Blogs


Notices

Managing Anger

Old 08-14-2006, 01:22 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 1,432
Managing Anger

Managing Anger
[excerpted from Philip Tate; reference below]

First, think of the bad behaviors or bad actions of a person or organization which you believe should not have occurred--behaviors or actions that you believe interfere with your happiness or act against your values. Then go through the following steps to eliminate your anger. And remember--it is anger that YOU created. This statement is not intended to make you feel guilty, it is to help you recognize the power that you have to un-create that anger.

Recognize and describe--write down-- bad behavior or events that you dislike. Keep this list handy and add to it regularly.
Do the same about behavior and events that you like. Take some time to think about what makes the difference between the two lists. How much of it is behavior by others, and how much results from your own beliefs?

Consider how badly you behave when you are angered and enraged, and think of the bad consequences of your behavior, both to yourself and others. This isn't the time to dwell on this! Just acknowledge the consequences of your angry behavior.

Think of the good that you can make happen if you act annoyed rather than angry. Confusing? Accepting our own irritability can be the key to working quickly through our initial reactions, before they build into the emotional condition of anger.

Discover your irrational beliefs! This takes introspection. But here's a guide: if it causes you distress, or to become angry, there are almost sure to be irrational aspects of your belief. Common irrational beliefs have to do with trying to control the behavior of others, upsets about behavior or events that don't meet our expectations, or about things which embarrass or humiliate us.

Dispute your irrational beliefs. Look for key absolute words, including: should, can't stand, awful, must, always, never, can't, won't, other forms of all-or-nothing thinking, and judgmental thoughts (damnation and punishment).

Develop some rational self-statements and repeat them many times. Try writing down examples until you find some that you like.

Work to eliminate thinking excessively about the bad acts of other persons or organizations. Develop a 'stop!' technique. 'Don't think poisonous thoughts!' is one of my favorites.

Develop respect, understanding, and tolerance for others. Especially the most irritating ones. Developing a sense of humor is really helpful.

Take action according to your rational beliefs -- not your irrational ones. This takes practice!

If your irritations arise from institutions--work, government--then take action to effect change in those organizations when possible. Recognize the things you can't change and accept them.

Work on these concepts every day, for at least half an hour. Take time out for the introspection, writing, and action plans involved. This is like exercise: to change your behavior, you need to repeat the changes in your thinking. Every day.

The next step is to develop a shorthand system for going through this process for a single event, when you see the spark before the flame.

"Conclusion: It is irrational to overly focus on the bad behavior of others
and to make yourself judge, jury, and hangman, especially when you consider
that your purpose on this planet is to survive and to enjoy yourself.
There is no reason that people must change their behavior to please you, and when they do not, you can stand it.
Upsetting yourself can sabotage your ability to live and work happily with others.
Anger can lead to arguments and fights and contribute to the disruption of your relationships with others.
When you are upset with a behavior or situation, identify the irrational
thinking that creates your angry feelings and eliminate that thinking by
Disputing. Then develop your rational thinking and behavior to manage these
difficulties.
Finally, try to effect a rational and constructive solution.
When you have done what you can and things do not work out, move on and
refuse to dwell on the problem. Instead, focus on your goals for attaining
happiness!"--Philip Tate, from Alcohol: How To Give It Up and Be Glad You Did
Don S is offline  
Old 08-14-2006, 01:35 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Binge poster
 
bahookie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 561
This is eerily relevant for me this morning.

I've been trying to get to grips with a monthly escalation in anger, irritation and negative thoughts.
(eg I'm sitting here still fuming because my partner hogged the bathroom then wouldn't move her car for me to get out of the driveway)

It's insane!

I'm going to print this out and read it in a calmer moment.

Jane
bahookie is offline  
Old 08-14-2006, 05:14 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
To Life!
 
historyteach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 9,293
I agree; this is a print out and work out post!
Thanks again, Don!

Shalom!
historyteach is offline  
Old 08-14-2006, 05:25 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
equus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: uk
Posts: 3,054
Hopw do you remove the should from statements like:
'We should care for our children.'
'We should treat others with human dignity.'
'We should do as we have agreed to do.'

I acknowledge my belief in all of the above - and I think it's rational. Am I missing something?
equus is offline  
Old 08-14-2006, 05:52 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
To Life!
 
historyteach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 9,293
We should take care of ourselves is another.

