Breaking Out of Anger…

Have you ever wondered what causes anger to rear it’s ugly head so quickly?  In our books I have talked about how expectations, self-talk and choices trigger and amplify anger.
Anger is ultimately a physiological and a cognitive response to certain triggers.  It’s different for everyone. You might be able to shrug-off some triggers such as –  a co-worker not listening to you but, fly into a rage when you can’t get your spouse’s attention.
What you tell yourself or the expectations you hold onto for other people and life goals will impact how you respond to those triggers. You then make the choice to act on the anger you feel.
How can you break out of this? How can you stop the yelling, sarcasm or hidden anger which entangles you in resentment and infects your relationships?
We teach the time-out skill as one of the best methods to stop anger from exploding or imploding.
“But, I don’t want to take a time-out when I feel angry”, you argue, “I want people to understand how they are wrong. I want to be understood. I want to get the problem solved.”
I hear these arguments from students and clients all the time. I can identify with these feelings when I’m experiencing conflict or disappointments.
The important aspect of this skill is that it stops anger from escalating. It stops the physiological fight/flight response we all have when someone or something triggers our anger.
When we take a time-out, we can implement some of the stress management or relaxation skills. During the time-out we can identify what is really happening and write out what we want or need. Maybe during the time-out we’ll discover that what we want is unrealistic or demanding. Or maybe we’ll find out that what we want is reasonable and necessary. Taking a time-out when we feel angry – can help us think through the issues and go back to the other person with one or two  requests or with an apology or with some options for working through our differences or misunderstandings.
So, why not take a break when you feel anger rising inside you?  A time-out will help you put a check on anger and check out whether it’s valid.
Listen to these podcasts: 4 Q’s to Disarming Anger
and Talk Yourself Out of Anger!
See all of the Quick Tips for Managing Anger podcasts at: www.whatsgoodaboutanger.com/podcasts.xml

Here are some resources to teach you skills for managing your anger: What’s Good About Anger? .
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© copyright 2021 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection and National Certified Counselor. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger? and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations.

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Can’t Get Rid of the Rage!

Question: Hi , I am really worried people close to me say I need help. This is why. I take things so personally things people do say or decisions they make. It really makes me angry! I think the way i treat others they should treat me the same. eye 4 an eye attitude really. This has made me have many fights. The main problem involves my girl Friend she is the main trigger of my psycho behavior. When we argue it can get nasty I would say i have a really long fuse when it comes to losing my rag. where as she loses it very fast,
basically it gets to a point when I can’t be calm any more my body jus takes over I feel like an adrenaline rush a blow my top I cant stop this and lasts at least an least half hour I scream and shout argue like mad and feel like I want to lash out at her or people violently! Don’t get me wrong i have never and will never strike a girl. I just make my girlfreind very scared. we are both in love still and been together about a 2 years if you don’t count the break ups. The last thing I want is to lose her. I used to cry before the rage but now get angry straight away.Is this normal to have no way of stopping this temper?
My grandfather was a large tempered man could this have something to do with it?
Please help! Thank you.

Answer: Dear Friend, There may be a lot of triggers provoking you. It’s possible that drinking or smoking pot makes you vulnerable to anger and rage. Even though there are many triggers for anger, you do make the choice to get angry. It may seem like you don’t because the adrenaline overcomes you so quickly. That is part of the normal physiological response to a threatening situation which trips your fight/flight mechanism.
I like to put it this way: some people have a very fragile fight/flight mechanism because of learned patterns or reactions to frustrating situations, low self-esteem, disrespectful or rude behavior or blocked goals.
Obviously, there are times when you should be angry – the world needs anger. The world allows evil to go on because there isn’t enough anger to put an end to it.
But, the kind of rage you are describing could worsen unless you work on changing. I believe that learning to avoid triggers, gaining anger management skills and challenging your self-talk could really greatly defuse your anger. It helps to play some phrases in your head prior to a provoking situation such as:
“cool down”‘ “maybe he/she is having a bad day”; “this isn’t the end of the world”; “I can handle this later”; “take a time-out”, “I don’t want to let this get the best of me”, etc.
The way you perceive an event and what you say to yourself has a lot to do with how much anger you will experience. People with “hot self-talk” will lash out immediately because they think: “I shouldn’t put up with that”; “they have no right to treat me that way”; “they’ll pay for that”, etc.
When people are disrespectful of you – you can learn some assertiveness skills to paraphrase what they have said such as: “did I hear you correctly? Are you saying that you think I’m not keeping up with my share of the workload?”
Maybe they’ll say: “oh no. I didn’t mean to say that. I was just complaining about how much work there is to do.”

