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Tag: anger management counseling

April 17, 2014

 

When I  was a young teen, I remember getting so frustrated with trying to solve an algebraic equation that in anger I broke my pencil. My teacher then gave me the advice to practice taking breaks from problems I couldn’t solve and coming back to them.  Specifically, he shared with me to accept that I  couldn’t solve the problem then take a break from the problem, and in situations where feasible, sleep on the problem.

 

From then on,  when  I couldn’t solve a math problem and I came to a place of acceptance, I found myself more at peace with the situation when I took a break from the problem. Nine out of ten times when I came back to the problem, I would have a fresh perspective on the problem leading me to solving the equation.

 

It is easy for us to get angry at things that don’t go our way, but even more challenging being able to admit that the anger we experience is a  sign that we are experiencing a situation that calls for us to use our problem solving skills. Often times I either read or hear about people calling for others to get angry when their rights are being violated. The funny thing is, that you don’t need to get angry when your rights are being violated, it is a natural reaction. The question is what are you going to do about it?

 

It actually takes more courage to put aside your anger in order to access the prefrontal cortex of your brain to solve a problem. If you find yourself getting angry and perhaps hostile in response to any type of disrespect towards you, it is because you did a quick risk assessment and determined that you would not experience major penalties for acting in aggression, or that you could afford to experience major penalties for acting in aggression.

 

This is why people who come face to face with others who are equipped to respond with even more hostility, then to go the passive route. It is much similar to an angry and unruly child, who becomes passive and quiet upon encountering an adult disciplinarian. When we attempt to solve problems from the primitive region of our brains we either go into a fight or flight mode, specifically a flight mode when faced with overwhelming force from the opposition.

 

This is why go to war units in the military train soldiers to not respond with anger when faced with things not going their way but with assertiveness. Not being angry does not mean that you don’t get upset when things are not going your way, nor does it mean that you go into denial mode and pretend to be happy. The best response to dealing with things not going your way, is to get past your feelings of anger, acknowledge the situation for what it is, and assertively go about in addressing it.

 

If you are reading this and asking yourself how this can be done, I provide the answer to that question in my book, Anger Management 101: Taming the Beast Within.

 

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

 

May 10, 2013

Some time ago I shared my thoughts and feelings in response to a blog post about a teenage girl, verbally insulting her teacher in the classroom. This footage was filmed on someone’s cell phone or portable camera and published on youtube.

The young girl was scolding her teacher and accusing him of not doing his job . This was going on while her classmates were busy laughing at the one sided show down. The clip is about three minutes long and you never get to hear the teacher’s side of the story.

The author of the post, aligned himself or herself with the young girl and suggested that there be an occupy the schools movement spearheaded by parents. As far as I know the occupy movement was not successful, please don’t get me wrong, I agree with their cause but their methodology left much to be desired.

I disagree with the author, unfortunately I believe that the young girl has been misguided into adopting an attitude of entitlement, which only creates more obstacles for her.

These are my thoughts.

Strategic Tools.

People who are disadvantaged need tools, so let’s pretend for a moment that her accusations were accurate, then what? Will that be her approach to life when things are not going her way? If anyone remembers their experiences in high school, particularly if you received public funded education, there were quite a number of teachers whose teachings were below standards. So assuming that this young girl is right, and this teacher isn’t the only “bad” teacher in the school, are other teachers headed for the same fate? (A public diss, published on youtube.)

What happens if she decides that she is going to be college bound? If I recall, an essential part of the application process required that you get about three to five referrals from key subject teachers. In two years (my guess) if she decides to apply to college, how many teachers would willfully write her a letter of recommendation? What about grades? Are we going to pretend that some teachers don’t grade based on favoritism? (Yes, unfortunately some adults hold grudges.)

Adults who reach out to disenfranchised youth and routinely tell them about their “rights” and what they are entitled to are doing them a great disservice. Children already know their rights, which will be their right to life. Everything else is a blessing.

Encouraging kids to throw tantrums when things don’t go their way, is like a special type of relationship disorder that occurs in some dysfunctional relationships, particularly between a mentor and a mentee. I think I will call it proxy aggression. Where a mentor instills or encourages an aggressive behavior in a mentee, that they would not dare demonstrate in their own life. I wonder how many of the adults who were supportive of this young girl’s rantings would dare pull such a behavior in their work place? God only knows that there are plenty of us who have felt unfairly treated in the workplace.

Unless she has parents, (an author on the site claimed she had no parents- I really don’t know) who are loaded, a bad temper is only going to create more distance between herself and her dreams.

She needs allies , people who will show her the ropes- no strings attached. She needs to be stronger, (throwing a tantrum is really a sign of emotional immaturity). She needs to learn how to acknowledge her difficult feelings while using tact to assertively advocate for herself. She needs to learn forgiveness, she needs to see herself as a survivor of any type of type of trauma she may have experienced, and begin the process of liberating herself from her feelings of hurt and pain related to trauma. She needs to see herself, not as a victim so owed, but as an empowered human being in the position to contribute to the community around her.

When we gather together and demand to be taken care of by the powers that be, we invite more abuse into our lives.  The same is true, if not worse, when we teach our children that they are so owed, and they are to be taken care off.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions, a professional private practice located in Tucson AZ.

May 6, 2013

I recently received an email request for advice on how to respond to passive aggressiveness. So without further delay I will go into it.

People who practice passive aggressiveness do so from a place of power and control. They don’t want to lose the relationship,  but at the same time they want to find creative and passive ways to hurt the feelings of the person who has annoyed them.

The best way to respond to passive aggressiveness is to be straight forward. However, in order for your straight forward-ness to be effective, you have to regard the person with whom you are addressing with dignity and respect.

Take for example, once there was a situation that occurred between myself and a company commander during my time in the military. The commander of my company in the presence of some platoon sergeants hoped out loud that the new soldier coming into the company was a logistics specialist, he further added,
“I hope he has a brain too.”

You see, my military occupation was in the field of logistics, I was in charge of maintaining a balanced property book of the company supplies and equipment which were worth in the millions of dollars. Essentially my job was to maintain a factual balance between what was documented on the property books and what was actually stored on the company premises.

It was no secret that the company commander at the time had a strong disliking towards me. Upon the commander’s passive aggressive remarks, following the laughter of the platoon sergeants, I was left feeling angry and embarrassed. Essentially the company commander, was declaring me to be incompetent at my job. I would later vent to my immediate supervisor, who gave me a suggestion that changed my attitude towards dealing with passive aggressiveness.

I wrote a letter to my commander, in which I copied to my supervisor. In the letter, I confronted my commander about his statement the day before, and my interpretation of his statement. I then went on to detail my accomplishments since arriving in the unit, specifically having to do with how consistently I had maintained accountability of the company property. In the letter I requested that the commander address issues he had with my performance and suggestions for improvement.

The commander would immediately approach me in the presence of the company First sergeant and my supervisor and inform me that his words where taken out of context. Further, he claimed he found me to be a great logistics specialist.

While I am certain, that the commander never stopped disliking me, it appeared that he had developed a new found respect for me after my response to his remarks. He would never again make passive and aggressive double sided comments to me again for the remainder of the time we worked together.

In summary, passive aggressiveness directed towards you, is an invitation to play a deceitful game of cat and mouse. If you find yourself on the receiving end of such an invitation, taking a straight forward approach voids the invitation.

So what are your thoughts and feelings about this post? All agreements and disagreements are most welcome.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC, a professional counseling private practice. Ugo also maintains a blog with Psychology Today.

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