“If a problem has a single neck, it has a simple solution.”
Is there really such a thing as Managing and/or Controlling anger? Absolutely. Or, maybe. Or, could happen.
Anger management is today’s most popular anger treatment technique. Part of anger management is to understand why we are angry, and where it is rooted in us mentally and emotionally. We are angry about something, and the real problem is rooted deeply. The root of anger is usually fear, and fear seems to be an emotion related to the unknown future – in other words, we fear most that which we do not know.
Our anger usually will involve five (5) general areas.
(1) Our anger at others,
(2) Others anger at us,
(3) Our anger at self,
(4) Residual anger from the past (often known as resentment), or
(5) Abstract anger.
There is help.
The goal of Anger Management is to learn to deal with the anger. If we don’t face our anger and learn to manage it, it can surface in unpredictable ways.
Anger is a chain of simultaneous body and mind reactions. The response of anger can serve many different functions. Some people with low self-esteem automatically substitute anger during threatening experiences due to their fears of being seen as vulnerable. Often negative emotions serve to manipulate, control or intimidate others.
Anger happens quickly as one of the responses to threat or perceived threat. It takes one thirtieth of a second from threat to reaction for the chain of mind and body reactions to take place! It is not unusual for anxiety and anger to be connected. Anger can trigger anxiety. Anxiety can anger us.
You can learn to make Anger work for you
The problem is not anger, the problem is the mismanagement of anger. Your negative self-talk helps you hold onto your anger. Your positive self-talk can talk your own anger down.
Your Key to Anger Control
Thoughts = anger
Choose a higher level of anger response
Learn what angers you. Learn to contain your unnecessary anger. Change Your Angry Thoughts and You Change Your Life!
Some Dynamics of Anger
Own your anger. Learn what other emotions lurk under your anger? (Hurt / fear /?)
Change Your Anger Coping Responses To A Higher Level —
Make Your Anger Responses Self-Empowering Ones!
Make more of your anger responses healthy.
Learn to Contain Excessive Anger.
Learn to identify irrational thoughts and statements that fuel anger.
Change the self-angering or self-depreciating meanings given to threatening events.
Channel Anger Into Constructive Action.
Change anger constructively to MAD (Make A Difference)
Identify Your Self Angering Metaphors:
Stop Your Self Angering Thoughts to Observe/Contain Anger
By watching and changing the self-angering thoughts, the person can break into the automatic self-angering thoughts and decrease anger and violent behavior.
Learn to identify the underlying purpose of the anger and negative behavior. Learn to measure your anger
The first step in resolving our anger problem is to identify it as anger!
Research and experience show that when people with anger problems change their self-talk, their anger de-escalates and they regain control. Anger is a signal.
Your first reaction may be anger. Remember, it is human to have anger. You can learn to gain control over your anger. If you learn to control your anger, it will not control you!
Part of anger management is to understand why we are angry, and where it is rooted in us mentally and emotionally. We are angry about something, and real problem is rooted deeply. What we usually express, and what others see, of our anger is but the tip of an emotional iceberg, and to lessen or eliminate it, we must have some deep level understanding of why, where and when. Ultimately, our most unmanageable anger is rooted deeper inside us requiring some understanding of how our emotions work, and was initiated by a sense of personal hurt or woundedness, a fear of being hurt again, and a feeling of the unfairness of it all. Expressed another way, it is rooted in pervasive feeling of rejection in the problem area.
Did you know that almost 14 % of the general population suffers from one of the anxiety disorders? And did you know that the majority are women? One of the most common anxiety disorders is a panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (even more common are simple phobias, such as fear of heights, darkness, animals etc.). The psychological, social and economical consequences of this disorders are enormous.
Many kinds of effective treatments exist. Still, a great number of panic and agoraphobic patients struggle alone, afraid of confiding in their physicians because of the stigma attached to mental problems. Some physicians fail to recognize the symptoms. If you suffer from hyperventilation, palpitations, tingling sensations, dizziness or chest pain that suddenly come and suddenly disappear, you might be suffering from panic disorder. Wait no longer. There is help.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most frequent anxiety disorders with a current prevalence of 1.6% and lifetime prevalence 5.1% (Wittchen, Zhao, Kessler, & Eaton, 1994). It is a chronic condition which, despite some fluctuations, is relatively stable with continuous symptom pattern (Rickels & Schweizer, 1990; Brown, Barlow & Liebowitz, 1994). It’s a state of continuous apprehension and anticipation of something horrible, characterized by excessive anxiety and unrealistic worry. It often affects social and occupational functioning and might have a disruptive influence on the patients’ families. The impact on the patients’ perception of his/her emotional and physical well-being is great.
Rape Trauma Syndrome
Sexual assault is a crime problem that is increasing in North America. Offenders leave behind women troubled by a range of trauma symptoms, including somatic complaints, sleep disturbance and nightmares, fear, suspiciousness, anxiety, major depression and impairment in social functioning. Some women express their feelings, showing fear, anxiety; they often cry and are tense. Other women try to control their expression, mask their feelings and attempt to look calm. Far too often, rape victims are further victimized by the society and the justice system. If left unresolved and untreated, the acute trauma may develop into rape trauma syndrome, which can manifest as similar to post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
Management/control = Stress!
Anger management/ control is today’s most popular anger treatment technique. But managing/controlling such feelings of stress usually/often fails to RESOLVE such stress problems permanently. Frequently, the stress of waiting for the next difficulty with anger continues as does one’s discomfort with others’ anger. This program contains ideas and suggestions which are all dedicated to reducing stress by resolving angry feelings, not by struggling with them forever.
Anger and Anxiety
It is not unusual for anxiety and anger to be connected. Anger can trigger anxiety. Anxiety can anger us. If we don’t face our anger and learn to manage it, it can surface in unpredictable ways. If you have a panic/anxiety disorder, please discuss your concerns about anger with your therapist.
Accept that most things in the world are out of your control.
Accept that it is your choice to get angry about those things.
No one makes you angry.
Life is unfair. Waste no energy lamenting or trying to change that fact.
No one likes to be around an angry person. No one feels like helping an angry person.
So why be angry? Maybe you really don’t want your problems solved.
Maybe you just want to complain and wail and gnash your teeth.
Take stock of yourself. What do you want?
You should smile more. Your face won’t break.
Making Anger Work for You
The Goals of Anger Management:
to deal with the anger at a comfortable pace in a way that helps resolve the situation that angers you, and so that things get better or, at least, not any worse
A System to Manage Your Anger
1. Before you speak or do anything else, think through all the steps below.
2. Recognize and admit the anger to yourself.
3. Identify the target and the cause of the anger.
a. Consider all the options for responding and their possible results.
b. Directly and verbally express the anger.
c. Use humor.
d. Let it pass.
e. Focus on something else.
f. Get involved in physical activity.
g. Find a different way to look at the situation.
h. Rest, use relaxation techniques, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
4. Choose the best option
5. Do it.
Rules For Expressing Anger
Rules for the direct verbal expression of anger:
1. Describe the situation that is making you angry.
2. Say how you feel about the situation.
3. Tell the other person exactly what you want him/her to do.
4. Tell the other person why.
1. Describe the situation that is making you angry.
Be very specific.
Say exactly what happened, when, where and how often.
Describe your emotional reaction to it yet.
Use abstract or vague terms.
Guess about the other person’s intentions or motives.
2. Say how you feel about the situation.
State feelings in a positive way.
Say how you feel about the situation, not about the person.
Deny your feelings.
Unleash emotional outbursts.
Put the other person down.
Attack the entire character of the person.
3. Tell the other person exactly what you want him/her to do.
Request only one or two changes at one time.
Say exactly what behaviors you want to see stopped and those you want to see continued.
Ask for something the person can actually do.
Merely imply that you’d like a change.
Ask for too big a change.
Ask for too many changes.
Ignore the other person’s needs.
Assume that only the other person has to change.
4. Tell the other person why.
Say exactly how their change in behavior will help you.
Say exactly how their change in behavior will relieve distress for you.
Say exactly how their change in behavior will be good for them.
Say how bad things will be if their behavior doesn’t change
Be ashamed to say why you want the change.
Be ashamed to say how important their behavior is to you.
One out of five North Americans has an anger management problem. Anger is a natural human emotion and is nature’s way of empowering us to “ward off” our perception of an attack or threat to our well-being. The problem is not anger, the problem is the mismanagement of anger. Mismanaged anger and rage is the major cause of conflict in our personal and professional relationships.
Domestic abuse, road rage, workplace violence, divorce, and addiction are just a few examples of what happens when anger is mismanaged.
There Is Only One Person On The Face Of This Earth That Has The Power To Make You Angry —
That Person Is Yourself!
If the same mean thing happened to ten people, they all would react differently. Some of the ten people would get mad, some would get afraid, some would feel sad and some would blow it off.
What makes the difference? Why do different people react differently to the same event?
The difference is the personal history of the person and how they have learned to deal with threat, stressors or loss. As the early philosophers said, It s not what happens to you, but how you deal with it that counts.
Anger is one emotion that people use to respond to threat, stressors or loss. It can be a real threat, stressor or loss or one that we make up in our mind. To be human is to be angry some of the time. It is important not to make anger bad. Anger like a hammer can be a tool for destruction or to build something. Anger is a necessary part of being a human being. It has helped us survive as a species.
It Is What We Do With Our Anger That Is Important.
We can use anger to lash out at others and intimidate them.
We can turn it inward and beat ourselves up.
We can use it to speak out with firmness increase our self-esteem.
We can use it to correct a situation that is wrong.
All great social movements had their beginning in someone feeling angry. Anger is a powerful tool for social change on a personal and societal level. We can use our anger as a tool for change. When we use anger in a positive way, self-esteem increases.
Anger is a coping mechanism for dealing with some event that threatens our body, property, self-esteem, values of what we hold near and dear or when we don t get our way.
So you are the only one who can make yourself angry. You choose how you respond to events that upset you. What you think about the event can determine whether you become angry or not. Your thoughts and beliefs can make you angry. Your negative self-talk helps you hold onto your anger. Your positive self-talk can talk your own anger down.
