Posts Tagged ‘healing’

PUSHED TOO FAR: WHEN PEOPLE SNAP

We are all too familiar with headline stories about people who are pushed to their limits and snap. Whether on the job, within their own families, or even children in school – everyone has their breaking point. In 2010, Omar Thorton, a 34-year old employee at the Hartford Beer Distributors in Manchester, CT, reportedly stole a truck. He was given the option of either being fired or resigning. He chose the latter. However, before being escorted out of the building, he pulled out a handgun and began firing. Two people were wounded, eight were dead including himself. Later on, his girlfriend revealed that he felt he had been a victim of racial harassment.

And none of us will ever forget the massacre at Columbine H.S. on April 20, 1999 executed by two students, Dylan Kliebold and Eric Harris. Well thought out, these boys claimed to have been victims of prolonged bullying. Their anger and rage manifest in a violent rampage that claimed the lives of 12 students and one teacher and injured 21 more.

Who’s to blame?

In each of these cases, the individuals blamed others for how they felt and subsequently their course of action. None took responsibility for their own feelings and behaviors. Blame renders one powerless and gives others the ability to control us. Feeling powerless in a situation we’re uncomfortable or unhappy with is the very definition of anger. We seek to regain control and an angry outburst will surely get the ball rolling. People pay attention. They will often concede in an effort to to calm us down, making us feel powerful in the moment. However, the consequences of our actions can prove devastating in the long run. Individuals fail to seek more appropriate means of correcting an unsatisfactory situation.

Why do people snap?

Everyone gets angry but not everyone allows their anger to turn into rage or go on a rampage. Most people can, in time, let go of what’s bothering them. Even for those who don’t, there is an unspoken rule that raging on others is simply not permissible either from a religious or cultural perspective. They may keep their anger bottled up inside them causing a host of other problems.
Anger is often the result of a person’s perception of an event regardless of the actual truth. If one believes they are the target of discrimination, they will subconsciously seek every incident which can be interpreted as such. Couple that with their inability or unwillingness to process their hurt or anger in a healthy way and the feelings are sure to escalate. Obsessing over the incident, holding on to negative feelings, and replaying it over and over again in one’s mind causes it to grow in intensity. Feelings of victimization, i.e. helplessness, powerlessness, and hopelessness that circumstances are never going to improve, feed the need for revenge in order to establish equity between the parties and to stop others from causing you pain. The image of victory over one’s circumstances becomes the driving force behind the violence.

For those who seek to better understand the purpose of the experience, rather than label themselves victims of injustice, they choose to view themselves as students of the experience, here to learn one of life’s valuable lessons. Every situation has the potential to teach an important lesson that will enrich one’s life. They are then able to replace anger with understanding and acceptance. (Let me state here that this in no way implies that one must allow others to continue to mistreat them. Setting and enforcing fair and reasonable boundaries in relationships are crucial to establishing healthy interactions and are most effective if established from the get go.)

In my book, The Secret Side of Anger, I clearly illustrate how anger is the direct result of unmet needs and expectations. We all have specific needs and expect things to be a certain way: to be heard, understood or treated fairly. We all need sleep, food, opportunity, companionship, love. We expect to be treated with respect, to be appreciated for our efforts, and rewarded for our accomplishments. When we believe, whether factual or imagined, that our expectations are not being met, we become agitated, irate, hurt, frustrated, or angry. Each of these, if left unaddressed, can escalate and eventually manifest in the form of destructive behaviors.

Thorton reportedly told his supervisors about the harassment and claimed nothing was done to stop it. Was he, in fact, harassed? Did the authorities legitimately fail to protect him, or was it a matter of his own perception rather than fact? Others reported that he had been accused of stealing items off of the trucks along with other performance issues. Thorton’s uncle reported to CNN that he had been pushed to the limit stating that he killed “the five racists that were bothering me”. Fact or perception? Either way, he reached his breaking point.

