Habits Answers

How do I know for sure that I have BPD, and what will help me dealing with this?

Dear Giada,   Thank you for your message and sharing your concerns regarding traits that you consider as BPD. To have a full diagnosis I would recommend that you seek to be evaluated at a local clinic / mental health agency with a professional. It is difficult to give a full and accurate diagnosis here without seeing you.   Meanwhile, anger is a response we have when we don't feel understood, don't feel listened to, don't feel respected. At first we might just feel disappointed or irritated, however it escalates often when others add fuel into it by saying words that are hurtful, misunderstanding and dismissive. We then become even angrier and at last we turn our anger into rage.   To control anger we must understand how anger works within us. Anger is almost like a volcano when it erupts, it releases a large amount of energy and often is destructive. However these energy is often accumulated for a while before it erupts. If we can understand what accumulates these energy with us, and find ways to release it, then we can be assured that our volcano will not erupt.   Anger is the natural emotion created in a fight-or-flight situation by the physiology of your mind and body. When you sense a threat your mind generates fear and anger.  The fear you generate is part of a flight response from your physiology. Anger is the emotional energy you generate for the fight against that perceived threat.    What can be confusing is that your mind creates fear and anger even when the threat is just imagined.   Emotions like anger are natural and real.  Even if the threat is imagined the anger you create is just as real and powerful. However, the reasons you generate anger aren't always real. If you aren't aware of how your mind is imagining scenarios of hurt your anger will appear irrational.   Real vs. Imagined Anger   It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish a real threat from an imagined threat because they can happen at the same time.  For example, someone is cutting you off on the freeway and a car briefly maneuvers in a way that could cause an accident and possibly injure your body.  There's a natural fight-or-flight reaction to your emotions and you create a combination of fear and anger. The reality of this harm usually passes very quickly and so do your emotions.   However, your imagination may take over and create worse scenarios.  You begin to consider that you or someone in your car might be hurt or killed. You might recall similar events from your past, project those into your mind, and add more emotion.  After the real physical threat passes your mind still projects scenarios in the imagination. Your emotions then respond to those imagined scenarios.   Even later that day when you replay the event in your mind, your emotions respond to the imagined version. The emotions you create from your imagined scenarios are no longer based in anything real.  Because of the natural response of emotions to what you imagine you can amplify fear and anger to the degree that they become out of control. However the fear and anger are natural consequence of the imagined scenarios. The problem is that the imagined scenarios in the mind are out of control and no longer based in reality.   Awareness   If you are not aware of how your imagination is projecting these scenarios you will blame other people unnecessarily for your emotions.  Understanding how your mind dreams images and scenarios of outcome is critical to understanding your anger and other emotions.   The initial moment of fear and anger resulted from a very real scenario that could have caused you harm.  However, most often the anger and fear people generate are sourced from their uncontrolled beliefs and imagination.   Anger is Rational   Anger is the natural emotional response designed to protect us from danger. It is part of our instinctual system for protection and preservation.  Notice how a dog growls and bares its teeth in response to a threat to its territory.  A mother bear will also go into ferocious anger if you were to come near her cubs.  Anger is a force of energy that we project in order to push away or combat a threat.  However, anger ceases to be a form of protecting your life and becomes a means of destroying your life and relationships when the threat isn't real.   Your emotions respond the same whether a threat is real or part of your imagination. Anger itself is a completely rational emotion to have when you perceive the thoughts and scenarios in your mind. There is nothing irrational or wrong with the anger from imagined scenarios and beliefs. Your emotional response system is working properly. The problem is with the thoughts, beliefs, and scenarios in your mind that generate an anger response.  The scenarios the mind projects are often not rational at all.   Other problems are created when you do not have the awareness and will power to refrain from outbursts of your anger.  These reactions and consequences often distract us from the root cause of the problem.   It's easy to assume that your anger is the problem because it is what you notice.  It is the outbursts of anger that we see and that cause destruction.  The assumptions and interpretations in the mind are less noticeable amidst this emotional drama.  However your emotions of anger are just a natural response to what the mind imagines.  If you perceive and believe what the mind imagines you will create emotions as a natural response.   If you accidentally touch a hot stove and burn your hand you will feel pain.  Naturally you would want to pain to stop, but the pain in your hand isn't the problem.  The pain is just a natural response to touching a hot stove.  The physical touch on the stove is less noticeable, but yet it is the real problem.  Touching the hot stove is the cause of that pain. The pain won't go away until you take your hand away from the hot stove.   The same is true for your emotions such as anger.  You may want to stop your anger, but anger is just a reaction to something else. Anger is the natural emotional reaction to what the mind and imagination are doing.  The way to overcome anger is to change how the mind imagines stories and how much you believe them.  When the mind imagines painful scenarios you naturally produce anger.  To reduce and eliminate the anger it is necessary to shift the stories that the mind imagines.   To effectively reduce or eliminate the anger in our life, we can practice changing the core beliefs, assumptions, and interpretations of the mind.    The Reaction to Emotional Pain   Your mind can generate anger and fear even when there's not a physical threat of pain. Your emotional response mechanism can generate anger just as easily by imagining a scenario involving the threat of emotional pain. When your mind is out of control imagining scenarios of emotional pain, your anger goes out of control. For anger to happen the emotional pain doesn't even have to occur. If you just imagine that you will be hurt in the future, you can become angry before anything has happened.   Understand is the first step towards managing. We can't control what we don't understand.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do control my anger management?

Im glad you have started the awareness to want to control your anger. The first step in change is recognition and realizing that you have something you want to change. Anger can be many things and one of them can be negative...but it can also be positive when you can do positive things with it and because of it. In specific, if you have anger it can fuel you taking better care of yourself, fighting for a good cause, changing behaviors based on your frustration for them...as long as you dont act in haste and impulses and harm yourself or others whether its physical or emotional of in other ways that can be negative and harmful. And then anger can be negative and harmful if you are not using it for good reason. For example, we can get angry and hold onto things that will eventually end up harming us at the end of the day...if we hold onto anger it can fester inside us and it can affect how to live and how we see and how we act...it can affect every fiber of our lives if we dont check our emotions and behaviors. We need to keep our emotions in a good balance even when we are angry as it can hurt us more than we realize. It is understandable that you could be angry and hit an object...sure its better than hitting a person or an animal or an object that can break and waste money or get dangerous like a glass piece...but if we can control our anger that is the ultimate form of self control...when we can regulate our emotions. It is a source of strength and power to be able to balance ourselves even when we are upset. It is a challenge and it can be channeled into something positive. For example, if you can channel your anger into something good such as helping others, being productive, giving of your time and talents, creating fun things, having a good time, taking a break and getting fresh air, and doing something good instead of something bad, that is a good thing. Anger should not harm us in negative ways...it is healthy to be angry and acknowledge this emotion but it is not healthy when we cope with anger in detrimental ways. Anger can be a great motivator for change and positive acts and behaviors. So I will challenge you to do something positive in your anger after your vent your anger and process it...and processing anger can be difficult but it is important in order to channel it into something that adds to your life rather than take away from your life. Utilize the higher order defense mechanism of sublimation which means take your unwanted thoughts and put it into something productive such as taking a class, getting good grades, helping someone in need, cleaning your room, taking care of something you havent done that you needed, being your best...doing things that make you a better person.  Wishing you the best in your journey of converting your anger into something positive after understanding and processing it!  Take care...
(PhD, LCSW, LCADC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Anger management in stressful times