The Formula Is As Easy As A B C
A B C
The Event Thoughts of the Event Consequent Emotion
The Meaning You Gave What Happened
Your Beliefs Based on Your Past History
Your Self Talk–Hot Thoughts or Cool Down Thoughts
Your Key to Anger Control
Thoughts = anger
You control the thinking
To pause and cool down
To take down your inflammatory hot thoughts
To breathe deeply and be in control of the situation
To choose a higher level of anger response
Your level of arousal
Other emotions that accompany or substitute for anger
What you tell yourself to keep yourself caught in anger
About how you react to when there are…
Stressors to your body
Risks to your property
Threats to your self-esteem (Being discounted, put down, teased, rumors spread about you, things not going the way you think they should etc.)
Your values, what is important being trashed
So watch your thoughts. Learn what angers you. What do you tell yourself to make yourself angry? What do you say to keep yourself angry? You turn your anger up or down by your thoughts. What calming statements do you say to let go of inflaming thoughts? Make a list of your calming thoughts and carry them with you.
It’s All In Your Thoughts
The Only Person Who Can Make You Angry Is Yourself!
And Likewise, You Are the Only Person Who Can Create Peace of Mind!
It is okay to feel angry. It is not okay to hurt yourself or others with your anger.
You can learn to separate the Big Deals from the Little Deals.
Learn to contain your unnecessary anger. Let the small stuff go.
Increase your self-esteem by expressing your anger in safe ways.
Understand your anger and use it in ways that are helpful to you and others.
You don t have to hold onto your anger. You can learn ways to let it go.
Change Your Angry Thoughts and You Change Your Life!
Make your life a study of yourself and learn to release negativity that does not fit who you are or who you want to be. Our ideas can help you learn to empower yourself and release unnecessary anger.
Take Notes! This is Your Life We Are Talking About!
Learning To Balance Your Negative Emotions Leads To A Happier, More Productive Life!
Anger Is One Reaction To An Event That Represents A Stress, Threat or Loss to You
The stress, threat or loss can be real or we can make it up in our mind.
Anger reactions happen when there is a stress, threat or loss to our…
Or when we didn’t get what we wanted. Entitlement–‘I want it. You owe me. Give it to me now or I’ll get angry’
Some Dynamics of Anger
We become more angry when we are stressed and our body resources are down.
We are rarely ever angry for the reasons we think.
We are often angry when we didn’t get what we needed as a child.
We often become angry when we see a trait in others we can’t stand in ourselves.
Underneath many current angers are old disappointments, traumas and triggers.
Sometimes we get angry because we were hurt as a child.
We get angry when a current event brings up an old unresolved situation from the past.
We often feel strong emotion when a situation has a similar content, words or energy that we have felt before.
“I Need to Be Right” Way of Thinking Which Accompanies Much Anger
One of life’s biggest setups is living with the belief that your way is the only way. People who are constantly threatened when others question their actions live a limited life. Living life always on the defense is no fun!
People who are prone to anger have a set pattern of beliefs, attitudes, expectations and behaviors. It’s sad, but true, the more of you have of the following characteristics, the more angry you will have:
_____ An insatiable need to be right
_____ A deep fear of being wrong
_____ A high need to control others
_____ An inability to say, “I don’t know” and “I was wrong”
_____ Fear of hearing new information that threatens your beliefs
_____ Fear of letting go
_____ Preoccupation with winning approval from others
_____ The neurotic need to always be seen as tough, powerful and strong
_____ Pride at always being rational and logical
_____ Uncomfortable with expressing feelings
_____ Fear of being vulnerable
_____ Fear and severe discomfort about having bad feelings
Things To Think About Right Now!
As you get more in touch with your feelings, you can learn to deal appropriately with things that upset you.
You don’t have to be afraid of feelings. Feelings are only feelings. They come and go. The best thing to do with uncomfortable feelings is to just watch them and then learn from them.
As you release your need to only see things in the way that you have seen them before, you open up new possibilities and adventures in your life.
As you let go of your need to control others, you have more energy to spend on things that are really important. Life is more fun when you no longer are in charge of making things right in the world!
As you develop your intuitive, creative side, you complement your rational side making you a full functioning human being.
As you relinquish self-centeredness and look to the needs of those around you, you develop intimacy and connectedness.
As you dismiss the belief of “I have to be need to be safe through strict, rigid thinking”, you have more self-understanding.
As you let go of your need to be right, you find you have more of a Self. You become more secure and are less upset when things don’t go the way you want. Life becomes less threatening. You see things in new and different ways. You become happier.
There Is A Progression Of Anger Build Up:
Catch And Interrupt Your Anger In The Early Stages
Remember it is normal to be human. Anger is a necessary part of the human species. However, it’s not fair to hurt others or yourself with your negative emotions.
It makes sense to try to catch your anger at the irritation and frustration stages before it builds up to humongous amounts and leads to a blow-up or major stuffing in your body.
Be in touch with your angry emotions. Your body will clue you into your feelings if you observe your tension patterns. Own your anger. Call it by name.
Look for new and creative ways to speak it assertively and then release. The more up front you can be with others, the happier you will be. Make verbal contracts with those around you to speak about your anger in constructive ways. Make your family a “Speak your feelings kind of family!”
Keep looking for innovative ways that you can use your anger in ways that do not hurt you or others.
Become a lifelong student on the dynamics of negativity as it plays itself out in your life. You can change and become a master over your anger.
What Does Your Body Do When You Are Angry?
____ Adrenaline rush
____ Heart races
____ Body temperature goes hot or cold
____ Muscle tension
____ Shoulders tense
____ Jaw tightens
____ Knots in stomach
____ Arms and legs
___¬_ Clenched fists
____ All over
Anger May Be Only The Top Layer…
What Other Emotions Lurk Under Your Anger?
What Meaning Do Your Give To The Event That Makes You Angry?
What You Say To Yourself About The Event Determines Your Anger Response
Outer Angers–You Turn Your Anger On the Other Person and Become an Aggressor
I’ll show him
It’s not fair
That jerk #%*&
I hate him
I’ll show him
Inner Angers–You Become a Victim by Beating Yourself Up or Allowing Others To Beat You Up
He doesn’t care
I’m guilty (bad)
Withdrawal/Hide from Threat or Stressor–You Run Away and Don’t Deal With It
I can’t deal with this
This is danger
I’m being attacked
Let me out of here
Divert/Scatter the Energy of the Threat or Stressor–You Change the Subject
I’ll divert attention
I feel sick
Deal With It! Good Mental Health Statements To Keep You Focused When Upset
I’m in charge here
I’ll breathe and deal with this
I feel___ when you___
We can talk about this
I can handle this
Let’s take time out to cool down and come back
I’m safe. It’s okay
Yes, I’m angry and I’ll just watch what I’m thinking
These statements are called resilient words. They empower you by reminding you that you are in charge not our anger.
Change Your Anger Coping Responses To A Higher Level —
Make Your Anger Responses Self-Empowering Ones!
There Are Many Different Ways People Respond to Threat, Stress and Loss:
- The Most Harmful Tactics are Used to Intimidate Others
- Physically assault others to intimidate them
- Scold, lecture and verbally abuse others
- Nurse your anger by holding grudges
- Engage in revenge thoughts and behaviors
- Displace your anger on people who are weaker than the one which whom you are angry
- Criticize and put the blame on others. Refuse to see your part of the situation
- Use the silent treatment, cold stares, sighs and eye rolls.
- Cuss and call names
- Use sarcastic remarks to show your superiority
- Manipulate the other person to get what you want
- Turn Your Anger on Yourself
- Physically harm yourself
- Blame yourself and beat yourself up
- Deny anger and stuff your feelings
- Shut down your mind and numb out
- Use alcohol, drugs or food to numb out or get high when you are angry
- Hit the wall
- Drive recklessly
- Run away and never address important issues.
- Never get closure and keep storing up the anger
Empower Yourself: Use Positive Ways to Deal With Anger
Use humor to defuse the tension in the situation
Put anger on a safe, inanimate object (punching bag, large rubber ball or pillow)
Use movement and exercise to release anger
Write or draw out your negative feelings
Share feelings and talk your anger out. “I feel angry, when you _____”
Confront others appropriately and set boundaries with them
Problem solve the situation
Leave unhealthy situations. Take a take time out to cool down then come back to talk
Take constructive action. Change the word mad to mean “make a difference”
Breathe! center and calm yourself so you can think clearly
Learn about your self and the other person
Observe what you are doing. Watch your reactions, thoughts & feelings
Change the meaning you gave the angering event
These latter reactions are the most helpful and healthy. They increase your self-esteem by allowing you to be in control, not your anger!
Do you do the same old thing over and over with your anger? Here’s a challenge. See if you can increase the number of anger responses you have instead of doing the same-old, same-old thing each time.
Move more of your anger responses into ones that empower you. Make a conscious choice to use positive anger responses!
Remember, it’s okay to be angry. It’s what you do with it that counts.
Instead of doing the same negative response all the time, increase the number of your anger responses.
Make more of your anger responses healthy. Decrease your anger responses that hurt you or others.
Move your anger responses to ones which empower you.
Positive Anger Skills:
Be A Gentle, Loving Person
Even When You Are Mad
How would you like to keep your calm even when you are angry? Interested? Analyze your own skill level with dealing with uncomfortable feelings. Much of how we react when angry is a learned behavior. You can unlearn old nasty behaviors and learn new positive anger skills.
These angry feelings and behaviors are very, very complex. They can be broken down into many sub-skills that you can practice daily. The more skill you have to deal with your mad feelings, the better equipped you will be to live in our chaotic world.
Take the following quiz to find out how many positive anger skills you use regularly. Practice the skills you do not have until they become part of your daily repertoire.
