Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘anger’

People who suffer from Narcissism, whether it be Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Narcissistic behavior, often have trouble understanding and relating to people who practice healthy self compassion. People who have healthy boundaries and know how to place limits with themselves and their engagements with other people propose a unique challenge to a Narcissist. The first and most glaring problem for a Narcissist are people who don’t place them on pedestal to be admired. This lack of admiration often comes across to the Narcissist as a form of disrespect. Self compassion has it’s own language that differs from the Narcissist and it doesn’t include constant admiration of others.

Self compassion identifies needs as an independent person and stays focused on fulfilling those needs. A Narcissist stays focused on getting their ego admired by others and when they don’t feel this is happening they begin to manipulate others to get the attention they so greatly crave. This is where narcissism, in it’s own language, begins to strive for what is called narcissistic feed.

When the Narcissist doesn’t get this “feeding” of attention there are several things that can happen. Usually the biggest problem is anger. When manipulation doesn’t work then control by anger is often the quick default reaction. This anger can be presented in many ways with the most prevalent form being passive-aggressive. This form of behavior is manifested in many ways such as talking to other family members and friends behind their back trying to make them look like a bad person (also known as triangulation). Money, which is a big deal to most Narcissists, is often used to as a control weapon. Belittling your interests, comments, opinions, jobs etc. In other words, everything you have to say or do is “one-upped” by a narcissistic comment. Remember, nobody is as great or knows more than a narcissist. This is their grandiose thinking at work and nobody is greater than them, according to them of course.

I overheard a conversation once with this expression involved “a Narcissist cannot share a stage.” In other words, if it’s not all about me then there is no room for others. Narcissists are extremely worried and concerned about how they are viewed in the eyes of others. This is why anxiety and drug/alcohol use is such a prevalent problem for many of them. It’s the worry that gets to them, not their behavior. A Narcissist will ruin a relationship unless they are certain that all the attention is focused on them. There are no relationships with a Narcissist, only spectators. If you believe you are caught up in a relationship with a Narcissist, stop admiring them and see what happens. Practice some self compassion and put limitations on your engagement with the Narcissist and chances are things will begin to turn ugly.

Healthy people are interested in what you are interested in and want you happy and healthy. But when that level of interest stops with a Narcissist chances are you will be of no use to them and anger related problems begin to manifest. The Narcissist will begin to think you are the bad person, the one with the problem and may perceive you stopping your admiration as disrespect and resort to name calling and control measures to get you back in line with their thinking.

So what can be done about it? 

It is impossible to help someone who doesn’t acknowledge the need for help, especially with men of which most narcissists are. Men often live believing counseling is for wimps. Often healing with a Narcissist is the result of having to overcome a major addiction problem or they find themselves very alone in the world after destroying their relationships with family and friends. Look at their path, do they have a history of wreckage everywhere they go? It is then that they may (and may is rare) begin to self evaluate and start the process of trying to understand their problems.

Self examination for anyone with a personality disorder is a very scary proposition. To look inside of themselves and to truly see who they are as a person has been described as peering through a hole that leads into an empty formless abyss. The identity is missing. The ability to have healthy happy relationships is missing because of attachment issues. Emotional maturity is missing. These things must be formed, usually early in life. This is why they work so hard to manipulate others and work on things outside of themselves. Sitting quietly and doing some self examination usually involves mirrored observation and loathing in self love, not deep hearted evaluations of how they hurt someone. If a Narcissist is sitting quietly it is usually because they are secretly scheming their next move. Their thinking is usually in the form that it’s others and not me that has a problem; and I must shape them in line with my way of thinking.

In the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, they mention that the most effective way to deal with difficult people is to set boundaries for yourself. Don’t focus on the negative behavior of the other, this is often just a drama trap. The way to stop dealing with a Narcissist is to set some limits on how much you engage with that person. This is an active choice anyone can make for themselves. A quote by Dr. Henry Cloud “you get what you tolerate.” This doesn’t mean to challenge the Narcissist, (trust me you won’t win, you can’t tell them anything) but to challenge yourself to self-compassion and care. This form of healthy self respect is hard for the Narcissist to understand and will begin to struggle to make sense of it, and like I said before, they may try to twist and manipulate, especially if they are not used to it. Stick to your limits, don’t get emotional with them, and especially don’t take anything personally. Chances are in the long run they will give up and go get their “attention feeding” elsewhere.

