In this months episode we provide couples with suggestions on how to tank your relationship, an exciting new series offered by Dr. Tony Fiore. In part 3, we highlight a habit that can start eager couples down that path to divorce: Never ask your partner to meet you half way on an issue of disagreement. Surprisingly this habit involves never standing up for yourself during a disagreement. How can you stand up for yourself and avoid destructive angry outbursts? Listen and see.
Stay tuned as in the coming months we continue in this exciting new series!
In this months episode we provide couples with suggestions on how to tank your relationship, an exciting new series offered by Dr. Tony Fiore. In part 2, we highlight communication styles that can start eager couples down that path to divorce. The way you choose to handle arguments can sway your relationship towards or away divorce – but that choice is up to you. Anger does not have to ruin a relationship! Stay tuned as in the coming months we continue in this exciting new series!
Have you ever noticed that you and your partner sometimes see things very differently? The very same things. Reminds me of the classic Woody Allen film “Annie Hall” with Woody himself (“Alvy Singer”) and Diane Keaton (“Annie Hall”), in which we see a split screen with both of them talking to their separate therapists about sex:
Alvy Singer’s Therapist: How often do you sleep together? Annie Hall’s Therapist: Do you have sex often? Alvy Singer: [lamenting] Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week. Annie Hall: [annoyed] Constantly. I’d say three times a week
Fact is, mostÂ maritalÂ conflicts arise not so much out of the outlandish behavior of one or both partners, as out ofÂ each partner’s perception of the “meaning” of the behavior.
As Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach discovered in the 1940’s,Â ratherÂ than perceiving things objectively, we tend to “project’ our needs, personality, motivations, and backgrounds into how wesee things. He developed a test, the Rorschach test, (or “Inkblot” test, as it is sometimes called) Â todiagnoseÂ mentalÂ and personality disordersÂ andÂ to better understand andÂ analyzeÂ how a personÂ mentallyÂ functions.
Recently, Cartoonist Chato Stewart made up his own “ink blot” test as shown above.
Test Yourself Just for fun, let’ s test thisÂ principal! What do you see in the above ink blot? Does it differ from what your partner sees? Click here to go to a web page where you can list what you see. I will report the group results in the next newsletter. Would you predict that there will be a wide variety of responses?
Seeing the behavior of yourÂ partnerÂ in a Â different light AccordingÂ to marriage therapist and writer Brent Atkinson, Ph.D. (http://www.thecouplesclinic.com), “A hallmark of people who are re good at getting theirÂ partnersÂ to treat them well is that they know that when they get upset with their partners, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their partners have done something wrong. They realize that there are many different ways of prioritizing things that can work in relationships. People who are less effective in their relationships don’t realize this.”
Seeing the behavior of your partner in a different light canÂ drasticallyÂ change how upset you get over it! See it one way and you might go ballistic. See the same behavior from another perspective and you may be much more tolerant,Â understanding, and conciliatory.
So, what are these different “lights” under which you can interpret yourÂ partner’sÂ behavior that upsets you? One way to do it, accordingÂ to Dr. Atkinson, is to see their behavior as a way to calm their nervous system. Research shows that there are five specific differences in nervous system wiring that most often result in partners becoming critical of each other. Briefly they are:
(1) Independence First vs Togetherness First One partner prefers to engage inÂ activitiesÂ andÂ tasksÂ independently. Often is critical of other by saying things like “You want me to read your mind. You expect too much. You’re Â too needy.” If the other prefers to engage in activities andÂ tasksÂ together (“togetherness first”) Â , theyÂ criticizeÂ by saying thing like “You live in your own little world! You are selfish. Any moron would have realized that I needed help. I shouldn’t have asked.”
(2) Invest in The Future First vs Live for the Moment First One partner believes in “work first, then play.” Other partner believes in living for the moment first. The “work first’ partner often criticizes the other as “being lazy,” andÂ irresponsibleÂ or says : “You are like a child who has to have everything right now.” On theÂ otherÂ hand, The “play first” partner criticizes the other by saying thing s like “You’re anal, neurotic, anxious.”
(3) Predictability First vs Spontaneity First One partner seeks security, predictability and order first, then feels safe toÂ experimentÂ within the safe parameters. The other seeks adventure, creativity, open-mindedness. The “safe”Â partnerÂ may criticize the other by saying things like “You’re reckless.” The adventurous one may see the other as boring, or even create conflict by saying something like “you’re a coward.”