Prevention:

If you’re being pushed:
It’s imperative that you don’t take personal offense to what others are doing/saying. Their behavior reflects who they are; it is never about you.
Work on building your self esteem. Those who truly admire themselves are less impacted by what others think of them.
Build your self-confidence as well. Know that you are capable of handling and surviving every experience that enters your life.
Learn to identify hurtful or disrespectful behaviors in others, stand up and speak up for yourself. Set strong and reasonable boundaries if necessary.
Remove yourself from those who are causing you harm, emotionally or otherwise. Reach out to others for their support and help if necessary.
Develop positive people skills: learn to interact with others, to be sociable, and develop a strong network of friends and/or a support system.
When anger arises, don’t become stuck on what’s bothering you. Identify the issue then seek all possible solutions to your situation.
Be proactive. Understanding that unfairness, such as prejudice, exists allows one to decide how they will handle themselves when confronted with it. (Similar to inclement weather, the better prepared one is the less likely they will be adversely effected when the situation presents itself.) Either take action to correct it, allow it to roll of your back when it does occur, or remove yourself from it. Each option allows you to make the decision that is in your best interest. It restores your personal power and alleviates feelings of victimization.

If you’re the pusher:
Be more compassionate; treat others with kindness, dignity and respect, even those you don’t care for.
Be inclusive – invite others to be a part of your life on some level; show concern for who they are, what matters to them, how they feel.
Always find something positive to say to the other party – be complimentary and appreciative of who they are.

Intervention:

If you’re the observer:
Reach out to offer assistance and/or resources to those you are concerned about. Intervene as long as there is no risk to you and you are qualified to do so. Ask questions to determine if there is a potential risk. Inquire if you can be of any assistance. Seek professional help if warranted. Alert the family, close friends, coworkers, supervisors if appropriate. This is not about becoming hysterical or spreading damaging rumors or for the purpose of getting someone in trouble. It is solely for the purpose of preventing a possible tragedy from occurring and getting necessary help for one in need. This must be carried out in a respectful manner as an act of concern for the well-being and safety of all parties.
Summary:

The way we treat one another in today’s world can be described as nothing short of inhumane. Remember that we are all struggling with personal issues and behavior is a reflection of what those issues are. Never define a person by how they act. Intrinsically we are all perfect creations of God; our very nature is love but the hurt, loneliness, frustration, etc that we wrestle with masks our authentic nature. Be aware; be helpful; be kind – always. That’s how we prevent unnecessary tragedies from occurring and how we begin to heal our world.

Q: “Every action is either an expression of love or a cry for love. Recognize the cries of others and offer them the cure.”

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+

10 WAYS TO STOP PEOPLE FROM ANNOYING YOU

They’re like mosquitoes on a hot summer night – those irritating and annoying people. They can be found anywhere from our families or coworkers to drivers on the roadways to complete strangers we encounter while on vacation. Their quirky behaviors and annoying habits can ruin our day. Other than blow up, walk away, or simply endure their lack of sensitivity towards others, we often feel powerless to do anything about it. Uncle Joe who thinks he knows everything, a spouse who is chronically late for even the most important events, people who interrupt or bite their nails or cannot complete a sentence without saying “um” a gazillion times – augh! They drive us crazy!

Being annoyed is the mildest form of anger and subsequently takes the least amount of effort to address. If left unresolved it can easily progress to anger, then aggression (the 3 A’s of Anger, as I refer to them – annoyed, angry, aggressive), each becoming more intense in nature. What is it about those people that make them so irritating and perhaps more importantly, what can we do to get them to stop? Actually, the problem isn’t with them at all. Feeling annoyed is a state of mind, an emotion, and all emotions originate in our thoughts. While their actions may be less than what we consider ideal, we choose how we interpret them, feel about them, as well as how we react.

There are several reasons why other people’s behaviors bother us, such as when they behave in ways that are different than ours or what we deem to be normal or appropriate. It’s easy to place labels and judgments on others and the moment we do so we experience feelings about them. We compare their behavior to our own: “I would never do that” or to others: “No one else behaves that way.” And since our behavior is acceptable to us then the logical conclusion is that there must be something inherently wrong with theirs. We view their actions as flawed.

