looking at things. There's a liberal filter and a conservative filter and a libertarian filter and a who knows what filter. Okay, and we're all seeing things through our filtered realities, thinking that what we're seeing is gospel truth.

    Karen Covy Host13:11

    Okay, so step one is something out in the world happens. Step number two is we filter the information that we receive about that thing.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest13:21


    Karen Covy Host13:21

    Based on whatever our filters are in our own brain.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest13:25

    Yes, and we don't see that. That's all invisible. We don't see it, we don't feel it, we don't taste it, we don't smell it. It's happening.


    Okay, and I can give you a perfect example that everybody's experienced. We all know this is true. So if you and a friend are standing in a grocery store and you look down the aisle and you see a mother and a child, the child's misbehaving, and the mother gets frustrated and hauls off and slaps the child real hard, okay, and you're both standing there, you're seeing the same event and, let's say, hypothetically, one of you gets angry and the other one doesn't.

    Karen Covy Host13:57


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest13:57

    Okay, the one that got angry looked at it through the three filters that cause anger, saw it that way and that produced the emotion of anger. The other person standing there may have had completely different views of what good parenting looks like and what's the best for the child. Okay, and I'm not saying one's right, one's wrong. I'm just saying two human beings could have different philosophies and different filters about witnessing the same event. So you can tell it's never the event itself doesn't cause the emotions, it's the filters that cause the emotions. And if you're sitting standing next to somebody and they got a different set of filters, we can see the same event and it's going to produce different emotions. So that proves to you that it can't be the event. It has to be internal.

    Karen Covy Host14:41

    Is the filter, the meaning we give to it? Is that what causes us to interpret something as it's the way it shows up for us.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest14:49

    It's the way we see it, okay. So, for example, the three filters for anger. okay, and, believe me, I didn't know any of this stuff when I was in my 20s and 30s. All through my medical training, nobody ever taught me this. The first few years in practice, I didn't know this. Okay, but eventually I figured out that there's three filters that produce anger. First one is what you have to be looking at things a certain way.


    So you have to be seeing somebody doing something bad or wrong that they shouldn't have done. So we don't get angry when we think somebody did something terrific, wonderful, fantastic, so something bad or wrong according to our set of values and beliefs yeah, well, it's our filter.

    Karen Covy Host15:24

    So when we see it as a bad and wrong according to our set of values and beliefs

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest15:29

    Well, it's our filter. So when we see it as a bad and wrong thing, okay, it doesn't matter what the truth of it is. We're seeing it as a bad and wrong thing, Got it. That's filter one. Filter two we're seeing some negative harm or negative impact as a result of the bad behavior that's happening to us or to somebody else. Okay, In the example with the mother and the child, you know, down the aisle, we see the mother slap the child and we see the mother doing something bad and wrong, slapping the child hard, and we see the child being hurt and harmed.

    Karen Covy Host16:05


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest16:08

    So, those are the first two filters, and then the third filter is a filter of unilateral blame, very narrow. We blame the perpetrator exclusively or almost exclusively and we have these blinders on and we only see what they're doing and we blame everything on them the bad, wrong thing that they did and the hurt and harm that they caused.

    Karen Covy Host16:27


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest16:28

    So when you see the world through those three filters, people are doing bad and wrong things, people are hurting and harming people, people are unilaterally responsible to blame. You get anger.

    Karen Covy Host16:40


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest16:40

    Okay, all right. So why are the Israelis attacking Hamas? A, they're angry, yeah. Why are they angry? Because Hamas did something they shouldn't have done. They hurt and harmed people and they're continuing to hurt and harm the hostages that they still have, probably. And who was responsible? Hamas, they initiated the attack. So again, when you see and Hamas is looking at it from a completely different set of filters- yeah, probably.