(4) Slow to Upset vs Readily Upset One partner feels that getting upset doesn’t help anything. He/she doesn’t make a big deal of things, thinking “It’ s not the end of the world if everything doesn’t go the way you want it to.”Â The otherÂ partner mayÂ Â think it is normal to feel upset when something seems wrong, deficient or less than it should be, thinking, “If nobody gets upset, nothing changes.” In this scenario, the slow- to- upset person criticizes the other by saying things like “You are never satisfied. You’re a negative person. You’re not happy unless you have something to be upset about.” In defense, the readily upsetÂ partnerÂ fights back with criticisms such as “You’re a fake. Underneath it all, you get just as upset as I do. You’re just afraid of a little conflict! You’re a wimp!”
(5) Problem Solving First vs Understanding First One partner feels better by doing something about the upsetting situation with the philosophy “solve the problem or make a plan and you’ll feel better.” Unfortunately they often criticize their “understanding first” partner by saying things like: “You’re a hopelessly negative person, a whiner, a victim. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get over it. “ The “understandingÂ first” partner fees better by feelingÂ understood. Â However, they often criticize their “problem-solving” partner by saying things like “You could care less about how I feel! You just want to pretend the whole thing never happened.”
As we teach in our local anger management classes, in our private marriage therapy sessions, and in our distance learning programs, realizing and accepting that you and yourÂ partnerÂ may have different ways of “doing” life” goes a long way toward marital happiness and less conflict.
For more information, be sure to visit our websites and resources listed below:
In this months episode we provide couples with suggestions on how to tank your relationship, an exciting new series offered by Dr. Tony Fiore. In part 1, we highlight three ways couples often start down that path to divorce. This podcast centers around a typical argument that couples often have and how what you say is often what predicts divorce – not the actual problem. Stay tuned as in the coming months we continue in this exciting new series!
In our latest series of blogs, we have been trying to teach you what research tells us as to how to tank a relationship, if you really want to. Marriage researchers now know withÂ a fairly high degree if accuracy (about 91% ) which habits and traits predict marital success and which will probably destroy it. The fist of these habits was that of being overly judgmental and assuming that there is only one way (your way) to do the thing that is bothering you about your partner, or there is only one way to interpret the bad behavior shown by him or her. The second habit that predicts divorce is that of handling anger poorly in your relationship either in terns if being excessively angry or never standing up for yourself so that resentment builds.
For those die-hards who still need more ammunition, we now presentÂ a third habit that should put your over the top:
Habit #3 that predicts tanking a relationship: Never ask your partner to meet you half way on an issue of disagreement.
Stated another way, to put yourself in divorce court, never stand up for yourself (without putting your partner down), give equal regard to their opinion or viewpoint, or offer reassurances that you don’t want to fight or attack, but you want to just solve the problem.
Why would an anger coach encourage you to stand up for yourself? Won’t that cause more conflict? Yes, sometimes it will, but often you might be surprised at the change in behavior by your partner when you stand up for yourself and insist that they take into account your viewpoint or opinions or feelingsÂ on the matter, instead of being dismissive, bullying, or controlling. Standing up for yourself doesn’t mean that you insist you are right and they are wrong; rather it means asking them to make room for your equally valid input aroundÂ the issue.
According to Chuck, Latesha criticizes almost everything about him – constantly.Â In this instance, Chuck is doing the correct thing to try and influenceÂ Latesha’s critical behavior in the future. He is saying, “ Hey, I’m willing to listen to you, but I’m having a hard time because it feels like you’ve already decided that I’m wrong. Could you slow down a bit and tell me why you’re upset?
But,Â what should he do if Latesha continues to be stubborn, uncooperative or unrelenting in her attack?
Chuck, in the graphic above, does not want to tank his relationship. So, heÂ is using what marital therapist Dr. Bret Atkinson calls the “offer and ask” technique in response to warding off attacks by his highly critical wife, Latesha.
Basically, it meansÂ firing a warning shot into the air before pulling out the big guns in marital battles.
To do this, Chuck might try something like: “Hey, I’m trying to work with you here, but it feels like I’m not getting it back! Will you work with me?
In the “offer and ask” tactic, you offer assurance (“I’m willing to listen; I’m not saying that things have to be entirely my way; I’m not saying that I’m right and you’rewrong; I care how you feel too, and I’m willing to work with you) and you ask her to be willing to do the same thing (“Will you work with me? Will you stop criticizing me and just tell me what’ s bothering you?“)
To be effective, according to Dr. Atkinson, the “offering” and the “asking” must be done in a clam but firm manner. You must make it clear that you are still willing to try and maintain a cooperative attitude, but only if your partner is ready to return cooperativeness.
