Temperament 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

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

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 I stop my uncontrollable anger?

Hi WillowTree! To start, you have a lot of awareness, which may be the first thing that shows you want to make changes and write a different script for your life. You're acknowledging what is not working and want to find what does work. One thing, that is hard to do, is to examine your mother's issues and her frame of reference. That means, where is she coming from based on her trauma's and life experiences. Then you can use that information to decide if you think that she was "doing her best" with the tools she had. Sometimes, using this can help us feel and look at things differently. This does not excuse things, nor does this replace boundaries, because those are absolutely needed.   Then focusing on yourself, making a plan. Therapy is extremely helpful. You can identify your own patterns and how to avoid or alter your responses in situations that lead to you choosing to feel angry. Once you can start to do that, you can look at what is underneath your anger. Often it's hurt, guilt, or worry. Those feelings are much less powerful than anger, so we tend to use anger to get our points across. Finding ways to challenge your negative thinking to further explore the issues with yourself and in therapy can be very helpful. As mentioned before, we see things a certain way, and as you start to do work, you can shift how you're looking at things.    Also, looking at some physical ways to decompress. That could be intense exercise, yoga, walking, swimming -- anything that can be another outlet for you. You had mentioned counting, so using that with deep breathing or mindfulness techniques (check out our Groupinars!) might be a great source of relief. Sometimes doing things physically can help get our mind ready to explore the deeper issues.   I hope this is helpful in your journey. Again, you're already doing some hard work in identifying what the issues are and making steps to change your life. Continue on this path and I am hopeful you can find relief and progress.     
(LISW-S, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to deal with my problem?

Hello Yang, I am glad you reached out for support at this time.  I am sorry you are struggling in this moment.  I would encourage you to start to work with a therapist to help you learn skills to help you overcome your struggles.  If we were to meet I would first talk to you about the counseling process through our site and how together we could help you obtain your goals going forward, how I work as a counselor and how I would try to help you through the counseling process.  I would also take the first session to get to know you by asking you a few questions to get a better understanding of your struggles, so that I am able to focus on a plan and goals to work on going forward. I want you to know that you are not alone during this time even through you may feel like you are alone at this time.  During the therapy process you can have support 100% of the time as you are able to reach out and talk to a therapist 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  I am going to send you some skills and tools to help you during this time of struggle you are having with your anger to start.  If we were to work together we would be going over these and more tools to help you through our struggles and be able to ask for support from others. Anger has power, but there are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with that power, from letting it control you to wielding it in a way that spurs you on to something positive. Some people are prone to rage more often than others, but anger is a feeling that many of us could use a bit of help in handling. The choices we make when angry can often come back to haunt us, but the cycle can be hard to break. Here's how to tame your inner raging bull. And if you find that you are often mired in negative thinking.1. Own It. Pretending you're not angry—especially while exhibiting nearly cartoonish physical signs of anger—does no good for you, the target of your anger, or your blood pressure. Many people think that to acknowledge anger is the same as acting inappropriately on it. That's simply not true, and the difference between those two concepts is huge. Admitting that you are upset, whether to yourself, or as calmly as possible to the person you're in conflict with ("I admit I seem to be getting upset here. I want to resolve this and not do anything I regret, so I am going to try to slow down.") can validate your feelings. This, in turn, can help you feel more empowered toward working toward a solution, and it will also diminish the conflict within yourself.2. Break It Down. So you're still simmering after your yearly review? If you jot down some of your thoughts, whether with prehistoric pen and paper or with an app du jour, you'll gain some clarity as to how they're serving as the antecedents to your feelings. In the process, you can sort out why you're upset and what steps you can take to work through the situation. Perhaps most important, putting your feelings into words can make them feel more tangible, and therefore more manageable—which can eventually help them work their way out of your system.3. Move It Out. As physical signs go, anger can look very similar to other forms of arousal, like anxiety or even excitement. Calming those physical impulses, or giving them someplace useful to go, can help you get your anger under control. Slow down your breathing through several long, deep breaths. Loosen your muscles through clenching and unclenching your fists and slowly doing a neck roll. If you can use that arousal for good rather than for clocking someone in the face, you'll be better off. So channel that rage into an activity that can release tension: running, kickboxing, dancing, jumping rope, or even just beating your fists against your chest like a gorilla. A primal scream can be helpful if you are blessed with the space. Instead of letting your frustration burn you up, you can burn it off. And if it comes out in the shape of tears or even demonic laughter? Just let it.4. Find The Big Picture. If you're still feeling steamed from that interaction with your colleague or that snarky tone from the person in line at the coffee shop, it might be time to make a list of the things you're grateful for. Gratitude meditations, or just sitting and focusing on what's right in your life, will make what you're angry about seem more molehill than mountain. You might also choose to think about the person whom you think has wronged you, and imagine what unique challenges they may be reacting to. Think about the ways that they could use some empathy, and try to mentally give it to them—that can often neutralize anger.5. Share—carefully. If there is a friend or loved one you trust, sharing your feelings with them can sometimes be cathartic. But be aware that not everyone is equipped to hear difficult feelings in a healthy, supportive way. Some might just not be good listeners and could just try to bottle up your emotions for you. Others might try to fan the flames, like audiences in a gladiator match.6. Act. If someone drove poorly on the freeway, you'll simply move on, eventually. But if you're part of a toxic relationship or the victim of a serial aggressor, you'll need to do what you can to chart out steps to improve the situation. A specific plan of action with methodical goals and the pathways to get there can lend a very important sense of control, reducing your stress and increasing your peace.7. Be Watchful. Sometimes things may seem to be resolved, but rage still lingers residually, in the form of irritability, insomnia, or even depression. Increasing your mindfulness through your awareness in the moment of your thoughts and feelings