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During the General Synod debate on homosexuality I took to twitter. It’s like sitting up in the gods of a theatre. You are with the rowdy crowd. Shakespeare’s groundlings elevated to the grandstand of the internet. I chose my 140 characters with care. I tried the ‘critique without caustic’ approach – dignified and factually accurate.

Soon, very soon, the accusations began to flow in. “Dr Ashenden, you are a man filled with hate and bile” was the first. And then they came, a trickle at first, accusing me of hate, hate and even more hate.

I tried the parry. “You do know that for 15 years I was a passionate LGBT supporter until…” But the ‘until’ galvanised more energetic ad hominem internet detritus.

I was stopped in my tracks by this showering of accusation. Why always this accusation of hate?

It’s true, I do, in the jargon, have ‘anger issues’, in that I get cross from time to time. I strongly suspect they lie within the scale of ‘normality’. I look at my anger… I embrace my anger. I accept my anger and allow it to energise me rather than become depression.

For I, too, have had counselling. Twice. Once I submitted to four years at the hands of a brutal Kleinian psychotherapist; and once to a more gentle and almost wholly ineffective Jungian. I think both women are dead now. I learned some interesting things about myself from both. But, to continue the lingua franca, ‘here’s the thing’. Whilst it was the clear intention of allowing me to encounter such covert anger issues as I had, managing the anger was less clear, less obvious and turned out to be a much more subtle task than I thought either therapist properly achieved with me.

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