To Release Current and Old Anger in Effective Ways
___ To displace anger symbolically when it is not safe to express it directly.
___ To use a positive displacement of anger and refrain from negative displacement.
___ To break into self-angering thoughts.
To Learn Assertive Ways of Dealing with Threat
___ To stand up and speak assertively when threatened.
___ To say No, state boundaries and Bottom Line and leave if boundaries are not respected.
___ To shield against the negative energy of name calling and ridicule.
___ To take care of self when others fight. (It’s not my problem. It’s a grownup problem.)
___ To break into dissociative states of fear and numbing out.
___ To use techniques of self-soothing when upset.
To Learn to Contain Excessive Anger
___ To learn to discriminate between big and little deals. (Don’t sweat the small stuff.)
___ To realize and accept that you Don’t always get what you want. (Break into entitlement)
___ To learn to identify irrational thoughts and statements that fuel anger.
___ To break into self-angering thoughts and use cool down thoughts.
___ To learn to analyze and correct mistakes instead of beating yourself up.
___ To use Thought Stoppage techniques to interrupt intrusive, negative thinking.
___ To keep cool when others are trying to push your buttons.
___ To take Time Out when overheated during an argument and then return to problem solve.
To Observe Rather than Over-React to Threatening Events
___ To learn to observe and identify body reactions, emotions and thoughts during a threat.
___ To use observation of physiological cues to break into anger or fear responses.
___ To find and express sadness, confusion and hurt that may lie under the anger.
___ To analyze the threatening event and identify and break into triggers.
___ To bridge current angers back to old unresolved childhood issues.
___ To stay present in the threat of danger rather than lashing out or stuffing anger.
___ To change the self-angering or self-depreciating meanings given to threatening events.
___ To make self-empowering statements showing resilience.
To Channel Anger Into Constructive Action
___ To identify and name feelings and use the “I formula” when appropriate
___ To speak feelings appropriately when feeling threatened but refrain when it’s not safe.
___ To deal with others who discount feelings and do not want to listen.
___ To express anger in safe and productive ways that increase self-esteem.
___ To change anger constructively to MAD–Make A Difference
To Learn to Feel Empathy and Respect Others
___ To listen to others when they are upset.
___ To recognize and refrain from actions that are hurtful to others.
___ To stop blaming others under conditions of stress.
___ To take responsibility for one’s own actions and wrong doings.
___ To refrain from sarcasm, name calling, egg-ons and put downs.
___ To see things from the other person’s perspective.
___ To observe the effect of one’s actions upon others and express sorrow for hurting others.
___ To treat others with respect and altruism.
Identify Your Self Angering Metaphors:
_____I’m Hot as a Firecracker
_____I’m an Emotional Yo-yo.
_____I’m a Time Bomb Ready to Explode
_____I’m Coiled Ready to Spring
_____I Have a Short Fuse
_____I’m a Volcano Ready to Go Off
_____There’s a Ball of Fire Within Me
_____I’m at My Breaking Point
_____I’m a Prisoner of my Anger
_____I’m a Pressure Cooker Ready to Blow
_____There Are Red Flames Consuming Me
_____I Have an Uncontrollable Temper
_____I’d Rather Be Right Than Happy
_____I’m an Emotional Roller Coaster
_____I’m Stuck–I Can’t Let Go–It’s Engraved in Stone
_____I’m the King/Queen of Denial
Remember When You Are Stressed, You Are More Likely To Become Angry. Successful Anger Management Keeps The Stress At A Minimum In Your Life
Positive Things You Can Do With Your Stress……
Adaptive Coping with Threat and Feeling Overwhelmed
____ Deep Breathe
____ Progressive Relaxation
____ Talk to Friends
____ Listen to a Relaxation Tape
____ Play or Listen to Music
____ Problem Solving
____ Confront Others/Share Feelings
____ Distract with Pleasurable Events/Hobbies
____ Get Out in Nature
____ Identify Triggers
____ Confront Self Negative Verbal Statements
____ Stop Your Self-Angering Thoughts
____ Problem Solving Pros & Con
____ Writing /Journaling
____ Confront Others and Set Your Boundaries
____ Observe/Contain Anger
____ Find Humor in Situation
____ Read about Problem
____ Gain Social Support
____ Go to Self Help Group
____ Get More Rest
____ Ask Your unconscious Mind to See Things Differently
____ Take a Vacation
Remember, When You Are Feeling Stressed, Your Number One Priority
Is To Take Good Care Of Yourself!
Not So Healthy Things To Do With Your Anger……
Maladaptive Coping With Threat, Stress and Loss:
____ Become Immersed In Excessive Violent TV
____ Ignore The Problem And Do Not Confront The Person
____ Hang Out With Negative People
____ Allow Irritability to Build Up
____ Withdrawal into Silent Treatment
____ Explode Anger on Others/Things
____ Deny Problems
____ Personalize/Internalize Anger
____ Stuff Feelings
____ Dwell on Intrusive Negative Thoughts
____ Excessive Work
____ Dwell on How Bad You Have It, Play “Ain’t It Awful” over and over in your mind
____ Push Your Body to Fatigue
____ Indulge in Alcohol or Drugs
When You Are Stressed, Remember to Use Empowerment Statements:
_____ I will get through this!
_____ I’m in charge here, not my anger.
_____ My out-of-control anger is not in charge.
_____ I’ll chill out and take care of myself.
_____ I’m going to make it.
_____ I will survive.
_____ I’ll do my breathing until I figure out what to do.
Anger is a chain of simultaneous body and mind reactions. It happens quickly as one of the responses to a threat or perceived threat. It takes one thirtieth of a second from a threat to reaction for the chain of mind and body reactions to take place!
The response of anger can serve many different functions. Some people with low self-esteem automatically substitute anger during threatening experiences due to their fears of being seen as vulnerable. They have learned that acting tough and macho makes them feel important. Often negative emotions serve to manipulate, control or intimidate others. Sometimes you even substitute an inappropriate emotion for another response out of fear. Getting angry when frightened or crying when frustrated are examples of misguided emotion.
Threatening Event—-> How The Event Is Interpreted
Humans differ greatly in what makes them angry. Perceptions of whether an event is threatening is based on your personal history and prior negative emotional associations built around the event or one with a similar meaning. How the event is interpreted depends on old triggers, buttons being pushed, and red flag words that have been associated with being hurt or rejected in the past.
People who flare up at the slightest incidents have been hurt deeply and hold on to beliefs of injustice. They make rigid judgments around situations of how things should be which contribute to their angry thoughts. They hold rigid patterns of thinking with “shoulds,” “ought tos” and “musts” for others. If things don’t go their way, they justify getting angry.
Threat and the resulting anger can happen to the individual in one or more of five areas:
Threat to the body
Threat to personal property
Threat to the self-esteem such as name calling or being criticized.
Threat to the values and beliefs (where the sense of what is fair and right has been violated).
Threat to not getting what you wanted.
Threatening Event—> How the Event Is Interpreted —> Body Reaction
When the meaning of the event is interpreted to be negative, your body can go into an instantaneous hormonal and neuromuscular reaction. This primitive caveman response of expecting a fight or flight prepares the body to move fast.
Typical body responses to threat include:
Shortness of breath (Often the first reaction to threat is to hold the breath.)
Pulse rate drops
Flushing of skin and changes of temperature
Tightening and anxiety in the hands, shoulders, stomach
Rigidity of the muscles
Threatening Event—> How the Event Is Interpreted –> Body Reaction—> Negative Self Talk
Angry people have automatic thoughts of a negative nature that increase the perception of harm. Self talk statements are made which heat up the situation. The way that the stressful situation is interpreted comes from past with being hurt. You may dwell on the concept of fairness and exaggerate the injustice of the current situation. You can self anger yourself by holding self-righteous beliefs and a desire for vengeance.
Angry people often see threat in situations that are ambiguous. The most common kind of self-angering thoughts that increase conflict are:
Name calling which is giving the person a negative label. “You dummy.” “You are stupid.”
Making judgments and “should” statements that lead to a sense of injustice. “You should not act that way.”
Making revenge and getting even statements. “I’d like to wring his neck. I want to kill him.”
Assuming that the other person deliberately wanted to harm you. “She did it on purpose.”
Making mountains out of mole hills–catastrophizing and exaggerating the importance of small events.
Making rigid judgments that wimps and weaklings need to be punished.
Beliefs of “I have the right to hurt others because I am better than them.”
Angry people hold similar negative thoughts based on their beliefs about unfairness:
It’s not fair. He’s mean.
How dare he do that to me?
He did that on purpose to hurt me.
She doesn’t care about me.
He can’t get away with that.
I’ll get him back. He deserves to be punished.
Threatening Event—> Perceived Meaning—> Body Reaction—> Self-Talk—> Feeling
The type of emotional response that comes forth depends upon your beliefs, past history with aggression, and the demands of the social situation. If you comes from a violent home, you may have to suppress your own anger in order to be safe around an explosive parent. When negative emotions are suppressed over a period of time and built up, they can manifest as depression, illness or in an explosion of rage at someone who is safe. Or you may have learned to identify with the aggressor in your childhood home making your
anger pattern an explosive one.
Threatening Event—> Perceived Meaning—> Body Reaction—> Self-Talk—> Feeling–>Anger Reaction
Remember, one-thirtieth of a second for all of this to happen! After years of this pattern being repeated again and again, the person develops a locked-in automatic response to threat. The antidote to break out of this instantaneous reaction is to slow down the reaction time by breathing and substituting another more healthy response. By watching and changing the self-angering thoughts, the person can break into the automatic self-angering thoughts and decrease anger and violent behavior. We are what we think. We treat people the way that we have been treated in the past. Getting a handle on thoughts such as “It’s not fair” and “I am entitled to blow up at others because I am special and they are stupid, weak or of a different race or belief system” is part of the breaking out of the self-angering thoughts which contribute to unnecessary anger.
Threatening Event—> Perceived Meaning—> Body Reaction—> Self-Talk—> Feeling–> Anger Reaction-> Evaluation
The final step in this chain is evaluation of one’s actions Later the individual rationalizes or justifies his behavior or feel shame about his anger. Or in a more healthy light, he can make decisions as to how he could handle the event differently next time.
