Posts Tagged ‘aggressiveanger’

EXPOSING COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ANGER

I’ve been presenting seminars on understanding and healing anger for 25 years and it never ceases to amaze me how much misinformation is circulating about one of life’s most powerful emotions. Lack of accurate facts and techniques can have serious repercussions in every aspect of life from relationships to health to joy and happiness. Consider the following myths and truths:

Myth #1. It’s wrong to get angry. Anger is a bad emotion.

Truth: In truth, all emotions are neutral and only have the value we assign them. Each one serves a necessary purpose as they act as messengers that provide great insight into the self: what matters to us vs what’s unimportant; where our values lie and what things violate them; what our expectations and judgments are concerning others, ourselves, and the world in general; what our personal issues are (in need of healing) which are currently causing us distress and trigger anger, jealousy, fear, etc.

Humans are hardwired to feel a wide variety of emotions which is a valuable asset. Once we are able to decipher the message and purpose of the feeling, we can use it to better understand ourselves, work on our personal issues and find peace with them, motivate us to make positive changes within ourselves and in our relationships or our environment.

Anger itself is neither wrong nor bad. Again, it’s a powerful messenger that alerts us to the fact that something in our life needs our attention to correct. It is the way in which we process it, express it, and use it that determines if it’s going to be a positive or negative force in our lives and in the lives of those affected. Anger can cause serious damage or allow for personal growth.

Myth #2. When you feel angry, it’s best to let it out and get it off your chest.

Truth: This is a double-edged sword. While suppressing or denying anger can prove detrimental to the one experiencing it (and ultimately to the relationship since those involved are not being honest with one another), doing so at the height of the emotion can be extremely risky. First let me state that it is not always necessary to express how you feel in that precise moment. Many issues can be resolved internally without ever verbalizing one’s displeasure. When I am angry, I need to first ask myself “Why do I allow this to bother me?” Very often, once I am able to answer that question I realize that it is my own perception, judgment or personal issues that need to be addressed. In truth, there may be nothing wrong or offensive about the other person’s behavior at all.

Sometimes, expressing your displeasure can hurt the other person’s feelings, cause the situation to escalate, give the appearance that you are unreasonable or hostile (if your anger is out of control), lead to embarrassment or regret, damage relationships, and more. People respond to various situations in one of two ways: either from an intellectual perspective or an emotional one. When operating from an intellectual mind, one collects all relevant data, processes it, and comes to a rational conclusion. When expressing themselves they are typically more calm and focused, offering logical, well thought out comments. Conversely, when one is highly emotional, they rarely act or speak logically. Emotions are powerful tools that cloud rational judgment and offer irrational statements, assumption, conclusions, and demands. It is best to practice the SWaT Strategy (from The Secret Side of Anger) giving yourself the necessary time to calm down, rethink the issue, and respond intelligently and fairly.

So the answer is both yes and no. There are times when it is perfectly acceptable and advantageous to let the other party know that you are upset with them or with what has transpired. Sharing feelings invites open dialogue that can clear the air, gain deeper insights, and strengthen relationships. In other circumstances, it is best to remain silent, giving oneself adequate time to process the event, draw a reasonable conclusion, find peace with it and let it go without revealing one’s initial displeasure.

Myth #3. You can’t help the way you feel.

Truth: Believing that one has no control over how they feel is one of the most dangerous and self-destructive beliefs one can have. In essence, they relinquish their authentic power over to others; they are at the mercy of how others treat them and their reaction to such. “You make me mad. You hurt my feelings. You embarrassed me.” They believe themselves to be powerless (the very definition of anger) thus putting themselves in the role of being a victim: helpless and without power. That is a terrifying place to be as others now have control over your feelings and life.

Anger, as are all emotions, is a choice. All emotions originate in the mind with a thought. I choose my thoughts and therefore choose the corresponding emotion. Thoughts are the single most powerful tool we have. Every decision ever made began with a thought. No one and nothing can control one’s mind. Someone may suggest that I think a certain way, let’s say that I should dislike a family member whom they despise. They may offer all sorts of reasons as to why I should hate them but ultimately I chose what I believe or disbelieve about the individual and those thoughts will ultimately dictate how I feel about them.