and the triggers that seem to cause them can serve as an early warning system for future conflicts. It can also help you determine if your anger is due to something deeper that could benefit from talking to a professional.Here are 25 ways you can control your anger and try to put these skills in place through the 7 step process listed above.1. Count downCount down (or up) to 10. If you’re really mad, start at 100. In the time it takes you to count, your heart rate will slow, and your anger will likely subside.2. Take a breatherYour breathing becomes shallower and speeds up as you grow angry. Reverse that trend (and your anger) by taking slow, deep breaths from your nose and exhaling out of your mouth for several moments.3. Go walk around can help calm your nerves and reduce anger. Go for a walk, ride your bike, or hit a few golf balls. Anything that gets your limbs pumping is good for your mind and body.4. Relax your musclesProgressive muscle relaxation calls on you to tense and slowly relax various muscle groups in your body, one at a time. As you tense and release, take slow, deliberate breaths.5. Repeat a mantraFind a word or phrase that helps you calm down and refocus. Repeat that word again and again to yourself when you’re upset. “Relax,” “Take it easy, and “You’ll be OK” are all good examples.6. StretchNeck rolls and shoulder rolls are good examples of nonstrenuous yoga-like movements that can help you control your body and harness your emotions. No fancy equipment required.7. Mentally escapeSlip into a quiet room, close your eyes, and practice visualizing yourself in a relaxing scene. Focus on details in the imaginary scene: What color is the water? How tall are the mountains? What do the chirping birds sound like? This practice can help you find calm amidst anger.8. Play some tunesLet music carry you away from your feelings. Put in earbuds or slip out to your car. Crank up your favorite music and hum, bop, or sashay your anger away.9. Stop talkingWhen you’re steamed, you may be tempted to let the angry words fly, but you’re more likely to do harm than good. Pretend your lips are glued shut, just like you did as a kid. This moment without speaking will give you time to collect your thoughts.10. Take a timeoutGive yourself a break. Sit away from others. In this quiet time, you can process events and return your emotions to neutral. You may even find this time away from others is so helpful you want to schedule it into your daily routine.11. Take actionHarness your angry energy. Sign a petition. Write a note to an official. Do something good for someone else. Pour your energy and emotions into something that’s healthy and productive.12. Write in your journalWhat you can’t say, perhaps you can write. Jot down what you’re feeling and how you want to respond. Processing it through the written word can help you calm down and reassess the events leading up to your feelings.13. Find the most immediate solutionYou might be angry that your child has once again left their room a mess before going to visit a friend. Shut the door. You can temporarily end your anger by putting it out of your view. Look for similar resolutions in any situations.14. Rehearse your responsePrevent an outburst by rehearsing what you’re going to say or how you’re going to approach the problem in the future. This rehearsal period gives you time to role-play several possible solutions, too.15. Picture a stop signThe universal symbol to stop can help you calm down when you’re angry. It’s a quick way to help you visualize the need to halt yourself, your actions, and walk away from the moment.16. Change your routineIf your slow commute to work makes you angry before you’ve even had coffee, find a new route. Consider options that may take longer but leave you less upset in the end.17. Talk to a friendDon’t stew in the events that made you angry. Help yourself process what happened by talking with a trusted, supportive friend who can possibly provide a new perspective.18. LaughNothing upends a bad mood like a good one. Diffuse your anger by looking for ways to laugh, whether that’s playing with your kids, watching stand-up, or scrolling memes.19. Practice gratitudeTake a moment to focus on what’s right when everything feels wrong. Realizing how many good things you have in your life can help you neutralize anger and turn around the situation.20. Set a timerThe first thing that comes to mind when you’re angry likely isn’t the thing you should say. Give yourself a set time before you respond. This time will help you be calmer and more concise.21. Write a letterWrite a letter or email to the person that made you angry. Then, delete it. Often, expressing your emotions in some form is all you want, even if it’s in something that will never be seen.22. Imagine forgiving themFinding the courage to forgive someone who has wronged you takes a lot of emotional skill. If you can’t go that far, you can at least pretend that you’re forgiving them, and you’ll feel your anger slip away.23. Practice empathyTry to walk in the other person’s shoes and see the situation from their perspective. When you tell the story or relive the events as they saw it, you may gain a new understanding and become less angry.24. Express your angerIt’s OK to say how you feel, as long as you handle it in the right way. Ask a trusted friend to help you be accountable to a calm response. Outbursts solve no problems, but mature dialogue can help reduce your stress and ease your anger. It may also prevent future problems.25. Find a creative channelTurn your anger into a tangible production. Consider painting, gardening, or writing poetry when you’re upset. Emotions are powerful muses for creative individuals. Use yours to reduce anger.The bottom lineAnger is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. However, if you find your anger turns to aggression or outbursts, you need to find healthy ways to deal with anger. Anger Management Steps:Why Manage Anger Anger is an emotion that can range from mild irritation to intense rage. While many people refer to anger as a “negative emotion,” anger also can be positive. Angry feelings may spur you to stand up for someone or they may lead you to create social change. But when left unchecked, angry feelings can lead to aggressive behavior, like yelling at someone or damaging property. Angry feelings also may cause you to withdraw from the world and turn your anger inward, which can impact your health and well-being. Anger becomes problematic when it's felt too often or too intensely or when it's expressed in unhealthy ways. Too much anger can take a toll on you physically, mentally, and socially. For this reason, anger management strategies can be beneficial and can help you discover healthy ways to express your feelings. Anger Management Strategies Research consistently shows that cognitive behavioral interventions are effective for improving anger management.1 Cognitive behavioral interventions involve changing the way you think and behave. They are based on the notion that your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected. Your thoughts and behaviors can either fuel your emotions or they can reduce them. So, if you want to shift your emotional state away from anger, you can change what you’re thinking and what you’re doing.1 Without fuel, the fire inside you will begin to dwindle and you'll feel more calm. Identify Triggers If you’ve gotten into the habit of losing your temper, take stock of the things that trigger your anger. Long lines, traffic jams, snarky comments, or excessive tiredness are just a few things that might shorten your fuse. You shouldn't blame people or external circumstances for your inability to keep your cool. But, understanding the things that trigger your anger can help you plan accordingly.You might decide to structure your day differently to help you manage your stress better. Or, you might practice some anger