You can learn to break into this chain of behavior at any point. It is easier, however, to break into the first stages.
Deep breathing and breaking into the meaning given to the event will help you learn to master your anger.
You can learn to raise your consciousness and use more constructive anger responses.
Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequence of misfortune.
– William James
The first step towards managing anger in our personal relationships appropriately is the identification of the mistaken attitudes and convictions that predispose us to being excessively angry in the first place!
Once these mistakes have been corrected, we will be less likely to fly off the handle than we were in the past.
The second step is the identification of those factors from our childhood that prevents us from expressing our anger as appropriately as we otherwise might. These factors include fear, denial, ignorance and so on.
These impediments to the effective and appropriate management of our anger towards others can be removed so that our suppressed anger will NOT compound itself inside of us as it has been doing for years.
The third step is learning the appropriate modes of expressing our “legitimate” anger at others so that we can begin to cope more effectively with anger provoking situations as they arise in our personal relationships. When we are anxious or depressed in our relationships, we are often experiencing the consequences of our suppressed anger. The problem is that we have suppressed our anger so deeply that we succeeded in concealing it from our own selves! All we are left with is the residual evidence of it, our anxiety or our depression. When we are depressed, very often we are also angry at our self without realizing it.
Learning to appropriately manage our anger at ourselves is the antidote to much of alcoholism and drug abuse. But the management of our anger does not end in learning these new and more appropriate ways to express it. There remains one last step.
The fourth step in the Anger Management process is to bind up the wounds that may have been left by the potentially devastating emotional impact of anger. “Anger wounds” left in us against those who have wronged us. If we do not complete this mopping up step, we will cling to the resentment of having been done wrong and will carry the festering residue of our anger and rage in our hearts forever.
One of the most effective means of giving ourselves immediate relief from anger in our personal relationships is to forgive others.
Many of us cannot forgive those who have trespassed against us. Something below the level of our conscious awareness prevents us from relieving our residual anger by forgiving the other person and we then carry a grudge in our hearts for thirty years! This unresolved anger poisons our relationship with our friends and loved ones. It even spoils our relationship with ourselves! We make our own lives mean and miserable instead of happy and full. Very often the feeling is, “Why should I forgive them? What they did was WRONG!” But, is forgiveness for those who only do us right? Most people have a hard time forgiving others simply because they have a wrong understanding of what forgiveness is! When you forgive someone, it does not mean that you condone or are legitimizing their behavior toward you. To forgive them means that you refuse to carry painful and debilitating grudges around with you for the rest of your life! You are “refusing” to cling to the resentment of them having done you wrong. You are giving yourself some immediate relief from your OWN anger!
To forgive, then, is an act that we do on our OWN behalf. It has nothing to do with “lifting” the other person’s sin! You are not doing it for their sake. You are doing it for yourself. This is a choice you are making on your OWN terms in order to relieve your OWN pent-up emotions.
All issues, all disturbances, all conflicts can be handled by understanding what the problem is and accepting it, then changing it. As the saying goes, We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. When we are disturbed about something or someone, it is because we do not understand on a higher level but view it through our personality, which is attached to our need to control things and see ourselves in a positive light.
If some facet of our life is unacceptable, and we have been up front in dealing with it to no avail, sometimes the only way through is to accept that this is so. We cannot find serenity when we are at war with someone or with ourselves. Nothing happens on this great green earth by mistake. Unless we accept our situation and learn from it, we cannot be happy. If we learn from it, then we need not beat ourselves up.
Nor do we need to beat up others with blame words. We need only concentrate on our part of the situation; what needs to be changed in our way of thinking and having done so, happiness will follow.
Ten Things to Say To Help You Let Go
1) I refuse to take this issue into my central nervous system.
2) I turn this over to forces greater than myself.
3) I not giving this issue free rent in my brain anymore.
4) I forgive myself for being angry and I let it go.
5) Oh, well….. Whatever!
6) This too will pass.
7) Holy Spirit, heal my mind. Give me forgiveness and a new way of looking at this.
8) I forgive myself in my part of this situation and learn so I need not do it again.
9) I surrender this to the great good Universe in which I am a part.
10) I accept this behavior in myself and I release it for my highest good.
Forgiveness: Letting Go of the Anger That Binds You
Forgiveness can never be imposed, willed or insisted upon by yourself or by any other…It cannot be a “should”. Holding on to an ancient hurt manifests as a blockage of energy hidden in the body that plays itself out in the daily life.
As anger beliefs are not only of the head but of the energies of the body, the issue must be fully experienced to change the beliefs. Resentment and revenge thoughts are sometimes hard to break, but we can continue to ask them to leave. We can continue to ask our mind to stretch so we can see things in a different way. As Mary Ann Ward said, “Nothing has more lives than an unforgiven sin or error we refuse to correct.”
There are three areas of forgiveness: that of our brother or sister, God or ourself. Each comes in turn according to the timing of the life. We can become quiet inside and turn things over to our Higher Power. The urgings of the Higher Self come forth to perceive the old hurt in a new way, saying, “Look, look at this…. there are greater gifts waiting for you here.”
The Course in Miracles tells us, “The holiest spot in the world is when an ancient hatred turns into a new love.”
Forgiveness is detachment from how we insist things must be. The act of release comes only when the energies of the issue have played them self through and there is surrender to the greater understanding of things.
Self-forgiveness is sometimes the hardest. There must be a full understanding and acceptance of the murky darkness of our nature before release come. On some level there is an understanding of “Yes, I am this and I have choice as to how I deal with it.” Forgiveness is accepting the unacceptable in ourselves and seeing it in a new light. It is to know that all that is within us is of human nature.
Forgiveness is to go past the hurt of the little self into the connection with the greater Self. To forgive is to surrender. Forgiveness is to say, “Thy will be done.”
When You Are Criticized, Ask Yourself, “How Important is the Threat?”
Is This a Big Deal or Am I Being Super Sensitive?
Ask yourself, “How serious is the charge? Is it a trivial one? Am I just playing trivial pursuit to allow myself to be hurt by a small matter?”
What Threat Does The Other Person Feel?
To his body?
To his possessions?
To his self esteem
To his values? (No matter how irrational attitudes and values may seem to us, people generally act in accordance with their belief system and values.)
What Does The Other Person Want To Have Happen As A Result Of His Words? What Does He Really Want?
To intimidate you and squelch you?
To shift the blame from himself to you by externalizing it?
To change or control you by putting his values on you?
To gain attention?
To get his way?
To give information?
What is the threat to yourself?
Is there physical threat?
How does the remark threaten my self-esteem?
How do I allow myself to feel belittled by the remark?
Am I flashing back to how I felt when I was criticized as a child?
Who in the past has used critical remarks in a similar manner?
Am I projecting someone from the past on this person?
How Do I Cope With Critical Remarks?
____ Become confused?
____ Shut down? Become frozen?
____ Retaliate with anger and blame?
____ Withdraw? Run away?
____ Act silly? Laugh it off?
____ Ignore it and hurt inside?
____ Internalize anger and stew over it?
What Choices Do I Have In The Face Of Threat?
State my limits–“I won’t allow you to call me—-”
State my feelings. “I feel upset when you speak sarcastically.”
Leave the situation. Walk out and give the message of refusal to be put down.
See the issue as the other person’s problem.
Breathe, stay centered and calm.
Put up my shield of power refusing to engage in an interchange of negative energy. Let the negative energy bounce back or be deflected away.
Criticism gives us a wonderful chance to learn about ourselves.
When You are Criticized, Ask Yourself….
What can I learn about myself?
What information do I need to get from the remark, if any?
Is there a message there that I need to hear despite the criticism?
Why do I need to continue to hurt over small criticisms?
What fear does the criticism bring up for me?
What values of mine are being threatened?
Does your anger turn to yourself? Do you beat yourself up? Make a firm commitment to stop being a victim by breaking into the victim talk to take responsibility for your thoughts and actions. Monitor your language to catch and interrupt yourself during pity parties.
Change your victim talk (I can’t…, I never could…, I’m no good at….. etc.) to language that affirms positive thinking. Decide what you want and the type of person you want to become. Tap into your longing to be whole. Decide what you will have to do to get it. Break it down in small steps and start to work on the first step.
Place yourself around positive people who are committed to growth and well-being. Invite your friends to confront you lovingly when you get in the victim role. Learn to confront the critical voice within that tells you that you are not worthy. This is the technique of thought stoppage – you simply interrupt any negative inner message. Discount the thought, yell “No!” at it and distract yourself by getting into some other
thought pattern. Tell yourself that negative self-talk is only old programming. You can be very rude and interrupt these self- condemning voices but be gentle with yourself.
Hold an inner dialogue to determine how being a victim pays off for you. Examine victim patterns in your parents and relatives. Learn what hidden messages lie within about your not deserving to be successful, healthy or have a loving relationship. Explore these messages that sabotage your well being with a process-oriented therapist. Make a pact with yourself to be responsible for choices that you make that affect your healing.
I am responsible for the victim thoughts which stay in my mind.
I am responsible for denying what I know to be true about myself.
I am responsible for the people with whom I surround myself.
I am responsible for remaining in victim beliefs.
I let my victim thoughts go.
I affirm that I am healthy and whole.
Say these affirmations ten times daily. Write your own affirmations and post them on your mirror, your car steering wheel, your computer, sink, etc. Carry the affirmations in your pockets to take out and read when you have a moment. Speak them out loud with authority. Practice seeing yourself in a different light.
Turn your life over to your Higher Power.
Catch any beating yourself up thoughts.
Practice daily surrender on small things.
Learn to let go of that which you no longer need.
Work your anger to let it go.
Do It Differently!
Do Your Life Differently
Whatever it is that takes you down into victim thinking, change it!
Change your life style to one that promotes physical, mental and spiritual health.
Negative emotions interrupt and disturb the entire body’s energy system. There is a technique that gives a way to break into frustration, irritation and anger and even aggression – a technique for breaking into negative emotions and beliefs.