When it comes to being quick to frustration and anger it is often related to feeling a lack of control. When one feels like things are not going as planned, or there is anticipated or unanticipated change, there can be a lack of control. When we have a set plan in mind for how things are going to go and what we want out of interactions, we sometimes do not always manage obstacles or barriers well. One useful way to manage anger or frustration is by thinking about a thermometer. There is a technique that involves knowing what triggers or stressors increase your anger or frustration thermometers. Awareness is always the first step when making changes to behaviors, so being aware of the lower level, medium level, and higher level triggers for anger and frustration is very important. The next component is also making note of any physical symptoms associated with anger or frustration. Do you notice that your face gets hot? Do you clench your fists or feel the need to throw or hit something? Being aware of the mind-body connection when it comes to emotions like anger and frustration can be very helpful. Then when it comes to encountering these triggers for frustration and anger, when you notice physical symptoms of these emotions it is an indication that the triggers are likely to result in you having an emotional reaction. Once this happens, it is best to pause before acting. Of course, this is easier said than done but it is a strategy that takes time to develop the same way it takes time to develop an exercise routine. The goal would be to recognize the physical symptoms of anger or frustration, recognize the triggers, and pause before reacting. This does not mean that you ignore how you are feeling. This means that you acknowledge the feeling of anger or frustration and you consciously make an effort to think carefully about how you respond to the feeling you have. For example, if plans you make with friends or family members do not work out because someone is running late or because of another external factor, this might cause you to feel angry. You might feel your face get flushed and you are able to identify that the plans you worked hard on making are not panning out. Once the anger is recognized you have a choice to yell or respond to the anger in a different way. Instead of yelling, you can decide to take a walk, drink a cold glass of water, walk away from the situation, or take a deep breath. Now no one is perfect when it comes to managing stress or triggers. If there are times where you do not react well out of anger or frustration, you have to remember that you cannot change the past. You can only offer a sincere apology, make note of the mistakes involved in the reaction, and try to make things better in the future.
(MSW, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Where and how would I start to work through any past issues that are causing me stress in life?

Anger is always a secondary emotion to something else.  There is something there to explore that drives that emotion, are you upset about your chronic pain condition?  Are you unsatisfied with place in the world right now (or the world in general?).  There are so many different things that can drive that niggly feeling of irritability in all of us.  I would be interested in hearing some of the strategies that you have been using that have maybe once worked in a way that you felt some relief.  Many times it's not necessary to learn all new coping skills but just a small tweak to ones that have once worked effectively.  I would suggest making a list of things that had worked and then writing them down (this is important the visual is key) and try to think of ways to tweak them  For example if your coping skill has been listening to relaxing music would it help if you changed the style of music you listened to? Would a podcast help more this time? Small changes also have lasting BIG effects. In terms of becoming a stronger person I would suggest thinking about someone that you know or someone that you see as a "strong" person.  What are some of the attributes that you feel make them strong? What are some of the similarities that you might have with that person that you can build on to move towards a stronger mental mindset.  We are often taken by peoples strengths in certain situations or the work they do. These traits can be found in ourselves but they aren't always evident to us, but those around us see what we can't.  I challenge you to look at the daily struggles that you have and really think about what you do to get through them.  I'd be willing to bet that you too are strong. You just see it as something different because it's hard to see the good and wonderful ways we manage ourselves.   I hope this has been helpful! Be well and dig deep into what makes YOU tick, you might find some things you never expected.
(MS, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I avoid conflict

Hi E, I appreciate you reaching out and asking this question for yourself. As the holidays are presenting themselves along with this sounding like a larger barrier that has remained presenting itself in your relationship with your father, I commend you for wanting to take a new approach for yourself and Identify with some alternatives. As you mention the question of how do I avoid conflict. I am rather going to take the approach of how you can support yourself in the conflict and steps that you can take to feel in control of the conflict. Aversion or avoiding typically is not supportive or most and therefore creating a more induced and difficult relationship with one another.    Therefore, I do believe it is important for you to take the time and reflect on the rationale behind asking this question and what about your father's behavior is most difficult for you to identify with and understand internally. As many times identifying with the core concern attached to this behavior presenting itself can help you to understand your responses to your father as well as the manner that you desire to present yourself in and through these scenarios. Additionally, in this regard, I do want to reinforce that it is very common to struggle to find a solution to the behavior that the other is exhibiting and rather some clarity of where this is coming from. Such as understanding your dad's upbringing, how the generational patterns of functioning have presented themselves. Although this does not excuse the way that he is treating you as well as your feelings and emotions being valid. I do think it is important for you and your dad to understand one another as well as where each other is coming from as although not agreeing, some do find a mutual understanding of one another if possible.    Additionally, I wanted to share some conflict resolution skills to support these moments in time when you and your dad find yourselves in disagreements together.    Keep your cool- Although this is easier said than done. Many times during disagreements, it is easy for both parties to feed off of each others emotions and feelings and therefore project difficult energies towards one another. If noticing yourself not being able to maintain tone of voice and facial expressions, taking a step away may be beneficial to support your individual functioning and well being.    Express yourself with words rather than actions- If noticing behaviors and acting in a way that you are not feeling good about begins to present itself, taking a step away to cope and then return to the conversation is important.    Understand what you are wanting to communicate to him. - Refer with open ended statements to learn more from one another vs adding fuel to the fire.    Identify with one concern at a time- Focus on the points in the current conversation rather than divulging in issues that occurred in the past.    Avoiding make believe scenarios- such as providing hypotheticals to describe your feelings and emotions.    Setting Boundaries with one another- Setting boundaries related to what and how you allow yourselves to treat one another as the cycle of miscommunication can induce many differential and worrisome feelings and emotions. It is also important to maintain these boundaries for yourself and communicate them effectively after taking the time to reflect on the use and the meaning of them to you.    Clamming up or shutting down, it can be helpful to take a step away from the conversation and then return when you are able to communicate the desired information as well as rationale for becoming upset.    I always think it is important to mention in these kinds of situations to try your best to pick and choose your battles with the other individual as many times it can become more overwhelming than not. Additionally, that you are taking time to cope and release your feelings and emotions following a disagreement. Internalizing as well as holding this conflicts inside can foster towards changing the way that you and your father will grow into maintaining a relationship together.    Lastly, I did want to share some different coping skills, and grounding techniques that can support you in these moments to communicate, assert yourself and set boundaries. When referring to coping skills this is meaning coping skills can include deep breathing, checking in with your body and mind as well as participating in activities, journaling to release your thoughts and make sense of them, talking with friends, running, baking, cooking, art etc. Essentially many times we find the best coping skills are ones that support healthy development of your body and mind and specifically things that you can do that can be a consistent and known in your life. When referring to grounding skills these are active skills for yourself to be able to gravitate towards and utilize when you are specifically in the moments of feeling anxious when interacting or going to interact with others. Such as some kind of small fidget tool to use in your hands, gum, in specific moments pressing your heels to the ground to notice the pressure points in your body, pushing the pressure points on your fingertips in a consecutive cycle, breathing and reminding yourself to take a deep breathe along with always giving yourself the ability to have an exit route if becoming too overwhelmed. This meaning driving independently, walking if applicable etc.   I do wish you all of the best and hope that yourself and father can take a new direction in the way that you both interact and treat one another. Happy Holidays and I hope yourself and family is healthy and safe.    Best Wishes, Kathleen Monroe
(LCSW, CADC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to not self sabotage your relationships and friendships over trivial issues?

