It is a huge step for some people to commit to an anger management class.
Recently we had one fellow who was angry because he had to attend anger management classes or lose his relationship. He shared that he came early, circled the building and then drove away, deciding that he was too angry to walk up the stairs to the class.
As he was driving away, it occurred to him that if he was angry at the anger management classes, maybe he did indeed have a problem.
So, he turned around and came back.
It takes a lot of courage to start a self-development program especially if you are using an activity tracker. It starts with the acceptance that one has a problem, a decision to overcome fear or resistance, and then a commitment to do something about it.
I hate to hear parents screaming at their kids. Why? Because it doesn’t work! It creates a bad feeling between parent and child! It makes the “yeller” look very bad socially (if done in public). It encourages “push back” from the yelled-at child. Did I mention that it doesn’t work? Anger Management is an important parenting skill.
When I was growing up on Cleveland, Ohio, I had a mother could have used anger management. She yelled a lot. Out of love and concern, mind you, but it was still yelling. Sometimes it was over minor things, other times over safety issues and other times over character development. She did it so much that my brother and I became immune to it, especially as we got older.
Truthfully, much of the time it went in one ear and out the other.
Our response to a yelling request was usually something like “yea…mom…right away.” as we went on with our lives. AS I write this now, I feel a little guilty about it, because she was right about what she was yelling about, but horribly ineffective in changing some of our behavior. Like picking up after ourselves. Or, doing chores. Or, coming in for dinner on time while out playing. Or,- and this was a big one- us two brothers not fighting with each other.
When we became adolescents, she got desperate to get us to do things – now more serious things like having my brother not play tennis or baseball because he had osteoporosis in his arm. Or, insisting loudly that he practice the clarinet because lessons were being paid for. She pleaded, she harangued, she threatened, she yelled. nothing seem to work. My brother and I could easily persuade her to change her mind about things, to feel sorry for us, and….I must confess…manipulate her.
Except at some point she caught on and would utter those dreaded words in a threatening tone:
“Wait until your father gets home.”
Now that usually worked because my dad was….let us say charitably..a no-nonsense disciplinarian. Once he made up his mind about something, he never changed it, especially in terms of his parenting principals (like: “children should be seen and not heard;” “all teenagers are irresponsible,” and “get that mad look off your face, or I’ll give you something to be mad about.”
We were very well behaved in school because of my Dad’s edict that “if you get in trouble in school, you will get in twice that amount of trouble when you get home.”
But, at least he followed through on his “consequences” when we behaved badly, whereas mom often would not.Unfortunately, his rigid and unbending rules caused much frustration and stifled creativity. It also unfortunately taught us that there was no negotiating with an authority figure.. your only choice was to succumb/comply or suffer pain.If you have dogs buy retractable dog leashes review and make you kids walk the dog.
On a scale of 1-10, we would do what dad said at a 10. He only needed to say it once (most of the time).
Fair or not, at least we knew what the deal was and what the rules were. Break them at your own peril.
The “cost” of that approach to parenting was that there was little or no closeness between my father and his male children. We “listened” to him, but did not have a close emotional connection with him.
So, how do you get your kids to change their behavior without yelling or without losing emotional connection with them? In short, how can you be an effective parent?
First of all, don’t yell; it is useless most of the time, and in most circumstances. In fact, it makes things worse because as they get older kids start seeing you as emotionally unstable, and they mighy lose respect for you, which is not a good thing at all.Read more about this on www.portableacnerd.com.
There are many other ways to deal with your children.Being mindful of alternatives will make you a more effective parent.Following are some tips that should be helpful:
*Be consistent with your house rules. Write the rules out and stick them on your refrigerator. Then if your kids act out, it is against the rules, not you personally. It puts a degree of separation between you and the bad behavior or your kids.
* You and their other parent must agree on the rules and standards and back each other up (within reason), even if you don’t agree with each other 100%.
*Tell your children how you feel when they do such and such. Rather than telling them how stupid, wrong, or immoral they are, tell them how disappointed you are in their behavior.