    They're seeing the culprit being Israel, right, who's done hurt and harm to them and deserves to have whatever happen. Okay, it's just the filters, okay. So those are the three filters that produce anger. So that's the second step in the four-step process. The third step is equally invisible. And the third step again happens internally. Our brains, immediately upon receiving the filtered data and the pictures of the world, immediately tell us this is the truth. This is not filtered reality. This is real reality. There's no filtering going on here. You're seeing the truth.

    Karen Covy Host17:54

    Okay, so we, if I'm understanding this correctly, you know something happens, we immediately filter it. Do we have any control over the filters?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest18:08

    You don't have any control initially, when it happens, the filters are knee jerk. You can't control the knee jerk when a doctor taps on your knee. If you have that reflex, you can't stop it. Okay, it's built in. These filters are built in by the time we're adults or whatever.

    Karen Covy Host18:23

    Okay. So the thing happens the filter kicks in, whether we are aware of it or not, and then we immediately believe that there is no filter and what we saw was true.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest18:35

    And then, based on what we think is the whole reality or the true reality, then we react to that Okay, which is an internal reality, basically that we've created. We didn't consciously create it, but it unconsciously gets created inside of us and we look at it and we say that's true. And then we react when you believe those three filters are true. You're going to get the emotion of anger.

    Karen Covy Host19:00

    Okay, so let's say that happens. What's the I don't know if cure is the right word, but what's the solution? Right, how can we react or feel differently? Because one of the things I know you and I have spoken before, and one of the things that I find fascinating about your approach, is that other anger management programs or systems they help you manage the anger, they help you deal with the anger, and you say no, no, no, no, no. I help you eliminate it. So how do you do that?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest19:35

    Well, again, management mainly deals with the symptoms. Once you've got the anger, what do you do with it? How do you get rid of it, how do you keep it from harming you or harming other people, or other kind of healthy ways to deal with it. There's all kinds of you know, advice and experts who are in that space that will teach you what to do with your anger once it's generated within you. Okay, okay, what I like to do is say how would you like to not have the anger get generated within you?


    That sounds better? Or how would you like to have it start to get generated within you and then you can immediately step in and make and make it go away.

    Karen Covy Host20:11

    so there's to manage how do you do that if step number two and three are unconscious, or? Yes beyond our awareness yeah and they will cause step number four where do you cause the interrupt?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest20:24

    okay, well, firstly, I just gave you the secret, I gave you the formula for how you're thinking and perceiving whenever you're angry. You can put that on an index card or type it into your cell phone, or carve it into a tablet and have it- and bring it down from the mountain.


    Put it on a sticky somewhere so that you can now remember because, remember, it's been invisible Until now. It's been invisible for most people, like it was invisible for me until I was like in my mid-30s. All right, but now you know what they are, so you can write those down and every time you get angry, you can go to the bank on the fact that you're looking through those three filters. There's no excuse now for not knowing why you got angry. Okay, you can come up with all kinds of more complicated. There are lots of explanations for why people get emotions that go into many more different things. I found you don't need them, you just need these three filters. And to understand these three filters explains to me, explains it perfectly well why I get angry every time I get angry and what I found when I started doing this 40 years ago okay, before I had any experience or knowledge about this and I started exploring this and I looked at these filters and I asked myself is this true? Is the first one true? Is the second one true? Is the third one true? And the more I dug into it almost like Socrates.


    You know how Socrates would come along back in Athens and he would have conversations with these really bright people and he'd say, well, tell me what you believe. And they would say I believe this. And he said, well, is it really true? And they would go of course, it's really true. And they would say, well, is it really? How about this? You know, they go and eventually they'd end up they'd go like and then they killed him because he was too annoying. But basically, what you do is you interrogate like a lawyer.

