Posts Tagged ‘anger’

I Don’t Do Ugly

She’s strikingly beautiful: tall, large oval-shaped eyes, full lips, dark flowing hair. Her exotic look could land her on the cover of any fashion magazine. Her personality perfectly suits her ample frame. She’s outgoing and bubbly, intense and opinionated and I’ve enjoyed the two years she’s spend in my anger management group. She is well-known for her strong opinions and feelings. Last week was no exception.
That evening she noticed voter application forms on the table in the front of the room and strongly urged the others to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election. “We can’t let that other guy get into office,” she exclaimed. “He’s a liar!”
There are two topics I never discuss in public: religion and politics. People are fiercely passionate about both and can easily cross the line from debate to defamation. It’s disheartening enough to see our political leaders vilify each other. I do not need to engage in similar communications. I don’t do ugly.
But this discussion was already in progress. I encouraged the women present to learn as much as they could about each candidate and vote wisely in Nov. “Don’t simply watch one channel or read one newspaper. Research every source of information. Weigh the reliability of each source. Then choose who you feel would best serve our country.” Pretty fair and objective advice, I thought.
The woman continued: “Don’t vote for Romney. He can’t be trusted! He’s against women and will take away our rights!” I inquired as to specifically what she was referring to and where she got her information from. She refused to respond but simply repeated her accusations with more fervor, adding additional allegations. I disputed several of her claims and sited my trusted sources. Her voice rose as she refused to allow me to complete a sentence. As much as I requested she show me respect and refrain from interrupting, the situation only escalated. When I suggested that her information (matters of public record, not simply my opinion) was incorrect, she blew me off, at times laughing in my face. “That’s ridiculous!” she screamed. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”
I reminded her, in vain, of my original point – to educate ourselves on the issues, research all sources, and vote intelligently. I purposefully did not endorse either candidate at this time, respecting each woman’s right to decide for herself. However, she continued her diatribe for the next hour.
There were significant mistakes each of us made that accounted for the debacle of our discussion. First, having initially stated my position it would have been wiser for me to let it go. Instead, I repeated myself several times to someone who clearly was not interested in what I had to say. Second, I failed to set and enforce boundaries. At the first sign of disrespect, I should have changed the course of the discussion. I failed to do so.
On her part, she entered this dialog with a closed mind. Unwilling to listen to an opposing position, she let her ego rule her behavior. Those who interrupt are fearful of being exposed to new ideas which may challenge their current beliefs. Her sarcastic laughter was incredibly disrespectful and meant to intimidate and humiliate me (it did neither). Next, she made statements she was unable to support with examples or documentation, a clear indication she had no real knowledge of the subject. This made her appear ignorant and desperate.
Clearly, we both made our share of mistakes. A spirited debate can be stimulating and educational. This failed on all accounts. My advice? Before opening your mouth, make sure your mind, ears, and heart are as well. Otherwise, it can get ugly.

Author, The Secret Side of Anger, The Great Truth

The Effects of Bullying

My special guest on today’s show, Hannah Spivey, shared her painful story of being bullied as a child, the impact it had on her, and her journey towards healing.

A bully is defined as anyone who treats another in a cruel or abusive way. For those who have been the target, the pain goes deep, the scars can last a lifetime. Bullying extends far beyond words – it is the hurtful way we treat one another. Sneaky and covert, it sometimes appears in the form of the silent treatment, insults, criticisms, ridicule, rumors or sarcasm. It is an insidious form of degradation that shreds one’s self-esteem and impacts every aspect of their lives. In extreme cases, individuals have committed suicide as the only perceived means of escape.

Bullying is not limited to children in the schoolyard. Left untreated, it remains active in the behaviors of grown adults, those seeking power and control over another. It is imperative that we each examine our own behavior to determine if, in fact, any of it qualifies as intimidating. Healing our issues of low self-esteem (a common denominator in all bullies), learning to be more compassionate, accepting, and respectful of others enables us to avoid inflicting suffering on others.

If we are being targeting by one who is intimidating, threatening, hurtful or disrespectful in any way, we need to either remove ourselves from their presence or set and enforce some strong boundaries. Either way, we must remind ourselves that their bad behavior is a reflection of their personal issues. It in no way diminishes us or our self-worth. Do not take what they say or do personally. Hannah recommended reaching out to someone you know and trust. Let them know what is happening and seek professional help if necessary. Do not keep your feelings inside.

She also suggested prayer. I have always found prayer to be a powerful tool to heal present and past wounds. This also involves forgiving the one who treated us shamefully. Forgiveness* does not lessen the seriousness of the offense. Nor does it relieve the offender from having to take ownership for their behavior and possibly face the consequences. It means that I choose to move beyond the incident, understanding that sometimes people do bad things.

One is not powerless against acts of maltreatment. We can remove ourselves from unsafe conditions, assert ourselves and set boundaries when necessary, and definitely forgive the offender. It is the only way to restore inner peace.

Pick up a copy of Hannah Spivey’s book, Ebony, the Beloved on Follow her on Facebook at Hannah Bossladywriter Spivey

*Visit for a powerful message on forgiveness.

If your school or workplace needs a program on bullying, visit to schedule a free consultation. We can help.

The Nature of Nature (Excerpt from The Great Truth)

I have two acres of beautifully landscaped property with colorful gardens. In each, I’ve planted a wide array of flora: roses, tulips, chrysanthemums, geraniums, daisies, sweet Williams, peonies, and others whose names elude me. One day, while preparing dinner in the kitchen, I heard voices outside. I wasn’t expecting company or the UPS guy so I ventured outside to see who was there. No one was visible yet the voices continued. I followed them around to the front of my house. Still, no one. I stood for a moment wondering if perhaps I needed medication for those voices in my head when I realized the sounds were emanating from below. I looked down – they were coming from my garden.

“What the heck is wrong with you? Are you lazy or just stupid? Here it is June and I’m already in full bloom and you’ve barely stuck your head out of the ground. Loser!” I couldn’t believe what was happening! My garden was at war with itself! I stood in disbelief as the roses and geraniums argued, criticizing one another and calling each other vile names. I was horrified!

“What in the world is going on here?” I questioned. What was supposed to be a diverse assortment of vibrant plant life turned into a battle ground of floral egos. “Rose” explained that while she was in full bloom, her lazy cohorts were dilly-dallying and not taking this whole garden thing seriously. “The growing season doesn’t last forever, you know,” she remarked to them sarcastically.

“Hold on a minute”, I said. “It’s not up to you to determine how and when each flower should grow. The growing conditions must be ideal for each of you and everyone has a unique set of criteria. You, my friend, do not get to dictate the growth patterns of Daisy, William or any of the others. Your role is to be the best you and leave the rest up to Nature. One does not demand flowers bloom. They must be nurtured, supported, and appreciated at each stage of their growth.”

Ok, I must confess. This didn’t actually happen and no, I don’t hear voices (at least not from my garden). But I wanted to illustrate an important point. Wouldn’t it be completely absurd if, in fact, nature behaved in such a childish and arrogant manner? We all know that everything in nature has a time and place and one cannot and must not force her to conform to our expectations.

Nature expects nothing. It does not demand, reprimand or threaten. Man, considered the highest form of life on the planet is the only one who violates this principle. When we impose demands on one another to be who we want them to be or do what we want when we want, we create misery and suffering for all.
Imagine, for a moment, what life would look like if we replaced our limited mindset with a more “natural” one and allowed one other to just be?

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