* Before yelling, take a time out and cool down. Come back later to deal with it. it only takes a few seconds of rage to cause a lot of damage in your relationship with your children.
Tell that to Sally and Jim who argue constantly and fight like cats and dogs over almost every issue. Both are highly successful, intelligent and verbal so there is no end to issues over which to fight. If perchance they do run out of issues temporarily, they creatively start fighting about fighting. They need anger class 101.
Let’s listen to the dialogue for a moment: with one accusing the other of being unfair or talking “with that sneer of yours,” or “shouting at me.” while the other insists they are not shouting.
As a couples therapist, and someone who has conducted over 1000 anger classes in Southern California and a calgary naturopath, I sometimes want to say to one or the other: “Why don’t you just keep your mouth shut so avoid an argument? Partners often inflame each other, escalate anger, and talk themselves into major fights which could easily be avoided with the practice of temporary silence. This is known as the tool of “Retreat and Think Things over” in out system of anger management.
As Lao Tzu is quoted as having said:
“Silence is a Source of Great Strength.”
But, back to Sally and Jim who continue the argument:
Yes, Jim says, but I am right and she knows that I am right, so why should I silence myself?” “The restaurant WAS where I said it was – NOT where she kept insisting (wrongly) it was located.”
“Oh Lord, It is so hard to be humble when you are perfect in every way”
…….Mack Davis song, 1980
Know anyone who ALWAYS has to be right, like Jim? Not only do they always have to be right, they have an irrepressible urge to point out when they factually know that you are wrong. So,like Jim, they correct you, contradict you, argue with you, contest everything you say, and then later remind you that “I told you so” if there is any evidence that you are wrong and they were right.
The frustrating thing is, often these people ARE right, or partiality right as http://stridestrong.com says. But, few important issues in the world are about absolute right or absolute wrong. They are about shades of each. Only very rigid people divide the world into absolute rights or absolute wrongs. Partial truths often drive arguments because of mis-communication or misunderstanding.
“Black and White People” vs “Gray” people.
“Black and white” people see the world in absolutes. It is either this way or that way. “Gray” people see in between possibilities, and understand that “truth” or “reality” in many cases is a matter of perception..not a matter of fact. Often, “black and white” people marry “gray” people and the fight is on.
Some common examples: Jim sees wife Mary as stubborn and unbending. She sees herself as morally right, principled, and duty-bound to do things Jim does not agree with. As another example, Mary sees Jim as lazy, not ambitious, and negligent in his household duties. Jim sees himself as evolving to the place in life where he can enjoy life, have fun with the kids, and generally appreciate his good health and financial freedom.
Who is right and who is wrong in these examples? Honestly, is your experience that the world most people live in is black and white, or do most issues fall in the gray area?
Four ways to deal with a partner who sees the world differently than you do.
1.LET IT GO.
For some people, it is part of their personality and their ego. They cannot stand not to be right, correct an injustice, or make sure you know the right way to do things. It validates them and makes them feel good about themselves to be right and to prove you wrong. You should not be around a person like this unless you are super-secure. Let them be right in their own minds, if they have to. Let it go! (Most times). If they swear it is noon; calmly show them a clock showing it is 1pm. Do you want to learn more? Then just click here and read the website.
2. AGREE TO DISAGREE
On many issues in a relationship (research shows 69%), you are never going to agree anyway. So, agree to disagree and don’t bring the subject up unless the “house is on fire.” (or unless it is really doing damage to someone)
3. SEPARATE IN YOU REMIND THE ISSUE FROM WHO YOUR PARTNER REALLY IS. Personally, I like many people even though they are diametrically opposed to things I truly believe in. If you get irritated over one slice of behavior displayed by your partner, try to see him or her as a total person.
4. DON’T TALK AN ISSUE TO DEATH TRYING TO PERSUADE YOUR PARTNER OF ITS TRUTH OR YOUR RIGHTNESS. Sometimes the more it is talked about, the worse it gets. Let the issue get some rest. MAybe it will recover sooner.
