Monthly Archives: July 2015

Women's counselling

Men And Anger Control Problems

By | Blogs for blokes, Men and Emotions | No Comments

Men out there, can you control your anger?

…You hate getting angry.

…You promised your partner you wouldn’t let your anger consume you. But here you are – fuming again. And regardless of how you got here, again, you want to get advice for better anger control.

Picture this! Your partner raises a once very scary issue with you. But this time you calmly listen to her and together you come up with a plan to solve it. She may say something like: “I don’t think we have enough money this month to cover all these bills” And you say: “Ok honey, where do you think we might be able to delay payment or – (fill in the space) -. Lets look at our options!”

Wouldn’t that be nice eh! NO anger, just reasonable responses to reasonable situations. Unfortunately there is a long way between the first paragraph and the next paragraph if you are prone to anger. A very long way!

…Imagine no more explosions of anger. No more threatening behaviour. No more begging and pleading for forgiveness. No more depressive mood swings. Can you imagine your partner’s delight and surprise to discover that the man she loves has changed into a loving caring partner and father? The kids will even want to hang with you. Would you dare to believe that anxiety would vanish, depression become a thing of the past, and you see a family worth fighting for?

With a few simple tools and an attitude adjustment you can make the change for better anger control. But before you embark on life changing heart and head surgery you must first identify and eliminate a few things in your life that are preventing you from giving your best.

If you answer YES to any of these questions then it is probably time to take a good hard look at yourself and your behaviour. Nothing is scarier than a man who doesn’t know why he is angry.

6 Things to consider for better anger control:

1. Are you surrounding yourself with the wrong people?

You will never get ahead or break bad habits if you are running with a crowd that is constantly trying to one up one another or encourage each other to do stupid reckless acts. I am not suggesting you to ditch your good friends, but I do think it’s smart to consider whether your friends always act in your best interests.Likewise listen to their language and make a distinction between words that promote healthy thinking or words that bring others down.Instead, look for like-minded people who appreciate you for who you are even if you can’t be doing some of the things you did in the past.

2. Do you have an “as soon as…” mentality?

This is the downfall of many. There is always had an excuse for why you can’t get your anger under control.

  • As soon as the holidays are over, I’ll do an anger course.
  • As soon as I get a better paying job, I’ll stop being angry.
  • As soon as she stops arguing with me I’ll stop getting angry.
  • As soon as I get the respect I deserve the sooner I will quit shouting.
  • As soon as the kids start doing what I say I’ll start being calmer.

The timing will never be perfect. Smart anger management is like dieting and exercise. You will always find a reason to put it off. Waiting for the stars to align is a sure-fire way to remain an angry man indefinitely.

Remember that learning to control your anger and ultimately behave in a more productive way requires starting now with the view that this is a ‘work in progress’. There is no magic bullet, or blinding light that will take your anger away. You must commit to making the positive changes that are necessary to have a life free of anger outbursts.

3. Do you have a character flaw?

Let’s get right down to it; you may be an angry man and you may stay angry all your life because you are simply too lazy, too weak or too self-indulgent. Perhaps you even like the idea that you can intimidate people through fear and anger.Ouch. Right!Please keep in mind that I’ve sat across from many an angry man. So I’m not judging; I’m just making an observation. Some men think that being the angry man and using intimidating and threatening words means they have the power. Sorry, but thinking that is ‘power,’ is anything but power.

For many, their character flaws are self-indulgence, weakness and self-pity. They have a hard time saying no to themselves when they could so easily justify their anger with the idea that “everyone gets angry at times.”

4. Are you making excuses and playing the Blame-Game?

We want to think our anger is the result of forces outside ourselves – the extended family, the lousy economy, the job situation, the partner not respecting you, the kids shouting back. However, at the end of the day, we need to take responsibility for our own actions.I am talking to you as a respectable working man. You take responsibility for your income, your career prospects, and your social obligations. So why not take responsibility for your anger outbursts? We need to acknowledge our part in the tension in the home. The fact is maybe, just maybe, if you lived with the belief that you are ultimately responsible for your own behaviour, you might just create an environment where together you can weather life’s storms a little better.

5. Is your anger hiding something?

Chances are good that the anger you display is covering up for something in your private life. Perhaps something happened in your earlier formative years that brings a feeling of shame. There could be any number of things that are stuck just below the surface and just because you get violently angry doesn’t mean you know what it is that is hidden.

6. Are you a man of ‘Justice’?

Most of us know right from wrong but we can still get caught doing things that shouldn’t be done. For example, not sticking to the road rules, the speed limit to be more precise. Getting away with stuff that should be punishable. Do you find yourself coming to the defense of others even if you don’t know them? Do you hate seeing injustice and that gets you all fired up? Sometimes this can be mistaken for depression. As you become increasingly powerless in the face of injustice you start to retreat into yourself and hate the world. Under the mild mannered surface is a raging inferno, ready to blow as the slightest sign of unfair treatment.