When my best friend fails to return my call after a week’s time, I can tell myself she’s being rude or consider that she might have simply forgotten. I decide if I want to be upset about a situation or just let it be. One evokes anger, the other compassion. Either way – my choice.

Myth #4. Other people/things make you angry.

Truth: People or events (outside stimuli) are triggers, not causes. Whenever we experience an event (something occurs, someone says/does something that does not meet our criteria for what we believe should happen) we become agitated. Pay careful attention to the expectations and demands you place on yourself and those around you. Unrealistic or unfair expectations are a leading cause of anger. We demand far too much from ourselves, (“I should be doing more/should be able to handle this”), from others (“He’s an adult. He needs to be more responsible.”), or from the world “(“If I work hard, I’ll be successful.”) Life and others will not always conform to our demands. When we experience disappointment, disillusionment, become frustrated or hurt we will create feelings of anger as we feel let down by others or the world.

Keep in mind that people are under no obligation to conform to our demands nor am we here to conform to theirs. Each of us has a God-given right to live life as best we can, keeping in mind that no one has a right to cause harm to another in any way. Remember too that life owes us nothing, therefore we have no right to expect anything other than what we create on our own.

Therefore it is imperative the consider that a simple readjustment of one’s expectations to something more reasonable and realistic for the situation alleviates any potential anger from manifesting. Pay careful attention to the thoughts you entertain concerning the event or individual you are engaging with. Those outside stimuli are only triggers; your anger arises from your thought process.

Myth #5. Anger is hereditary. If you have a bad temper you can’t help it – it’s in your genes.

Truth: Anger is a learned behavior. Claiming that it is inherited is an avoidance tactic – a way to circumvent taking responsibility for one’s attitude and subsequent behaviors and consequences. Children may grow up in a toxic and violent family and see anger as a normal way of life. But what is learned can be unlearned as well.

Under the right conditions, anyone can control their anger if necessary. If the consequences are potentially high enough (perhaps one risks getting fired for an explosive outburst at work) that person could contain their feelings until they were in a safer environment where the dangers of expressing it are far less. A bad temper is typically the result of one being overly sensitive and taking personal offense to minor infractions. Or it can arise from feelings of fear: the need to control in order to keep oneself safe and happy. All anger can be healed with the proper knowledge, tools, and commitment.

Myth #6. People with anger issues yell, scream, throw things, hit, punch, etc. Those who don’t react with aggression don’t have a problem with anger.
Truth: Not so. One is simply more apparent than the other. Many people are afraid to openly express how they feel and will keep their anger bottled up inside. This can lead to depression, health issues, relationship problems, addictions, somatizing (inflicting harm upon oneself such as self-mutilation or self-sabotage), self-loathing, and more. Others resort to sarcasm, the silent treatment or other covert behaviors. And still others are in denial of their anger believing that it is wrong and/or that they will be judged because of it. Either way, suppressing anger can have potentially deadly consequences.

It is critical to identify suppressed or denied anger within oneself. Those who are fearful of speaking up put themselves at risk for being used, abused, overlooked, taken advantage of and more. Their relationships lack truth and candor and will undoubtedly suffer the consequences. Sadly, undefined anger interferes with one’s ability to experience authentic happiness and joy in life. On every level, it can have devastating consequences.
Anger is a normal, healthy, useful, and necessary emotion. Acknowledge it when it arises, get to the root* of what is bothering you, heal those issues, and let the anger go. Anger appropriately utilized can yield positive benefits for you and those around you. Choose your emotions wisely for they direct the entire course of your life.

Q: Proverbs 15: “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.”