Dear Kesha,   Thank you for your message.   Anger is a response we have when we don't feel understood, don't feel listened to, don't feel respected. At first we might just feel disappointed or irritated, however it escalates often when others add fuel into it by saying words that are hurtful, misunderstanding and dismissive. We then become even angrier and at last we turn our anger into rage.   To control anger we must understand how anger works within us. Anger is almost like a volcano when it erupts, it releases a large amount of energy and often is destructive. However these energy is often accumulated for a while before it erupts. If we can understand what accumulates these energy with us, and find ways to release it, then we can be assured that our volcano will not erupt.   Anger is the natural emotion created in a fight-or-flight situation by the physiology of your mind and body. When you sense a threat your mind generates fear and anger.  The fear you generate is part of a flight response from your physiology. Anger is the emotional energy you generate for the fight against that perceived threat.    What can be confusing is that your mind creates fear and anger even when the threat is just imagined.   Emotions like anger are natural and real.  Even if the threat is imagined the anger you create is just as real and powerful. However, the reasons you generate anger aren't always real. If you aren't aware of how your mind is imagining scenarios of hurt your anger will appear irrational.   Real vs. Imagined Anger   It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish a real threat from an imagined threat because they can happen at the same time.  For example, someone is cutting you off on the freeway and a car briefly maneuvers in a way that could cause an accident and possibly injure your body.  There's a natural fight-or-flight reaction to your emotions and you create a combination of fear and anger. The reality of this harm usually passes very quickly and so do your emotions.   However, your imagination may take over and create worse scenarios.  You begin to consider that you or someone in your car might be hurt or killed. You might recall similar events from your past, project those into your mind, and add more emotion.  After the real physical threat passes your mind still projects scenarios in the imagination. Your emotions then respond to those imagined scenarios.   Even later that day when you replay the event in your mind, your emotions respond to the imagined version. The emotions you create from your imagined scenarios are no longer based in anything real.  Because of the natural response of emotions to what you imagine you can amplify fear and anger to the degree that they become out of control. However the fear and anger are natural consequence of the imagined scenarios. The problem is that the imagined scenarios in the mind are out of control and no longer based in reality.   Awareness   If you are not aware of how your imagination is projecting these scenarios you will blame other people unnecessarily for your emotions.  Understanding how your mind dreams images and scenarios of outcome is critical to understanding your anger and other emotions.   The initial moment of fear and anger resulted from a very real scenario that could have caused you harm.  However, most often the anger and fear people generate are sourced from their uncontrolled beliefs and imagination.   Anger is Rational   Anger is the natural emotional response designed to protect us from danger. It is part of our instinctual system for protection and preservation.  Notice how a dog growls and bares its teeth in response to a threat to its territory.  A mother bear will also go into ferocious anger if you were to come near her cubs.  Anger is a force of energy that we project in order to push away or combat a threat.  However, anger ceases to be a form of protecting your life and becomes a means of destroying your life and relationships when the threat isn't real.   Your emotions respond the same whether a threat is real or part of your imagination. Anger itself is a completely rational emotion to have when you perceive the thoughts and scenarios in your mind. There is nothing irrational or wrong with the anger from imagined scenarios and beliefs. Your emotional response system is working properly. The problem is with the thoughts, beliefs, and scenarios in your mind that generate an anger response.  The scenarios the mind projects are often not rational at all.   Other problems are created when you do not have the awareness and will power to refrain from outbursts of your anger.  These reactions and consequences often distract us from the root cause of the problem.   It's easy to assume that your anger is the problem because it is what you notice.  It is the outbursts of anger that we see and that cause destruction.  The assumptions and interpretations in the mind are less noticeable amidst this emotional drama.  However your emotions of anger are just a natural response to what the mind imagines.  If you perceive and believe what the mind imagines you will create emotions as a natural response.   If you accidentally touch a hot stove and burn your hand you will feel pain.  Naturally you would want to pain to stop, but the pain in your hand isn't the problem.  The pain is just a natural response to touching a hot stove.  The physical touch on the stove is less noticeable, but yet it is the real problem.  Touching the hot stove is the cause of that pain. The pain won't go away until you take your hand away from the hot stove.   The same is true for your emotions such as anger.  You may want to stop your anger, but anger is just a reaction to something else. Anger is the natural emotional reaction to what the mind and imagination are doing.  The way to overcome anger is to change how the mind imagines stories and how much you believe them.  When the mind imagines painful scenarios you naturally produce anger.  To reduce and eliminate the anger it is necessary to shift the stories that the mind imagines.   To effectively reduce or eliminate the anger in our life, we can practice changing the core beliefs, assumptions, and interpretations of the mind.    The Reaction to Emotional Pain   Your mind can generate anger and fear even when there's not a physical threat of pain. Your emotional response mechanism can generate anger just as easily by imagining a scenario involving the threat of emotional pain. When your mind is out of control imagining scenarios of emotional pain, your anger goes out of control. For anger to happen the emotional pain doesn't even have to occur. If you just imagine that you will be hurt in the future, you can become angry before anything has happened.   Understand is the first step towards managing. We can't control what we don't understand.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do i become less reactive

