Archive | March, 2013

A-N-G-E-R

23 Mar

The five letter word that no one wants to talk about.

“I am not angry. I am just a little upset.”

“I am just pissed but I am not angry.”

“I got aggravated but not angry.”

It is ok…to get angry.

Getting angry is part of being a living, breathing person.

The reason people don’t want to talk about “it” is because they are afraid of anger.

They see anger like when the big, bad wolf got angry in the child’s tale.

I am angry right now as I write this because my laptop screen keeps collecting little particles on it and it “irritates” me. Yes, irritation is anger.

I think the most common level of anger people experience is “frustration”. Due to peoples’ limited amount of patience and tolerance for things that don’t go their way, frustration tends to sneak in often.

Since I am a “professional” mental health provider, I have heard and read a lot that anger is just the “secondary” feeling, covering for the “primary” feeling that lies under it.

Meaning, if I show anger, there is something else going on underneath that anger like “disappointment” or “hurt”. I don’t buy that, really.

I think disappointment can cause anger but one can experience anger without any other feeling.

So most of us were exposed to the big, bad wolf and how mad he got when the three little pigs wouldn’t let him in their homes. The wolf became so mad, that it turned into rage which is usually when bad things happen.

When one escalates to rage, he usually loses control and causes damage to someone or something like when the wolf “blew” the houses down.

IF we don’t cope with our everyday “anger” properly, it can turn into rage eventually.

I believe that is what happened with O.J. Simpson when he killed his ex-wife, back in 94′. Yes, O.J. did finally confess to killing her in a book that he helped put together. O.J., in his own words, had been trying to cope with Nicole’s unstable behaviors for years. She was up and down and all over the place. But, on that night, the perfect storm of anger formed and O.J. blacked out and killed her. I have to give to him credit though, he really attempted to cope with her the best he could for years but finally snapped.

I believe that is the reason behind so many other domestic killings, especially the murder-suicide types. The spouse attempts to endure and endure but one day he or she snaps, unable to cope anymore with their anger toward that person and probably the world as well.

The same thing happens with child abuse. The parent, unable to keep coping with their child’s “unwanted” behaviors, that he or she severely abuses the child they say they love.

So I have looked at the downside to anger, but what about the upside?

When used properly, anger can be the catalyst for change. If one doesn’t get angry, why should he want to change?

Do you think Abraham Lincoln was angry about the practice of slavery? Damn right he was! When he first witnessed slavery as a young man in New Orleans, he was so angry with how one person mistreated another just because of their skin color, it motivated him to WALK all the way back to Illinois. From that point on, his anger pushed him to end slavery as we knew it.

Yes, my friends, the next time you get angry, don’t suppress it, use it for good. And if you are having difficulty doing that or coping with someone or some situation, share it with someone you trust. It is simply amazing what can happen when we share our struggles with the right person.

God Bless you!

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“Talk” Therapy anyone??

1 Mar

I just read an interview with Jimmy Kimmel (late night talk show host) that he participates in “talk” therapy twice a week. I think I heard that Dave Letterman has also participated in “talk” therapy. “They” say (whoever they are) that comedians are generally pretty depressed people so it makes sense that they would seek therapy.

Ok, I hope you get the message that this post is about psychotherapy not physical, occupational or any another other type of therapy. I will now just use the word therapy the rest of this way.

Recently, in a “meeting”, a guy said that he knows a guy who has been sober (from alcohol) for over 35 years and he is in therapy. Oh know, watch out, since the “old-timer” is in therapy, that means he is just inches away from a relapse. Not…it probably means that he is healthy and sane enough to know he needs a “listening ear” in this world of “non-listening ears”.

I had a phone conversation with an “long-time” friend this am and she had posed some questions about therapy. I thought my words were useful and insightful so I decided to share them here.

In my humble opinion, one of a therapist’s tasks with a client is to help them “see” what their potential could be if they are so inclined in pursuing it. The next task is to help the client see the roadblocks to their potential so they can make needed changes in their environment if they so choose to do so. Personally and professionally, seeing a person not strive or reach their potential is very sad. I believe our creator, God put us on this earth to find and reach for our potentials, among other stuff.

Now comes the rub, people love to talk about their potentials but they don’t like to talk about the roadblocks. You mean I have to give up using alcohol? You mean I have to end that unhealthy relationship? You mean I have to stop spending money on that so I can have money to further my education and/or training?

Yes, to all of the above and more. Then there is the basic utility of therapy, listening to their client’s share their life struggles and how they are coping along the way. I actually took a “listening” course in my undergraduate studies. I thought it would be an easy A but it wasn’t, the instructor was good. However, then and there, I learned about the importance of listening in this world of talkers.

Please honor and respect someone who is participating in therapy. The therapeutic process may end up saving their life or changing it for the better. Take care..of yourself and each other.