Obviously, you need to openly yet, tactfully confront someone who is calling you names or putting you down. You need to stand up for yourself. But, you don’t have to blow-up at them. When you blow-up people will think less of you.
You can say, “there is no cause to call me names. I find that disrespectful.” Most of the time, the person will apologize.

As far as your girlfriend is concerned – I think there are some underlying issues between you. Maybe you don’t feel respected and heard, and maybe she is worried about your commitment and love.

You may consider getting counseling. Often- just gaining an understanding of anger and learning better communication skills and how to avoid triggers can really be the key. God bless!

© copyright 2021 by Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection , National Certified Counselor, Anger Management Specialist-V and Diplomate with the National Anger Management Association. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger? and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations.

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Don’t Waste Your Anger!


What makes you angry? Disrespect, loud noises, unfriendly, self-centered people, put-downs, rude behavior, people who break the rules? Anger is normal and it is an energy which can help you accomplish goals. But, if you can’t detect your anger in the early stages – you may find yourself over-reacting when something or someone triggers you. When that happens — you’ve wasted your energy and your anger!

Question:

Awhile ago I cut somebody off in traffic and this person was upset. This person pulled up beside me at the next traffic light and I apologized but this person wasn’t having it. They started swearing and threatening me and usually in the past I would get out and this person would be eating through a straw for the next month. I couldn’t help myself but to start getting angry and yelling comments back at this person. Eventually we just drove on. Any advice to help me keep my anger under control next time? Anon

Answer–

Maybe you are dealing with guilt and wishing you had handled the situation with a ‘cool head’. What if you had done something differently and had been more aware of your own anger and triggers? We teach that — Anger is a normal emotion which can be redirected into healthy thinking and skills in order to achieve healthy goals.

Self-awareness: How about writing out the road rage event and identifying what you were thinking. Most likely, you had “hot self-talk”. Hot self-talk will cause you to react more angrily than you normally would. Maybe you began saying to yourself- “I can’t let him/her disrespect and humiliate me that way!” “I’m going to tell him off!”, etc. It’s time to start thinking differently.

How about considering what is going on with that other person. Maybe he/she has a mental problem or has had a very stressful day. Maybe you could have counted to ten and just kept silent knowing that yelling was not going to help and actually could escalate the situation.  How about telling yourself that “this person isn’t going to get my goat.” or putting yourself in their shoes. There’s a reason they got so mad – that doesn’t mean it was justified or acceptable but, you did cut them off.

The problem is that you could have provoked that person more with your rage. Your outburst may have incited you (or him) to cause physical harm.

When someone gets that enraged- it’s best to back off for your own protection. You don’t want the other person to control how you feel/act. He can’t think straight. You can’t think straight and you won’t solve the issue then. Road rage – any kind of rage – leads to violence. You don’t need to become one of it’s victims or end up in jail.

Write it out:
What physical feeling did I sense? (flushed face, knot in stomach, tense muscles, tightness in neck/chest, etc.)
What I thought (hot self-talk) –
How I acted (unhealthy behavior)-
What else could I think instead (calming thoughts)?
How else could I have responded (assertive/empathic action)?
How could I have used my anger in a healthy way?