*Learn more about the 3 root causes in The Secret Side of Anger
To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth visit http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html
Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://www.iheart.com/talk/show/53-Anger-911-Radio/
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

WHAT TO DO WHEN CONFLICT RESOLUTION FAILS

Wouldn’t life be wonderful if every time we disagreed with someone we could find a perfect solution that would satisfy each party and put the issue to rest once and for all? So often when a conflict arises, we spend an enormous amount of time and energy debating it, trying to prove our position, pointing out to the other person how and why their stance is wrong, and trying earnestly to convince them to see things and do things our way. In the event that we are unsuccessful, we may resort to simply imposing our way on them by demanding that things be done our way, or threatening that if we don’t get what we’re seeking there will be serious consequences for their non-compliance. If they refuse to conform and we are left without the resolution we were seeking, it’s easy to become engulfed in fear (that we will not be ok with our current set of circumstances), anger (that we did not get what we were seeking), bitterness (that their way prevailed over ours), and resentment (that we are being forced to accept something we are not happy with). Any and all of these emotions will poison our lives and prohibit us from experiencing happiness and success. Additionally, if suppressed or prolonged, they can impact our physical health, our emotional well-being, and our relationships. But even the most skilled debaters sometimes find themselves in a situation where there is simply no meeting of the minds. What can one do under these circumstances?

Conflict is simply the presence of a disagreement. It is actually a normal and healthy part of every relationship. On so many levels it adds depth and challenges that encourage personal and relationship growth. It only becomes problematic when hostility is introduced and stubbornness prevails. In the event one finds themselves in a stalemate, there is still a viable solution. And that is to resolve the conflict within yourself.

Real conflict is internal. It is fueled by the need to gain control over another person or situation; to force our beliefs and ways on others; to impose our authority on the other person; to maintain our appearance in the presence of our peers; to create a sense of superiority over others; to “win” or emerge victorious. Actual resolution has little to do with the specific matter in dispute and more with the need to satisfy one’s ego. Ego always needs to feel important, superior, and to establish dominance over the other. Ego is fueled by fear, the need to protect one’s self from a perceived harm or injustice. Let go of the fear, knowing you will be fine regardless of the outcome, and one can easily compromise or fully acquiesce without anxiety, anger or resentment.

It is critically important to ask yourself, “Why is this situation a problem for me? What within me needs to be resolved or healed in order for this not to bother me? How can I find a way to live comfortably with my new set of circumstances?” These are critical questions that will give you greater insight into yourself, your attitude, issues, and beliefs. Once identified and healed, the situation at hand is no longer a problem and can either be easily rectified or allowed to remain as is.

Ultimately the only way to fully resolve any conflict, especially those in which a situation remains status quo or devolves into something less than what we hoped for, is to find peace with it within ourselves. We can do this by realizing that in life, not everything progresses the way we had desired nor should it. To receive everything we expect out of life is akin to fulfilling a young child’s every whim. They do not learn how to accept that which they cannot or should not change, thus missing out on a critical life lesson of acceptance. They also fail to learn how to compromise or acquiesce to another so that the other party may feel satisfied. In doing so, one moves beyond selfishness to a place of generosity and concern for the other person. From a practical as well as spiritual perspective, this allows for enormous personal and spiritual growth and pride in one’s self. One also has the opportunity to learn resiliency and how to bounce back from any disappointment.

It is also critical to find the value in the experience, find something positive that can enrich your life. Wanting to splurge on an expensive vacation to Paris but consenting to my husband’s wish to visit his parents in Nevada for vacation can prove to be a worthwhile experience for me. Spending time with the in-laws gives them the opportunity to spend time with a son they love. It also affords me the opportunity to show them that I truly care about them and my husband and can ultimately strengthen our relationship as well as that with my spouse. And experiencing the beauty of Nevada can be an educational and glorious adventure. Where there is value there is no room for hostility.

Building the confidence that emerges from facing life’s unknowns is another benefit of unresolved conflicts. One discovers that regardless of what life hands you, you are fully qualified to not only survive your new found circumstances but to thrive and grow in them as well. Making the necessary accommodations enables one to challenge themselves to learn (acceptance and appreciation for what they had but no longer have or for what still remains or for what is new and potentially beneficial), as well as developing creative ways to so. Not having what they had hoped for also provides an opportunity to put everything into perspective. That which we thought to be so critically important sometimes is seen as less valuable when it is no longer an option for us.