If you can identify with any of these then you should probably be seeking some help. Even if it is just to get a ‘check up’. Remember that anger can and will wreak your relationship guaranteed.

Not only will you reek havoc on your family but you will be teaching your children to do the same. They will either become the aggressor or the victim with no middle ground.

Don’t let shame prevent you from seeking the help you need. You and your family deserve a better future.

Until next time. God Bless.

Counselling Brisbane

What Fixed Belief is Hiding Behind Your Anger?

By | Blogs for blokes, Men and Emotions | No Comments

Is Anger always Negative?

Anger is in fact an emotion that can be used for good and more often than not, for bad. But it is worth keeping in mind that it is not always a negative emotion.

Like all emotions, anger can be controlled. Just like you can withhold laughter, or stop the flow of tears, you can stop being angry. Of course saying you can stop your anger rages and outbursts is one thing, actually stopping them is quite another.

The problem is of course is that with anger there is another emotion that lies underneath. For many of you who get angry on a regular basis you might find it difficult to identify this other emotion. For a lot of angry men, this is one emotion that they do not want people to see that they have.

But of course all emotions are universal, unless you’re a psychopath, but that’s another topic. So trying to hide an emotion successfully is like trying to hold your breath indefinitely. Sooner or later that emotion surfaces or you die from no oxygen. And for a lot of angry males this other emotion is hidden under the surface and masquerading as anger.

What is that other emotion? Of course it is fear.

Why is Fear related to Anger?

Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things, also known as the fight-or-flight response.’

You could almost replace the word ‘fear’ with ‘anger’ and still get the same answer. So they are often intertwined. So now you might be thinking why am I raising fear with anger.

…Lets suppose for moment that every angry man is hiding something. Something that he himself doesn’t even understand. A better way is to suggest that he has buried something deep within himself and can’t bear to have a look at it. In fact he will do almost anything to avoid being reminded of this. He will go to such lengths as, dare we say, hit someone, bash a stranger, or kill his partner. He will get to extreme levels of violence to avoid this ‘PAIN’.

Now most men don’t get to the level of harming those they love but I would imagine many have come very close. Before I go any further please understand that I do not condone violence on any level ever! There is no justification for it unless you need to protect someone’s life from someone else trying to kill them.

If there are people or organisations out there who have suggested to you that doing ‘anger’ exercises will solve anger issues for you then they only telling you half the story. They are well meaning and I support them in their attempts to help angry people but the biggest part of the recovery is not being told.

The role of Fixed-Beliefs and Anger

There is another aspect of anger that very few people in counselling mention, let alone understand. Without this understanding anger cannot be managed properly and any interventions are short-lived.

So what is the third string in this bow? A fixed-belief. For many of us, regardless of our emotions hold many fixed-beliefs, about ourselves, our environment and the world at large.

But what is particularly important about the fixed-belief of an angry man is that it is almost always untrue. Because as you can see, in the word ‘belief’ there is a ‘lie’.

So what is this fixed-belief that drives a lot of men, and women, to anger and sometimes rage?

Well that is a difficult question to ask without having the opportunity to talk with someone face-to-face but ultimately, for men in particular, it is the fear of being inadequate and that fear leads to shame.

Shame is the silent killer of all men. Please keep in mind that avoiding shame is the goal of most men and we will go to extraordinary lengths to achieve it.

So if you, or someone you know is experiencing a high level of anger on a regular basis then you or they need to seek help. Remember that your anger is hiding a fear and that fear is feeding a fixed-belief. And the good news is that fixed-belief is not true.

Ultimately that fixed-belief is built on a feeling of inadequacy or not measuring up. There are a number of other important core hurts that contribute to an angry state but being inadequate is top of the pecking order. And so in order to understand and appreciate this fact, those with anger issues need to talk to someone and uncover the driving force that controls your life.

You will be glad you made the effort, and so will your partner, family and friends.

Until next time. God Bless.

Counselling Brisbane

The Sandwich You Can’t Eat But You Can Digest

By | Family Matters | No Comments

Children want to be respected also

On the weekend I was at the farmers market in Eagle Farm when I saw a dad berate his young daughter for not doing something. What really annoyed me was that he was attempting to use adult logic with a 7 year old. Good luck my friend! It really bothers me when I see a mum or a dad ripping into their kid about something they have done or said or even a way they have behaved without any explanation or forethought. You often see them erupting like a volcano on the kid without any thought for the feelings of the kid or the circumstances surrounding the offense. But before you start on me for suggesting all kids are angels let me explain.

Not all kids are angels, I know, I have two of my own and countless nieces and nephews. Two of which are the spurn of the devil. I’m not kidding! I know we have all heard how we should talk to our children respectfully and model the kind of behaviour we expect from them, but sometimes they just don’t, can’t or won’t listen. The truth is kids will be kids and that’s about all we can expect from them.

I raise this topic because of the countless times I have had to listen to a man or woman tell me about their dreadful upbringing and how they were never affirmed, never given the benefit of the doubt and never respected. They were always told they were bad kids, naughty children etc. And it is no surprise why they are seeing me with the expectation I will help them out of this mess.

