I'm not an expert in Road Rage

Earlier this month, an interesting moment in my career occurred for me: I became an “expert.” I hate the term, because I don’t really think of myself as an expert. Not because I don’t think I have a lot of textbook knowledge, and have helped many people over the years, but because I truly believe that my clients are their own experts in their lives, and I’m here to help them sort through the vast knowledge that they possess, to begin to make sense of their experiences and to tell their story, so that they can find a greater sense of security with themselves and in their relationships to others. So, it is jarring to see myself quoted online and explicitly be considered an expert in something. Even more jarring is the idea that I could be an expert in road rage. Because I’m not. So when I read that the online magazine dashcam.com wanted to use my insights in their writing, I thought it would be best to add to what was written, because the perspective with which I came was one where I do feel I have a solid level of information and expertise: that of Attachment Theory - a topic I’ve written about numerous times in my blog. The concept road rage is a great example of the universal applicability of Attachment Theory, and why I believe it should be the foremost theory for demystifying our behaviors. In the hypothetical example I use for my explanation, two people are driving, and one driver cuts the other driver off, without waving a hand in acknowledgement, or even looking before making the move. It is something that can infuriate even the calmest of drivers, but why? What is it about the move that got made that is so blood-boiling, so infuriating, and so difficult to let go of? And in relationships, especially our most intimate ones, even the calmest of gestures might be felt in a way that makes us react disproportionately. And how is this akin to what happens on the road? The idea of “mattering,” of feeling important, is in itself one of our most important - and innate - needs. From birth, we have this need from our parents (see: failure to thrive) and in some magnitude or other, we possess this need in every relationships (intimate or non) that we have throughout our lives. And we have relationships to everything in our lives, including the people we share the road with. And when we don’t feel like we matter, we go to the depths of our defenses. So, this is how I am able to assert, despite a lack of expertise in “road rage” specifically (it’s not necessarily the presenting problem I am typically presented with in my practice), that getting cut off by another driver can create a defensive reaction such as intense anger because the feeling of not mattering can happen in any situation out there. To see my “expert” opinion, click here :)