    Karen Covy Host20

     Well, yeah, I have to tell you, I am very familiar with the Socratic method, having lived in law school.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest20

    Yeah, you interrogate those three propositions, okay, and you try to find holes in them, you try to find alternative arguments to show why they might not be valid. And what I found out which surprised the hell out of me because here I was a very well-educated physician, college-educated, medical-educated, thought I knew a lot about the truth, what's true. And I'm finding out I've got all these filters that are giving me false information and making truth what's true. And I'm finding out I've got all these filters that are giving me false information and making me think it's true. And then when I start digging into them, I can find holes in a lot of them, not all the time, but most of the time. At least one of the three is going to probably have some kind of faulty basis to it. And if I can figure out what's faulty with those three filters that are propping up my anger, that's what's causing my anger. Anytime I can see where it's false, the anger can go away. Let me give you an example from my life, me and my wife let's make it concrete.


    Yeah, so my wife and I have been married for almost 40 years. By the time we met, I had gotten rid of most of my anger, fortunately. Okay, she never had a lot of anger. So consequently, we never had a lot of anger in our relationship. We didn't get into a lot of fights, you know we never, we just didn't. But early on in our relationship there was this one circumstance that happened a couple of times in a row where we would start snipping at each other and we'd get testy with each other and argue with each other, and it was so rare that it just stuck out. So it made me wonder okay, what the hell is this? What's going on here? And it turned out it would only happen when we went on car trips.

    Karen Covy Host24:00


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest24:01

    And it was even more bizarre because it wouldn't happen when we drove to our destination. We wouldn't fight when we were at our resort or place that we were staying. Okay, it only happened on the drive home.

    Karen Covy Host24:13

    Okay, what was up with that?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest24:15

    Made it even weirder. Yeah, that's what I said. What the hell is going on? So I started digging in, you know, and I said, okay, okay, I know the three filters, am I judging? So what would happen is we'd start to drive home I'd be driving usually and my wife would say, oh, there's something over here that I'd really like to see. It's only an hour off of our path home. I'd like to go over, let's go do that. And I would go, no, we're not doing that. And she would go, you mean, no, we're not doing that, because I had control of the wheel. I said, no, we're not doing that. And then she would get nasty with me and I would get in there. No, we're just not doing that. I have the tone yeah, I'd be angry. Okay, and um, and when I dug into that to ask you know when it started to go. Okay, first one am I judging her to be doing something bad and wrong? Okay, yes. I am.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest24:58

    Okay, um now is it true? Is it true that what she's doing is bad and wrong? I went oh, wait a second. If I really have to tell the truth here, it's not that it's true that it's really bad and wrong. It's just different than how I grew up.

    Karen Covy Host25:14

    Well, what was bad and wrong about wanting to veer off the beaten path?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest25:19

    That's the point. Nothing. It's truly not bad and wrong, but me, I grew up in my family. The way we drove home was we go directly home. We never deviate from our path other than to stop for gas, to bathroom breaks and food. The rule in my family was you drive directly home, you do not deviate, and to me, that was the right way to drive home. That was my filter. She starts to ask let's go over here, which is perfectly innocent and has no wrongness to it, but I saw it as wrong.

    Karen Covy Host25:56


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest25:56

    I saw it as a crime and worthy of anger. Okay. Okay, I saw myself being negatively impacted because now I'm going to be, you know, we're going to take longer to get home, and blah, blah, blah and I saw her as totally responsible to blame for making that suggestion. Okay, so I realized that. I realized that was the source of my anger and irritation with her. I realized that it was not a. The filter had given me bad information. It was fake. It was fake news that it was, that it was a crime. Okay, and so I realized, and so I came to the same conclusion you did. I said it was fake news, that it was a crime that she committed a crime.


    And so I realized, and so I came to the same conclusion you did. I said it's perfectly innocent, there's nothing wrong with it, it's just a different way of doing it. So what's the big deal? Okay, so from that point on every time my wife wants to deviate from the path that we're on, I say sure, honey, if that's what you want to do, let's go over there. That's my job as a husband to help you have what you want. I let go. I was able to let go of all the automatic anger because I could see it now truthfully that it wasn't a bad thing she was doing. It was just different than how I'm used to doing it, and it's okay.