But, I think those things involved in the "social contract" are given a pass. It is my understanding that the "shouldda, wouldda, couldda's" that play a part in self berating or second guessing etc are the ones that are harmful, and that we "should" let go of.
There is little which is absolute. (I think Don would agree with that statement). So, *some* "shoulds" remain, I believe.

Just my thoughts here; I don't speak for Don, of course.

Shalom!
historyteach is offline  
Old 08-14-2006, 05:53 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
paulmh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,415
I try to avoid the use of the "should" word in all contexts except in relation to myself - and even then it's most often replaced with "could".

There are many, many thousands of examples of people using "should" when they "shouldn't". It's usually an attempt to give some sort of universal weight to their own prejudices. The examples you give are all noble in sentiment but have no universality. There are many, many qualifications for them.

"We should care for our children" until when? In spite of what?
"We should treat others with human dignity" what's "dignity"?
"We should do as we agreed to do" unless we find out something in the interim.
paulmh is offline  
Old 08-14-2006, 09:40 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
equus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: uk
Posts: 3,054
"We should care for our children" until when? In spite of what?
Until they are adult - in spite of anything, as human beings.

If a person can no longer cope with their child then what do we do? Take the child out back and have them shot? No - of course not. As human beings we offer some other care. Of course sometimes we offer anything but care - that's not something most people like to think about. We should take care of our children.

"We should treat others with human dignity" what's "dignity"?
To refrain from humiliation, to refrain from cruelty, to refrain from torture, to refrain from starvation - It needs more clarity than that but is well laid out in The Declaration of Human Rights.

"We should do as we agreed to do" unless we find out something in the interim.
Very true!! But taking the paycheck anyway ain't exactly honourable. Taking the respect of position without upholding the responsibility, enjoying the trust without offering the committment - I stand by what I was trying to say too briefly - that we should give weight and act on our own words.
equus is offline  
Old 08-14-2006, 10:36 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 1,432
Actually, 'should' is an absolute. So while we prefer to speak of taking care of children or doing 'as we agreed to', we know that those are not things that we would do absolutely. Thus it is more accurate and healthier to describe our belief more clearly.
A simple approach to the belief is to ask 'why?' or 'what if?'--recognizing that we are using an extreme example in order to make the point.
So 'we should take care of our children'--why? what if someone else can take better care of them? what if their care is beyond our capabilities?
The point is that there are things we value highly, beliefs we hold dear, but if they are absolutes they can trap us into behaviors that are unhealthy for us and for the other. People in "co-dependent" relationships probably know that better than anyone.
Don S is offline  
Old 08-14-2006, 12:20 PM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
paulmh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,415
The point is that there are things we value highly, beliefs we hold dear, but if they are absolutes they can trap us into behaviors that are unhealthy for us and for the other.
What I was trying to say, but more succinctly put. A lot of the time people have an absolutist mindset - they use the "should" word often - when they claim to be something which is a subset of the philosophical "relativist", such as humanist or atheist.
paulmh is offline  
Old 08-14-2006, 12:56 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 1,432
I happen to believe that everyone is actually a relativist, in spite of what they may say. I have yet to find an absolute belief that people actually hold absolutely.
But I realize those are absolute statements....
Don S is offline  
Old 08-15-2006, 12:41 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
 
equus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: uk
Posts: 3,054
Bear with me Don - I may come to a point where I can see it in a real sense but to do so now would just be compliance not a change of belief.

A simple approach to the belief is to ask 'why?' or 'what if?'--recognizing that we are using an extreme example in order to make the point.
So 'we should take care of our children'--why? what if someone else can take better care of them? what if their care is beyond our capabilities?
If I ask the whys and what ifs for caring for children the answers come easily. Starting with the 'why' my answer is that we are not born independent, none of us can survive the first year of life without care, in that sense we 'must' (so shoot me!!) co-operate. As a young child has no means to care for self we should care for them. I think at this point though perhaps I have been misunderstood, when I say we should care for our children I mean as a society. There will always be orphans, there will always be children of ill adults, there will always be children who's own parents simply drop them off at the door of social services - they are OUR children.

What if we don't think that way? Well I hear plenty in life and in the news reflecting that view, the view that 'they' are someone else's problem, even that 'they' are to blame. If it wasn't for those who give their homes and time to take children in (urgh - sorry, that's unthinkable!!) the madness and sheer human distress of children's homes would be rife, then if no workers could be found that took pride in them, the human distress would be greater. What if that minority of people who believe we should care didn't exist? I know just enough to know the answer is almost unthinkable. These aren't words of exageration, you have to SEE what I'm talking about and live through child suicides then you KNOW how much children need care and that we should care for our children. The thought of not saying that, the thought of softening it for paletablity, or easing it so it can be ignored doesn't feel like health to me. History swells with examples of similar choices and the what if we didn't think we should care for our children is more disturbing by far than the what if we did.