management techniques before you encounter circumstances that you usually find distressing. Doing these things can help you lengthen your fuse—meaning that a single frustrating episode won’t set you off. Evaluate Your Anger Before you spring into action to calm yourself down, ask yourself if your anger is a friend or an enemy. If you’re witnessing someone’s rights being violated or you are in an unhealthy situation, your anger might be helpful. In these cases, you might proceed by changing the situation rather than changing your emotional state. Sometimes, your anger is a warning sign that something else needs to change—like an emotionally abusive relationship or a toxic friendship. If, however, your anger is causing distress or hurting your relationships, your anger may be an enemy. Other signs of this type of anger include feeling out of control and regretting your words or actions later. In these situations, it makes sense to work on tackling your emotions and calming yourself down. Recognize Warning Signs If you're like some people, you may feel like your anger hits you in an instant—you go from calm to furious in a heartbeat. But there are warning signs when your anger is on the rise. Recognizing them early can help you take action to prevent your anger from reaching a boiling point. Think about the physical warning signs of anger that you experience. Perhaps your heart beats fast or your face feels hot. Or, maybe you begin to clench your fists. You also might notice some cognitive changes. Perhaps your mind races or you begin “seeing red.” By recognizing your warning signs, you have the opportunity to take immediate action and prevent yourself from doing or saying things that create bigger problems. Learn to pay attention to how you're feeling and you'll get better at recognizing the warning signs. Step Away Trying to win an argument or sticking it out in an unhealthy situation will only fuel your anger. One of the best things you can do when your anger is rising is to remove yourself from the situation if you can. When a conversation gets heated, take a break. Leave a meeting if you think you’re going to explode. Go for a walk if your kids upset you. A time-out can be key to helping you calm your brain and your body. When you need to step away, explain that you aren’t trying to dodge difficult subjects, but you’re working on managing your anger. You aren't able to have a productive conversation or resolve conflict when you’re feeling really upset. You can rejoin the discussion or address the issue again when you're feeling calmer. Sometimes it helps to set a specific time and place when you can discuss this issue again. Doing so gives your friend, colleague, or family member a sense of peace that the issue will indeed be discussed—just at a later time. Talk to a Friend If there’s someone who has a calming effect on you, talking through an issue or expressing your feelings to that person may be helpful. It’s important to note, however, that venting can backfire. Complaining about your boss, describing all the reasons you don’t like someone, or grumbling about all of your perceived injustices may add fuel to the fire. A common misconception is that you have to vent your anger to feel better. But studies show you don’t need to “get your anger out.”2 Smashing things when you’re upset, for example, may actually make you angrier. So it’s important to use this coping skill with caution. Likewise, if you’re going to talk to a friend, make sure you’re working on developing a solution or reducing your anger, not just venting. It's unfair to use them as your go-to sounding board. Instead, you might find that the best way to use this strategy is to talk about something other than the situation causing you to feel angry. Get Moving Anger gives you a rush of energy. One of the best ways to put that surge to good use is to engage in physical activity.3 Whether you go for a brisk walk or hit the gym, working out can burn off extra tension. Regular exercise also helps you decompress. Aerobic activity reduces stress, which might help improve your frustration tolerance.3 Additionally, exercise allows you to clear your mind. You may find that after a long run or a hard workout you have a clearer perspective on what was troubling you. Manage Your Thoughts Angry thoughts add fuel to your anger. Thinking things like, “I can’t stand it. This traffic jam is going to ruin everything,” will increase your frustration. When you find yourself thinking about things that fuel your anger, reframe your thoughts. Instead, think about the facts by saying something like, “There are millions of cars on the road every day. Sometimes, there will be traffic jams.” Focusing on the facts—without adding in catastrophic predictions or distorted exaggerations—can help you stay calmer.4 You also might develop a mantra that you can repeat to drown out the thoughts that fuel your anger. Saying, "I'm OK. Stay calm," or "Not helpful," over and over again can help you minimize or reduce angry thoughts. Focus on Relaxation There are many different relaxation exercises you can utilize to reduce anger. The key is to find the one that works best for you. Breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation are two common strategies for reducing tension.5 The best part is, both exercises can be performed quickly and discreetly. So whether you’re frustrated at work or you’re angry at a dinner engagement, you can let go of stress quickly and immediately. It’s important to note, however, that relaxation exercises take practice. At first, you might not feel as though they’re effective, or you might question whether they’re going to work for you. But with practice, they can become your go-to strategies for anger management.  Keeping your temper in check can be challenging. Use simple anger management tips — from taking a timeout to using "I" statements — to stay in control.1. Think before you speakIn the heat of the moment, it's easy to say something you'll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.2. Once you're calm, express your angerAs soon as you're thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but nonconfrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.3. Get some exercisePhysical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.4. Take a timeoutTimeouts aren't just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what's ahead without getting irritated or angry.5. Identify possible solutionsInstead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child's messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won't fix anything and might only make it worse.6. Stick with 'I' statementsTo avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use "I" statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, "I'm upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes" instead of "You never do any housework."7. Don't hold a grudgeForgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.8. Use humor to release tensionLightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what's making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.9. Practice relaxation skillsWhen your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as "Take it easy." You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.10. Know when to seek helpLearning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you. I hope that these skills have been helpful for you in your struggles you have been facing at this time. I am going to give you my information if you are wanting to start to process through and work on your struggles going forward, please reach out to Betterhelp and ask to be matched with Crystal Westman. If we were to work together we would work on more skills and tools to help you when you are struggling and get back to a positive space.  I encourage you to reach out for support at this time to help you get to the best version of yourself.