Then, try out the new calming thoughts and healthy action the next time you get angry or someone provokes you.. Write out the consequences. What happened afterward? How did it affect you and others?
A healthier response will empower you to take control of yourself (thoughts and actions) so you don’t waste your anger!

© copyright 2021 Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V
CounselCare Connection, P.C. – Anger Management Institute
1200 Harger Rd. Sutie 602, Oak Brook, IL 60523
630-368-1880

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Anger Flare-ups!

Question: I will say that I do understand how to normally deal with anger, but what I’m trying to illuminate is that it seems to be flaring up a lot more often than what I consider to be normal for myself. I’m more frequently becoming instantly agitated or irritated by things that are, in essence, trivial, and a lot more irritated than what I’d consider normal even under aggravating circumstances. (E.G. sometimes I feel inclined to fiercely curse aloud when I misplace my keys, etc.) It’s like these days I have to exert even more effort to maintain the same level of control that I’ve always had.I’m pleased to admit that I don’t ever get angry with people or direct/displace my anger towards people. So, I do seem to at least have perfect control in social situations; I suppose I simply need to relax more around inanimate objects or something. Any suggestions?

Answer:

You may find stress management and changing your self-talk very helpful as it defuses the physiological response to anger triggers. Anger triggers the amygdala in the brain within 1/20th of a second.

Here are some steps and strategies:
1. Find out your triggers.
2. What do you say to yourself which tends to inflate anger? “I can’t believe I did that again!”, “life’s so unfair!” or “I’m not to let him/her get away with that” or “that’s so rude. I’ll pay him/her back.”
3. How can you change your self-talk? “so, I did it again. I’ll try to find a regular place to put my keys.” or “that person is having a bad day” or “I’m not going to lose my cool so I look like a fool”, etc.
4. Take a time-out/break and try to prevent or avoid triggers and think through how to solve the problem or be more assertive.
5. Learning deep breathing and relaxation is important to help decrease and interrupt your physiological response to angry situations.

Remember: The more you rehearse anger – the more it grows. And the more anger controls you. I believe you do have anger management skills. Since you do work on incorporating them into new situations. Hang in there. With determination – you will change!

© 2021 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V

Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC, Certified Anger Management Specialist-V
1200 Harger Rd., Suite 602
Oak Brook, IL 60523

630-368-1880

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4 Q’s to Disarming Anger

Listen to the “Quick Tips for Managing Anger” podcast: Episodes:
Feb. 2021: 4 Q’s to Disarming Anger – (MP3 format) 7min. 20 sec.
Download (audio/mpeg, 6.75 Mb)
Description: What can you do to stop harmful anger and it’s consequences? Here are some helpful questions and tips for developing self-control and relationships!

Jan. 2021: Growing with Anger & Violence – (MP3 format) 10 min. 5 sec.
download (audio/mpeg, 9.7Mb)

Description: Children often grow up in homes of high conflict and out-of-control anger. What are the consequences? How can you help?Visit the What’s Good About Anger Institute for our FAQs, All About Anger Blog and podcasts which will teach you healthy anger management skills for relationships. Anger can be an overwhelming emotion that makes us feel like we have no control over it. Discover tools which will empower you to cope with stress and anger in healthy and effective ways.Quick Tips for Managing Anger is a show about how deal with anger effectively and practically.

Throughout the week Lynette Hoy, Anger Management Specialist, presents insights and skills for managing anger. You can learn to change unhealthy anger into a positive force which accomplishes something good for yourself and others! No more yelling, swearing, manipulating or giving the ‘cold shoulder’. Train yourself to turn anger into faith, assertiveness, problem-solving, empathy and forgiveness! As a result you will find that life and relationships are much more safisfying!

To subscribe to the free Quick Tips podcasts – just click on this feedburner link or listen on the apple site here. Then, download all the episodes to your ipod or MP3 player- and “podcast your way to managing anger”.

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Tips for Preventing Post-Holiday Anger..

Are you the victim of Post-Holiday Anger?