Disclaimer: This article is meant for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional psychotherapy treatment. 

Advocacy: Psychotherapy is conducted by an appropriately trained professional with an advanced degree in a counseling field (Master or Doctorate) with recognized and approved state licensing credentials. Always check a counselor’s license. 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I’m watching a Batman movie the other night and found myself psychoanalyzing the movie, particularly the main character. What is it about a superhero that people find so intriguing? I think identifying with a superhero is reminiscent of a quote from Henry David Thoreau, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” I find Batman perhaps the most interesting of all the superheroes. Batman leads a life of two identities that would make Sigmund Freud proud and perhaps provide for a strong argument for the basis of Freud’s id, ego and superego. The id plays the villain, Bruce Wayne plays the ego and Batman is the superego. Bruce Wayne sees the moral problems of the id and must turn into the superego (superhero) in order to counterbalance the issue.

But wait a minute, isn’t this behavior of playing the superhero a type of codependent behavior? After all, isn’t rescuing someone in distress a type of controlling behavior? I think it all depends on how you look at the situation and the motivation behind the behavior. What is driving it, working behind the scenes? Yes, I am overthinking this, but there is something at work here, a dynamic at play that affects many people who seek counseling. Batman can be used as a metaphor of how people hide their problems and mask their true identity. What a lonely place that must be, always hiding and afraid to be truthful and out in the open of being your true self. I wonder what it would be like for Batman to stand in front of an A.A. meeting and peel off that mask. Oh, the vulnerability of true identity can be terrifying.

This is not an attempt to tear down Batman or deconstruct his character, I love the creativity and full richness of the story lines. Kudos to the creativity of the writers. This amounts to nothing more than a therapist’s musing of the psychological observations I have made.

The superhero, in my opinion, is a type of person who is caught up playing a role that is trying to fix, rescue or control an outcome for others. In modern terms, it’s male codependence. For the superhero it’s about more than just a person, it’s all of humanity. By the way, who decided that Batman knows best for everyone? Yes, there is evil in the world that creates destruction on a widespread scale and there are those who come together for the greater cause of mankind to lessen those evil schemes. But there is a common theme found in superheroes, something must be done and that something must be done by me.

I guess for me and my psychotherapeutic mind, this is about a man who hides in a cave and does not allow his real identity to be shown. I found myself confused when I began to think about who the main character is, Batman or Bruce Wayne. Perhaps it’s both and Batman is just a part of Mr. Wayne’s identity, or vice versa. When he (Batman/Mr.Wayne) emerges into public he comes into view as one of two identities. I’m having trouble trying to figure who the real person is and who he wants to be, Bruce or Batman.

If this man were to sit in front of me during a therapy session I suppose my best question to him would be two-fold going straight to the core issue, “what is it about your parent’s death (they were murdered) that causes you to do what you do today, and how has this affected your identity as a person?” I cannot help but wonder if this is not really a question of identity, but a boy who is lost and angry. Batman never resolved his anger of his parent’s death and has swore to himself to uphold justice wherever he finds it. In some circles, this might be even construed as being passive-aggressive. Mr Wayne, please get therapy for your unresolved anger because people are becoming too dependent on you for helping them out of their perceived predicament of helplessness.

I admire the author’s of Batman and how the story originally developed in the 1930’s. I cannot help but wonder if they realized that they may have been creating a story from their own psyche or that of another. There are countless stories throughout history of someone who was wronged and vowed justice or revenge in return. Yes, Batman and superheroes for that matter are all fictional characters, but they represent something that is very real and that is the projection of human behavior. A feeling of being wronged put back into being right. Does that include destroying bad guys? Or is this an issue of unresolved anger?

Read Full Post »

Keeping emotions in check can help people choose positive outcomes in conflict. Anger management skills lead to developing an objective frame of mind leading to appropriate responses. This is achieved before a person’s emotional anger takes over creating a strong reaction. When a person is in control of their anger they they have control over the choices of how to respond to anger. The choice is how to think it out first, then proceed.

Anger management is just that, managing anger. Anger is a normal emotion but it’s what we do with it that makes a difference. When other people around us get angry the tendency is to react with anger as well, especially when it is directed at us. When two people get angry at each other it can escalate into an argument or worse. However, in a moment when anger is directed at us there is a choice. For example, to use a fishing analogy, a fish has a choice to go for a baited hook or not. Sometimes they bite and sometimes they don’t. Think of an angry person in the same manner, the other person’s anger is like a baited hook and it comes down to choosing whether or not to bite into that anger.