When others don’t live up to our expectations of what we believe they should or should not be doing or who they should or should not be, we feel disappointed, uncomfortable, or concerned about their well-being or perhaps about our own welfare within the context of the relationship. Opposing belief systems, as well as behaviors, lend cause for discomfort and concern. A law firm comprised of three generations of attorneys finds a rebel grandchild who chooses to start a rock band instead of continuing a long-established family tradition. The older generation cannot comprehend why anyone in their right mind would reject a foolproof career choice for one of little certainty. They cannot discuss any aspect of it without becoming agitated and annoyed.

In some instances, people will try to manipulate the other party into changing their ways with such statements as “Why can’t you be more like your sister/me/everyone else?” Or “There’s something wrong with people who act the way you do. You need to get some help.” Other times they may ban certain subjects from discussion or may even choose to disengage with the bothersome individual.
Humans, by their very nature, do not feel comfortable with those who are different. We tend to date the same kinds of people and socialize with those we share common interests with. When someone enters our world who has even the slightest quirkiness we are quick to criticize. We feel uncomfortable, out of our element, and want them to conform to our standards in order that we may feel at ease. Keep in mind, however, that annoying people are not the problem. Problems only exist in the mind. They do not view themselves nor their beliefs or behaviors as problematic. They are at peace with them. It is only the outsider, you or I, that labels it a problem. Therefore, the problem is not them but with us. You and I have the problem and likewise are the only ones who can institute a solution. Keep in mind, too, that unless an attitude or behavior is illegal, immoral, or a threat to my health or well-being, I have no right to ask or expect anyone to change anything about themselves. Just as I expect others to accept me as I am, so must I be willing to do the same first.

So how then do you stop someone from annoying you? Below are some suggestions in no particular order:
1. Remember that being annoyed is a personal choice. No one can make you feel anything. All emotions originate in the mind. Change your perception (thoughts) about them and the feelings will change accordingly.

2. Remove all expectations of how people should be or act. Never should on anyone. People are not here to live up to your expectations. Respect them enough to give them the freedom to be who they are.

3. Life is meant to unfold naturally. You can force a rose to bloom in a greenhouse in winter but it will not survive the harsh conditions of its natural environment. So it is with people: each has to grow and bloom in their own time and way. Let go and let God. It’s all in His hands.

4. Make light of the situation but do not make fun of it or the individual. Interject humor to diffuse your exasperation for your own sense of well-being. Put things into perspective. Remember my 10 year rule: if I won’t remember it or it won’t matter in 10 years then it’s not that important.

5. Be compassionate if the situation warrants it. Sometimes those who have odd behaviors are struggling with deep rooted personal issues.

6. Be understanding. Everyone journeys through life in their own time and way. Every experience and choice they make has purpose and value to them. It is all a necessary part of their evolutionary process.

7.Stay out of their business and focus your attention on your own beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. “Wherever you direct your energy is where change will occur.” You cannot change others; the only change you can initiate is within. Let go of the need to fix or change anyone other than yourself.
8. If their behavior puts you at risk, speak with them and set some reasonable boundaries. Keep in mind that they must be fair and realistic with equal consideration for all parties.

9. Be aware of your own behavior and how may be impacting others. It is not only the other person who can prove to be irritating.

10. Understand that every person who enters our life, every experience we have, no matter how bothersome we may think it is, has purpose and value. Learn to trust in God. Find the significance in everyone and everything. In that way, rather than being annoyed, you can appreciate the experience and find inner peace and acceptance.
In conclusion, annoyance is the mildest form of anger and if left unaddressed can lead to more serious conditions. Never allow small insignificant irritations to rob you of your joy and tranquility. Being annoyed at someone is a matter of judgment. “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Once aware, we must be more diligent in allowing others to simply be. “It is what it is” is a mantra that helps to restore the serenity that slips away when we allow other people to bother us. We cannot change how others behave but we can certainly, and must, determine how we allow them to impact us. Inner peace matters most.

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+

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+