How To Stop Being Angry

     “I am not getting angry over nothing!” Mordy said to Jeff just a bit too heatedly. He really felt defensive and he wondered how he ever allowed himself to confide in his closest friend that he and his wife were having problems. The fact that Jeff didn’t respond with complete sympathy to Mordy’s case did not persuade Mordy to take a closer look at himself. After all, getting angry over nothing, by definition, is “over nothing” and he felt completely justified in his irritation at his wife. He thought that would be obvious from the story he told to Jeff. Now, he was quite annoyed at Jeff’s response which suggested he examine himself more closely for his contribution to the problem. Besides, he wouldn’t say his level of anger was over the top, anyway. It was just “a little” anger. A Little Anger That one is not so clear. Anger can build up to hatred; just ask enough people who have been through a divorce and they’ll shed some light on this. Mordy fumed to himself. “Humph,” he grunted, “I have plenty of cause.” Herein lies the problem. Don’t we all say that? Don’t we let ourselves off the hook every time, figuring the whole issue of getting angry over nothing doesn’t apply to us, and that we don’t have anything to reflect over? We, on the other hand, are perfectly justified in being angry. After all, just take a look at what was done to us. Really? I invite you to consider the concept of victim thinking. Mordy had just been in the hospital, recovering from major surgery. Anna had...

Why People Don’t Apologize and What to Do About It

It’s amazing how many people can’t seem to apologize. Here are some reason that this might happen: They grew up in homes where people were blamed whenever things went wrong. Therefore, apologizing is not only an admission that they did something wrong—which they probably heard too much of in their lives already—but it’s opening themselves to being the target of blame. Would you start lacing into them? Probably not, but it doesn’t matter; they’re just afraid of it. Even when their logical mind knows better, people like this don’t want to put themselves in a place that feels icky because of past associations. They grew up in homes where they were perfect; they could do nothing wrong. Now, you know that can’t be true; no one is perfect. But some people were never told that. This can happen because parents are genuinely afraid to discipline their children or because they honestly don’t see anything wrong with the behavior. Either way, the child honestly doesn’t know that he or she did something wrong. To educate a person of either type in trying to help a marriage is very challenging. When you try to explain that the person in Category 1 did something wrong, they automatically slide into victim mode; they feel like they’re being blamed. This makes them defensive and sometimes they pre-emptively attack you, adding more injury on top of whatever it was in the first place. A person in Category 2 is just as difficult to teach. Such a person has no comprehension of what you’re talking about. They are likely to say, “No, I didn’t” when you...

Will the Real Victim Please Stand Up

Scene: A woman walks into a hospital emergency room, bloody and bruised. Her husband, teeth clenched, assists her. X-rays reveal several broken bones as well. As the staff tries to determine what happened, the husband bursts into tears, admitting he beat up his wife. Clearly, she’s the victim here. Luckily, the anger management class that the Court uses as a diversionary program for first-time offenders includes intensive one-on-one counseling. Gently, the therapist tries to piece together the acts of violence. “So how did it start?” she asks. “You wanna know the truth?” Ricky, the husband, replies, “It started last Thursday. I come home from work. I work hard, man. I come home and, I can’t believe it, my wife and her sister are in MY living room painting it baby blue. I was shocked. I felt like as if she had punched me in the gut. Painting not the baby’s room, not a little study, but our living room. Without any discussion whatsoever! Baby blue! That’s not right. Would you say that’s right?” he challenges the counselor. “No,” the therapist answers, “that doesn’t seem right, to just go ahead without discussion.” “And that’s how it always is. I’m nobody in my own home. Just a nothing.” He spits the words out and smacks one hand into the palm of the other. “That wasn’t the first time, either. My wife, Jean, she had people over for dinner last week and I came home all tired and ready to flop on the couch and there they were, for Pete’s sake.” How Come Ricky Thinks He’s A Victim? So let’s hit the...

Don’t Play Victim in Your Marriage

Don’t rush to get hurt feelings–Stay away from playing the victim in your relationship. Ask yourself one, two, three, four, even five times: Did she really mean to hurt me? Because if your spouse, lover, friend did not really mean it, you can choose not to have hurt feelings. You can calmly tell her that what she said didn’t come out right. You can explain what went wrong without absorbing all that hurt and pain. Why take poison into yourself? You don’t have to! How do we get into victim-playing? Abused children grow up to be adults who know all about abuse. They hate it but they can wear it like an old shoe. When Abuse Feels Normal This presents two problems. One is that when someone is abusive, they might not realize it because they are so used to it, it feels normal. For those people, they might take it and take it when they should either get out of the relationship, or, if there is hope of reform, go to counseling with a sharp therapist who can help the abuser to change. The second problem is a mirror image of the first. When Normal Feels Like Abuse The victim is so used to being abused that everything feels like abuse. So with that person, the partner may be doing or saying something perfectly innocent and the victim “takes” it wrong. That’s what I meant by playing the victim. That’s no good, but being a punching bag is no good either. That is, being a victim when you really aren’t is not good and being a victim when...
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