If that still doesn’t work you will need to go to Lesson 4- Tank your relationship by Not Taking a Stand. Stay tuned.
Century Anger Management (The Training and Education Site for The Anger Coach and AJ Novick Group) are re-approved for the 6th year in a row by the California State Board of Corrections (a.k.a. Corrections Standard Authority) for the training of probation, parole and correctional officers.Â Their contact information can be found on the Board of Corrections provider list.
They were approved again due to their involvement with the Standard Corrections Authority and their model of intervention being evaluated by corrections staff and personnel.Â There are very few models of anger management intervention chosen by the state of California for employee training, and we are honored to be part of this important provider list.
Century Anger Management, the training company of The Anger Coach and AJ Novick Group, announces the first of its “live” certification trainings in 2010 in Orange, CA. This training, to be held on Friday, February 12,Â will satisfy 8 of the required 40-hour certification program. The remaining 32 hours is done online in our unique program. Century Anger Management has developed into one of the leading anger managementÂ training companies in the United States with hundreds of providers across the country and in 5 other countries, serving thousands of angry clients. Details and sign-up at https://www.angercertification.com/Registration/default.aspx or call Dr Fiore at 714-745-1393 for more information.
I was contacted recently by Discovery channel to find someone interested in being part of a documentary called “Coping with Rage. According to the producer: ” In our documentary, we will meet individuals whose anger is impairing their functioning and explore how it affects them, their families, friends and associates. Â We will accompany these people as they seek therapy and attempt to handle their anger more effectively and bring about positive change in their lives.”
FREE ANGER PROGRAM FOR VOLUNTEERS
The Anger Coach will provide free classes to participants using our famed 8-tools model of anger control. Participants can join classes in either Orange or Long Beach, California. I believe that either older adolescents and adults can apply.
Interested applicants should contact Dr Fiore at email@example.com or call 714-745-1393.
This months episode discusses the positive emotions and what we can do to acquire, and put into practice nine different emotions that will help reduce stress and anger.
Please note: This anger program and these anger tips are not meant to substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or advice. If you have intense, serious or chronic anger problems, or you have to deal with someone else who does, you should immediately consult a mental health or medical professional for help.
One of the really nice “side benefits” of teaching up to three anger classes per week is that of learning from my students who are struggling with their anger control. One such incidence took place this Tuesday night in our weekly class in Orange, California at which time we were learning Tool #4 of anger control called “Change Your Self-Talk.” In this lesson we teach pariticpants to change what they are telling themselves about an anger stressor in order to dial-down the level of their angry feelings. One man then shared that his wife taught him a little trick that always works for him, called “The Q-Tip” technique. When ever he gets angry, she tapes a Q-tip on on the television screen or the bathroom mirror. Of course, everybody was curious as to what this stood for and how it works. He told is the following:
In addition to being humorous, this little trick can do a lot to increase awareness of using anger management tools and it reminds us that we often we get angry because we indeed are taking the situation too personally. Here are some examples:
The guy who cuts us off on the freeway isn’t doing it to you personally; you just happen to be occupying a space he wants.
The drive-up window lady didn’t get your order wrong purposely to make your life miserable; she just got it wrong.
Your partner didn’t leave the lights on in the bedroom all day (and burn electricity)Â to personally irritate you; he just forgot.
I’m sure you get the idea. How angry you get depends alot on what you tell yourself about the motives and intent of the person or situation that angers you. Practice telling yourself different things so you don’t take it personally – remember Q-TIP– and your anger will dial-down.
Now, why did my computer just start to crash? Doesn’t it like me? Does it want to ruin my day?…………………………..
This months episode handles the question: “Does Happiness Counter-Balance Anger? The answer might surprise you. Research into the field of happiness suggests that it is possible for people to counter-balance negative emotions with positive ones. In this podcast we explain how easy it is to put this into practice.
Please note: This anger program and these anger tips are not meant to substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or advice. If you have intense, serious or chronic anger problems, or you have to deal with someone else who does, you should immediately consult a mental health or medical professional for help or just visit FORM CLINIC
Mental health professionals have discovered an important principal that should be used when attempting to resolve conflicts or settle disputes with others. Simply put, conflicts can resolved more successfully when reason and emotion are taken into account. To try to solve an emotional issue with logic alone is often very ineffective and frustrating.Â We are emotional beings by nature and to ignore the emotional underpinnings of a disagreement is a mistake often made by individuals, couples, and employers.