I just posted a new promotional video that I had created announcing my new location in Newport Beach California. In addition to providing marriage and couples therapy at this new location, I can also provide my services to people all over the world with Skype™. It is my hope that I can help improve the lives of people all over by teaching them valuable techniques for anger and stress management.
If you would like to contact me, please feel free to call me at 714-745-1393.
Over the years, I have always tried to use technology to help offer my services to more people and in more convenient ways. For over a decade I made practical use of my website for this very reason. Once the technology became available , toll free number I made my anger management program available as an online course and I continued with my online marriage class. Continuing this tradition, I am happy to announce the ability to offer Skype conferences to all of my clients.
I recently relocated to the Newport Beach area in Southern California, but if you require anger management consultation or couples and marriage therapy, I can now offer these individualized services to anyone in the world. If you are seeking anger management consultation, treatment or marriage and couples therapy, then feel free to contact me at 714-745-1393 to schedule a Skype call.
Want to feel less angry toward your partner? While almost all couples get angry at each other, research shows that this does not necessarily mean that your relationship is in trouble. The trouble comes from not knowing the root of the anger, how to deal with that anger, how to communicate it, and how to dissipate it.
THE COUPLE BUBBLE
Successful couples have learned to deal with it by making sure they have around them something called a “Couple Bubble”- sort of a protective shield, a dome, which surrounds them and insulates them from outside stresses which can potentially harm, erode. or destroy their relationship.
Most people are in an intimate relationship because of the deep emotional connection between them which satisfies emotional, social and perhaps economic needs. Without the emotional connection(or attachment as psychologists call it) there is little benefit to being in a relationship, economic or social aspects aside.
In his book, “wired for love,” author Tatkin writes that the first guiding principal of a successful couple is that of creating that “couple bubble” which allows partners to keep each other safe and secure.
He maintains that each partner’s job is to be unapologetically yourself as a long as you also keep your partner safe.
SOME THINGS ARE HARD-WIRED IN OUR BRAIN
How we attach to our partners is probably determined (hard-wired) during our formative years as we interact with our primary caregivers. In some ways this never changes. In other ways we all change. Both are true, says Tatkin. And that is why acceptance is so important. We can and do change our attitudes, our behaviors, and even our brains over time. However, the fundamental wiring that takes place during our earliest experiences stays with us from cradle to grave.
If you or your partner are often in conflict or are constantly angry at each other, chances are good that underneath the anger are other emotions that create insecurity in one or both of you, puncturing that “couple bubble” emotional connection that both of you want. Successful couples realize and accept that insecurity in themselves and their partner comes from earlier life experiences, and they do everything they can to lesson that insecurity by strengthening their couple bubble.
The way to strengthen that couple bubble and to move your relationship from insecure to secure is NOT by instilling fear (bullying), duress (adding stress), disapproval (being overly critical) or threatening abandonment.
Instead, what works much better is to increase honesty, acceptance, high regard, respect, devotion, support and safety. Easier said than done when you and you partner are in mortal battle with each other.
SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
Here are practical ways to create and maintain your “Couple Bubble” before you wake up on day sadly to discover that it is in danger of bursting:
1. In your daily life think “we” instead of “I” or “me.” Before making decisions, scheduling activities, OR changing routines, ask yourself “is this good for the relationship?” If not, consider not doing it, even though you would like to personally. Not that you should always do this- sometimes you should do what is best for you- just not always.
2. Schedule and maintain “rituals” that are unique to your relationship. Rituals around food (“we always dine together on Tuesdays and Fridays”, for instance), departing rituals, greeting rituals, communication rituals (for instance,”we never call each other names”).
3. Establish agreements on who does what around the house. DO NOT take it for granted that you both agree on who should do what.
4. Do not allow your children to drive a wedge between you, especially in blended family situations. Discuss parenting issues and practices WITH EACH OTHER first, then with the children.
5. Do not undermine your partner by revealing intimate issues to relatives, parents, friends etc. Behave in a way that your partner can always trust you and not have to worry about emotional betrayal of any kind.
6. Have agreements on spending money (or not spending it) so that, again, a bond of trust is there.
In summary, the stronger your Couple Bubble, the better your relationship will be able to withstand the many forces that are constantly piercing and then destroying it. Remember that both of you will feel much safer, and thus secure with each other, if you know that you have each other’s back!