Dear Aj,   Thank you for your message and sharing with me how you've been interacting with yourself, especially on how you've been handling unpleasant feelings and emotions. As you said this has also affected your life significantly. Perhaps by addressing how to handle unpleasant emotions in a healthier manner, we can dive into addressing the issues in your life as well?   Often the experience we've had about anxiety (or any strong emotion such as stress / depression) was so terrible (even physically) that our body sort of become traumatized to it. We naturally become nervous about these unpleasant feelings because we don't like these sensations and experiences. As a result we would do everything we can to avoid / fight these anxious feelings, often using numbing techniques such as using substances or distracting ourselves. Yet only to find that the anxiety gets stronger over time because we have never been able to make peace with it.   Therefore rather than trying to "change" / "fight" / "get rid of" these unpleasant sensations, perhaps the best thing that we can do is to make room for these feelings and even sensations, while staying on track to do what brings us meaning and fulfillment. Floating without judging / blaming ourselves through the anxiety experience, while focusing on making room for anxiety can be helpful.   Here is a short video put up by the author of the book "The Happiness Trap" which does a good job explaining this concept:   Please take some time to watch this and share your thoughts later :) I also highly recommend picking that book as well to supplement this therapy process.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCp1l16GCXI    We as human beings do not like sufferings, therefore often times we would be doing our best to fight it. However just like the analogy of swimming vs floating that we have talked about before, the more we fight it, the faster we sink. While if we can learn to float with these waves, we will realize that we won't sink.   Radical acceptance / Expansion is about accepting of life on life's terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change. Radical Acceptance is about saying yes to life and all that life brings (including all sorts of emotions such as joy, sadness, peace and pain), just as it is without forcing our ways into our lives.   Why do we want to accept life as it is? Because with anything that we do in life that brings us meaning and fulfillment, it always accompany a wide range of emotions, we can't possibly just choose the ones that we like and fight / avoid those that we don't like. Learning to experience all emotions as they are, is a sign that we are living our lives to the fullest.   To do so we must learn to accept (and make room for) any unpleasant sensations, feelings or thoughts that we experience.   We don't want to fight it because the more we fight, the stronger they will come back.   We don't want to avoid it either because the more we avoid, the more we'll be afraid of it.   So the key here is to make room for these sensations, feelings and thoughts, while continue to do what brings us meaning and fulfillment in life.    Learning to "co-exist" with these feelings will naturally reduce the intensity of them.   Floating, is a form of learning to accept these feelings and make room for it.   Let me give you some practical guidelines on what I mean by accepting these feelings and make room for it.   You can look up "expansion technique" under Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for more information as well.   How to accept our emotions (and make room for them):   1. OBSERVE. Bring awareness to the feelings in your body.   2. BREATHE. Take a few deep breaths. Breathe into and around them.   3. EXPAND. Make room for these feelings. Create some space for them.   4. ALLOW. Allow them to be there. Make peace with them   Some people find it helpful to silently say to themselves, 'I don't like this feeling, but I have room for it,' or 'It's unpleasant, but I can accept it.'   • When you're feeling an unpleasant emotion, the first step is to take a few slow, deep breaths, and quickly scan your body from head to toe.   • You will probably notice several uncomfortable sensations. Look for the strongest sensation - the one that bothers you the most. For example, it may be a lump in your throat, or a knot in your stomach, or an ache in your chest.   • Focus your attention on that sensation. Observe it curiously, as if you are a friendly scientist, discovering some interesting new phenomenon.   • Observe the sensation carefully. Notice where it starts and where it ends. Learn as much about it as you can. If you had to draw a line around the sensation, what would the outline look like? Is it on the surface of the body, or inside you, or both? How far inside you does it go? Where is the sensation most intense? Where is it weakest? How is it different in the center than around the edges? Is there any pulsation, or vibration within it? Is it light or heavy? Moving or still? What is its temperature?   • Take a few more deep breaths, and let go of the struggle with that sensation. Breathe into it. Imagine your breath flowing in and around it.   • Make room for it. Loosen up around it. Allow it to be there. You don't have to like it or want it. Simply let it be.   • The idea is to observe the sensation - not to think about it. So when your mind starts commenting on what's happening, just say 'Thanks, mind!' and come back to observing.   • You may find this difficult. You may feel a strong urge to fight with it or push it away. If so, just acknowledge this urge, without giving in to it. (Acknowledging is rather like nodding your head in recognition, as if to say 'There you are. I see you.') Once you've acknowledged that urge, bring your attention back to the sensation itself.   • Don't try to get rid of the sensation or alter it. If it changes by itself, that's okay. If it doesn't change, that's okay too. Changing or getting rid of it is not the goal.   • You may need to focus on this sensation for anything from a few seconds to a few minutes, until you completely give up the struggle with it. Be patient. Take as long as you need. You're learning a valuable skill.   • Once you've done this, scan your body again, and see if there's another strong sensation that's bothering you. If so, repeat the procedure with that one.   • You can do this with as many different sensations as you want to. Keep going until you have a sense of no longer struggling with your feelings.   • As you do this exercise one of two things will happen: either your feelings will change - or they won't. It doesn't matter either way. This exercise is not about changing your feelings. It's about accepting them.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can therapy help, if I don't feel comfortable speaking with others

If you are able to seek a therapist you are able to connect with by building rapport. You may find that you don't find it so difficult to work on your goals. Since 2020, there have been various opportunities to seek treatment to assist you with you challenges, such as, in person, videos, phone and messaging. Betterhelp has several ways to communicate with  a therapist. You can chose the one that is the most effective for you. Once you feel connected to a therapist and feel comfortable with them. You may find it easy to explore the areas that you want to improve in your life. Therapy can help you in various ways by teaching you techniques you can practice with the therapist to improve your social skill. They help you create coping skills to manage your reactions to various situations you experience. Some therapist also could help you with role playing situations prior trying to address situations outside of a session. They can also assist you with learning to identify various triggers that may be causing you to have a physical response related to circumstances that have occurred in your life and how your body responds to emotions.    They can teach you communication skills, such as, the differences between assertiveness, passive and aggressiveness and when it may be helpful to use the difference skills during different situations. You could learn how to improve your social skills by using relaxation techniques and other calming skills when interacting with others. They can assist you with building your self-confidence by reflexing on your strengths, life achievements, and your inspirations.  A therapist could help work through what is hindering you in general from being able to connect with others. They can also assist you with who you are seeking to connect with. Therapy is the same as a lot of other life tasks, such as, the more you practice the more you will improve. You create the goal and therapist can provide you with support, education, and resources. Betterhelp is a very good example of that. Their site allows you to seek and explore information to help you feel better. 
(LCPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

how to control anger

Anger is something we all have to learn to cope with. Anger is one of the normal feelings; the problem is usually not the anger but the ways in which we express it. Anger is  usually a secondary emotion in that there is another emotion that precedes the anger. Anger usually comes from a deep emotion and comes on rapidly. For example if let's say you are in a traffic jam and are stuck on the free way, that would make anger a primary emotion in that instance since it is caused by the traffic jam.  Anger is a secondary emotion if it is derived from shame or guilt or fear, for example. What often happens with anger is a person usually avoids working on the anger issue and avoids the emotions of anger. Avoiding and stuffing down angry feelings will cause them to explode in inappropriate ways.  The first step is to take time to begin to recognize your anger and other emotions. When we stuff down our feelings often them they will erupt in anger at inopportune times and can cause us problems. Learning to express anger appropriately is difficult just due to the fact it is hard to think slowly when angry. You have had the feelings in some situations and then reacting with a lot of angry emotions has turned into some form of a habit. Over time, begin to observe what made you angry, and why your reactions are what they were can be quite helpful in beginning to react to anger in healthy ways. Since a short temper happens with little or no warning, it will take some thought to begin to change old habits, but it can be done with help from a therapist. Keeping a journal of thoughts and feelings surrounding anger can be very insightful in assessing the feelings surrounding anger in your life. Best of luck!    I also wonder if you have experienced some sort of trauma in the past. It is common for those that have had traumatic life events to display this type of anger that appears somewhat explosive. Working through past painful events in life can also do a lot to determine the origins of anger you are experiencing. Once the source is discovered it does become easier to cope with past traumatic events. I have observed with some clients that anger comes when we feel fearful or feel threatened by events that are occurring. Exploring the feelings behind the anger can help keep anger in the right place in your emotions. Anger expressed the wrong way is harmful to your health both physically and mentally. Hopefully you will be able over time to learn to cope with feelings that involve anger. 
(MS, LMFT)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I stay calm and look for a solution to a problem instead of getting angry and frustrated?