According to experts Daniel Shapiro and Roger Fisher at the Harvard International Negociation Initiative, to resolve conflict people should focus on core concerns rather than raw emotions themelves. Doing this shifts emotions into a more positive, productive direction.
Probably the mst important of the core concern is that of appreciation. Â Appreciation encompasses the desire to be understood and valued. Expressing appreciation involves finding the merit in another person’s point of view. Research by the marital researcher Dr. John Gottman showed that it was possible to predict which newlyweds would divorce within six years by observing their interaction and expression of appreciation of the other during the first three minutes of a 15-minute argument.
Other core conerns that show you are dealing with the other person’s emotions include affiliation, autonomy, status and role. Affiliation involves somehow both getting on the same side of the issue – becoming allies instead of adversaries.Â Autonomy is important ebcause conflicts often develop when people feel that they weren’t adequately involved in a decision that directly affected them. Status makes one person feel superior over the other one and works against resolving a conflict because the less superior person often feels diminished or resentful. Try to equalize the status by asking the other person for advice or ask them to expres their viewpoint.Convey in words and body language that everyone involved in solving a conflict has something valuable to offer, regardless of title or rank. Role means that we empower people as listeners, facilitators, or problem solvers, depending on the conflict and the situation.
Taking emotional concerns and issues into account will go a long way toward helping you resolve conflicts with other human beings. For more information on anger management and conflict resolution, visit our webiste at www.angercoach.com.Â
As an experienced marriage therapist as well as anger management trainer, I am often amazed at how badly people in relationship treat each other in comparison to how they treat their co-workers or same-sex friends. Things sometimes get to the point of contempt, which is a major predictor of divorce, according to recent research the the Gottman Institute in Seattle.
It seems obvious that to create and maintain a healthy loving relationship you need to treat your partner in ways that makes yourÂ partner feel loved and valued. Some marital therapists call this “real giving.” You can’t just spout-off, “be-yourself”, “say whatever Â is on my mind all the time,” or disrespect your spouse one moment and then be loving the next – and expect your relationship to survive.
Part of relationship success involves treating each other with basic respect and civility; in effect, just try being nicer and see what results you might get. Sounds deceptively simple, yet somehow many people find it much easier to do with friends than spouses.
Extreme conflict, violence, and intolerance are all anger-based social issues that greatly affect marriages, families, children, the workplace, and entire cultures. Take the fact that it is estimated that between 2.3 million and 10 million children are exposed to intimate partner violence (parents fighting) each year in the United States alone. Or the fact that in Los AngelesÂ county (California), as one example, there are an estimated 1300 street gangs with over 150,000 members; the vast majority of violent incidents involving gang members continue to result from fights over turf, status, and revenge.
Angry teens increasingly are front-page news as they return to schools and shoot victims they perceive as prior tormentors. Most unhappy teens of course do not resort to shooting those who may have rejected them. Instead, they suffer silently with their brooding anger often to the detriment of their grades, their social lives, and their self-esteem.
In the business world, there is no question that poorly handled anger, frustration and resentment sabotage productivity. Studies show that a high percentage of time on the job is spent engaging in or trying to resolve conflicts. This results in wasted employee time,mistakes, stress, lower morale, hampered performance and reduced profits or service.
Intolerance of those that are different from us in any way often sets the stage for anger based problems in our society. Unfortunately, people often ridicule, condemn and put down others who may physically look, behaviorally act, or mentally believe differently than they do. It is important to remember that â€œdifferentâ€ isnâ€™t necessarily â€œbad,â€ as some misguided people reason. Getting angry at people or groups of people because they do not share our values or our ways of looking at the world (or they refuse to change to be likeus) leads to untold resentment, generations of conflict, and escalating feelings of hatred toward others.
Controlling anger is good for yourself and the world around you.Â
For more information on our numerous programs for anger control and certified programs to teach anger management to others, please visit http://188.8.131.52
Century Anger Management, the training organization for the Anger Coach and AJ Novick Group has been recertified by the California Standards Training for Corrections Programs for the year 2008-2009. This means that our training program again meets the training requirements as set forth by the Corrections Standards Authority for California Counties participating in the Standards and Training for Corrections Programs. More information about becoming certified as an Anger Management Professional is available at http://www.angercertification.com
Much anger is the world is generated by people trying to control or change other people who do not wish to be controlled or changed. Rather than thinking in terms of “control,” think instead of other methods of changing and influencing others such as: persuading, educating, rewarding, enticing, compromising, being positive role model, advising, urging or convincing. Remember, people have free will and in most cases they have a tight to do things we consider wrong or stupid if they are willing to accept the consequences.
As you go through your daily life, what kinds of things irritate or anger you? If you are like most people, the list is porbably quite long and may vary in length depending on the day and your mood at the time.
Our anger management participants regularly tell us they experience workplace anger, desk rage, road rage, relationship anger, irritation withÂ parents, irritation with teachers, being mad at peers, being mad at siblings, fast-food anger, customer service anger, bank anger, computer anger, and ex-spouse anger. There appears to be no end to the growing list as our society becomes more and more complex.
When you stop and think about it, you will realize that there is no limit to things in the world that can trigger anger and stress in you.Â The only sensible way to view all this is to understand that you can’t live in a modern world without being constantly exposed to many potential anger triggers – which you probably are unable to change or modify. So, to surviveÂ (and thrive) you need to develop tools and skills to deal with those things that serve as anger triggers for you personally.
This involves first taking responsibility for how you deal with those angry feelings instead of blaming them on other people or cicumstances. ToÂ do this, you need to first separate the feeling of anger from the expression of anger. We have found that the tool of changing your self-talk is an excellent way to do that.
Why does changing self-talk help us with the expression of anger? Because the feeling of anger is natural when we are frustrated or have a goal blocked.Â But, what we tell ourselves about the anger trigger has dramatic effect on how angry we get and how we express it. Our thoughts affect our feelings just as our feelings affect our thoughts.
In future blogs, we will give you twelve powerful ways to talk to yourself when angry.
The holidays often bring family members together who maybe haven’t seen much of each other throughout the year. Old resentments and grievances can often emerge, sometimes with strained or even disasterous consequences. Many families find themselves time-stressed with holday preparations and activities which lower coping ability even further.
The following five tips have been found useful to help you deal with that inevitable holdiay stress:
1. Watch carefully the amount of alcohol youÂ consume.Â Many anger management students confess thatÂ excessive drinking definitely contributed to family conflict and aggression.
2.Reduce stress by managing your time carefully andÂ not over-scheduling yourself. Take time for yourself.
3. Adjust your expectations of family members. No, Aunt Irene hasn’t changed since last year. Tell yourself that you only have to see her once a year- you can cope with it.
4. Work on forgiveness skills. Let old resentments go. Holding grudges hurts you more than your relatives.
5. Develop better empathy skills. Try to see the world from the viewpoint of irritating family members and youÂ may beÂ shocked at how your anger dissipates.
For more tips on how to deal with angry feelings or the angry behavior ofÂ others, visit The Anger Coach Website.
To continue our series on the union of anger management and principals of martial arts training, Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido, says……”The way of the warrior, the Art of Politics, is to stop trouble before it starts. It consists in defeating your adversaries spiritually by making them realize the folly of their actions. The Way of a Warrior is to establish harmony.”
For more information on the wedding of Martial Arts and Anger Management, click here.
Contempt is a communication style of regarding someone or something as inferior or less-than.Â In effect, we look down on them. Even worse, sometimes it means treating others with scorn as if we regard them as worthless.
When we are treated with contempt by others we feel despised, dishonored, or disgraced.
In marriage or relationships, it is a major predictor of divorce or break-up. No healthy relationship can survive too much contempt over a long period of time.
Following are some behaviors that fall into the contempt category; these behaviors should be avoided by all who want to seriously improve a relationship or avoid relationship disaster:
Name-calling, swearing or disrespecting partner
Denying the importance of another’s feelings
Saying hurtful, mean-spirited things
Insulting partner or family member in a way that causes emotional injury
Humiliating or ridiculing a partner in front of children or others
Putting pressure on others to do things against their core values
For more information on this and other destructive communication styles, click here.
Stonewalling is a term used by some marital researchers to describe how partners in a relationship emotionally shut-down when upset, angry or hurt by their spouse. If done excessively, it is a predictor of divorce or relationship breakup.
Stonewalling is often thought to occur more frequently among men than women, but sometimes women do it also.
It can occur in many forms. Common stonewalling behaviors include: avoiding issues by not discussing them, becoming emotionally distant from your partner, denying anger or hurt when you clearly are feeling those emotions, or not telling your partner what is bothering you despite their repeated attempts to find out.
Stonewalling is a destructive communication pattern that works against intimacy or closeness in relationships. It also promotes resentment, anger and distance for most couples.