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I control my emotions?

Hi Neni, I’m so sorry to hear that you are having a difficult time right now. I’m glad that you have reached out for help, and I am hoping to give you some guidance around how to control your emotions. I hear you when you say you have been triggered by everything lately. I am wondering about what has led to feelings of loneliness and giving more to people than you receive and what has led you to this place in your life. I’m wondering if you have a support group and how do you cope with the feelings of loneliness? Have you explored online groups, connecting with other friends or family members, engaging in your interests or hobbies? I believe the first step in controlling your emotions is being able to identify what your triggers so that you can work on having a strategy to deal with your emotions. A trigger is a stimulus—such as a person, place, situation, or thing, scents, memories/flashbacks, which can all appear without warning —that contributes to an unwanted emotional or behavioral response. You then begin to experience the anger, sadness, and other emotions very intensely that you have mentioned. I will give you some tips and coping strategies that I hope you will find helpful. I would encourage to set healthy boundaries with your friends if you are feeling as though you give more than you receive. Below is some information around setting Healthy Boundaries with your friends.   Tips for Dealing with Triggers Oftentimes, the best way to deal with a trigger is to avoid it. This might mean making changes to your lifestyle, relationships, or daily routine. Create a strategy to deal with your triggers head on, just in case. Your strategy might include coping skills, a list of trusted people you can talk to, or rehearsed phrases to help you get out of a troublesome situation. Don't wait until the heat of the moment to test your coping strategy. Practice Coping Skills for Anger Top of Form Be Aware of Triggers Anger triggers are the things that set you off. Knowing your triggers, and being cautious around them, will reduce the likelihood of your anger getting out of control. How to use triggers to your advantage: ·         Create a list of your triggers and review them daily. Reviewing your triggers will keep them fresh in your mind, increasing the likelihood you notice them before they become a problem. ·         Oftentimes, the best way to deal with a trigger is to avoid it. This might mean making changes to your lifestyle, relationships, or daily routine. ·         Because it isn't always possible to avoid triggers, have a plan when you must face them. For example, avoid touchy conversations when you are tired, hungry, or upset. Practice Deep Breathing Deep breathing is a simple technique that's excellent for managing emotions. Not only is deep breathing effective, it's also discreet and easy to use at any time or place. Sit comfortably and place one hand on your abdomen. Breath in through your nose, deeply enough that the hand on your abdomen rises. Hold the air in your lungs, and then exhale slowly through your mouth, with your lips puckered as if you are blowing through a straw. The secret is to go slow: Time the inhalation (4s), pause (4s), and exhalation (6s). Practice for 3 to 5 minutes. Keep an Anger Log Following an episode of anger, take a few moments to record your experience. This practice will help you identify patterns, warning signs, and triggers, while also helping you organize thoughts and work through problems. ·         What was happening before the anger episode? Describe how you were feeling, and what was on your mind. Were you hungry, tired, or stressed? ·         Describe the facts of what happened. What events triggered your anger? How did you react, and did your reaction change as the event continued to unfold? ·         What were your thoughts and feelings during the anger episode? Looking back, do you see anything differently than when you were in the heat of the moment? Use Diversions The goal of diversions is to buy yourself time. If you can distract yourself for just 30 minutes, you'll have a better chance of dealing with your anger in a healthy way. Remember, you can always return to the source of your anger later—you're just setting the problem aside for now. go for a walk                         do yard work read a book                         draw or paint play a sport                          do a craft listen to music                     cook or bake play a game                           go for a bicycle ride  watch a movie                       write or journal take a long bath                    play an instrument  practice a hobby                   call a friend lift weights                             go swimming  go for a run                            go for a hike in nature take photographs                  play with a pet clean or organize                   rearrange a room   Take a Time-out Time-outs are a powerful tool for relationships where anger-fueled disagreements are causing problems. When someone calls a time-out, both individuals agree to walk away from the problem, and return once you have both had an opportunity to cool down. How to use time-outs effectively ·         With your partner, plan exactly how time-outs will work. Everyone should understand the rationale behind time-outs (an opportunity to cool down—not to avoid a problem). ·         What will you both do during time-outs? Plan activities that are in different rooms or different places. The list of diversions from above is a good place to begin. ·         Plan to return to the problem in 30 minutes to an hour. Important problems shouldn't be ignored forever, but nothing good will come from an explosive argument. Know Your Warning Signs Anger warning signs are the clues your body gives you that your anger is starting to grow. When you learn to spot your warning signs, you can begin to address your anger while it's still weak. Sweating                                     pacing Aggressive body language        feels sick to stomach  can't get past problem               go quiet/” shut down  feel hot / turn red                      clenched fists  headaches                                   becoming argumentative raised voice                                 using verbal insults headaches   Personal boundaries are the limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships. A person with healthy boundaries can say "no" to others when they want to, but they are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships. Know your limits.Before becoming involved in a situation, know what's acceptable to you, and what isn't. It's best to be as specific as possible, or you might be pulled into the trap of giving just a little bit more, over and over, until you've given far too much. Know your values.Every person's limits are different, and they're often determined by their personal values. For example, if you value family above all else, this might lead to stricter limits on how late you will stay at work, away from family. Know what's most important to you, and protect it. Listen to your emotions.If you notice feelings of discomfort or resentment, don't bury them. Try to understand what your feelings are telling you. Resentment, for example, can often be traced to feelings of being taken advantage of. Have self-respect.If you always give in to others, ask if you are showing as much respect to yourself as you show to others. Boundaries that are too open might be due to misguided attempts to be liked by elevating other people's needs above one's own. Have respect for others.Be sure that your actions are not self-serving, at the expense of others. Interactions should not be about winning, or taking as much as possible. Instead, consider what's fair to everyone, given the setting and relationship. You might "win", but at the cost of a relationship's long-term health. Be assertive.When you know it's time to set a boundary, don't be shy. Say "no" respectfully, but without ambiguity. If you can make a compromise while respecting your own boundaries, try it. This is a good way to soften the "no", while showing respect to everyone involved. Consider the long view.Some days you will give more than you take, and other days you will take more than you give. Be willing to take a longer view of relationships, when appropriate. But if you're always the one who's giving or taking, there might be a problem I hope that you have found this information helpful. Thank you, Dr. Jacinta Brown-Wade  