It’s easy to lose one’s cool, especially if this is what was modeled for you as a child.  From your mother, you learned that when angry, it’s either okay or natural to “flip your lid.”  Despite this becoming a pattern for you, there are ways to change it.  It is all too common in our society to not express our emotions; and we learn early on that it is “not okay” to be angry – girls are taught that they are to suppress their anger & for boys, they are to physically release or act it out.  Both are unhealthy and can be “toxic” as you say.  I think it is admirable that you are seeking assistance with this.  The earlier, the better; and with the help of mental health professional you trust, you can learn to rewire your brain, so to speak.   Across different reputable sources, such as the Mayo Clinic and Psychology Today, there are consistent tips that are recommended.  You would likely hear these in any individual therapy or group anger management course you decide to take.  I have listed a few below to better assist you.  And if you feel you are ready to do more, and want to begin counseling, I and many other BetterHelp providers would be happy to further assist you.   1.     Think Before You Speak In the heat of the moment, it is s easy to say something you might regreat later.  So take a "time out."  A few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything can go a long way.  And it can take a good 25-45 minutes to calm down when triggered, so it’s okay to take a break before you do!   2.     Once you're calm, express your anger Emotions need to be voiced, including anger.  You would to do so in a non-threatening, assertive manner.  Practice stating your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.  Use I Statements, such as “I get upset when I see that you don’t offer to help was the dishes” rather than “You never…” and then try to problem solve together.   3.     Exercise Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become anger, and release some needed endorphins.  It’s a good idea to do so on a regular basis, and you can also do so in the moment when you feel yourself becoming upset (i.e. go for a walk, a brisk run to cool off, etc.).   4.     Don't hold a grudge Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to dominate positive ones, you may find yourself being “stuck” in bitterness.  On the other hand, when you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.   5.     Practice relaxation skills This and daily self-care are so key! Try such calming & meditative exercises as: deep-breathing, imagery (of a relaxing scene), or repeat a calming word or mantra you create for yourself such as “I can stay calm.”  Journaling thoughts and feelings can also be useful.  And don’t forget to laugh!  Having a sense of humor and being able to look on the bright side can go a long way in achieving a sense of peace and happiness.    All of this takes time, so try not to be frustrated.  Do what you can and start by making small changes.  And again, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help if needed.
(LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How many times do you meet a week and how long well the course take.

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to inquire about the therapeutic process.  The frequency and duration of sessions is determined on a case by case basis after initial session and a collaborative discussion between therapist and member. Generally speaking, most members like to start at once a week which is usually appropriate at the outpatient level of care or for teletherapy. General anger management skills can often be explored and learned in within 4-6 weeks. Additionally, I always think it's best to allow an additional 4 weeks for members to strengthen and generalize their skills beyond the initial issues at hand. While everyone experiences and expresses anger in different ways, it can be helpful to self-assess how you experience and express anger, how it affects others, and if it interferes with your functioning (work, home, school, social functions, etc). It can be helpful to consider the following to gain better understanding about your anger and determine if you would benefit from learning anger management skills in therapy: - Ask yourself if you are happy with how you manage your anger. A good way to look at this is to consider how you feel if someone close to you expressed anger the same way? - Consider if there are any negative consequences that you (or others) experience as a result of your anger expression. Does your anger hurt you or make things more difficult for you? Does your anger hurt your relationships? - Identify if there are better ways that you could and would like to express your anger. Are your coping strategies healthy and beneficial or potentially damaging to your wellbeing? - Understand your level of control as it relates to your anger. Can you control the intensity or do you feel like your anger is uncontrollable? -  Consider your triggers and responses to determine if they are balanced. Does the intensity of your anger match the severity of the trigger or do you find yourself getting really angry over small things? Are you easily angered or finding that you become angry very often?   After you have explored these questions for yourself, determine if you would like to change anything about how you experience and express your anger. Therapy is most effective when you are fully open to and committed to the change.   
(MA, LCMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Can I just pay you in cash if you can find me one close to me ???I live in Columbus ks.....

Reaching out is best, it's important to connect with a counselor that you feel fit your needs best, screening them and deciding if it's a good fit after 3-4 sessions is what I would recommend. Many therapists do therapy via telehealth and you can see anyone who is licensed in your state or has rights to practice in your states, Better help is a great platform as well to meet qualified therapists who can help you through your struggles with anger and racing thoughts. As for the anger, counseling can be great for this. A little information about anger, it is a secondary emotion and is just the tip of the iceberg and is usually only what others see. Anger generally follows another emotion, primary emotion would be frustration, disappointment, hurt, rejection and even hunger. So first I would work with you to identify the emotions and label them and then help you address them and balance out the intensity and stabilize reactivity.  Relationships are difficult to navigate but this too can be helped. In this we would first identify what Healthy relationships look like and behave like. Then most of the time if the relationship is something both parties would like to make amends and work on creating a healthier relationship, this is hard work but not impossible work. As for children, they do need a parent to be stable, but also need to know that people can heal and change for the better and what a great lesson you can show them by working on yourself, and you will be able to learn skills you can then teach them and that will then change the outcome for them. This is hard work too but VERY possible to change and reduce negative impacts on the children. The next step in your journey should be something you can commit time, patience  and perseverance you will be able to overcome the anger, replacing it with peace, joy and happiness. Take the next step l, you are worth the healing and the effort and your children are as well.  You have done the hardest part, reaching out! Take care of yourself and if you need anything further just reach back out! 
(MS, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Why can’t your spouse stand up for you?

I am so sorry to hear that you and your spouse argue constantly.  This may be the first thing that you two may wish to work on.  Arguing is about someone winning and someone losing - first decide to do something different.  Is this the relationship you are wanting to stay in?  Is this a conversation that you wish to continue?  Can you allow your spouse to enjoy his family without you?  You can choose to be away from his family since they seem to not like you - if he invites them over for dinner, you can go out to dinner.  You can ask him to not talk about his family around you.  You can choose not to talk to him about his family.  You married your spouse not his family.     Okay - let's look at some techniques that might be helpful in this situation.  Remember - if it is worth arguing about, it is worth talking about.  So is the conversation worth talking about?  Is there a solution to the issue?  If it is not worth talking about, then choose not to enter the conversation.  Express clearly that his family's opinion does not matter.   If it is worth talking about, then are there solutions that you two can come up with?  This is about negotiating not compromising.  Negotiating means taking the issue apart - exploring what the two of you are willing to work on - because marriage takes two.  Compromising is just giving in and will create resentment later on.   Remember, anger is good - it is the behaviors that you choose to use that are ineffective.  Anger as an emotion let's you know that you do not like a situation.  This helps you in decision making.  However, if your behaviors are yelling, stomping around, becoming aggressive, then this does not help any situation.  Take a time out, get your behaviors and physical reactions calmed down.  Explosive behaviors - aggressive behaviors are just making the other person dig in deeper.  Taking a time out - possibly going out to your car and yelling into your phone (use the app that records the experience) and listen to yourself is often effective.     If you change the way you address the situation - he has to change.  I hope this answers your question effectively.  You may believe that the answer doesn't address his beliefs, behavior, or feelings - and you are right.  I am not answering him - I am answering you.  This is your question, your issue, and your response.  I may have answered differently if this was requested as a couples response.  I may have answered differently if your spouse had presented the problem.  There are always three perspectives in a family - yours, his, and the one you two choose together.     Unfortunately, in this instance - this argument is pulling you apart.  If this is about working on the marriage - then there are answers - either to save the marriage or not.  You two decide to get couples therapy to address this situation and come up with an answer.  You can do individual counseling to learn to deal more effectively with this issue because if you change, he has to.  Or you two can do nothing and this will be a wedge in the relationship.   Your question was a bit vague - we get into an argument - he says something - his family has said something - you don't like it.  I hope that this answer helped to address those pieces.  I am sorry to hear that his family may not like you.  I am actually more sorry to hear that you and your husband decide that this is worth arguing about.  I hope that you begin to believe that it is worth talking about and learn those skills to do so.    
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I make my marriage better?