Poking or tapping certain parts of your body while thinking of the upsetting situation can change your energy and release the uncomfortable feelings. After the pressure or tapping, the information is stored differently in your body. Your energy flows more freely. Often the angry thoughts about the issue spontaneously change after doing this technique.
Here’s What You Do
This step by step procedure gives you tasks to do that involve different parts of your body and your brain.
Start with a small thing that upsets you while you learn this Technique.
1. Think about what upsets you. How upset are you – a little, some or quite a bit?
2. Gently tap on the inside of your little finger near the nail with the finger of your other hand. Tap 12-15 times.
3. Tap on your collarbone lightly 12-15 times.
4. Tap on back of your hand between the knuckles of your little finger and ring finger.
5. Keep tapping. Close your eyes. Open your eyes.
6. Look down to the right. Keep tapping on the back of your hand through step 12.
7. Look down to the left. (These eye movements put information in different parts of the brain)
8. Roll your eyes in a large circle.
9. Roll your eyes in a big circle the other direction.
10. Hum any short tune ( a creative task to put information into the right brain)
11. Count to five ( a linear task to put information into the left brain)
12. Hum a tune again.
13. Think about the angry situation. How upset are you? A little, some, a lot?
14. Tap on the inside of your little finger again 12-15 times.
15. Tap on your collarbone 12-15 times.
16. Take a deep breath, stretch, sigh and let it go. Now how angry are you?
17. Say “I forgive ____, I know he or she did the best they could do” three times while tapping across the palm of your hand.
Still Stressed? Eyes Up and Down Technique
Tap on your knuckles between your ring and little finger.
Hold your head level and look down at the floor.
Slowly raising your eyes to the ceiling. Do this three times. How angry you now?
Repeat the procedure until your level of anger goes down. This technique does work!
REMEMBER WHEN YOU ARE ANGRY, JUST POKE IT!
Dealing with misery
A wise proverb goes “You can’t keep misery from coming, but you don’t have to give it a chair to sit on.” Continual negative thinking about your trials and tribulations sets up a victim belief pattern in the mind. To break a pattern of feeling sorry for yourself, literally give your misery a chair to sit on! When you are unhappy about something, why not revel in being unhappy until you get good and tired of your miserable state.
To captivate on your misery, designate a misery chair in your house. Choose an uncomfortable chair that does not fit your body. Perhaps you can find a wooden chair with no pillows that is too tall or short for your body frame. Place your new acquisition, the misery chair, in an out of the way place in your home that is dull and boring. If you are going to be miserable, then you might as well be as miserable as you can be!
Every time you start to feel sorry for yourself, watch what is going on in your mind. After a spell of observing how you pull yourself down with depressing thoughts and anxiety, take yourself off to the misery chair. Catch yourself in the act of becoming unhappy and give yourself a choice – either stop the objectionable thoughts at once or go sit in the misery chair. The key is to make a commitment to make yourself go and sit if you don’t stop on the first warning. This challenge will be a test of whether you really want to decrease the amount of time you spend with depressive thoughts. If you really want to make changes in your thinking patterns, then make the agreement with yourself to sit in the misery chair as an exercise of self-observation and change.
Watch how your mind plays tricks on you to keep you in your misery! Listen to yourself and what you say and think as different events happen during the day. Consciously monitor your verbal and nonverbal reactions to get a better understanding of how you view the world and yourself. If you find the victim in yourself as you age with the aches and pains, beware – the victim in you will define your existence to make sure that you live a life of misery.
Moving out of victimhood is taking one’s own personal power. Your life will be sufficient and happy to the extent you deal with the victim thoughts. Take data on your thought and speech patterns. Be aware of the discomfort in your body when you say certain things and act in certain ways that are not consistent with who you really are. Our bodies provide marvelous feedback in terms of feelings of embarrassment, anxiety and even physical symptoms when what we say or do does not fit.
Paracelsus said, “As man imagines himself to be, so shall he be, and he is that which he imagines.” As a woman thinketh, so she is. Clean up your life by cleaning up your negative thinking and language. Energy follows thought. You actually become what you think. Say and think only what you want to become true in your life. If you don’t want something to happen don’t give it energy by thinking about it. Challenge yourself to use words which promote acceptance and tolerance instead of those which promote separation from your true self and from others. Learn to never say things which limit you or another person.
For example say ” I made an error when I …” rather than “I am bad, stupid, etc.” State undesirable characteristics about yourself as temporary conditions or lessons to be learned rather than absolute facts.
The “I am ___________ and that’s it” type statements can be modified to include a time frame that takes into account that you are learning something new or the lack of effort that you are willing to put into something to change it. In this framework, “I am fat” could be changed to “I’m temporarily fat” Or “I’m food choices challenged.” “I’m no good in Math” could be changed to “I’m just not willing to spend the time and effort to balance my checkbook.” When nagging, critical self-statements creep into your thoughts, change them by making an immediate positive affirmation.
Listen to your language for words which limit you rather than affirm and empower you. Words like “can’t, never could, trying to, hope or plan to” all suggest the possibility of failure. Don’t let your language limit you in any way. Positive statements about yourself will be more powerful when put in a forthright fashion in the present tense. “I am going to___” is a much stronger statement than “I plan or hope to ____ or I’ll try to___.” The affirmative phrases “I am ___” and “I will ___” are declarations that have a hearty energy of accomplishment to them.
If you can’t bring your misery thoughts under control then it’s off to the misery chair for you. When you sit in the misery chair, give yourself permission to be as miserable as you can be. Bring your unhappy thoughts to your full conscious mind. Go to it with a vengeance. No pleasant thoughts here! As you sit in the chair, feel the physical discomfort of your body that matches the mental discomfort of your mind. Set a time limit on how long you want to be miserable. Beware what kind of thoughts cause your mood to shift downward into anxiety and depression. Allow yourself a set time–five minutes of misery per episode should be a reasonable amount. You might even remain in the misery chair a minute longer than you need, to get the full effect of how you are choosing to victimize yourself.
After making yourself good and miserable, you may decide that you have had enough and go on about your business as usual. You might even start charting how many minutes a day that you are sitting in the chair. The idea is to beat your own record by spending less and less every day. The challenge of this exercise is to clean out your mental attic of cobwebs of victim thoughts and words.
If you find yourself refusing to sit in the misery chair but remaining in negative thinking, then you may not be ready to make the decision to change yet. You may have decided on a subconscious or conscious level that you need to punish yourself for a longer period of time. With the frame of mind of staying as you are in the status quo of negative thinking ask yourself, “How much punishment do I need to engage in? How many times do I have to beat myself up? How much gall do I need to drink?” If this scenario happens, then do it and hurry up and suffer and get it over with. Increase your suffering intensely so that you can “give it up!”
The Course In Miracles tells us “Teach only love, for that is what you are.” One dictate of our older years is to think and say only loving things about ourselves and others and make corrections in a gentle and loving way when we slip up by saying, “Do I have a higher thought than that?”
Practice the art of turning victim thought to higher thoughts. Affirm daily to listen to your inner language as well as the words that you express verbally. By listening with the heart and making good choices about all types of expression, you can promote harmony in your life as well as in those around you. The test of a calm, contented life is to monitor your misery thoughts. Remember, if you find misery coming to you just tell it, “I’m not giving you a chair to sit on!”
Coping With Your Co-workers or Boss
Some people are more vulnerable to co-workers/boss mischief than others. They are more likely to take a co-worker’s anger personally, (as if it were a true reflection on their worth and dignity as a person) and to overreact accordingly. Paradoxically, the more vulnerable you are, the more likely a co-worker or boss is to sense it and to make mischief with you in the first place. It follows, therefore, that one approach to reducing the amount of mischief you are experiencing on the job is to strengthen those areas of personal vulnerability that have been inviting it. This is how its done:
1. The first step in coping with the negative behavior of a co-workers/boss is to identify it properly. To clearly see that, “this is mischief!” The person is doing something that does not need to be done. With a little practice, you will be able to spot mischief a block away and not take it personally.
2. Remember the definition of self-respect. “I’m a worthwhile human being in spite of my faults and imperfections. No one can take that away from me.”
3. Catch yourself about to take a co-workers angry remarks seriously, as if it made sense in the real world!
4. Catch yourself about to “reason” him or her out of their anger mischief, as if reason had anything to do with it.
5. This shifting of our emotional gears from our old pattern to a new one, is call disengaging from the mischief. We are NOT ignoring it, or denying that it is going on. We know very well what is going on, only now we have a power we didn’t have before the power to choose not to overreact.
6. Identify the underlying purpose of the anger and negative behavior. We do that by identifying the way it is making us feel right now. See understanding negative behavior for an example of this process
7. Armed with insight into the goals and purpose of the negative behavior of our co-worker/boss, we can deduce what kind of response they expect from us; the same kind we have always given them in the past, such as threats, demands, begging, cajoling…”brown nosing” ( these are all forms of our own mischief). They leave us feeling weak, powerless and ashamed in our own eyes. We can let them go, and respond in a self-respecting and appropriate way.
1. We are now free to make a NEW choice in our own behalf instead of overreacting to him/her as we have always done in the past, we can choose to do something unexpected!
Very often, the last thing they expect us to do in these unpleasant situations is to agree with them! We are not agreeing that they are correct in their facts, but merely that they FEEL the way they feel. For example, you can say, “I ‘d feel the same way if I were you.”
Validate their anger
“I don’t blame you for being Angry.” This validates him as a person in spite of his imperfections by treating him with respect .
Give them a choice
They can talk to you later when they have cooled off or write you a anger memo. Ask them “what remedy is it that you seek?” or words to that effect.
Agree with them
Agree that it would be nice if they get what they want from you. We didn’t say we’d give it to them. When we validate their “preferences”, we are validating them as a person in spite of their negative behavior towards us. What we are giving them is some relief from their painful, out of control anger.
When we choose to behave in this new way, we are standing our ground, but not in a hostile, threatening, morally superior way. We are equal members of the human race, and we are letting them know that they have lost their power to provoke us with their “anger mischief” and shenanigans.