    Karen Covy Host27:07

    But how do you do that? Because I know so many people you know in your example that would say okay, honey, let's, we'll do that. And they're doing it through gritted teeth and they really haven't let go of anything.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest27:22

    I meant it because I realized that I was being a jerk in judging her to be wrong and that was true for me. I wasn't pretending it was. Oh boy, that was really dumb of me to have judged her based on how my family thought you should drive home, and she came from a different family that had a different tradition, and I realized that it was wrong of me to have done that. So I very humbly and truthfully said I was wrong, I shouldn't have done that. And from that point forward I vowed to not do it anymore. Okay, because I knew that it was a wrong thing to do. It was an unfair judgment and there was no reason in the world to do it. I mean, it wasn't like we had a deadline, we had to be home by a certain time and now we weren't going to make it. It was like we could have come home the next day, it wouldn't have mattered.

    Karen Covy Host28:12

    A lot of people don't think in terms, or don't want to think, of themselves thinking in terms of right and wrong, especially in a judgment that are, you know, good and bad. Like this is a bad decision. She's doing something bad, but a lot of people really need to be right. Right.


    And they might interpret that like well, of course I'm right as being a different judgment than she's bad or she's doing something wrong. So how can, how do you help people understand that so that they can understand how their need to be right is affecting their internal state and their anger?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest29:04

    What I do is I teach people biology. Okay, so I'm a doctor. Okay, I'm familiar with the human body and the human brain and how they work, and what I teach people is that we have these brains that want us desperately, want us to be right and to feel that we're right. Ok.

    Karen Covy Host29:24


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest29:24

    And to believe that we're right and we're living in bodies that are biologically and neurologically designed to be wrong a heck of a lot of the time, and that's our dilemma as human beings. Our structure, our physiology, our neuro, whatever because the brain function. It's wanting us to be right, needing us to be right, but it's wrong a lot of times.

    Karen Covy Host29:51


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest29:52

    We have blind spots, we have biases, we don't see everything we can't see behind us. We've got all these blind spots. We're not seeing the things the way they actually are. We live in these bodies plus we, you know, we, we can make up stuff and get hooked on different ideas that can take us off in tangents that are really wild and crazy, as we're seeing today. Um, so you, you can do all that, okay. Um, while you're thinking that you're right and you can be very wrong thinking you're right And that's the Zen paradox of anger, because what anger does? So here's the story Things happen in the world, come through our filters okay.


    The filters distort the truth about what really happened. So we're wrong, right there. Okay, in that moment of the truth being filtered, we get to be wrong and we don't see it, okay, okay. Then the brain comes in and says no, you're not wrong, you're right, okay. Then watch this, now that we feel the anger. The anger makes us feel justified that the way we saw things is correct, because we now have this deep emotion of righteous anger that feeds into this truth cycle and makes us think that it has to be true, because we're feeling so strongly about it and indignant about it. Okay, strongly about it and indignant about it, okay. So it's a double truth whammy where we're set up by all these unconscious mechanisms to think we're right when actually we're wrong a lot of times.


    The main thing I discovered, you know, when I came through this process of a couple of years of working on myself to where I've had the last 40 years with little anger, and I look back and I said, well, what was the difference? What do I know now about anger that I didn't know back then. And A was the filters was the first thing. But the second thing was I didn't appreciate when I was in my 20s and 30s how wrong I was. Almost every time I was angry I thought, like everybody else in the world, I thought I was right. But when I dug in and started doing this process of understanding the filters and examining the filters like you would do in court, I realized that, boy, I'm wrong, don't forget, I'm a doctor, I'm trained to be right. Yeah yeah, I get that part. I mean, you don't want, as a doctor, you don't want to be wrong, and we're trained to never be wrong. You know as much as humanly possible to never be wrong. So I've got this huge got to be right you know mechanism going on inside of me and lo and behold, I'm discovering all these instances where I'm getting angry out, which is not happening in practice most of the time, but in my relationships at home with myself, you know, playing sports, all this kind of stuff.