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

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 can I deal with a sense of insufficiency and how can I handle the frustration that comes with it

Hello anonymous_28, I am glad you reached out for support at this time.  I am sorry you are struggling in this moment.  I would encourage you to start to work with a therapist to help you learn skills to help you overcome your struggles.  If we were to meet I would first talk to you about the counseling process through our site and how together we could help you obtain your goals going forward, how I work as a counselor and how I would try to help you through the counseling process.  I would also take the first session to get to know you by asking you a few questions to get a better understanding of your struggles, so that I am able to focus on a plan and goals to work on going forward. I want you to know that you are not alone during this time even through you may feel like you are alone at this time.  During the therapy process you can have support 100% of the time as you are able to reach out and talk to a therapist 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  I am going to send you some skills and tools to help you during this time of struggle you are having.  If we were to work together we would be going over these and more tools to help you through our struggles and be able to ask for support from others. Anger has power, but there are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with that power, from letting it control you to wielding it in a way that spurs you on to something positive. Some people are prone to rage more often than others, but anger is a feeling that many of us could use a bit of help in handling. The choices we make when angry can often come back to haunt us, but the cycle can be hard to break. Here's how to tame your inner raging bull. And if you find that you are often mired in negative thinking.1. Own It. Pretending you're not angry—especially while exhibiting nearly cartoonish physical signs of anger—does no good for you, the target of your anger, or your blood pressure. Many people think that to acknowledge anger is the same as acting inappropriately on it. That's simply not true, and the difference between those two concepts is huge. Admitting that you are upset, whether to yourself, or as calmly as possible to the person you're in conflict with ("I admit I seem to be getting upset here. I want to resolve this and not do anything I regret, so I am going to try to slow down.") can validate your feelings. This, in turn, can help you feel more empowered toward working toward a solution, and it will also diminish the conflict within yourself.2. Break It Down. So you're still simmering after your yearly review? If you jot down some of your thoughts, whether with prehistoric pen and paper or with an app du jour, you'll gain some clarity as to how they're serving as the antecedents to your feelings. In the process, you can sort out why you're upset and what steps you can take to work through the situation. Perhaps most important, putting your feelings into words can make them feel more tangible, and therefore more manageable—which can eventually help them work their way out of your system.3. Move It Out. As physical signs go, anger can look very similar to other forms of arousal, like anxiety or even excitement. Calming those physical impulses, or giving them someplace useful to go, can help you get your anger under control. Slow down your breathing through several long, deep breaths. Loosen your muscles through clenching and unclenching your fists and slowly doing a neck roll. If you can use that arousal for good rather than for clocking someone in the face, you'll be better off. So channel that rage into an activity that can release tension: running, kickboxing, dancing, jumping rope, or even just beating your fists against your chest like a gorilla. A primal scream can be helpful if you are blessed with the space. Instead of letting your frustration burn you up, you can burn it off. And if it comes out in the shape of tears or even demonic laughter? Just let it.4. Find The Big Picture. If you're still feeling steamed from that interaction with your colleague or that snarky tone from the person in line at the coffee shop, it might be time to make a list of the things you're grateful for. Gratitude meditations, or just sitting and focusing on what's right in your life, will make what you're angry about seem more molehill than mountain. You might also choose to think about the person whom you think has wronged you, and imagine what unique challenges they may be reacting to. Think about the ways that they could use some empathy, and try to mentally give it to them—that can often neutralize anger.5. Share—carefully. If there is a friend or loved one you trust, sharing your feelings with them can sometimes be cathartic. But be aware that not everyone is equipped to hear difficult feelings in a healthy, supportive way. Some might just not be good listeners and could just try to bottle up your emotions for you. Others might try to fan the flames, like audiences in a gladiator match.6. Act. If someone drove poorly on the freeway, you'll simply move on, eventually. But if you're part of a toxic relationship or the victim of a serial aggressor, you'll need to do what you can to chart out steps to improve the situation. A specific plan of action with methodical goals and the pathways to get there can lend a very important sense of control, reducing your stress and increasing your peace.7. Be Watchful. Sometimes things may seem to be resolved, but rage still lingers residually, in the form of irritability, insomnia, or even depression. Increasing your mindfulness through your awareness in the moment of your thoughts and feelings and the triggers that seem to cause them can serve as an early warning system for future conflicts. It can also help you determine if your anger is due to something deeper that could benefit from talking to a professional. Anger is an emotion that can range from mild irritation to intense rage. While many people refer to anger as a “negative emotion,” anger also can be positive. Angry feelings may spur you to stand up for someone or they may lead you to create social change. But when left unchecked, angry feelings can lead to aggressive behavior, like yelling at someone or damaging property. Angry feelings also may cause you to withdraw from the world and turn your anger inward, which can impact