It will help us to emotionally disengage from these provocations at work if we can shift our focus from our angry, mischief making co-workers/boss and focus attention on ourselves to make a change in the way we have historically handled these situations. We are so preoccupied with their nonsense, that we often forget that we are a person too. We are no more perfect than they are. We are not morally superior, but are only an imperfect human being as well. This very understanding serves as the basis for self and mutual respect which is the “key” to conflict resolution.
The greatest mystery in life is not life itself, but death.
Death is the culmination and “blossoming” of life, it is the “ultimate” mystery of life. In death, the whole of one’s life is summed up; in death you complete life’s journey. Life is simply a pilgrimage and journey towards death. From the very moment of your birth, the process” of dying starts; already you are moving towards death. And the greatest calamity that has happened to human intelligence is that we are in denial about death. Being in denial about the reality of death means you will miss life’s greatest mystery. You will miss the whole point of having lived. You will miss the “true” meaning and purpose of life itself, because life and death are deeply involved with each other; they are not two separate phenomena. The journey and the goal are not separate–the journey has meaning only in relationship to the goal.
Death has to be understood as the “crescendo” of life.
Only then does a new vision of the meaning and purpose of one’s life arises. Then you are no longer in denial about death, no longer afraid of dying. Your understanding of death liberates you from all of your fears and anxiety. Once death has been fully understood, deeply contemplated and meditated on, nothing can frustrate you. The whole problem of personal misery and suffering is rooted in our fear and denial of death. Because we do not accept the inevitability of our death and dying, there are a thousand and one problems that go on nagging and disturbing our peace of mind.
Anything which reminds us of the facts about death and dying has to somehow be avoided and escaped. Those things frighten and deeply disturb us. However, all of those things are just reminders of death. The real thing will be far more terrifying for such an “unprepared” mind. And remember, death cannot be avoided by anyone. Death is going to happen to everyone–whether you are afraid or not is irrelevant. Death comes and always comes unsuspectingly. Ready or not, it comes. And death comes in many ways. When you die, that is only one form of death. When your mother or father dies, when your son, husband or anyone close to you dies, that is also like a death to you. They have been an intricate part of your being, and when he or she dies, a part of you also dies. You will be losing a part of your own “self’ and you will never be the same. So it is not only in your death that death comes; whenever anyone you love dies, death knocks at your door, too! And unless you are prepared, you will be simply overwhelmed and deeply depressed.
This is the message: Start learning how to prepare yourself for your death and the death of your loved ones. Learn how to not be afraid and overwhelmed. Try to understand that your “existence” renews itself through the process of death. Just as after each day you need deep sleep in the night to rejuvenate and renew yourself, to make yourself fresh and robust again, in the same way after each life you need a new body, a new mind, a new manifestation of being. Death is as meaningful as life. They are both different aspects of the same “divine” process of eternal existence. Death is as divine as life. They complement and balance each other, and the whole “mystery” of existence continues because of them. Understanding this, is to become “enlightened.”
Measure Your Anger
1. How am I feeling right now?
These are some of the names that we give to our feelings of anger! There is no cure for any of them. The first step in resolving our anger problem is to identify it as anger! The purpose of this step is to make our anger more specific. No one can manage anger that is vague and covered up with euphemisms.
2. What happened to make you angry?
If we can focus on the specific incident which triggered our anger, our anger becomes more understandable and easier to manage.
3. Who am I angry at?
___ My own self
___ My spouse
___ My partner
___ My boss
___ The kids
___ The Human Race
___ My Life
___ All men
___ Other races
Our anger usually will involve five (5) general areas.
1. Our anger at others,
2. Others anger at us,
3. Our anger at self,
4. Residual anger from the past, or
5. Abstract anger.
Now that you have established the fact that you are angry and that your anger has an “object” in the real world, you are ready for the fourth step in working through the anger process. You are ready to factor your anger into its main components. If you can identify the specific facets of your anger, you will be in a better position to put your anger into a more moderate and more manageable perspective. You can do this by asking yourself a series of focusing questions.
4. How did the situation make me feel besides angry?
(Example #1: I resent being forced to give into them all the time. It makes me feel powerless!)
(Example #2: His criticisms of me makes me feel unappreciated and good for nothing.)
Now that you have pin-pointed your feelings underlying your anger, you are now ready to put your anger in a clearer perspective. The next step is to “peel” your anger down to the next layer.
5. What about this angers me the most?
For example, you have established the fact that in the above situation it made you feel powerless, unappreciated or good for nothing. You are now ready to take a closer look at these feelings underlying your anger. What is it about being made to feel powerless that angers you the most? Some examples of what you might find upon deeper analysis is:
“there is nothing that I can do about it.”
“I feel so stupid!”
“I feel guilty for allowing it to happen.”
“I feel inadequate to cope with this situation.”
Having peeled your anger down to this level, you are ready now to penetrate your anger at its deepest level. You are ready to focus on the real issue underlying all of the prior layers and levels of your emotional distress.
6. Now, what about this angers me the MOST?
This level of self-analysis usually brings us down to bedrock. Down to the fundamental issue which underlies all the others, and which must be identified and relieved if we are to strengthen our vulnerability to mismanaging our anger – and making our lives more miserable than it needs to be. The answer found at this level of self-analysis often turns out to be, “I feel so worthless!” It is hard to respect someone who is stupid, helpless, inadequate and powerless! And when we have those feelings towards ourself, they destroy our respect for our own selves.
We lose our self-respect and hold ourselves in contempt. The final step in managing our anger consists of replacing these feeling or worthlessness–even unworthy of our OWN respect – with its specific antidote. The only antidote for self-contempt is self-respect.
“Time out” means taking a break from a situation where you feel yourself becoming increasingly angry and tense, so that you can relax, think, cool down and avoid being violent. Below are the steps involved in taking a time out:
- Tell the other person that you are feeling tense and need some time to relax and think It is important to communicate that you are not trying to avoid the problems and that you will be willing to talk about it later when you feel more relaxed and reasonable.
- Get away from the person and the situation. It is best to leave the house altogether.
- During a “time out,” do not drive a vehicle, drink alcohol or use drugs.
- Physically and mentally calm yourself. Use a combination of physical and mental exercises that are non-aggressive. Concentrate on your breathing. Try not to feed your anger and tension with negative self-talk. Practice positive self-talk (see reverse side of the page),
- Give yourself enough time to relax and get control of yourself. When we become angry, our heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, blood sugar level rises, and certain other chemicals increase in our bodies. It takes time for these chemicals and body changes to get back to normal. Give yourself at least twenty minutes and preferably, forty-five minutes to an hour before returning to the situation.
If you return to the situation and find your anger and tension returning, repeat the time out procedure until there is no risk of being violent.
Research and experience show that when people with anger problems change their self-talk, their anger de-escalates and they regain control. When you notice your cues or are escalating or start to feel angry, take a TIME OUT and read these statements to yourself.
- I don’t need to prove myself in this situation. I can stay calm.
- As long as I keep my cool, I’m in control of myself.
- No need to doubt myself. What other people say doesn’t matter. I’m the only person who can make me mad keep me calm.
- Time to relax and slow things down. I can take a time out if I get tight or start to notice my cues.
- My anger is a signal. Time to talk to myself and to relax
- I don’t need to feel threatened here. I can relax and stay cool.
- Nothing says I have to be competent and strong all the time. It’s OK to feel unsure or confused.
- It’s impossible to control other people and situations. The only thing I can control is myself, and how I express my feelings.
- It’s okay to be uncertain or insecure sometimes. I don’t need to be in control of everything and everybody.
- If people criticize me, I can survive. Nothing says I have to be perfect.
- If this person wants to go off the wall, that’s their thing. I don’t need to respond to their anger or feel threatened.
- When I get into an argument, I can use my control plan and know what to do. I can take a time out.
- Most things we argue about are stupid and insignificant. I can recognize that my anger is just old primary feelings being re-stimulated. It’s okay to walk away from this fight.
- It’s nice to have other peoples love and approval, but even without it, I can still accept and like myself.
- People put erasers on the ends of pencils for a reason. It’s okay to make mistakes.
- People are going to act the way they want to, not the way I want.
- I feel angry. That means I’ve been hurt or scared or have some other primary feeling.
Understanding the Goals of Negative Behavior
You can tell what the purpose of the someone’s mischief is by the way it makes you FEEL when it is happening. Instead of reacting to the mischief, you can ask yourself, “How is this behavior making me feel right now? Which of the basic emotional needs is being sought?”
If you feel annoyed and irritated…
His or her purpose is to get your attention. The most basic and fundamental need of children is the need to belong – to bond and feel connected to the parent and family. To be esteemed and valued as a human being. This makes attention one of the strongest motives underlying the child’s misbehaviour.
If you feel powerless and out of control…
His or her purpose is to gain power and control over YOU. Children also have the need to be able to influence and control their environment. They strive to control the outcome of the events going on around them in ways that are consistent with, and in service to, their own wishes and desires. When they feel inadequate to do this, they become rebellious and defiant.
If you feel hurt…
His or her purpose is revenge! Children also strive to protect themselves from their “perception” of an attack or threat to their sense of self, whether real or imaginary. They perceive every reversal, major or minor, as if they were being singled out by others (i.e. parents, teachers) for special torture and punishment. They feel victimized and seek relief from their hurt feelings through acts of revenge.
If you feel discouraged and helpless…
His or her purpose is to withdraw from the task/situation for which he feels inadequate to cope. Children withdraw from overwhelming situations in order to maintain their immature sense of ego and pride, to escape the reality of their own inadequacies.
The solution: Disengage from the mischief
Disengage does not mean to ignore the emotional needs of our children. But now, you know exactly what is going on.
You are disengaging from the child’s mischief and misbehaviour, not from them as a person. You are choosing to behave appropriately in the reality of the situation.
After you have disengaged from the child’s mischief, you will feel relief from the tension, pressure and stress of the moment. You will feel in control, liberated, mature and secure within your own self. You will not take the child’s behavior “personally” as if it was a true reflection of your own worth as a parent, and as a human being. You will feel appropriately responsible and competent to handle the situation. The more you practice disengaging from the child’s mischief, the better you will become at it, the more the child will respect you – and the more you will respect yourself!
THINGS TO DO IF SOMEONE BIGGER STARTS TO HURT YOU
Leave. Don’t stay. Take care of yourself.
If the person is bigger than you, get away from him or her. Go to a safe place and take care of yourself.
Find a place where you feel safe. Or run to some adult you trust or to your neighbor’s house.
Find some safe people to talk to. If the first person does not listen, find someone else.
Remember kids should not be hurt. Not even parents are supposed to hurt little kids. Keep talking until you find someone to help you.
If you or other people in your family are being hurt badly, call 911 and ask for help.
Sometimes your child commits an act which shakes you to your very soul. Perhaps your child has broken one of your explicit rules or has done a foolhardy act which put himself in great danger. Your first reaction may be anger. You may feel that he has betrayed you – turning against you and your values, the careful teachings you have brought him up with. You naturally feel a great disappointment in him but also in yourself for having raised a child who could do such a thing. Your confidence as being a worthwhile parent is undermined if you could produce a child that could commit such an act. Your complete confidence in him is shaken so badly that you wonder if you can ever trust this child to make worthwhile again. You feel a need to monitor his actions, to ground him and to keep tight rein over the possibilities of his future acts.
This is a very sensitive time for both you and your child. His emotions may be as high if not higher than yours. He may feel anger for being found out and embarrassment because you are now subject to what he thought was private to him. He may feel angry for not being allowed to make his own decisions and be rebellious. This is a dangerous time for him. He may completely withdraw from you. He may act out further – doing the very thing that you are objecting to! While you certainly have the obligation to express your disapproval and lay down the logical consequences of punishment and setting forth the guidelines for future behavior, you don’t want to do anything which will have the boomerang effect of more inappropriate behavior.
This is an extremely delicate time for the both of you because the previous trust that you felt towards your child has been violated. You can take steps to insure that in all your dealings with the child, you convey the attitude that he is a trustable human being. He is a person who is capable of making the right decisions for himself. This is difficult to do when you have a child who has not demonstrated this ability to you in the past.
Try to convey the impression that his foolish actions are part of a phase, a part of growing, a part of learning to choose and to make decisions and simply a wrong decision at that time. Helping him see his mistake as part of the learning process will help him forgive himself for the misdeed and regain his inner belief of himself as being a worthwhile person.
What is the purpose of mistakes in our lives? Much of our learning does come from making a mistake; we try out a certain way to act and then suffer negative consequences. If we’re smart, we put the cause and effect together learning from them trying to vary our behavior in the future so that we get better consequences. Children who are brought up to believe that mistakes are made so that we can learn better ways to act in the future are more have better self esteem. With the philosophy of errors are made to be corrected, your child will be much more comfortable taking responsibility for his transgressions.
You can instill in your child that he can learn from mistakes that he has made. You can ask him, “Now, what have you learned?” to determine if he sees cause-effect relationship.
Point out to the child when you make mistakes and how you resolve to change in the future. Learning from his mistakes will become a natural process for him. He will learn that it is allowable to make an occasional wrong decision as long as some positive comes out of it.
Allow your child to make mistakes and then learn from them. This says to him “You don’t have to be perfect.” Asking a child to be perfect is one of the biggest loads that parents can lay on an already confused youngster. By admitting our humanity as parents, by saying, “hey, I’m not a perfect person, sometimes I really goof up,” we allow our child the freedom to grow.
Children try on many ways to acting to see which ones fit them. The process of finding one’s own identity is to try many new behaviors and roles. Some will be good and some bad. Hopefully they discard the foolish, inappropriate ways – that is they will if parents let them. If we can show our trust that they have the intelligence and good sense to learn from their errors, they will come through to become the son or daughter that you expect them to be.
A child will become what the parent expects him to become. If the parent calls the child lazy, dumb, or a liar, a sneak, or a bitch, the child internalizes this negative label. He comes to believe he is that negative expectation that others place on him. That’s why it is important to distinguish between what the child did and what he is. Help him distinguish between the unacceptability of his actions and the acceptability of himself. For example, you might say, For a smart person, you did a dumb thing. You’re not dumb, but boy did you goof up!
Rebuilding of trust then is the goal for the parent and child. You could explain to your child that because of your disappointment it will take some time for him to rebuild the faith that you had in him. You can mention certain things that he can do to help rebuild that faith: being where he says he’ll be, doing what he says he will do, speaking the truth at all times, and staying away from the situations that caused him to get into trouble in the first place. Again, parental reinforcement is needed to further emphasize these positive new ways he is trying out. Statements like, You’re an alright kid. I knew I could count on you. You’re one person I can trust. I appreciate it when you are above board with me. This will help him realize the importance of keeping your word and doing what you say you will. With these positive techniques in mind, parents can breathe a sigh of relief and know that they are instilling in their child positive expectations for change.
POSITIVE PREDICTIONS FOR BEHAVIOR CHANGE
Always leave open the channel for change for your child. In every avenue; from your underlying subconscious thoughts to your direct conversations with your child. BELIEVE that this is a temporary stage in his life. That this is something he will outgrow; that he will change for the better.
You must communicate to him that you know things are tough at present but they will get better as he grows older. Things will change because he will make a conscious decision to change.
He will make this decision because it is right for him. Not because someone (Mom or family) wants it, but because it is time for him to move on … to grow.
He will make that decision for change when it is right for him, not when it is right for someone else. Only for himself, not for others – he will do it for himself alone. If others are negative in their opinion of him and want to assign a permanent label on him (dumb, criminal, irresponsible, or a failure), you must help him deal with these people. The danger is that he may accept their negative label of himself. That’s why you label his present state of mind a temporary one. You say, in effect, Sure you’re having trouble with school/friends/the law/drugs/etc. right now but a lot of people go through this. The difference is – you will change, you are strong enough and smart enough to get through this. You are too smart to keep doing some of the dumb things you’ve tried lately.
You recognize how hard the change will be for him and let him know you appreciate his effort. Growth and other important things in life never come easy. But whatever effort it takes, it is worth it – because he is worth it! He is worth everything it takes (money, resources, time, and effort) to get through that bad time of his life. The payoff is worth the price and you let him know it. It’s another way of saying, I value you – no matter what you are doing now; I still believe in your ability to change. You are my child and I will always stand by you during your rough times.
If he denies he has a problem put the responsibility back on him. Say, You may try to con me, but you can’t con yourself. Listen to your inner self. It will tell you what you need to know. A man who tries to fool himself is a fool. You’re too smart to be a fool. William Glasser’s book on Reality Therapy explains this concept well – no denials or excuses for bad behavior are accepted.
This is an attitude of optimism and hope that a parent can portray when all seems hopeless. By getting professional help for your child you are saying, I care. Through professional help (therapist, tutor, etc.) you give him the means to change. And the use of this attitude says to your child, “I Believe in you.” It’s a positive prediction for the future. You give him the attitude that positive change is possible. Say it over and over!
THINGS TO DO LATER IF THE MADS ARE STILL THERE
Remember, mads don’t have to stay inside you. Talk to someone who can help you sort out the feelings that made you feel bad.
Draw lots of pictures about what makes you angry. Make big, colorful angry drawings. Make mad noises when you draw. BIG, MAD NOISES!
Put your pictures in the freezer to cool off those mads. Or let your refrigerator hold pictures of your mads.
Pound on clay or on pillows. Scream and yell and pull those mads out of your stomach.
Let those mads run down your fists and into the pillow.
Go out in the back yard and dig a hole. (Or just pretend to dig in your living room.) Pull all those mads up and out of you and put them down in the hole. Then cover them up with dirt and jump up and down, stomping on the mads.
Put your mads in soap bubbles and blow them away. Watch those feelings float up to the sun and poof! Act out the story of your mads with dolls, stuffed animals or plastic dinosaurs.
Get permission to tear up an old magazine. Rip each page out, one by one as you make “big mad noises.” Then throw those mad feelings away by putting all the pages in the trash.
Get permission to put your anger in a raw egg. Write the name of the person you are mad at on an egg. Go to a wide open space and pull up all your mads to put in the egg. Throw your mads as far as you can and yell and scream, “Aaaaagh!”
RULES FOR GETTING YOUR MADS OUT
1. Check your tummy, jaws and your fists. See if the mads are coming.
2. Breathe! Blow your mad out.
3. Get your control. Feel good about getting your control.
4. Stop and think; make a good choice.
5. People are not to be hurt with your hands, feet or voice.
6. You Can’t hurt people just because you are mad.
7. Remember to use your firm words, not your fists.
8. Use a strong voice and talk your mads out. Say “I feel mad when you ____.”
9. Sometimes you need to take a time out to get your control back.
10. Take yourself off to a safe place and talk to yourself.
11. Pat yourself on the back for getting your mad out nicely.
Everyone gets the angries. But sometimes they make us say and do things that we don’t really mean. We can learn how to release those mads in safe ways, so that no one gets hurt and we feel better.
Ask yourself, “How would the quality of your life improve if you used your anger in safe, acceptable ways?”
Yes! You can learn positive things to do with your anger! If you are human, then you have angry feelings. What a novel idea!
Instead of making your anger bad, stuffing it down or exploding with frustration, take The Anger Challenge.
The Anger Challenge is to learn ways to deal with your mads constructively! What a challenge! To learn about yourself and the person you are upset with rather than blowing up. To do many creative things with your anger rather than hurting others or yourself. Take up The Anger Challenge and feel better about yourself and be happier in your relationships. Make choices to let go of those ugly mads and angries.
Choices. Life is about choices.
You have choices about what to do when you get mad.
One great thing about being a Human Being is that you do get choices.
We can use our choices about our mads to become gentle, loving people.
What better option do you have to do with your lifetime?
Use these ideas out to make your life more happy and productive!
What do you have to lose except your mads, bads and angries?
Remember, it is human to have anger.
