Posts Tagged ‘#angerhealing’

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
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WHEN LYING IS THE BETTER OPTION

Currently there is a commercial on TV where a cheerful woman visits her new neighbor with a homemade pie. She states that she has actually come by not to simply welcome the woman into the neighborhood but to see if in fact she might be weird in some way. The smiling neighbor inquires as to whether she would like to come in and snoop around to see what her new house looks like. The narrator poses the questions, “Wouldn’t it be great if we all said exactly what was on our mind?” While many would agree that honesty is the best policy sometimes lying can be a better alternative.
I am a true believer in honesty and truth. I try to always live my life by these tenets although I’m certain that there are times when I fall horribly short. Like most wives (and husbands), there are times when I want to spare my husband’s feelings and have not always been completely honest with him. When he puts his heart into purchasing a gift for me that he’s excited about or when he builds me something or makes an upgrade to our home, I don’t have the heart to tell him that what he did was not exactly what I was hoping for because I know it would hurt him. And his feelings matter more to me in that moment than honesty. I know he does the same for me as well.

Let me add, too, that in cases of wanting to preserve someone’s feelings, I have mixed thoughts about that. By not being truthful (in a polite and respectful way, of course) we deny the other party the opportunity to grow. When we are able to listen objectively to what others have to say to or about us, we can learn a lot about ourselves that allow for personal improvement. In circumstances such as these, one needs to evaluate each one individually and discern which approach would be most beneficial to the other party.

A child who is too young to fully embrace the severity of their actions may need to be shielded from the blatant truth. Years ago, a friend confided in me that her young child had inadvertently given their family pet a toxic substance to eat, causing the eventual death of the pet. There was no malice on the part of the child, who was very attached to the pet, and due to his highly sensitive personality, the parents decided to spare the child any more angst and possible guilt. In this instance, not being truthful was an act of love and protection.

There are other times when honesty can hurt. People are often blunt and callous in presenting their version of the truth or in making comments showing no regard for the feelings of the other person. And while none of us actually has the ability to hurt another person’s feelings (all feelings are a personal choice derived from our thought process), there are times when even the most prepared are damaged by another person’s comments. Telling someone that they are obnoxious and that no one, including yourself, likes them may be liberating for you to express but is highly insensitive and offensive as well. Rewording it using more thoughtful vernacular or refraining from offering any commentary at all can be an act of consideration for the other person’s feelings.

When you know that in stating truthfully what’s on your mind that it will only agitate the other party who in turn will to seek to retaliate against you, wisdom dictates that silence may be a safer option. Sometimes, keeping the peace in matters that have little significance has far greater benefits than candor.

When a police officer pulls you over for a broken tail light and writes you a ticket, you may become irate but it does not behoove you to speak your mind by telling him/her that they ought to be out catching real criminals rather than wasting your tax dollars stopping law abiding citizens such as yourself. Remaining silent or polite can prevent you from causing further distress to yourself in challenging the officer.
If someone points a gun at you with the intent to cause you bodily harm, that is not be the optimum time to call them a punk. In extreme cases, voicing your truthful opinion could cost you your life. Sometimes silence saves.

I also don’t need to tell my husband every time I’m angry with him or those times when I feel disappointed or disillusioned in our relationship. Many of these issues are based on my own perceptions or expectations and most can be resolved within myself to the extent that they are no longer a problem for me. In other cases, I can make the necessary changes in our interactions that alleviate the unhappiness and improve the quality of our marriage. This is a smart strategy that long-term married couples have mastered.

If I’m angry with my boss, a verbal commentary can not only damage our relationship but can create an uncomfortable work environment as well. In some cases, people are spiteful and expressing the truth can exacerbate the situation making matters worse. Perhaps one is willing to take that chance; in other circumstances the stakes may be too high and the individual is not willing to potentially risk losing their job.

Remember when you were a child and your grandmother gave you that awful gift that you absolutely hated? Mom taught you to be polite and thank her. She never encouraged you to be truthful and tell her you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing such an ugly sweater. The intent was to be grateful and appreciative of the loving act of an elderly woman and to preserve her feelings. This is compassion and respect at its finest.

Being bluntly honest with another can oftentimes cause them great distress or worry. A husband who faces being laid off from work does not want to add any unnecessary stress to his family so he bends the truth. A child, off to college for the first time, rarely tells their parents everything that occurs on campus. Wanting to ease their parents concerns, they downplay or omit certain events knowing that the parents would only worry and feel helpless in protecting their child. (I’m not recommending this practice in issues of a serious nature.)
When you want to threaten to cause harm to someone or to their property, even if there is no intent to follow through or as a ploy to get them to comply to your demands (manipulation) this can be considered a terroristic threat and possible cause for legal action. It might be best to rethink your comments.