your health and well-being. Anger becomes problematic when it's felt too often or too intensely or when it's expressed in unhealthy ways. Too much anger can take a toll on you physically, mentally, and socially. For this reason, anger management strategies can be beneficial and can help you discover healthy ways to express your feelings. Anger Management Strategies Research consistently shows that cognitive behavioral interventions are effective for improving anger management.1 Cognitive behavioral interventions involve changing the way you think and behave. They are based on the notion that your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected. Your thoughts and behaviors can either fuel your emotions or they can reduce them. So, if you want to shift your emotional state away from anger, you can change what you’re thinking and what you’re doing.1 Without fuel, the fire inside you will begin to dwindle and you'll feel more calm. Identify Triggers If you’ve gotten into the habit of losing your temper, take stock of the things that trigger your anger. Long lines, traffic jams, snarky comments, or excessive tiredness are just a few things that might shorten your fuse. You shouldn't blame people or external circumstances for your inability to keep your cool. But, understanding the things that trigger your anger can help you plan accordingly.You might decide to structure your day differently to help you manage your stress better. Or, you might practice some anger management techniques before you encounter circumstances that you usually find distressing. Doing these things can help you lengthen your fuse—meaning that a single frustrating episode won’t set you off. Evaluate Your Anger Before you spring into action to calm yourself down, ask yourself if your anger is a friend or an enemy. If you’re witnessing someone’s rights being violated or you are in an unhealthy situation, your anger might be helpful. In these cases, you might proceed by changing the situation rather than changing your emotional state. Sometimes, your anger is a warning sign that something else needs to change—like an emotionally abusive relationship or a toxic friendship. If, however, your anger is causing distress or hurting your relationships, your anger may be an enemy. Other signs of this type of anger include feeling out of control and regretting your words or actions later. In these situations, it makes sense to work on tackling your emotions and calming yourself down. Recognize Warning Signs If you're like some people, you may feel like your anger hits you in an instant—you go from calm to furious in a heartbeat. But there are warning signs when your anger is on the rise. Recognizing them early can help you take action to prevent your anger from reaching a boiling point. Think about the physical warning signs of anger that you experience. Perhaps your heart beats fast or your face feels hot. Or, maybe you begin to clench your fists. You also might notice some cognitive changes. Perhaps your mind races or you begin “seeing red.” By recognizing your warning signs, you have the opportunity to take immediate action and prevent yourself from doing or saying things that create bigger problems. Learn to pay attention to how you're feeling and you'll get better at recognizing the warning signs. Step Away Trying to win an argument or sticking it out in an unhealthy situation will only fuel your anger. One of the best things you can do when your anger is rising is to remove yourself from the situation if you can. When a conversation gets heated, take a break. Leave a meeting if you think you’re going to explode. Go for a walk if your kids upset you. A time-out can be key to helping you calm your brain and your body. When you need to step away, explain that you aren’t trying to dodge difficult subjects, but you’re working on managing your anger. You aren't able to have a productive conversation or resolve conflict when you’re feeling really upset. You can rejoin the discussion or address the issue again when you're feeling calmer. Sometimes it helps to set a specific time and place when you can discuss this issue again. Doing so gives your friend, colleague, or family member a sense of peace that the issue will indeed be discussed—just at a later time. Talk to a Friend If there’s someone who has a calming effect on you, talking through an issue or expressing your feelings to that person may be helpful. It’s important to note, however, that venting can backfire. Complaining about your boss, describing all the reasons you don’t like someone, or grumbling about all of your perceived injustices may add fuel to the fire. A common misconception is that you have to vent your anger to feel better. But studies show you don’t need to “get your anger out.”2 Smashing things when you’re upset, for example, may actually make you angrier. So it’s important to use this coping skill with caution. Likewise, if you’re going to talk to a friend, make sure you’re working on developing a solution or reducing your anger, not just venting. It's unfair to use them as your go-to sounding board. Instead, you might find that the best way to use this strategy is to talk about something other than the situation causing you to feel angry. Get Moving Anger gives you a rush of energy. One of the best ways to put that surge to good use is to engage in physical activity.3 Whether you go for a brisk walk or hit the gym, working out can burn off extra tension. Regular exercise also helps you decompress. Aerobic activity reduces stress, which might help improve your frustration tolerance.3 Additionally, exercise allows you to clear your mind. You may find that after a long run or a hard workout you have a clearer perspective on what was troubling you. Manage Your Thoughts Angry thoughts add fuel to your anger. Thinking things like, “I can’t stand it. This traffic jam is going to ruin everything,” will increase your frustration. When you find yourself thinking about things that fuel your anger, reframe your thoughts. Instead, think about the facts by saying something like, “There are millions of cars on the road every day. Sometimes, there will be traffic jams.” Focusing on the facts—without adding in catastrophic predictions or distorted exaggerations—can help you stay calmer.4 You also might develop a mantra that you can repeat to drown out the thoughts that fuel your anger. Saying, "I'm OK. Stay calm," or "Not helpful," over and over again can help you minimize or reduce angry thoughts. Focus on Relaxation There are many different relaxation exercises you can utilize to reduce anger. The key is to find the one that works best for you. Breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation are two common strategies for reducing tension.5 The best part is, both exercises can be performed quickly and discreetly. So whether you’re frustrated at work or you’re angry at a dinner engagement, you can let go of stress quickly and immediately. It’s important to note, however, that relaxation exercises take practice. At first, you might not feel as though they’re effective, or you might question whether they’re going to work for you. But with practice, they can become your go-to strategies for anger management.  