Being aware there is an issue is the first step.  Asking for help and insight is the second step, and it takes the a lot of courage.  Thanks for reaching out. There are a number of clarifying questions I feel I would need to ask to appropriately address issues and teach skills to help deal with the feeling you describe.  Relationships are complicated and working on relationship issues is difficult and can go in many different directions.   One of the first questions I would aske is - How long have you been experiencing these feelings of anger and judgement.   It would be important to explore when the feeling started or when you first noticed them.  It is often easier to look at time frames rather than events as they are less emotionally charged.  The timeframe can either lead to an event of give some idea as to how long you have been struggling with these emotions and how related behaviors could be reinforcing the feelings.   It would also be important to ask if there are times when you do not experience these emotions towards your husband.  What are these situations?  If there are situations where you do not feel anger and judgement towards your husband, can you create more of those situations and can you explore what feelings come up in these situations.    It would be important to know if you feel your husband has any responsibility in creating situations where you feel judgement and anger?  What role does he play when you are judging or angry at him.  Is there an unresolved conflict that supports your anger and judgement.  Feelings seldom come up out of no where.  It is important to start to notice when these feelings happen and when they are more pronounced.  The tools to began to cultivate better feelings vary and would be tailored to the situations, depending on the triggering circumstances.  For example:  If there is a conflict and you are getting angry and judging him, it is safe to say you are wanting to be the victim of his behavior and/or words;  and the same is more than likely true for him.  Because when there is a conflict the parties involved both feel like they are victims.  Both parties feel like the other person is being a villian or bully.  On the other hand if the anger and judgement towards your husband is onesided, you may be resenting that he is not taking care of himself or that he is not available for you.  This kind of situation would require different tools to work through the emotions.  Any situation that brings up anger or judgement is difficult and causes pain for everyone involved.  Your feelings are not isolated, and in some way they are impacting everyone in your family.  Again I want to acknowledge your courage and insight in reaching out for help, to explore and develop skills to help shift the situation not matter what the etiology.   One of the tools that many of my clients find helpful as they start this journey and exploration of feelings, especially of anger and judgement, is to slow situations down with a couple of deep breaths and then take the moment to consciously remind themselves that everyone is doing the best they know how to do.  Knowing that everyone is doing their best seems to open a door where they can now start sharing information about how behaviors or actions can shift to better meet expectations.  Tools to improve communication would be a big focus for therapy.  Anger and judgement are often associated to uncommunicated expectations and unmet needs.  
(LCSW, MA)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I help my father reduce his anger and stress?

Dear Nikita,   Thank you for your message and sharing with me your concerns regarding your father's anger.   Anger is a response we have when we don't feel understood, don't feel listened to, don't feel respected. At first we might just feel disappointed or irritated, however it escalates often when others add fuel into it by saying words that are hurtful, misunderstanding and dismissive. We then become even angrier and at last we turn our anger into rage.   To control anger we must understand how anger works within us. Anger is almost like a volcano when it erupts, it releases a large amount of energy and often is destructive. However these energy is often accumulated for a while before it erupts. If we can understand what accumulates these energy with us, and find ways to release it, then we can be assured that our volcano will not erupt.   Anger is the natural emotion created in a fight-or-flight situation by the physiology of your mind and body. When you sense a threat your mind generates fear and anger.  The fear you generate is part of a flight response from your physiology. Anger is the emotional energy you generate for the fight against that perceived threat.    What can be confusing is that your mind creates fear and anger even when the threat is just imagined.   Emotions like anger are natural and real.  Even if the threat is imagined the anger you create is just as real and powerful. However, the reasons you generate anger aren't always real. If you aren't aware of how your mind is imagining scenarios of hurt your anger will appear irrational.   Real vs. Imagined Anger   It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish a real threat from an imagined threat because they can happen at the same time.  For example, someone is cutting you off on the freeway and a car briefly maneuvers in a way that could cause an accident and possibly injure your body.  There's a natural fight-or-flight reaction to your emotions and you create a combination of fear and anger. The reality of this harm usually passes very quickly and so do your emotions.   However, your imagination may take over and create worse scenarios.  You begin to consider that you or someone in your car might be hurt or killed. You might recall similar events from your past, project those into your mind, and add more emotion.  After the real physical threat passes your mind still projects scenarios in the imagination. Your emotions then respond to those imagined scenarios.   Even later that day when you replay the event in your mind, your emotions respond to the imagined version. The emotions you create from your imagined scenarios are no longer based in anything real.  Because of the natural response of emotions to what you imagine you can amplify fear and anger to the degree that they become out of control. However the fear and anger are natural consequence of the imagined scenarios. The problem is that the imagined scenarios in the mind are out of control and no longer based in reality.   Awareness   If you are not aware of how your imagination is projecting these scenarios you will blame other people unnecessarily for your emotions.  Understanding how your mind dreams images and scenarios of outcome is critical to understanding your anger and other emotions.   The initial moment of fear and anger resulted from a very real scenario that could have caused you harm.  However, most often the anger and fear people generate are sourced from their uncontrolled beliefs and imagination.   Anger is Rational   Anger is the natural emotional response designed to protect us from danger. It is part of our instinctual system for protection and preservation.  Notice how a dog growls and bares its teeth in response to a threat to its territory.  A mother bear will also go into ferocious anger if you were to come near her cubs.  Anger is a force of energy that we project in order to push away or combat a threat.  However, anger ceases to be a form of protecting your life and becomes a means of destroying your life and relationships when the threat isn't real.   Your emotions respond the same whether a threat is real or part of your imagination. Anger itself is a completely rational emotion to have when you perceive the thoughts and scenarios in your mind. There is nothing irrational or wrong with the anger from imagined scenarios and beliefs. Your emotional response system is working properly. The problem is with the thoughts, beliefs, and scenarios in your mind that generate an anger response.  The scenarios the mind projects are often not rational at all.   Other problems are created when you do not have the awareness and will power to refrain from outbursts of your anger.  These reactions and consequences often distract us from the root cause of the problem.   It's easy to assume that your anger is the problem because it is what you notice.  It is the outbursts of anger that we see and that cause destruction.  The assumptions and interpretations in the mind are less noticeable amidst this emotional drama.  However your emotions of anger are just a natural response to what the mind imagines.  If you perceive and believe what the mind imagines you will create emotions as a natural response.   If you accidentally touch a hot stove and burn your hand you will feel pain.  Naturally you would want to pain to stop, but the pain in your hand isn't the problem.  The pain is just a natural response to touching a hot stove.  The physical touch on the stove is less noticeable, but yet it is the real problem.  Touching the hot stove is the cause of that pain. The pain won't go away until you take your hand away from the hot stove.   The same is true for your emotions such as anger.  You may want to stop your anger, but anger is just a reaction to something else. Anger is the natural emotional reaction to what the mind and imagination are doing.  The way to overcome anger is to change how the mind imagines stories and how much you believe them.  When the mind imagines painful scenarios you naturally produce anger.  To reduce and eliminate the anger it is necessary to shift the stories that the mind imagines.   To effectively reduce or eliminate the anger in our life, we can practice changing the core beliefs, assumptions, and interpretations of the mind.    The Reaction to Emotional Pain   Your mind can generate anger and fear even when there's not a physical threat of pain. Your emotional response mechanism can generate anger just as easily by imagining a scenario involving the threat of emotional pain. When your mind is out of control imagining scenarios of emotional pain, your anger goes out of control. For anger to happen the emotional pain doesn't even have to occur. If you just imagine that you will be hurt in the future, you can become angry before anything has happened.   Understand is the first step towards managing. We can't control what we don't understand.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to manage anger. I tend to break thing and sometime have hurtful thought.