On to co-dependency. First of all I have to say I have not seen a clinical dicription of this, there seems to be no way to disprove it, a lacking in null hypothesis which leads me to think it is either poorly discribed or circular in nature. BUT I would say that becoming overly attached to a single human being does foster anger and resentment. I think that through observation and believe it's reflective of the difference between love for another which goes outwards and desire for another which is about what 'I' want. I can put hand on heart and say it's something I've also learned through error. I can look at mountains and my mind is blown but I have no need to take them home with me or possess them, no fear that tomorrow I can't see the same scene. For me it's about learing to love those close to me the same way, fearlessly and for the moment, freely. It strikes me this is actually quite a hard task - some success in it pays big rewards but I don't feel unhealthy from not having achieved it totally.

The shoulds I apply to me are in terms of social responsibility - in my perspective, the 'should' that applies to me in regard of D is no more than for any other human being. Of course I actually do more regarding those close to me, my friends etc as well as D, but that part is about my connection/attachment and 'should' doesn't have a place in it. On the other hand I'm learning to give similar human worth to strangers.

And anger? Well for me it goes like this:
By giving human worth, by knowing those I'm not connected to are worth equally as much as those I am, I get motivated to try to look from their point of view and listen carefully where I can. I haven't got this nailed down - it isn't a done deal and my certificate isn't in the post, but what I've found is the nearer I get the less angry I get. I must admit though my achilies heel is organisations, my response is to learn more about them and how they effect and are effected by individuals.

For some reason - in my early years certainly not of my doing, I seem to have spent most of my life around the less disirable parts of existance; by that I mean commonly disirable. I grew up in a house full of homeless men in an area full of immigrants, even working with horses I ended up largely by fate working with problem animals on death row!! I suppose it's a chain reaction, because I speak to people other people don't talk to, because I'll take on dogs other people won't, because it isn't as unknown to me, because long before I was old enough to hold fear of someone dirty (physically) I knew their name and story, it seems to stay that way. I know lots of successful people but have never been a stranger to 'others' (chavs, assylum seekers, addicts, illegal immigrants, etc etc) for each group I know somebody's name and story. That's where my shoulds come from, sort of being aware that there are so many stories I don't know and how much difference that makes.

There are things I struggle with - I try to look at those in a similar position and mostly see they struggle too so I don't feel too unhealthy. There are some big things I struggle with - I think I 'must' have enough heart to struggle and learn my way through because I want the rewards. The flipside is how much people blow me away, I think it's like having access to the most amazing gallery, I can stand and stare - recalling stories and I wouldn't trade a single day of it.

I'm rather attached to my shoulds!!!
equus is offline  
Old 08-15-2006, 01:33 AM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
equus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: uk
Posts: 3,054
Must and should exist in UK law - I think likely in US law too, is it really rational to discount them? The words also exist heavily in medicine, in instruction, in examination, and even engineering. Aren't they also commonly used in the care of plants? How rational is the removal of them or avoidance?
equus is offline  
Old 08-15-2006, 01:39 AM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
 
Five's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: London
Posts: 1,229
Thanks for this Don. This is going with me on Lunch Break.
Five is offline  
Old 08-15-2006, 01:51 AM
  # 14 (permalink)  
alconaut
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Motor City
Posts: 729
Equus..... what's that a picture of in your avatar? It's fuzzy and cute!

I just had to say that before I point something out.

I noticed that you had to spend way more time defending use of the word "should" than Don did to dispute it!

However, if no "shoulds" were ever used wouldn't that be an absolute also?

I understand what you mean though Eq. "Should" has its uses. But the exercise of examining frivolous use of the word is useful.