So what can a person do when confronted or being around angry people? Here are a few tips that can help a person choose an appropriate response without getting wrapped up in someone’s emotional situation.

1. Check first to make sure whether or not the other person may have a legitimate point. Allow for appropriate ownership and if necessary make amends of the wrongdoing before responding, apologize if necessary. Most people who perceive an injustice calm quickly when others take ownership of their behavior. However, stay objective and make sure the perceived wrongdoing is appropriate.

2. Use rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is about not taking things personally and working with the angry person to explore more about what they are angry about. Get curious with their anger but make sure you stand your ground, stay objective to be able to agree or disagree with the condition of their anger.

3. Hear it out and let it go. Sometimes there is no need to do anything either way. A few head nods, uh-huh’s and walk away.

4. If the person’s anger is extreme and/or attacking anger then call them on their behavior. This is bordering on bullying and more about stopping abusive behavior.  Make sure to use “I” statements in this scenario to prevent the perception of attacking back. For example, “I don’t appreciate being talked down to like that,” or, “I am not going to listen/stand here/talk to you unless we can have a decent conversation.” The idea is to get the other person to see how inappropriate their behavior is and to let them know you are not not going to tolerate demeaning or abusive behavior, from them, or anyone. Most people cower and just try to get out of a situation like this. That does not teach the other person anything except that they can be mean and abusive and get away with it. Standing up to this kind of behavior signals that next time they may think twice first.

5. Being human means sometimes we get angry. If the anger does get to you a good way to relieve it is to walk it off. Go to a park, feed the ducks, toss out a fishing line, watch a funny movie, pray or indulge with spiritual activities, socializing, exercise or learn relaxation skills. This list can go on and it’s takes some creativity to create distraction and get the mind off of dwelling on the trigger that is creating the anger.

A cautionary note regarding anger. There are some people in this world who have psychological anger issues. This is often found in clinical diagnosable conditions such as Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Other conditions such as narcissistic, borderline and antisocial personality disorders can also present with uncontrollable anger issues. In these situations typically long term therapy is needed to resolve underlying issues related to the anger and other symptoms commonly associated with these conditions.

Brian Murray holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University-Orlando Campus. He currently works at the ECC Counseling Center of Central Florida as a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern.

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Anxiety-2Fear is a common problem for many people and it can be difficult for most to overcome. Fear is deeply rooted and linked with negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and depression. This is not the healthy type of fear where it makes sense to be afraid of something that threatens the loss of life, but the type of fear that creates an internal disturbance toward a perceived threat. This is usually found in the form of worry. Worry can be debilitating and is the result of fear of the unknown. Here is the breakdown of how this works causing 3 common negative emotions leading to an uneasiness in our lives.

 

Anxiety

Anxiety in a nutshell is a fight or flight response to a perceived threat. Internally the body is reacting to something that signals danger and hasn’t yet fully comprehended the extent of the threat, it’s unknown. Many times unresolved anxiety is difficult because the reality of the threat is not real, it’s manufactured, and it’s offspring is worry.

Worry is about the unknown and it is full of “mights and maybes.” The body responds to protect itself, an autonomic reaction, and the result is anxiety. Internally the body cannot recognize whether or not the threat is real, it just has to prepare itself just in case. So, if the mind is producing the perceived threat then the mind is the one that can fix the perceived threat by changing it. Most people who suffer this type of anxiety are experiencing generalized anxiety which is associated with expecting the worst in most situations. Counter challenge expecting the worst by being more realistic about daily outcomes.

Anger

Anger’s internal language says “I am in imminent danger and I must fight.” Remember the fight or flight response in anxiety? Anxious people typically want to avoid, angry people often want to confront. Anger is about taking an uncertain situation and making it certain. If a person is angry with you then chances are they want to control you to get certainty of the outcome of the situation. Anger is a natural emotion and comes in handy when life is being threatened. However, unchecked and for it’s survival value anger can become destructive.