Keeping your temper in check can be challenging. Use simple anger management tips — from taking a timeout to using "I" statements — to stay in control.1. Think before you speakIn the heat of the moment, it's easy to say something you'll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.2. Once you're calm, express your angerAs soon as you're thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but nonconfrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.3. Get some exercisePhysical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.4. Take a timeoutTimeouts aren't just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what's ahead without getting irritated or angry.5. Identify possible solutionsInstead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child's messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won't fix anything and might only make it worse.6. Stick with 'I' statementsTo avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use "I" statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, "I'm upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes" instead of "You never do any housework."7. Don't hold a grudgeForgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.8. Use humor to release tensionLightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what's making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.9. Practice relaxation skillsWhen your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as "Take it easy." You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.10. Know when to seek helpLearning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you. Here are 25 ways you can control your anger and try to put these skills in place through the 7 step process listed above.1. Count downCount down (or up) to 10. If you’re really mad, start at 100. In the time it takes you to count, your heart rate will slow, and your anger will likely subside.2. Take a breatherYour breathing becomes shallower and speeds up as you grow angry. Reverse that trend (and your anger) by taking slow, deep breaths from your nose and exhaling out of your mouth for several moments.3. Go walk around can help calm your nerves and reduce anger. Go for a walk, ride your bike, or hit a few golf balls. Anything that gets your limbs pumping is good for your mind and body.4. Relax your musclesProgressive muscle relaxation calls on you to tense and slowly relax various muscle groups in your body, one at a time. As you tense and release, take slow, deliberate breaths.5. Repeat a mantraFind a word or phrase that helps you calm down and refocus. Repeat that word again and again to yourself when you’re upset. “Relax,” “Take it easy, and “You’ll be OK” are all good examples.6. StretchNeck rolls and shoulder rolls are good examples of nonstrenuous yoga-like movements that can help you control your body and harness your emotions. No fancy equipment required.7. Mentally escapeSlip into a quiet room, close your eyes, and practice visualizing yourself in a relaxing scene. Focus on details in the imaginary scene: What color is the water? How tall are the mountains? What do the chirping birds sound like? This practice can help you find calm amidst anger.8. Play some tunesLet music carry you away from your feelings. Put in earbuds or slip out to your car. Crank up your favorite music and hum, bop, or sashay your anger away.9. Stop talkingWhen you’re steamed, you may be tempted to let the angry words fly, but you’re more likely to do harm than good. Pretend your lips are glued shut, just like you did as a kid. This moment without speaking will give you time to collect your thoughts.10. Take a timeoutGive yourself a break. Sit away from others. In this quiet time, you can process events and return your emotions to neutral. You may even find this time away from others is so helpful you want to schedule it into your daily routine.11. Take actionHarness your angry energy. Sign a petition. Write a note to an official. Do something good for someone else. Pour your energy and emotions into something that’s healthy and productive.12. Write in your journalWhat you can’t say, perhaps you can write. Jot down what you’re feeling and how you want to respond. Processing it through the written word can help you calm down and reassess the events leading up to your feelings.13. Find the most immediate solutionYou might be angry that your child has once again left their room a mess before going to visit a friend. Shut the door. You can temporarily end your anger by putting it out of your view. Look for similar resolutions in any situations.14. Rehearse your responsePrevent an outburst by rehearsing what you’re going to say or how you’re going to approach the problem in the future. This rehearsal period gives you time to role-play several possible solutions, too.15. Picture a stop signThe universal symbol to stop can help you calm down when you’re angry. It’s a quick way to help you visualize the need to halt yourself, your actions, and walk away from the moment.16. Change your routineIf your slow commute to work makes you angry before you’ve even had coffee, find a new route. Consider options that may take longer but leave you less upset in the end.17. Talk to a friendDon’t stew in the events that made you angry. Help yourself process what happened by talking with a trusted, supportive friend who can possibly provide a new perspective.18. LaughNothing upends a bad mood like a good one. Diffuse your anger by looking for ways to laugh, whether that’s playing with your kids, watching stand-up, or scrolling memes.19. Practice gratitudeTake a moment to focus on what’s right when everything feels wrong. Realizing how many good things you have in your life can help you neutralize anger and turn around the situation.20. Set a timerThe first thing that comes to mind when you’re angry likely isn’t the thing you should say. Give yourself a set time before you respond. This time will help you be calmer and more concise.21. Write a letterWrite a letter or email to the person that made you angry. Then, delete it. Often, expressing your emotions in some form is all you want, even if it’s in something that will never be seen.22. Imagine forgiving themFinding the courage to forgive someone who has wronged you takes a lot of emotional skill. If you can’t go that far, you can at least pretend that you’re forgiving them, and you’ll feel your anger slip away.23. Practice empathyTry to walk in the other person’s shoes and see the situation from their perspective. When you tell the story or relive the events as they saw it, you may gain a new understanding and become less angry.24. Express your angerIt’s OK to say how you feel, as long as you handle it in the right way. Ask a trusted friend to help you be accountable to a calm response. Outbursts solve no problems, but mature dialogue can help reduce your stress and ease your anger. It may also prevent future problems.25. Find a creative channelTurn your anger into a tangible production. Consider painting, gardening, or writing poetry when you’re upset. Emotions are powerful muses for creative individuals. Use yours to reduce anger.The bottom lineAnger is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. However, if you find your anger turns to aggression or outbursts, you need to find healthy ways to deal with anger. I hope that these skills have been helpful for you in your struggles you have been facing at this time. I am going to give you my information if you are wanting to start to process through and work on your struggles going forward, please reach out to Betterhelp and ask to be matched with Crystal Westman. If we were to work together we would work on more skills and tools to help you when you are struggling and get back to a positive space.  I encourage you to reach out for support at this time to help you get to the best version of yourself.