I have some more info on the word "should" that I'll ferret out and interject here.
Autumn is offline  
Old 08-15-2006, 02:13 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
alconaut
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Motor City
Posts: 729
The Folly of Shoulds, Musts and Oughts

There is a neat little word, coined by Albert Ellis, for the tendency to incorporate shoulds into your life. It is "musterbation". You are "musterbating" whenever you find yourself behaving in ways that you feel you must, even though you might prefer some other form of behavior. Karen Horney, the briliant psychiatrist, has devoted an entire chapter of Neurosis and Human Growth to this topic, and she titles it, "The Tyranny of the Should." She comments:

The shoulds always produce a feeling of strain, which is all the greater the more a person tries to actualize his shoulds in his behavior.... Furthermore, because of externalizations, the shoulds always contribute to disturbance in human relations in one way or another.

Do shoulds determine much of your life? Do you feel you should be kind to your colleagues, supportive of your spouse, helpful to your children, and always work hard? And if at any time you fail in one of these shoulds do you berate yourself and hence take on that strain and disturbance to which Karen Horney alludes above? But perhaps they are not your shoulds. If, in fact, they belong to others and you have merely borrowed them, you are musterbating.
Lol.

Source:
Your Erroneous Zones
Dr. Wayne Dyer
Autumn is offline  
Old 08-15-2006, 03:45 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
 
equus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: uk
Posts: 3,054
I noticed that you had to spend way more time defending use of the word "should" than Don did to dispute it!
Now that there is a single cause error!! You missed the variable most likely to have influenced length of post - I'm not very good at short, I suffer from verbal diaerreoh (sp?) demonstrated in all posts!! Hopefully that doesn't mean I'm terminally doomed to wrongness!

I'm simply as yet unconvinced! BTW - how rational is it to avoid a word so central to our collective way of life?

I understand what you mean though Eq. "Should" has its uses. But the exercise of examining frivolous use of the word is useful.
AGREED!! Isn't that the case with many of these word thingies?

BTW - the av is D's doodle of a bat redaing a newspaper, I'm proud to have the title of 'Batty Wiff' and have the address labels to prove it!!
equus is offline  
Old 08-15-2006, 03:58 AM
  # 17 (permalink)  
alconaut
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Motor City
Posts: 729
Originally Posted by equus
Now that there is a single cause error!! You missed the variable most likely to have influenced length of post
Lol. Well okay - you win that vote!
- I'm not very good at short, I suffer from verbal diaerreoh (sp?) demonstrated in all posts!!
Oh, I think not! Sheesh Eq - that's a harsh self-assessment.

I'm simply as yet unconvinced! BTW - how rational is it to avoid a word so central to our collective way of life?
I was going to add more, and actually started to, but didn't want to derail the main topic.

BTW - the av is D's doodle of a bat redaing a newspaper, I'm proud to have the title of 'Batty Wiff' and have the address labels to prove it!!
Oh.... it's really very good for being just a doodle! It has character, and the bat does look very interested in what she is reading!
Autumn is offline  
Old 08-15-2006, 04:19 AM
  # 18 (permalink)  
alconaut
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Motor City
Posts: 729
I think Equus, the word "should" is most often associated with some kind of obligation or duty. While that's fine, obligations and duties aren't always pleasant undertakings, have the essence of feeling oppressive, and take away the option of obligations/duties as a choice. See, the welfare of children doesn't strike you as unpleasant, because for you it is a choice. Now associate the word "should" with some task you find unpleasant. What feelings come up?

For instance, I should do laundry. What comes next after that thought? A big *SIGH*. I then think about how that entails running up and down the stairs seven hundred times (see there! awfulizing!), separating colors, hanging up/folding clothes, yada yada. Yawn. Same ol' dull routine.

Now, if I say I choose to do laundry, the focus more naturally shifts to the benefits of clean clothes! I won't have to do them in the middle of the week (this is my weekend), I love clean sheets, the smell of freshly laundered clothes is great, etc. Not to mention stair climbing has other benefits, like contibuting to how we look in stilettos.


Autumn is offline  
Old 08-15-2006, 05:03 AM
  # 19 (permalink)  
alconaut
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Motor City
Posts: 729
Funny thing - I used to think that trading in my shoulds and musts would lead to procrastination, since obligations then become choices. On the contrary. It's the resultant awfulizing of shoulds that trip me up!
Autumn is offline  
Old 08-15-2006, 05:14 AM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Member
 
equus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: uk
Posts: 3,054
But when you read the instuctions for planying a sunflower and it says it should be in direct sunlight, it simply communicates a whole load of variables which lead us to choose to plant it in the sunshine.

The word has a function, before it's dropped isn't it more prudent to acknowledge that?

Obligation - now there's another issue, I am not obligated to plant my sunflower in the sunshine.....
equus is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:20 AM.