We all have family members who say or do things we do not like. Being angry with them is a normal part of being a family yet it is not imperative that I mention every infraction to them. Making comments when you are angry or upset is a recipe for disaster. Hurtful words cannot be retracted and the damage they cause can last a long time. Sometimes venting with a friend or other family member helps us to release the anger in a safe environment. Once able to process and heal it, the issue has been resolved and the relationship preserved. (Refer to the SWaT Strategy in The Secret Side of Anger)
When my dad developed Alzheimer’s, he often spoke in nonsensical terms. He would recall things that never happened or insist that he wanted things to be done a certain way that were either not possible or not for his own good. Many times, in order to keep him calm, we placated him by agreeing to his demands. Since his disease prevented him from recalling his own requests, we could easily proceed with the necessary actions that benefited him the most. Being honest with those who are not capable of fully comprehending can be frustrating, futile, and distressing for all parties. Appeasement with good intent for all can be a better alternative for everyone.

Keep in mind that I am in favor of being honest with others and expressing my concerns so that issues can be resolved whenever necessary. And that is the key: whenever necessary. It is not always imperative to be truthful with others and in some instances can cause more harm or distress or may simply be unfair to the innocent party. Is it acceptable to express your anger towards telemarketers who disrupt your privacy? Are they not simply trying to earn a living as are you? Yet I know of no one who does not find their practices intrusive and would welcome the opportunity to tell them how they really feel.

Imagine a teacher, frustrated with a student, who wants to shout “What in the world is wrong with you? Are you stupid?” They know that it is not only unprofessional but it may severely hurt or embarrass the child. So they refrain their question, “Are you having difficulty understanding what I’m saying? Is there a better way for me to present this to you?” Swallowing their true feelings protects not only the child but the integrity of their reputation and job.

Consider a father who leaves his young children because he has no interest in being a parent to them. How would it benefit the children to be told the truth? At that age, and perhaps even when they are older, the pain of feeling not wanted or not worthy is excruciating. This can cause severe emotional damage as well as damage to their self-esteem, causing unforeseen and long term consequences that ripple throughout their lives. A kinder more protective approach would be a distorted version of the truth. “You father had some personal issues that prevent him from being in your life at this time” or perhaps “Right now he’s not prepared to be a parent.” On some level, this can protect the child to a certain degree from unnecessary and damaging pain. Remember, one of the functions of love is that it protects.

There is also another form of lying that is acceptable and that is playful lying. Telling children that Santa Clause is real, that the tooth fairy exists, and that the Easter bunny is the one delivering colored eggs on Easter are all harmless and endearing beliefs that add enjoyment and a sense of whimsy to a child’s life. Discovering the truth as they get older has not shown to prove detrimental to any child. For many, their realization of the truth evolves naturally with maturity and while there might be some disappointment, most seem ready to release the myth and embrace reality.
Remember, too, that silence can be a lie of omission. One need not directly relay a falsehood but in their silence there can be an absence of truth.

When lying may be the better option:

When it protects the feelings of the other person or prevents them from unnecessary worry; to keep oneself safe in a dangerous situation; to prevent causing any unnecessary duress that could have unexpected consequences for yourself or others; when you need time to reword your version of truth to be more respectful; if silence will preserve an important relationship without causing unforeseen damage at a later date for you or the other party; when remaining silent allows you to work through the issue and resolve it within yourself so that it is not longer a problem for you; when you are at risk for the other person seeking to retaliate against you causing you harm or hardship; when your very life is at risk (remember, in some cases, silence saves); when your statements are threats; when you’re angry and blowing off steam; when lying is whimsical and playful and adds an element of childlike joy.

When it’s not smart to lie:

First and foremost, it is never beneficial to lie to yourself. Total honesty is absolutely essential for your well-being, personal growth, healthy relationships, success, and overall happiness in life. “Denial is not a river in Egypt. It is a black abyss of fear that keeps us imprisoned in false truths and obstructs our chances of achieving personal greatness.” ~Janet Pfeiffer ,United Nations, Oct. 2004 One must be brutally honest in order to be the best version of themselves possible.

Never lie to avoid taking responsibility for your actions and the consequences that accompany it. Grow up and face up.
Never lie to blame another, to get them in trouble, to damage their reputation, or to cause them any kind of harm.
Never relay false information to make yourself look good, to build status, or deceive others about who you really are and/or what you have accomplished or concerning your motive and intent behind an action.
Never lie or exaggerate in order to manipulate others so that they will comply with what you want.
As for lies of omission, remember that silence can indicate an absence of truth. Not coming forth with information that can clear an innocent person unjustly accused or convicted of committing a crime is a lie of omission – allowing a deception to continue as truth. This is morally reprehensible.

Again, let me reiterate that I am a seeker and practitioner of truth yet I do recognize the value in withholding complete honesty in certain situations. Each individual must follow their moral guidelines and assess each situation independently in order to make the best possible decision. Remember, that it is not only the actions that hold merit but also the motive and intent behind them that matters. Keep your heart pure and let kindness be your guide. In that regard you will make righteous choices.

Q “Just because you have a thought does not mean you need to express it nor does it mean you have a right to as well.”
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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
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