This is such a great question, and I want to go over a few different points. Anger is a very intense emotion and often a masking emotions to other feelings. People often use anger to manage overwhelming feelings for many reasons. You mentioned feeling hurtful thoughts, it's important to identify other feelings that might be driving the anger as well. Sadness, embarrassment, fear are just a few of the emotions often people mask with anger. When someone important to us has hurt us deeply it is common to want them to feel the same emotional pain we do. There are many thoughts that drive this some of them can be; "if they knew how this felt they wouldn't have done this," "if they don't care about me then I don't care about them."  It can be important to identify what these thoughts are and discuss them in order to decrease the intensity of the emotions.  Identifying the thoughts then working to create an alternative thought that is healthier and more helpful in working towards healing.  Throwing and breaking things when you have intense emotions is a release for sure, it tells me when you are in a very emotionally intense space you need to do something physical to manage the intensity. I would encourage you to try and direct that physical energy into something positive; running, hiking, biking, punching bag, anything to let out the physical energy in a positive way that is not harmful to yourself or others. Certain breathing exercises can also help us to calm our system here are a few that I recommend and the technique I feel can be beneficial in practicing it to help us in those more intense emotional moments.  8x8x8 breathing (Box breath) - breathe in for 8 seconds, hold it for 8 seconds and breathe out for 8 seconds. During this exercise I want you to use a calming scent that you find pleasant (lavender or something you enjoy). Place a drop on a cloth or on your wrist. Find a quiet calm place. Bring to mind something that brings you mild stress or anxiety, a 2-3 on a scale of 1-10. Then focus on your breath and the calming scent and see if you can reduce the stressful feeling to a 1 or less. Then you can practice bringing to mind a stressor that is a 4-5 on the scale of 10. Practice this in a calm safe place a few times a day over the next couple of days and let me know if you find them effective.   Falling out breathing: (This technique is a great way to release physical tension in the body.) To start, take a deep inhale, filling your lungs with as much air as possible. At the top of your breath, take one more sip of air. Then exhale, with a big sigh (so you can hear it) as you release the air from your lungs.   Emptying Breath: (The emptying breath is a strategy to activate you parasympathetic nervous system and calm you sympathetic nervous system) Inhale to the count of 3 and exhale slowly to the count of 6, focusing on releasing as much air as possible.
Answered on 01/21/2022

What type of therapist do I need?

Hello Ruce! Thank you for asking this question.  We live in a society in which Alcohol is a routine past time and available nearly everywhere we go! Despite the normalcy of it in our society it is a drug and toxic when consumed in large amounts. It affects our brain by inhibiting normal functioning. In this response I will describe the anatomy of the brain and why we might behave very differently when under the influence of alcohol.  Our brain is made up of four lobes, a brainstem, and a cerebellum. The frontal lobe helps us to behave appropriately and is essential in assisting us to make good decisions.  Our parietal lobe helps us to interpret object and touch.  It helps us to interpret the environment around us.  Our temporal lobe interprets sound and helps us to recognize objects.  Our occipital lobe processes what we see.  The brainstem and cerebellum are essential to our most important functions that keep us safe and alive like balance, voluntary motor skills (walking), heartbeat and breathing.  Alcohol has a direct effect on the brain functioning in all the lobes and areas described.  It is a depressant which basically means it is inhibiting the functioning of the brain.  The more you drink the more inhibited brain functioning becomes thus making it harder and sometimes impossible to function.   Why do some people become violent when under the influence?  It has much to do with the loss of executive functioning.  The temporal lobe helps you make good decisions including walking away from situations that trigger the fight mode.  Our brains are meant to keep us alive by responding quickly to potential threats.  The fight or flight mode helps us to run from dangerous situations or fight for survival.  Consider this... You are in a situation your brain has interpreted as a potential threat; however, the interpretation is inhibited by the effect alcohol has had on your brain.  While under the influence you are misinterpreting situations, and you go into fight mode for unnecessary reasons which is violence rather than protecting yourself.  You might be interpretating someone’s non-verbal and verbal actions toward you as a threat rather than a manageable conflict.  Maybe you are simply feeling full of rage because your brain is interpretating your intoxication as a threat; you might feel unsafe while intoxicated and your brain is triggered into fight mode for that reason alone. The point is Alcohol can make it very difficult to make sense of your environment as well as the people in it.      Are you drinking too much alcohol?  Alcohol affects everyone a little differently.  People who have a history of trauma and anxiety disorder will be more likely to go into a fight mode more easily because they are already a bit triggered in that mode as a baseline even before adding the alcohol.  Alcohol will only amplify the experience and you are much quicker to be sent into a fight mode due to the already existing anxiety prior to drinking.  While some people may be able to drink a few beers or standard drinks in a reasonable timeframe you might notice you drink more than others at a faster rate or that a few beers have a much more profound effect on your mood than it does others.  I might also wonder if you are taking any type of medication that recommends you not drink while on it as it could contribute to your experience and evoke violence.  Considering all these things, you might investigate some help to better manage anxiety. In the meantime, it could help to drink less and less often should you notice your executive functioning is significantly impacted while under the influence. I hope this has been helpful and you are more aware of the experience!  Take good care of yourself!  Terra 
(LSCSW, LCAC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Can i work on anger management issues that only show it s ugly face when i m in a relationship?