Patience and determination are other valuable lessons we are being afforded when a dispute does not resolve as we had hoped. Perhaps this is not the right time for a resolution and we need to wait a bit longer before our circumstances change; maybe we are meant to try a new approach or to continue along the same path with greater focus and energy. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of time and perseverance that ultimately brings about the preferred results. One who does not receive a much needed and desired promotion at work can vow to use this as motivation to work harder, to stand out among their coworkers and get noticed by those in charge, or perhaps to branch out in another direction or even seek a new career.

Again, once an experience proves to be advantageous to you, it is difficult to remain at odds with the other party or to continue to argue over the situation. Letting things just be what they are or need to be at that moment is incredibly freeing. One need not expend precious time and energy on that which has relatively little value and can redirect those resources to that which has greater enjoyment and reward. Therefore, put forth a good effort in trying to resolve those conflicts that are truly significant and command a solution. For those of lesser value, simply allow them to remain as they are. Then work at addressing your internal distress, finding the necessary solutions that will ultimately afford you the inner peace and stillness you so deserve. Problem solved.

Q “The ability to accept those things that we cannot or should not change allows us to live in peaceful harmony with ourselves and the world.”

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

ROAD RAGE: A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH

Recently, I’ve been driving into NY City to do mediations for a large clothing manufacture on Madison Ave. I used to teach classes at the Learning Annex and some of my son’s doctor’s were in the city as well. However, it’s been awhile and as incomprehensible as it may sound, NY has become even more congested than I remember. Along with additional vehicles, bikers, pedestrians, city workers and delivery trucks comes added frustration, impatience, anger, and rage. Whether in the heart of Manhattan, one of its suburbs, or major highways or bridges, our roadways have become even more dangerous to traverse than in prior years. Along with excessive speed and distracted drivers, aggressive driving has become the norm. We have all witnessed or personally experienced road rage and some have even engaged in it. Regardless of your level of involvement, road rage poses a serious threat to everyone and has proven to be deadly as well.

Stats: According to AutoAdvantage.com the cities with the most number of aggressive drivers are Miami, NY City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Statistically young men are the most prone to road rage. A whopping 56% of men surveyed said they feel more rage on a daily basis verses only 44% of women and are more likely to act it out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of all accidents are caused by driver error and of those accidents, 33% are linked to behaviors assigned to road rage. In the1990’s AAA found that aggressive driving was linked to 218 deaths and shockingly that number has been rising by 7% each year. Half of all drivers subjected to another driver’s anger admitted to retaliating. Tragically, injury or death can occur even after the incident on the road is over. Drivers have been known to continue their anger even after the initial incident has concluded.

Triggers: the most frequent triggers of anger behind the wheel are being cut off, driving slow in the left lane, tailgating, flashing lights, rude gestures, stop and go traffic, failure to signal, careless/reckless driving such as speeding, weaving or frequent land changes, and excessive use of horn.
Be aware that if these incidences trigger anger in you, they will do the same to others drivers should you engage in them. Remember to be courteous to others as you would want them to be to you.

Causes: As with all anger or rage (intense anger), there are many triggers but only three root causes: hurt, fear, or frustration. Many who become enraged feel disrespected by those who engage in rude driving. This is actually an indication of being hurt. To disrespect means to devalue – one feels as though they are less important (in the eyes of the offender) than others are. Very often they feel targeted and personalize the other driver’s bad judgment. Keep in mind that their behaviors have nothing to do with you – behaviors are an expression of who the individual is and what their agenda is. Taking personal offense is the number one mistake people make that can convert any innocent incident into a more serious one.

Fear is another root cause of road rage: those drivers who cut us off or tailgate put us at risk for an accident and/or injury. Also, adults expect that those driving are mature and intelligent enough to know the rules of the road and obey them. When that is not forthcoming, people become frustrated that others haven’t or won’t learn responsible driving, are not capable, or that the system allows incompetent people to operate a motor vehicle.