The truth is that for many people in this situation there is often no hope. They will repeat theirs parent’s mistakes and cause untold damage on their own children. But for those of you who are just starting out in the parenting world and don’t want to burden your children with heavy criticism and low self-esteem here is a little advice. Advice I have used myself and helped others use as well.

Have you ever considered that there might be a better way to raise a topic or start a discussion around something that is sensitive?

So if you are one of those people who has walked away from a run-in with your child thinking, “Damn I wished I hadn’t said that!” or “Bugger, I could have handled that differently” then you are not alone. But help is at hand.

The CRAP Sandwich – A Child’s Self-Worth Building Tool

Forgive me if you have heard this one before but I find it is very effective in building a child’s self-worth. In fact it is a very effective tool for anyone, be they friends, pupils, siblings etc.

This technique works particularly well with kids, specifically teenagers. For want of a better name I have called it the Crap sandwich. I know it is elegant and charming in its own way but stick with me and you too will be charmed by its simplicity.

Here’s the best description I can give you.

…So for a moment picture in your mind a sandwich. Now for simplicities sake let us imagine you have two white slices of bread and some filing. Two pieces of nice buttered white bread and in between, the discipline stuff.

Here’s how it works:

Once again it works equally well with peers, colleagues, cousins and aunts as it does with children. So lets say you are away from the home at work perhaps and your partner is taking care of the kids. As kids will do they play up somewhat and by the time you arrive home your partner is pulling her hair out.

She gives you the usual commentary about how badly behaved the kids were with the expectation you go in there and sort them out. And you dutifully do that. Of course the result can never be predicted and if things are not handled well, everything quickly downs south and everyone is left feeling bad. You especially, because you had to lay down the law and get a bad outcome to boot.

Unfortunately this pattern keeps repeating itself. What is needed is a little bit of charm offensive. It is worth keeping in mind that most kids, and in fact most adults respond positively to kind and encouraging words of affirmation. No real surprise there.

So the next time you want to race into their room and start yelling and laying down the law first consider checking in with your partner to get the low down on what actually transpired.

1. First piece of WHITE BREAD:

As you start to engage with the kids be sure to ask them about their day first and engage in simple conversation. No Yelling! When it comes time to disciple you might say to the offender. “Hey Chris you know I think you are an awesome kid and I love you and want to remind you that you did a fantastic job cleaning your room the other day (or whatever thing they did that merits attention, something good). It really makes me proud that you get in there and help. “Well done son!”

2. The filling (crap).

So you are nice, you have approached the situation calmly and been gentle with you child. Now that you have done the ‘soft start-up’ you can proceed to get to the real reason why you have cornered your kid. You might want to start with this: “You know mum tells me you have been misbehaving a bit and being a little naughty and you know we had this conversation a little while ago. Chris I really need your help to look after mum until I am back from work. I need your help. But you also need to do the things mum asks you to do. OK?” “You know, helping mum equals helping me”. That kind of stuff!

Remember to remain calm as they put their case forward and always bring them back to the agreement you made together. Don’t raise your voice to meet theirs (or anyone’s for that matter) but keep an even keel soft voice. (You will be surprised to find that if you keep a soft voice while arguing with someone they will start copying the tempo and level). Remember to remind them that you had an agreement by asking them why the agreement is so important. Now I understand that some kids are just plain unruly and will act up no matter what. But in my experience most kids respond well. And think about this for a moment. How would you feel if you witnessed someone talking poorly to your kids, the way you sometimes do?

3. White Bread

Here is where we lay the last piece of bread down and its ready to eat. Remember how it is when the sandwich is almost done! It’s a good moment. So we get the ugly stuff out of the way but we can’t leave it at that. We now need to reinforce their good behaviour and encourage them to keep up the good work. So you might say something like: “Hey Chris I know you can do what is asked of you because you are a great kid and you always want to do what is right. You make me proud.”

Children, like all adults, who were all once children, lap praise up. Kids love to hear it. I have come across many adults who bulk at this idea and they say daft things like “I don’t want to make them think they are the best kid ever and that they are better than everyone else” or “They don’t deserve praise, they’ve been naughty” Just a word of advice my friend “Pull your head in”! There is no denying the fact that as a child you swam in affirmation. You looked forward to it whether you got it or not. Please don’t deny the child a right to feel good about themselves because you were never affirmed. Please don’t get caught up in the false notion that you are creating a vain, self-serving child. You are not. You are giving praise where it is called for and appropriate. Try this approach and adjust it, as you need to.

The bottom line is this: if we don’t try a new approach to raising our kids we are going to get the same results we have always gotten. There is no shame in sitting down with your children and discussing important issues. What is needed above all else is their buy-in. If they feel they are being heard you can bet things will change.

Like most of us, your children have a need to feel secure and a need to feel appreciated (affirmed).

Remember when we affirm our family we are giving them a gift. But we cannot take these gifts, they must be given and received.

Good Luck