Hi there, It can be frustrating to get into a relationship and then not feel like yourself sometimes. It sounds like there may be some other factors at play here, so I would like to ask some exploratory questions to see if anything clicks for you. Whether you choose to work on this on BetterHelp or not, these are some thoughts that may be worth reflecting on. When you say that you have anger issues in relationships, what do you think that it stems from? Is there jealousy or a lack of trust? Does this usually happen from the very beginning or over time? Do you see it more the more you spend time together and/or integrate into each other's lives? Does it seem like you are usually bothered more by little grating things, or are there bigger issues or themes that you can identify? Thinking about the relationships that you have had over the past couple of years, are there any commonalities or similarities that exist when things go wrong or things in particular that you get mad about and/or frustrated with? Do you see your partners exhibited common behaviors that bring this side out in you? You said that your anger usually just manifests in romantic relationships. How do you think these relationships differ than close friendships that you have and/or relationships with your family?   Is there someone in your life now that you feel like you want to pursue a relationship with? If so, what are the thoughts that you have that stop you from pursuing this person? Is there a couple close to you that you admire or that you think does a good job of communicating? What are some of the things that contribute to their relationship success? What are some of the other stressors going on in your life that might make you more short tempered and/or prone to taking things out on your significant other?  What kind of outlets or hobbies do you currently have for your anger or times that you are feeling overwhelmed?  Is there anything, big or small, that you feel has helped even to a tiny degree in the past? I look forward to talking more if you would like to.
(M., Ed., Ed.S, NCC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

i have a hard time with, trauma , i believe mommy & daddy issues & controlling my anger

Identifying the problem is always the first step, I'm imagining that these issues have carried over from childhood and not been 100% processed or addressed based on the aggressive behavior occurring. Feeling bad and regretful about that physical aggression is a good thing, when we don't feel bad for it and it becomes "normal" is where it becomes even more severe of an issue. I would recommend that you'd consider a therapist to see to walkthrough these mommy and daddy issues mentioned especially since only being in your teens still. Those that bring these issues into adulthood I've seen often have a hard time breaking the habits. The worst thing that could happen when it comes to bringing the habit into adulthood is being certain that hitting is the only way to make it stop or change, where really it just highlights the dire need for improving communication skills and working on your ability to emotionally regulate yourself in those moments. Thought stopping techniques when first feeling triggered are very useful including snapping (rubber band on your wrist), yawning in moments will quite literally slow your brain down when feeling triggered, visualIzing what you would like the communication to look like in your mind positively, deep breathing is extremely effective even more when putting your right hand on your heart and your left hand on your lower belly then taking 3 seconds in 3 seconds out. I'd recommend using these immediately to improve your relationship and own life to not resort to the hitting. I'm hopeful for you that obtaining your own therapist while utilizing these tools like mentioned above could be very beneficial. There's often some type of underlying feeling that comes into play whether it is abandonment, feeling unsafe, or not being able to be heard. I'm terribly sorry to hear about the uncomfortable sexual experiences that occurred at such a young age. No person should ever have to experience that and it is never the victim's fault for that happening. Im glad to hear that you've been able to share your story with at least three people. It is extremely difficult to share and totally understand the number being lower, showing how important these people are in your life. When that happens in a repetitive manner, it creates a different idea for the brain about the idea of sex. People who are sexually abused often have trouble being intimate in the future until developing their own safe space in thier mind. A safe space could be anywhere that you can take yourself that feels safe, refreshing, and adding in different scents or visualizations also help. Closing your eyes, meditating for 5-10 minutes every day to develop this space in your mind is essential to heal from this trauma. We often focus on what the trauma was that initially started to cause distress or emotional hardship which in this case would be the sexual abuse and involvement with mother and father issues. Whereas the trauma is actually the behavior that has come out of the traumatic event is reacting so strongly by hitting your boyfriend. It is seen to be an abnormal response and because of that treatment would be your best friend in working through this situation especially if valuing to continue in this relationship with your boyfriend. I can't imagine he is okay with how things happen and it will often get to a point where there is the fight, regret the fight happened, feeling depressed, saying sorry, then a honeymoon period occurs for a brief time until the cycle happens again. The more this cycle fully occurs the more that there is a trauma bond being made between two people. Still being young and unmarried are two major protective factors here. I empower you to consider some of these suggestions and I do wish you the best on your journey to a healthier life. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

how do i stop being angry all the time

Mo, Anger is a signal that something has touched a sensitive part of you. Anger protects that part of you. It is like you are saying to people "You are getting too close, back off!" This can happen for apparently things we should not be upset about or at least not as upset as we are. The point is that we are not reacting to the apparent trigger, but to much more. Things we have not paid attention to in the past or that we have dismissed as unimportant pile up and, at some point, we cannot hold it in any longer and we blow up. We blow up at unimportant things because we really need to pay attention to something much bigger that we have shoved under the rug most likely because we did not know they mattered. These unimportant things serve as the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back. So the first step is you have to be your best friend. Don't judge yourself. Acknowledge that you feel upset. It is ok to feel upset. You would not feel upset if you knew what really bothered you. It is ok not to know immediately. Perhaps no one paid attention to your upsets when you were growing up, or not enough. You learned that your upsets did not matter. But they actually did matter. So now you have to overcome years of thinking your upsets did not matter and change your habit of dismissing your upsets and instead ask yourself: "But what if my upsets really did matter?" Or perhaps you had a family member always getting angry and you told yourself growing up that you would never get angry. If this is the case, that family member did not know how to deal with their anger in a healthy way and made everyone the recipient of it. It likely did not work and they remained angry. It never solved anything so you may have told yourself: "What's the point of getting angry?" There may be other reasons you have not learned how to deal with anger in a healthy way. It is ok that you don't know. Be kind to yourself. So accept that the experience of anger is a natural human reaction, but anger is not the primary emotion, it is hiding a hurt that wants to be acknowledged. The best first step is simply to say to yourself: "I am angry." And no to be upset with yourself for having a natural human reaction. Avoid secondary emotions such as: being angry at being angry, being sad or angry at being sad, being scared of being scared, and so on. That secondary emotion is a judgement, not an emotion at all. If you are experiencing a secondary emotion, you can gently tell yourself that you are much more interested in the original emotion simply because it is the loving thing to do toward yourself.  Then take some time alone to figure out what triggered your anger and what you are trying to protect inside you. If you prefer to process things with someone else instead of doing it alone, then ask a close friend, who is a good listener, if you could process something with them to understand yourself better. Some people are internal processors, they like to try to understand on their own, internally.  Others are external processors and they like to talk it out loud with someone else. This is independent from whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. Typically, an angry reaction protects a fear and the fear is that some hurt is being activated. So as you process, the goal is to become aware of what is hurting. Here is how you can do this. Accept your anger, feel it in your body. Is there a tightness in your chest? A fire in you chest? Do you feel it in your belly? A combination of these things? Is it in your head only? Is it in your entire body? Pay attention to the sensations because your sensations will be able to guide you much more accurately than your mind. Your mind can only guess, whereas your body experiences things first hand. When you sit with the sensations that give rise to your anger and agitation and you don't blame yourself for it, you can gently and calmly listen to your true feelings and eventually you will recognize where you feel hurt and what your hurt is about. It could be that you never feel heard or understood. It could be that your wants, needs, or desires are not fulfilled. It could be that your feelings of being ignored, rejected, or abandoned are being triggered. Try and find the words that describe your hurt as accurately as you can. Then you can start addressing how you can overcome the hurt. You see the whole process is inviting you to pay attention to yourself in a way no one has done for you before, or not enough, so you would know to do that for yourself. It is learning to love yourself beyond how you have been loved before. But no one could ever understand you as well as you can anyway because no one knows what is going on inside you. No one can ever love you as well as you can because no one knows your wants, your needs, or your life dreams... No one knows your true heart. You are on a journey to discover what is in your heart from what hurts to what brings you joy, peace, love and harmony. Welcome to your personal journey!
(MSMHC, LPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022