Healthy anger is possible and takes a justice approach. To get angry with someone at the right place and right time is paramount for it to be effective. For example, you feel someone disrespects you at work in front of coworkers then call them on it, either right away or later one on one. While it is difficult to not become explosive, the manner in which something is being expressed is important, it’s a response instead of a reaction. This is often difficult as most people are afraid to make waves at work or in family relationships. This isn’t about making friends with people who bully others, this is about personal dignity and protecting it, and anger is designed to protect.

Depression

Depression’s internal language is lost hope. Depression is typically anger that turned inward and creating weight in the center of a person’s soul. This is where a person’s life can become self destructive by neglecting health, addiction issues, missing work or often being late. Other signs of depression are frequent crying, feeling blue all the time, excess or lack of sleep, appetite changes and a general sense of wanting to isolate and not engage with others. We all feel blue from time to time but this is more about a chronic state of feeling depressed for about 2 weeks or longer.

Depression can also be one of the most difficult moods to treat since it may take a while for the person suffering to come out of it as it typically doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes anti-depressants from a doctor may be necessary for a period of time combined with talk therapy with a qualified counselor. Self help strategies for depression are very effective in treating it. For example, waking up at the same time every day and make the bed. Get in a routine, eat breakfast and get some exercise early in the day. This gets the body moving and puts energy forward building momentum. Journal thoughts and feelings that are causing problems. Numerous studies have shown that written expression of emotions is highly effective at relieving them. Get outdoors, some fresh air and sunshine does wonders for the serotonin in the brain that helps lift mood. Depression is highly affected by negative thinking. One of the best challenges to negative thinking is to ask “what evidence do I have that makes my thoughts true?”

My hope and desire is this article helped someone in some way. If needed, share it with a friend or a community.

God’s Peace and Love,
Brian

Luke 12: 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity- Søren Kierkegaard

forgivenessForgiveness of past hurts, pains and the injustice of past events in our lives can be difficult to process through. This can be especially true if we are feeling guilty or perhaps shameful of something we did in our past where we recognize the pain and suffering we inflicted on others.

One of the most difficult parts of forgiveness is forgiving ourselves. It is typically much easier for people to forgive others for past offenses. They let it go and move on.  When it comes to self forgiveness it has to be approached from a different mindset. For comparison sake, when we forgive others we can let the problem remain with the other person. When it comes to ourselves we carry it with us everywhere we go, that is until we choose to let it go.

Letting go as a choice is easy in theory, actually doing it is another story. If the guilt of not letting go is carried long term it can manifest and turn into resentment, depression and anger. Finding the right tool to facilitate letting go is the key. Adopting a different mindset is a good technique. Adopting this technique is to challenge yourself by saying something such as “what am I benefiting from by hanging on to this?” Or, “What purpose does it serve to keep beating myself up with this guilt?”

The idea is to stop beating ourselves up. Give ourselves some slack and drop the resentment and guilt of past deeds. One last thing to try, if you were the one who was wronged by another person, what would you say to that person if they asked you for forgiveness? Would you grant it? If the answer is yes then ask yourself the same question of you. Grant yourself forgiveness, let it go, leave it in the past and move on. When we practice self forgiveness the end result is often peace, freedom and learning some self love and appreciation.

Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.

More about Brian M. Murray

http://www.lifeworksgroup.org/Page.brian.html

 

Read Full Post »

codependent-being-ignored-200x258_mediumCodependency used to be associated only with those who are in a relationship with someone who has an addiction. Codependent is a term that arose out of the addiction community that addicts used to described the type of person they would show love in order to use them as a resource to feed their habit.

More recently, codependency has been expanded as a broader term to describe a behavior pattern that can affect anyone, not just those who are in relationship with an addict. Codependency is identified when a person sacrifices their well being in favor of the interests and well being of others. The other is usually a person with whom they are in a significant relationship or marriage with. Codependency can happen in other areas as well such as family members, church and at work. While all people need community and to feel accepted, codependents go out of their way to get this acceptance and love from others often to the detriment of their true self character and integrity.

Denial is a codependent sub-type and there are times when people who are suffering simply don’t want to change and they would rather continue with the suffering. Often the main reason for this is because the behavior is something they are familiar with and it is a habit they are not ready to break. Change requires dropping fear of the unknown to begin to live in a more healthy way. So, if a person wants to stay codependent and continue to live in denial here are 10 ways a person can do that.