    Oh my God, I'm seeing the world in ways that are really distorted and I'm not aware of it. And now I'm starting to see it, starting to see how distorted my automatic perceptions and filters really are and it's waking me up to, oh my God, I'm missing a lot of the truth about what's happening around me and I'm reacting with anger unnecessarily because if I saw the whole picture without what the filters left out, like with my wife, if I saw the whole picture clearly that it was really not anything bad and wrong and that was my history, speaking, you know and she wasn't really doing anything wrong that would have cleared the whole thing up right away and there would have been nothing to be angry about. That's how you can eliminate anger when you get to the bottom line and tell the truth as opposed to what your brain and body were originally telling you was true. That caused your anger. The anger will just drop away.

    Karen Covy Host33:39

    So it sounds like, though, in order for your process to work for someone, they've got to get to the point where they're willing to admit that they're wrong.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest33:50

    Correct Not easy, not easy.

    Karen Covy Host33:56

    Yeah, because, to your point, especially as a doctor, you are trained to always be right. As a lawyer, as any professional, like, as a lawyer I was trained to. If I wasn't right, I at least argued like I was.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest34:10

    You know I may not have been right, but I would defend my wrongness to the death. Right, yes, yes. So how do you, as a human, you know, especially as somebody who's been trained to be right in whatever profession or career you've chosen, how do?


    you start to let go of that need, appreciate this to the depths that I do now. But I took one anger episode after another, when I was still being very angry, okay, and I put it through this process and I did the deep dive what's true, what's not true? And boom, oh, okay, I see that was wrong. I didn't see that correctly, okay, and you do this over and over again, after you've done about a thousand of them with yourself, okay, and almost every time you've been angry it turns out you've been wrong, but you didn't know it at the time. But when you actually dug into it turned out the answer was you were wrong. When you get to a thousand and one, okay, you just assume you're wrong, whether you know it or not, and then you go looking for how you know where you were wrong and sure enough, you'll find it.

    Karen Covy Host35:18

    So it seems like it takes practice, like this is not a, you know, overnight cure, so to speak.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest35:24

    Yeah, because until you get, until you experience for yourself your own wrongness, in the face of thinking you were right and your brain screaming to you you're right, you're right, you're right, okay. And then you discover, oh really, I wasn't really right, which everybody's had that experience, by the way, from time to time, but we don't realize how frequent it is. When we're angry, you know that we get caught up in distorted views of reality Because, remember, all three of those filters are lopping off parts of reality, so we can't see them. So we're always going to be blind. We're going to have blind spots all the time when any of those three filters is operating. Take to look. We're talking about relationships, okay.

    Karen Covy Host36:06


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest36:07

    The third filter is when we're angry. Let's say we're in a relationship and we're angry at our partner.

    Karen Covy Host36:12


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest36:12

    Because they repeatedly, are doing things, they never take out the trash. We keep telling them take out the trash. They don't take out the trash, okay. So we keep seeing them as being wrong, doing something bad, wrong, negatively impacting us or the household or whatever, and they're a hundred percent responsible to blame. Okay, that's our filter. Do you know, in a relationship, it's almost never true that any one party is a hundred percent responsible to blame for any pattern that exists in that relationship. It's always a partnership. It's always a dual causal thing.


    Even if you're not doing the thing, you may be allowing the thing to persist. You didn't intervene, you didn't communicate in a way to get it done. You didn't motivate in a way to get whatever it is. If you're in a relationship with somebody and they're misbehaving or behaving the way you don't like, you're not innocent in the matter. Okay, you may think you are. You may believe you are, you may want to focus on just what the other person did, but the truth is it's a relationship, Okay, it's a dynamic process where each person affects the other person all the time, always for the good things and the bad things, okay, and? But we have these filters that tell us the truth is one-sided.

    Karen Covy Host37:24


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest37:24

    It's my partner's fault, or we can turn it on ourselves. We can do the same thing. We can feel guilty by turning it all on ourselves and say, oh, we were, it's totally me. So a battered wife is going to do that. Sometimes they're going to blame it on themselves, when the truth is they've got a husband who's abusing them. Okay, right and shouldn't be.

    Karen Covy Host37:45

    Let me Well yes, that's a whole other discussion we can go down, but I want to jump onto this idea of guilt because that's something that my clients have to deal with a lot. They feel guilty about the demise of the relationship, or that they didn't do something they think they should have done, or they did something they shouldn't have done, or whatever the situation is, they feel tremendous guilt. What is the relationship between guilt and anger?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest38:16

    It's a great relationship because it turns out. Remember I said, every emotion has its own filters. So if you're anxious, having a lot of anxiety, you've got three filters that are causing anxiety. If you're sad, you've got three filters causing sadness. If you're guilty, you've got three filters causing guilt. Now, what's interesting, it turns out, the three filters that cause guilt are the exact same three filters that cause anger.


    The direction is just reversed. you did something bad and wrong you shouldn't have done. You hurt and harm somebody or yourself or something. You cause some hurt or harm or negative impact and you're 100% responsible to blame, which is almost never the truth. But anyhow, when you see yourself that way, as being 100% responsible to blame, and you have those other filters going, you will feel guilty. And the truth is you may not have done anything bad and wrong by getting out of the relationship. You may have positively impacted yourself, thinking you've negatively impacted yourself because you got out of a relationship that was never going to turn out for you. Okay, and you're at least free to move on and you're not a hundred percent responsible or blamed for the failure of the relationship.

    Karen Covy Host39:28

    Okay, but let me dig into that, because most people, at least in my experience, they're not feeling guilty. I mean, they see a hundred percent, that first filter. They see that they did something bad and wrong and not that that's responsible for hurting them, but they are responsible for hurting another person.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest39:50

    That's true. It could be that way too. The hurt and harm can be us. It could be anybody.

    Karen Covy Host39:56

    Okay, so you've got those two and, objectively speaking, they're true. Like let's take the classic example Somebody had an affair. Okay so if you start with the premise that having an affair I mean it breaks the marriage, vow, blah, blah, blah. So let's say that, at least on the surface of it, that's bad and wrong. Okay, Filter one, filter two. It did hurt somebody else, because it's hurting your spouse, because you know you said you would not do that.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest40:29


    Karen Covy Host40:29

    And then you know, the third filter is it. You know, is it a hundred percent your fault? No, not really. Maybe it's a little bit their fault, but you're the majority of it. You still feel guilty as all get out.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest40:42

    You do, but you do because you're looking at it through those filters and believing that's true.

    Karen Covy Host40:48

    Okay, okay.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest40:49

    Now you got to go back. Remember Jen Psaki. You got to circle back now. Now you got to circle back and you got to ask the difficult questions Is the first filter true? Is the second filter true? Is the third filter true? And then really dig in Okay, so who had the affair? The person feeling guilty or the other person who had the affair done to them?

    Karen Covy Host41:13

    The person who had an affair is feeling guilty about it.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest41:16

    That they had an affair.

    Karen Covy Host41:17

    That they had an affair and that they had an affair and it destroyed their marriage.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest41:20

    And so it hurt the marriage, it hurt the other partner. Okay, right, and they're feeling responsible because obviously they're the ones that chose to have the affair. Okay, absolutely Okay. So that's their truth, right, and in their living in that truth, without questioning it, they're going to feel guilty.

    Karen Covy Host41:37

    A hundred percent.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest41:38

    Okay, now we got to circle back and say, okay, did you really do something bad and wrong by having the affair? Now this gets. This can get very deep and philosophical, but you have to sometimes go there. Okay, Because obviously the person was not satisfied in the relationship in certain ways.

    Karen Covy Host41:59


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest41:59

    Maybe they had tried multiple times to get satisfied or have their needs met and they weren't. So at some point they decided they were going to go try to get them outside of the relationship. No, even though knowing was the wrong thing, but they were. What they were motivated by is that they were not fulfilled in the relationship, and the likelihood is going to be that that relationship was not going to survive, even if they didn't have an affair.

    Karen Covy Host42:28


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest42:29

    Okay, I'm not saying having an affair is a good thing.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest42:33

    Right, I'm trying to say you can look at it. You can take any of these filters and flip them around, which is what lawyers do, by the way, depends what side you're on. You can take any of these, guilty or not guilty, you can take these filters and flip them around, okay, and you can look at that same scenario from a point of view that's a little more forgiving, a little more compassionate, a little more positive than the full bore negative. Talked to you, they'd probably have a lot of compassion for what you did and not see it necessarily, you know, as somebody committing a major crime against a relationship. They would say, well, this person was suffering, they were in pain, they didn't know any better way to deal with it, they weren't getting what they needed from their partner. They probably tried, didn't happen. You know all kinds of stuff.


    So that first one, you can see the first one, can be a little fuzzy, you know, as far as truth is concerned, when you start to dig in and then that kind of leads to the negative impact thing. You know how true is the negative impact. Yes, you did hurt that other person. Yes, you did damage the structure and the basis of the relationship, but was that a bad thing? Immediately, we say yes, yeah, of course. But when you dig in deeper and get more philosophical about it, well, if the relationship was doomed because you weren't having your needs met, and yeah, we went through all this pain, but at the end of it you're now free to have another, you're free to create a new relationship with somebody where you might get your needs met.


    So is it true that you were negatively impacted? Well, yes, and the truth can be both yes and no. In the immediate sense, the pain that you're experiencing, the pain your partner experienced, the disruption of the marriage, the legal stuff that comes in, the dissolution of the relationship, all that's painful, okay. So that's all negative impact. But if you look at it in the long run, two years from now, you may be remarried in a new relationship, happy, fulfilled, getting your needs met. So, were you negatively impacted? Well, depends on the perspective you take, you know.

    Karen Covy Host44:47

    True, true. So it looks like it's about just trying to look at things from different angles, and I heard the word compassion come in a lot from afar and it communicated with each other, but they never got to spend any concentrated time together.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest45:13

    So they decided they were gonna spend a week together, and so Desmond Tutu came to the Dalai Lama's residence, wherever he was living, and they spent a week. And they actually had a TV crew there and they filmed, and they spent seven days just dialoguing back and forth and just you know, having thoughts about life and compassion and stuff like that. And so at one point Desmond Tutu asked the Dalai Lama what do you do when you run up against a problem that you can't solve right away, that you feel stuck? What do you in your high enlightened space? What do you do? Okay, and the Dalai Lama said well, the first thing I'd like to do is I like to try to look at the situation from at least seven different angles.

    Karen Covy Host46:00


    Dr. Mort Orman Guest46:02

    And he was being truthful. He says because that's a great amount of. I mean, we all can do that. We all can take any situation and look at it from seven different angles if we wanted to. But we don't because it's not our habit.


    Okay, but the Dalai Lama has worked on himself and developed this highest state of enlightenment where he knows that, you know, the truth can be revealed in any one or multiple of those seven angles if you look at it in certain ways, and you can always look at it from different filters and switch the filters and see different aspects. It's not that you're seeing things that aren't, you're making up stuff that isn't true. You're using the shift of filters to see more of the actual reality that wasn't presented to you in its wholeness. In its entirety you only got a piece, and now you're revealing another piece here and another piece there and eventually the puzzle comes into view and you get a clearer view of what the actual thing was, that happened and how it happened and why it happened. And then your emotions change when you see it differently.

    Karen Covy Host47:01

    That's fascinating. I have to tell you, we could keep going on this conversation for a very long time, but in the interest of time I'd like to wrap it up. But before we do, tell me about your new book.

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest47:14

    Yeah, so I mentioned, or you mentioned, I have this 10 session coaching program that I take people through that I can totally transform their relationship to anger by teaching them how to do this stuff and teaching them how to go in and dig in and tell the truth and realize where they're wrong, and it's really powerful. Okay so, but I'm only able to handle so many people one-on-one at a time, you know. So I decided I was going to take everything I teach, all these principles we're talking about, with a bunch of examples and other principles and things. I'm going to put it all in a book. I'm going to just put it as a Nothing held back. The only thing I can't do is I can't work on individual. You know personal examples with you in the book, you know. But I can show you how I did with other people and some other examples of different people, but anyway, so I give you the whole nine yards, everything that I teach, everything that I've learned in the last 40 years. It's just right there and you can go out and get it and you can take it as a blueprint and you can start working on this stuff, like we're talking about, and it gives you lots of tools and tips on how to do that and you'll see that what we're talking about is pretty much true for all of us.


    All the time, whenever we're angry, we're going to find lots of flaws. One of the things I say is we don't realize how our own brains create more fake news every day than all the media sources put together. We are constantly generating fake news because of the filtering process which is part of our biology. It's not optional. You don't have a choice whether you generate fake news or not inside your brain. It's biologically mandatory because that's how your brain functions and has been ever since billions of years ago.


    So it's a biologic fact of being alive that we're going to be creating fake news and we're going to be reacting, just like we react emotionally to the fake news the media feeds us and, by the way, they're really good at understanding what fake news will make us angry and what fake news will make us scared. They know exactly how to tweak it exactly. They know the filters and they send us the information in the form of those filters because they know that that will produce the emotions in us and then we'll click or we'll buy or we'll do whatever you know, helps their business model. So they're wizards at stimulating our emotions and they do it by understanding either intuitively or they have psychologists working with them understanding these filters, then, how people react, why people react to certain pieces of information and how they're presented to them, particularly in an either or very polarized, untrue fashion. That'll get them going and you can just watch the media work and that'll tell you how your brain is functioning, because your brain is doing the exact same thing.

    Karen Covy Host49:53

    That is absolutely fascinating, Dr Orman. Thank you so much for this conversation. I could keep going, but in the interest of time let's call it a wrap. Tell me where can people find you if they want to learn more and where can they get your book?

    Dr. Mort Orman Guest50:15

    Okay, the book should be on Amazon soon if it's not already there by the time they hear this. But through the month of April I have a special promotion going for National Stress Awareness Month, where I'm giving away free PDF copies of the book to anybody that wants one and all you have to do. And this expires on April 30th at midnight Eastern time. But up until then you can go to the URL aprilbookoffer.com and you can download a free copy of the Dr Orman's Life-Changing Anger Cure book, where I detail all the things that I've learned in the last 40 years about anger, and that'll get you on my email list also, so we can communicate that way and you can always unsubscribe if you don't want that. And then I have a website, drorman.com if they don't want to go get the free book. But I would encourage everybody to go get the book. You'll really learn some cool stuff about anger.

    That'll blow your mind and just set you up to have a lot less anger than most other people who don't read it.

    Karen Covy Host51:07

    I have to tell you I'm going to get my free copy of the book as soon as it's available. So, doctor, thank you so much for this. This has been a fascinating conversation and for everybody out there who is listening, who is watching, if you like what you've heard or what you've seen and you would like more of it, please do me a big favor. Give this episode a thumbs up like. Subscribe to the podcast, subscribe to the YouTube channel, and I look forward to talking to you again next time.

    Head shot of Karen Covy in an Orange jacket smiling at the camera with her hand on her chin.

    Karen Covy is a Divorce Coach, Lawyer, Mediator, Author, and Speaker. She coaches high net worth professionals and successful business owners to make hard decisions about their marriage with confidence, and to navigate divorce with dignity.  She speaks and writes about decision-making, divorce, and living life on your terms. To connect with Karen and discover how she can help you, CLICK HERE.


    divorce and emotional health, divorce emotions, off the fence podcast

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