The holidays are times when people tend to get stressed out, emotional, feel lonely and angry. Why? Because we expect to feel happy during the holidays. We want to feel close to others and satified with our lives. The expectations, the stress, regrets, partying and memories lead to negative feelings and self-talk. When the holidays are over – we wish our get togethers with family and friends had gone better. We wish COVID was no longer a problem.

How can you prevent and deal with post-holiday stress and anger?

1. Don’t drink to drown your feelings. Drinking only increases negative feelings and heightens anger. Alcohol has a disinhibiting effect on the body and on your brain. Alcohol will seem to soothe the troubles you have but, only temporarily. Alcohol clouds  judgment and thus, you will act out your raw emotions without processing them cognitively.

2. Don’t relive the past. Holidays tend to bring up the past – regrets and losses you have experienced. It’s ok to process these events in a healthy way such as expressing your feelings to others but, ruminating on them can be disasterous. It will lead to depression and anger. You can’t do anything about the past – but, you can do something to help move you into the future in a positive way.

3. Take care of yourself and you will take care of your anger.
Reduce the stress in your life.
Increase exercise and nutrition.
Grow positive, healthy relationships.
Learn to communicate assertively and respectfully.
Plan a new goal in your life – take a class, learn a craft or sport.
Accept that life is hard but, determine to meet it’s challenges.
Develop your faith.
Understand your anger – it’s triggers, when it is normal and valid and
apply the problem-solving and anger management skills from What’s Good About Anger.

Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V
Diplomate, NAMA; President, CounselCare Connection, P.C.
Anger Management Institute blog, courses, training  podcasts and resources

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Anger at Work….

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I don’t really know where to begin… I’m 22. I work at a daycare, and each day I take care of between 6-10 children from age of 7 mo. – 1 year 4 mo. It is stressful. The kids cry … Continue reading

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Anger and Aggression….

Question:
When someone starts calling me names or taunting me, it winds me up very easily. Especially when they say things that I feel hit a nerve. Things like saying I have no friends, that I’m weird or a loner, the one that gets to me quickest is when they mention that I don’t have a girlfriend or worse still, if they ask me where she is (I’ve not dated anyone since my girl killed herself a few years ago).

The worst part of it is that the closer the person is to me, the worse I react. If I don’t care about someone’s opinion or the person in general I’ll just ignore them but the people I care about end up being the ones I’ll take it out on. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, it’s like I focus all my aggression on myself and my close friends. More myself than anyone else. I’d probably be dead already had I not read about using ice instead of razors to mimic cutting instead of actually doing it a while back. I find myself wanting to attack people when they say bad things about me, but the things they say are true, so I take it out on myself. It’s better that way. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but when they push me to a certain point it’s almost like I’m just watching myself do it.

Answer:
Dear Friend,
It’s normal to feel badly when someone puts you down or disrespects you. We all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
But, you need to work on feeling confident about yourself and how to express your feelings and responses in healthy and assertive ways to those people.
Here are some ideas:
1. Change your self-talk to: “that person may be trying to get my goat – but, I’m not going to let him/her.” “I’m going to tell that person how I feel and that they should not be talking disrespectfully to me.”

2. Take a break: “I’m going to take a breather and think about how to respond to that person later.” Taking a time-out will give your body time to cool-down and the frontal cortex of your brain time to start taking over the emotional (amydala) portion of your brain which wants to lash out.

3. Consider going to counseling to work through the self-mutilation, low self-esteem, grief and other issues you are dealing with. When you feel badly about yourself – you will emotionally overreact to put-downs.
See the directory of counselors at:  www.counselcareconnection.org ,
www.aacc.net and www.nbcc.org

4. Learn some anger management skills to help you cope with these situations. See www.whatsgoodaboutanger.com for FAQs, Quick Tips for Managing Anger Podcasts and the All About Anger blog.
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Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V, Certified Anger Management Specialist-V
What’s Good About Anger podcasts, blog, resources

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