Remember, too, that all emotions (anger and rage included) are not determined by the actual event but by how we choose to experience it (perception); what we say to ourselves about the situation; our thought process or internal voice. T~E~C~O Magic*: Thoughts, Emotion, Choice, Outcome. We choose our Thoughts which are the predecessors of our feelings or Emotions. Therefore, we choose how we feel about any given situation. Every Choice we make is determined by our Emotions: we act out what we feel. And every action (Choice) creates an Outcome or consequence. Therefore, in order to remain calm behind the wheel, one must continually monitor and choose their Thoughts. If someone is riding my bumper, I can say to myself, “This guy’s a jerk!” and instantly trigger rage. My rage then compels me to slow down my car to agitate him at which point he swerves to get around me, putting others and myself in jeopardy.

Or, I can say to myself, “Maybe he’s late for work and doesn’t want to lose his job.” In this instance, I’ll feel understanding and my reaction will be a compassionate one: I’ll move over to let him pass. Same incident but two drastically different outcomes, all determined by one thing only: my inner dialogue, or Thought process.

Tips if you’re the driver: ~Monitor your thoughts at all times. Remember that positive dialogue creates positive feelings such as understanding, calm, patience, etc. ~Before you react, ask yourself, “If I say/do _____, then _____ may happen. Is that smart, safe, logical, productive? Can I, as well as those I impact, live with the consequences of my actions for the remainder of their lives?” If the answer is uncertain or no, then refrain from proceeding. ~Choose an affirmative alternative. ~Change your perception (thoughts) about the other driver and/or the situation. ~Don’t personalize their behaviors. Remember, it’s never about you. Your actions are about you; theirs are about them. ~Always assume the best; give them the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe they didn’t see me when they cut in front of me.” ~Choose compassion, understanding, patience and forgiveness over rage. Ask yourself, “How many times have I been guilty of this same offense?” ~Always be courteous. ~Express gratitude “Thank God I was paying attention and didn’t hit him when he suddenly slammed on his brakes.” ~Avoid routes that trigger anger, such as high volume traffic, construction, etc. ~Practice deep breathing and/or sipping water while driving to maintain a sense of calm. ~Listen to motivational tapes or soothing music. ~Put post-it notes on your dashboard to serve as reminders to be a safe driver. ~View every driver, even those who are careless, as your mother, father, brother, sister, child or someone you deeply care about. You’ll be less inclined to disregard their safety.

Tips if you are the target: ~Don’t engage. ~Don’t make eye contact. ~Monitor your inner voice reminding yourself to keep calm and act responsibly. ~Remember your first priority is to keep yourself and your passengers safe (safety first). ~Remain focused on the road and driving safely. ~Take slow deep breaths. ~Recite a mantra or positive statement for focus. ~Do not return rude gestures. ~Do not stop your car, follow them, or cut them off. ~Do not roll down your window. ~Do not drive to or in a deserted area. ~Seek immediate help – dial 911 or drive to a well-lit/well-populated area, stay in your car and honk your horn to draw attention to yourself ~Drive to a police station or hospital for protection. ~Avoid! Avoid! Avoid! Immediately remove yourself from any potentially dangerous situation. Give angry drivers plenty of room. Let them pass if they want to. If someone cuts you off, slow down and let them. Do not speed up or obstruct their attempts. Never ever challenge them in any way shape or form. It could prove deadly.

R/D/C Method: Refuse, Diffuse, Choose
Refuse (to initiate or engage in dangerous driving); Diffuse (stop a bad situation from escalating using calming, responsible thoughts and actions); Choose safety over everything else. Make it your sole priority.

Final thoughts: Always choose safety first. Leave you ego locked in the trunk. This is neither the time nor place to become arrogant and self-righteous. As a responsible driver, we are all called upon to engage in safe, lawful driving habits, obey all laws, and extend courtesy to all those we encounter. It very well could be the deciding factor between life or death.

Remember: one bad choice can change your life forever! Smart actions save lives. DRIVE TO STAY ALIVE!

* TECO Magic, chapter 4 in The Secret Side of Anger

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+