It is what you do with it that counts!
Like that great song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”
“Stop and think. Make a good choice.”
“Remember to breathe when your tummy gets tight. Breath. Let’s breathe together.”
“Use your words, not your fists. People are not for hurting.”
“You can do it. I know you can get your mads under control.”
I understand, right now you are feeling mad. Still, you can’t hurt people, things or yourself.”
“You are the kind of kid who can take care of his own bad feelings.”
“Go to a safe place and draw out your mads.”
“You have a choice: Talk out your feelings or go to time out and get your mads under control.”
“Well, I’m feeling mad right now myself. I’m going to go cool off, then we’ll talk.”
“I know how you feel. Sometimes I get mad myself. Then I tell myself, “It’s OK to be mad if you are nice about it.”
“Thanks for sharing your angry feelings. Good choice in using your words!”
“We are learning to be a ‘Speak your feelings’ kind of family. No more ‘Mad Family’ for us.”
“I believe in you. Sometimes it’s tough, isn’t it?”
“You are one terrific kid!”
For some, falling asleep is as simple as laying back into a soft pillow. But for others, it is a frustrating process of tossing, turning and glancing nervously at the advancing clock. Whether you awake refreshed and ready to face the day or red-eyed and sluggish depends on your sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is your personal collection of habits that determine the quality of your sleep.
What is a good sleep environment?
Dark. Avoid lights, including night-lights. Keep the windows covered with blinds or curtains.
Cool. Keep the temperature of your sleep environment cool enough to necessitate blankets for warmth.
Quiet. Falling asleep and staying asleep is much easier if your environment is quiet. Use earplugs or a “white noise machine” if you cannot control the noise level in your sleep environment.
Comfortable. Make sure you are sleeping on a comfortable mattress. A good mattress will support your back and will not leave you stiff and sore in the morning.
What is a good night of sleep?
An uninterrupted sleep
A refreshing sleep
A deep sleep
A length of time that works for you personally (the average adult needs 7.5 to 8 hours per night).
What will stop you from having a good night sleep?
Consuming alcohol before bed. Alcohol may make it easier to fall asleep but it is at the cost of quality. Alcohol fragments your sleep, so you will not feel well rested even after a full night in dreamland.
Certain medications. Some medications have side effects associated with insomnia. This is also the case for certain herbal remedies. Make sure to read the accompanying informational material and to consult your doctor or pharmacist!
What should you do to fall asleep easily?
Have a bedtime ritual. This sends a cue to your body that it is time to settle down and fall asleep. A ritual does not have to be a long process and can be as simple as brushing your teeth and reading for 15 minutes.
Keep a regular sleeping pattern. This allows your body’s biological clock to take care of your ability to fall asleep and insures that you will be alert during the appropriate times of the day. One way to set your biological clock is to sit in the direct sun for 15 minutes right after you wake up in the morning. This prompts your body to tune in to the time of day.
Have a light snack before bed. This will let you sleep soundly though the night without waking up from hunger pangs. Be careful though, eating a heavy meal before going to bed will make it difficult to fall asleep.
Unwind earlier in the evening. Take the time early in the evening to relax your body and mind. Falling asleep can be almost impossible if your mind is racing —working through problems, weighing decisions and reviewing the day past or upcoming. A calm, clear mind is necessary for a relaxed body.
Take a warm bath before going to bed. Warm baths raise your body’s temperature. After the bath your body cools off and this cooling is what makes you sleepy.
What will impede the transition to sleep?
Staying up too late. By staying up to late you are liable to get a “second wind” which will make it difficult for you to fall asleep even if it is late.
Eating a large or heavy meal before bed. Heartburn, indigestion, and the need to urinate are counterproductive and end up disturbing your sleep.
Doing things other than sleeping in bed (watching TV, working, etc.). If you engage in activities other than sleep or sex in bed, your brain will cease to recognize cues indicating that bed is the place for sleep.
Having caffeine before bed. Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake.
Cigarette smoking. The nicotine found in cigarettes is a stimulant and will interfere with your body’s ability to fall asleep.
Exercising directly before bedtime. Exercise is healthy and can be very helpful if you do it several hours before going to sleep. Don’t exercise just before bedtime since the natural high produced from exercise will inhibit your ability to fall asleep immediately.
Forcing yourself to fall asleep. If you can’t fall asleep after 30 minutes, it is wise to get up and do something that is not stimulating. Forcing yourself to lie there will only frustrate you and take you even farther from your goal of sleep.
Daytime naps. Avoid daytime naps because they stagger your body’s biological rhythm. By taking naps, you might not be tired at bedtime and this will encourage you to stay up later. If you don’t go to bed at a reasonable hour, you might feel tired the next day and opt for another daytime nap, which establishes a vicious cycle. If napping is necessary, sleep for less than 1 hour before 3 pm.
Where does it start?
Many people think Road Rage starts with the incident on road; not so! The seeds of Road Rage may have been hours, days, or weeks ago, perhaps even years. You may have had an argument with your boss, a -worker, or your spouse. Maybe you are having trouble with your children or dealing with other problems. Whatever your situation, you’ve been holding in the anger for so long that when an ordinary annoyance happens, like getting a flat tire and discovering the jack isn’t in the car, all your frustration finally comes boiling out.
What triggers it?
There are many things that may have triggered your anger…a slow moving, older person in front of you, a horn honking at you, being cut off, catching a red light when you’re in a hurry, or just having to deal with too much traffic. These things bring you to the point where you start reacting on an emotional level. You’re upset and emotionally out of control. You don’t take the time to look at the big picture.
Identifying the problem
At this point, you still may not see you have a problem with. You need to think your way through the problem but you are so upset and emotional that you just react. Now you cut someone off in traffic, or worse, you have some form of physical violence with another person driving and you become the perpetrator of Road Rage.
Later, sitting in the back of a police cruiser or across the desk from a lawyer, you think, “Why did I lose control? What’s wrong with me?” and you realize that your anger may be a bigger problem than you thought. Ask yourself: Do I have a problem keeping my cool? When I’m angry, do I feel like I’m losing control? When I’m angry, do I do things I later regret?
Maybe it’s time to get help to manage your anger. Finally there’s a program that will help you recognize, understand, and learn how to control your anger. We understand and we can help. We have been helping people since 1988. We can help you gain control over your anger. If you learn to control your anger, it will not control you!
Note: The Following Tips about Hate, Rage & Violence May Be Unpopular
Tip #1 for self-improvement: unpopular emotions such as rage and hatred, once felt and released via some personal growth process, allow us much increased richness in other aspects of our emotional lives and a sense of freedom we lost long ago. Most of us have unnecessary difficulties with violence, hate and rage. Avoidance of these difficult feelings only serves to make us feel more comfortable temporarily, just the way alcohol, smoking or food can be used to make us feel better temporarily.
Tip #2 for self-improvement: if you avoid any feelings (rage and hate included) long enough, such feelings will come to dominate your life and you will live your life in fear of them. Isn’t it time for you to face your difficulties with violence?
Tip #3 for self-improvement: is it “wrong” to feel hate and rage? No, most of us have such feelings, though the majority of us block them well. (The inner child is the one who feels hatred and needs to rage.)
Tip #4 for self-improvement: so many articles, books and therapies have focused in recent years upon managing the emotions of hate & rage that millions of us have come to see management as the best that therapy can offer. Not! The far superior alternative to management of difficult emotions is resolution. Yes, resolution usually requires us to face our deepest issues.
Tip #5 for self-improvement: to resolve our deepest issues, we must accept our inner rages and hates, find their sources, express them (and other core emotions) in appropriate places, and watch them dissipate as a result. This may be difficult, but it is far less time-consuming than a lifelong struggle to “manage” these difficult emotions. Hate is just a feeling. If its origins are fully explored, it will go away.
Emotional Intelligence Test
Other EQ tests seem not to talk much about the emotions themselves. This quiz does. What about Love in relationship? Hate in relationship? Grief? Terror? Anger? Jealousy? Shame? Something else?
This EQ test will show you where your emotional responses (& those of many in this culture) might be stuck and need work (via self-help or therapy). Unlike an IQ test, there is no scoring of this EQ test that compares you with others.
The below questions were selected because each would be answered in a less-than-optimum way by millions of us.
Note: this quiz is thought-provoking (and offensive to some).
1. T F … I do not get angry when verbally attacked.
2. T F … I am comfortable with others’ grief, even those in close relationship to me.
3. T F … I get angry or fearful when physically threatened.
4. T F … I am able to decide to love another and then do so.
5. T F … I am comfortable with others’ anger and hate.
6. T F … I worry regularly in some circumstances.
7. T F … At times and in some circumstances I feel shame.
8. T F … My anger keeps coming back in certain situations or with specific people.
9. T F … For some things I have done in the past, I feel guilty.
10. T F … At times I feel degraded and humiliated.
11. T F … Regularly I get anxious about some situations.
12. T F … Sadness keeps recurring for me over specific issues.
13. T F … Jealousy is sometimes a part of my life.
14. T F … I get blue or depressed regularly.
15. T F … In my life is stress that never ends.
16. T F … I am comfortable hugging other adults of either sex.
17. T F … I regularly allow my own wracking sobs and tears.
18. T F … With a particular partner, I am able to express all of the following: emotional love, physical love, words of love and lusty sexual love.
19. T F … Once my sobs and tears have been released, I feel great.
20. T F … I am comfortable saying the words “I love you” to men, women and children in a feeling way.
Avoiding any emotion just leads to the continuing stress of living as if that emotion were a shark below poised to attack. Answers to the above questions, for the emotionally healthy person; questions one through five are true, questions six through fifteen are false, and questions sixteen through twenty are true.
Often the most important thing that can be gained from an EQ test is the idea that “I might be able to change my emotional responses.” You can! It may take considerable time and/or energy to change them, but often the first step is realizing that you can change them. The second step often is to accept that you want to do so.
Wanting to change and manage your anger will pull you in the directions you need to go. Your growth process may be a 1000 step process, so patience and perseverance may be necessary.