  1. Don’t talk about your problems and keep them a secret.
  2. Ignore your feelings and focus on everyone else’s feelings first.
  3. Put yourself squarely between two arguing people and play conflict messenger.
  4. Make sure when talking to others you soften your words in order to diminished any chance of emotional outbursts.
  5. Make sure you interpret self care as being selfish.
  6. It is not okay to have personal rights in a relationship to be healthy and happy.
  7. You are not allowed to play and have fun until the needs of others have been met first.
  8. Be responsible for others by picking/cleaning up after them and not allowing them to do it for themselves.
  9. Call in sick for your spouse who drinks too much and can’t make it work or is too hung-over from the night before.
  10. Remember, your good feelings about who you are stemming from how well others approve of you and the actions you do for them.

Read Full Post »

GrievingHaving to say goodbye to a loved one can be one of the most difficult situations in life a person is faced with. Grieving can be very difficult for someone who is trying to come to grips with the meaning of the loss and the emotions they are experiencing. Strong attachments to others are not easily let go of, and grieving loss is not limited just to the death of a loved one. Emotional suffering can come due to the loss of something in our lives such as the loss of a job, loss of health, a pet, a friend or even experiencing a serious life event that leads to the loss of future dreams. The one common denominator is loss is experienced through the processing of strong emotions and over a period of time.

Grief is commonly recognized as having 5 stages as introduced by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969. As an expert on grief, she explained that these 5 stages are what a person goes through when dealing with loss:

  1. Denial and Isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Depression,
  4. Bargaining
  5. Acceptance.

 

These stages are not experienced in any specific order except for the 5th and final stage, acceptance. At any time, one stage may become predominate and unless it gets processed through a person can get stuck or hung up trying to heal through that stage. While there is no time limit for the grieving process, someone who becomes “stuck” in a stage may have difficulty reaching the 5th and final stage of acceptance. Acceptance does not mean a person forgets, but they have processed through the loss and they can reasonably continue with their life.

Grieving is a normal process that allows a person the chance to heal. Additionally, not all the stages have to be experienced in order to heal. Beyond the 5 stages some physical symptoms may occur as well such as fatigue, nausea and weight loss. Additional feelings such as fear, guilt and sadness are also common.

Awareness of the process of how a person grieves and that emotional suffering is part of the process serves to validate common feelings and helps normalize the experience. So what can a person do to help deal with these feelings? Here are a few suggestions of how a person can begin to work though the grieving process.

  • Get support from family, friends and a support group. Finding a good support group is very beneficial as it helps the person to know they are not alone and not the only one who is having this experience. Groups can help offer insight to the experience.
  • Turn to faith and God to find reconciliation for the loss through prayer, meditation and practice. Often getting back into the routine of faith practices can bring a sense of normalcy to daily living.
  • Find a way to express thoughts and feelings regarding the loss through expression. This can be done through journal writing, artwork such as drawing, painting and pottery, scrapbooking or some other creative way. The idea is to process through the emotions while conducting the task. Make it unique and make it yours.
  • Take care of your body. Something physical such as walking and proper diet can help your body reduce stress. Sleeping is often a trouble area as well. Take measures to get enough rest and sleep. Having a daily routine for daily living can be very beneficial.

 

Depression: An Area of Special Concern

Suffering a major loss can create a trigger for depression. As previously mentioned, a person can become stuck in a stage with depression often being the stage most difficult to process through. Someone who experiences depression for too long can begin to experience difficulties associated with the depression as well as the grieving. When a person recognizes that they might be struggling with depression it is important to seek treatment. The sooner the treatment, the better the outcome. Do not hesitate to contact a licensed health professional such as a medical doctor or counselor.

There are signs to know if depression is worsening and is reaching a point where help is needed. Here are a few signs to look for.

  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death or wishing you would have died with the loved one.
  • Difficulty functioning or concentrating at home with family, at work, school or other areas of social involvement.
  • Not wanting to get out of bed and face the day, slow movement, body aches and wanting to isolate. Insomnia may occur as well.
  • Frequent or heavy substance use in order to cope with negative feelings. Using substances often makes the depression worse.
  • Strong sense of guilt or self blame for the loss, feeling hopeless and/or worthless.
  •  Sudden onset and rapid changes in weight, putting on or losing.

Suffering and grief does not have to be endured alone. Seek professional help, support groups, family and friends to help get through the process. Leaving major depression untreated can also lead to other health problems so it is important to get proper treatment as soon as possible.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: