Way.ca.tion: A rest for the mind; an unconventional method of escaping the moment and returning refreshed and better than before.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Five Signals Your Anger is a Problem

From time to time everyone experiences anger this is normal human behavior. The following however are specific signals that will tell you when your anger is beyond what is normal and can be considered an issue.

When anger is too frequent
One or more blow-ups a day and/or constant irritation often about small issues and occurrences can be a signal of an anger management problem. It is important to be able to distinguish between those times when it is Okay to be angry, and when anger is too frequent and/or inappropriate for the situation, place and time. Remember everything doesn’t matter.

When it is too intense.

A moderate level of anger actually can be helpful and used to your advantage to make breakthroughs in communication. This type of anger can present opportunities for clarity, compromise and possibly improved relationships. High degrees of anger rarely if ever produce positive results and may damage your relationships, threaten your job or your health.
Screaming at the bank Teller because she is following the rules or the checker at the grocery store because you’re in a hurry or the wait staff at a restaurant because they bought you ice water instead of room temperature water is bad behavior and will not get you what you want. Throwing your keys, name calling or forcefully imposing your will with a co-worker in the workplace are all problematic and inappropriate behaviors.

When it lasts too long.
Think of a car that is idling to high without being adjusted back to normal operating levels. When your car or in the case of your body does not return to normal operating level there is sure to be a burn out in one of your bodies operating systems. Prolonged anger causes elevated stress levels.

When it leads to aggression.
If you feel you have been abused, treated unfairly or that your personal values have been violated, you may want to hurt the person who has offended you. Most acts of aggression begin with verbal hostility which often leads to a cycle of increasing aggressive behavior. Sooner or later this behavior will result in trouble. Remember, letting go or walking away doesn’t mean you’re not right or that your point is not valid.

When it destroys work or personal relationships.
If you let your anger interfere with completing your work or doing a good job or makes it difficult for co-workers to relate to you then you have allowed your anger to become problematic.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Judgments--Criticism or Mirror?

"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"

You could see the red flush of rage start to rise on the mother's face. "I have never, ever experienced a more defiant, stubborn, selfish child," she said through clenched teeth to her friend.

Washing the dinner dishes for the fifth time that week, her husband was nursing a resentment against his wife's "laziness" in the kitchen, while their son was in his room calling his parents "mean" and "unfair" for requiring that he complete his homework before going out to play.

There's one thing they all agree on: It's the other person's fault.

But there's another thing they're all missing: Every judgment we pass on other people is a revelation about ourselves, an expression of our own needs and values.

For example, the mother may need to look at the rage she felt as a child, when defying her own parents resulted in physical punishment, something she would never do to her own son. The husband may need to work on his assertiveness, asking for more shared responsibility in the kitchen. And the son may need to understand the consequences of the choices he made regarding his homework.

In each case, the judgment itself provided a clue for what needs to be looked at, acknowledged or brought out.

"Can't I just have an opinion, though?" we are tempted to ask.

Of course. But judgment is different from the kinds of opinions that form from assessment or objective appraisals. Blame, insults, put-downs, labels, criticism, comparisons and diagnoses are all forms of judgment, all ways of saying that another person is "wrong." Other types of judgments:

  1. Judgments based on beliefs and expectations. "You're 11 now, and you should be able to remember to turn the lights off in your room." ["You're inconsiderate; you're an airhead."]
  2. Judgments based on fears. "She's cold and distant lately; I think she's getting ready to leave me."
  3. Judgments based on prejudices and preconceived notions. "Doesn't he have any decency, flirting around with the receptionist like that?"
  4. Judgments based on generalizations. "Believe me, all bosses are mean."
  5. Judgments that make us feel better about ourselves. "How could you not know where Brazil is?" ["You're stupid; I'm smart."]
  6. Judgments that distract us from taking responsibility. "She gets all the parts she wants; she's the director's daughter."

To enjoy the benefits of being nonjudgmental--more effective communication, reduced misunderstandings, enhanced relationships at home and work, and a sense of emotional freedom and safety--try these actions.

  1. Be aware of where and when you are judging others. This is a necessary first step.
  2. Practice empathy with a soft heart. What's it like to be the other person?
  3. Listen and keep an open mind. Learn to make objective evaluations about ideas, people, and situations.
  4. Be curious. Ask about the circumstances of someone else's life. Most of our assumptions are based on extremely little real information.
  5. Accept differences. If we can accept each others' choices, and trust in each other to take responsibility for the impact of each choice, then there is so much more freedom for all of us to be ourselves.
  6. Focus on feelings and needs--your own and those of others. This will take you out of judgment and into aliveness.

For more information or to schedule a complimentary session at the Anger Management Institute,LLC, please call 510.393.0250