I am proud to announce my new office location in Newport Beach California. Located at 200 Newport Center Drive, Suite 300, (Fashion Island – next to the Edwards Theater), Newport Beach, California. I can serve individuals and couples for anger management consultations, classes and therapy in addition to marriage and couples therapy. On Tuesday nights I offer group classes.
This new location will enable me to provide my services to a wider audience and assist those with specialized needs. If you are in the Southern California area and would like to schedule a consultation, please contact me at: 714-745-1393 or email me. I can also provide Skype consultations if needed.
There are many definitions of a hypocrite, but the one that I wish to discuss in this blog is a person who professes one thing but does another. The hypocrite imposes standards on others to which his or her own behavior does not comply.
The Anger Hypocrite
One specific type of hypocrite that I often see in my couples work is what I call the anger hypocrite.
Simply explained, the anger hypocrite expects their partner not to lose anger control while they themselves rage uncontrollably and rarely control their own anger, frustration or displeasure. The anger hypocrite justifies their behavior by convincing themselves that their anger is a normal reaction to the horrible behavior displayed by their partner.
But, when you stop and think about it, is it fair to expect more of your partner than you deliver? Put in another realm, if you and your partner are both alcoholics and both agree to stop drinking, would you expect him/her to stop drinking while you continued (and then become upset when they drink)? Or, is it fair to demand financial responsibility from your partner if you are a spendthrift or don’t stick to an agreed upon budget? Preaching one thing but doing another spells hypocrisy, doesn’t it? Continue reading “Are You An Anger Hypocrite?”→
Anger is one of the core emotions or feelings that human beings are hard-wired to experience whenever they are blocked from achieving a goal they have or an end result they wish to achieve. Anger Management is the process of learning how to deal with anger as a core emotion.
Everybody feels anger from time to time. Not feeling it can cause as many problems as eggshell exploding over minor frustrations, set-backs or obstacles placed between us and what it is we may want.
Some anger management programs try teach clients to be less angry. Often this works if people can learn to experience life events in a different way so as not to no longer activate those parts of the human brain that trigger anger in us. For example, rather than telling ourselves that a bad driver on the road is out to get us and make our day miserable we can tell ourselves that they probably were preoccupied with something else and did not even notice they were cutting us off. Continue reading “Anger Management: Learn to Diffuse The Angry Emotion”→
How high should you set the bar for yourself or others in term of what you expect?
This was a recent discussion topic brought up by Robert in a recent fast-track anger management seminar that we held in Newport Beach, California. Set the bar too high and the gap between what you expect and what you get can cause disappointment, anger, and other undesirable emotions.
Yet, hope springs eternal, especially in regard to family members.
We can spend our whole lives hoping against hope that others will finally change, see the light, treat us better, or acknowledge us in the way we need to be acknowledged.
Yet, as Robert discovered, sometimes this is not to be, despite our best efforts and our noble intent. Robert is 65 years old, yet has almost daily angst over his relationship with his 90 year old father who lives in the Midwest. They talk to each other perhaps 3 times a year, with Robert always having to initiate the calls. His dad says “children should call parents; parents do not have to call children.”
In his dad’s mind that is just a fact, the way the world is. This rule of family interaction is written in a book somewhere, known only to parents.
Despite a lifetime of not being able to emotionally connect with each other, Robert decided enough was enough and made arrangements for him and his wife to visit his father this summer. He emailed the old man, asking if the visit dates were satisfactory. Robert had expectations that his Dad would be thrilled to get a visit (at 90 years old, one doesn’t want to wait too long). He also asked for hotel recommendations nearby.
The father’s response was two lines: “Those dates are OK. Will send you a list of hotels to your home address.” The coldness of it all made Robert’s head reel. Robert experienced immediate sadness, and frustration. These feelings “pulled up” a lifetime of memories of other similar encounters with his father that generated the same negative feelings. Continue reading “Anger Management in Action; Setting Realistic Expectations”→