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I get my mother to listen to me when we argue, especially when she thinks she is right?

When arguing, it is very difficult to control yourself and the words you are expressing at the moment.  Normally, you will not be effective or say the appropiate thingd when feeling angry.  It can be helpful to become aware of triggers that leads to the arguments, which then lead to be to know how you can prevent an argument. Some of the techniques you can try are becoming aware of the signs your body gives you when feeling agitated or upset (physical symptoms, thoughts,emotions), walking away can be a preventive technique that can also help you calm down and not let the argument continue or escalate (this technique will work best if you walk away and seek distractions and implement positive self-talk); as well as using more "I statements" when expressing yourself with that other person.  Puting yourself first when talking to others as to letting them know your thoughts and feelings, can help that other person to understand you better and also for then not to feel attacked or defensive.  It is always ideal to calm yourself then have a talk about the arguments, as to what tigerred the situation and how to make it better next time.  Talking about the argument or just an upsetting situation, can be helpful as for both to learn how to do approached the situation better next time, but for also to achieve less arguments and better relationships.  A different approach can also be, if the other person you are arguing with lacks self-control and will not leave it alone until they are calmed, then you can walk away to prevent a worse interaction. You can always express to that other person "I need a few minutes to myself" or "I will be going to my room until I feel better".  Always try not to just turn and walk away, that other person might follow you thinking you are being disrespectful and it might make them feel worse, rather let the person know you need time for yourself, it can be beneficial for both to calm down.   I hope this answer was helpful! 
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

How to resolve conflict?

Thank you for the question. I would need more context to the situation to understand your potential role in conflict. I would encourage you to consider if there are themes to the things that upset you to understand if there is something for you to work through. For example, if you were getting upset frequently because you did not feel heard, you would want to consider why feeling heard is important and perhaps if you can be clearer in your communication  so that you can be heard. Sometimes it is in how someone interprets what you say, but at the very least if you know you have reflected upon what you can improve, then you can know you did what was possible to resolve the situation. There is a lot of research on the idea that we all have a role in conflict and resentments. If you want to grow, you can always reflect upon what your role is. I always say at the very least our role can be in understanding and managing our expectations. When in doubt, you may need to accept others' limitations to not try to get someone to change if perhaps they are incapable of change. 95% of conflict is misperception. If you enter situations with this knowledge and seek first to clarify, you can reduce frustration that is built on assumptions and lack of clarity in communication. I think if you can also recognize others' intent, and not assume negative or malicious intent, you will enter situations from a more understanding perspective. Sources of anger are often about unjustices. Sometimes we have to look at how we can adjust our expectations and how we can advocate and when we have to let go of things that may be more minor in nature. You have the right idea that you may look at what felt unfair or unjust when you were younger. Some of the work can be in reducing rigidity in thinking and allowing for mistakes to happen without holding on so tightly to how you may have felt wronged. When you come from a place of empathy and understanding, conflict is likely to dissipate. I would also encourage you to get away from trying to be right because then the conversation moves away from connection and collaboration and into competition. It certainly is possible to reduce conflict through understanding the origins of your frustration, slowing down, and focusing upon the purpose of the interaction. You can definitely look at managing your reactions to situations and what you can control and work on, as we cannot control other people and how they approach us. We can only work on our reactions to situations. I highly recommend therapy to obtain greater clarity into your specific concerns and how to reduce reactivity and improve relationships with others. I can only give general feedback without specific context to your situation. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

I need help with a lot of pain and a lot of stuff to work on with me can u help me

I believe that thoughts create emotions. That is the basis of most cognitive-behavior therapy. In essence, if one changes his thoughts, he changes his emotions and actions. Sometimes, people isolate away from people they love because they are afraid of saying or doing something that will make relationships worse.  The process of cognitive therapy is fairly simple, but not necessarily easy because...well, emotions aren't easy. When people are willing to learn to pay attention to their thoughts, and challenge irrational ones, change can happen fairly quickly.  There is a steady conversation in our minds of thoughts that cause action, thoughts that try to talk us out of that action, and thoughts that reinforce the first thought. Which ever thought you hold-on to the longest wins. We can learn to think about our thoughts and realize some of them are totally irrational, meaning they keep us feeling bad and lead us to make bad decisions. Those bad decisions make our lives worse because of consequences that our actions bring or they keep us sad or angry, or both. Sometimes it is unclear what we are really feeling. What feels like anger, annoyance,  frustration, can be covering other feelings we find more unacceptable such as fear, insecurity, or inadequacy. Once we identify the thoughts, we have a clear picture of what the emotions really are. Challenging irrational thoughts allows us to assess whether the thought that is bothering us is even based on facts or just our impressions. Sometimes our thoughts want us to take a quick or easy way out of a situatuion which makes things worse in the long-run.  Sometimes our thoughts want us to take action that might give us imediate frustration relief, but damages our friendships or family relationships in ways that can't be easily fixed. We can change our thoughts before we act on them. Then, we can make better decisions that won't lead to feeling regret or experiencing other negative consequence of our actions.   In my experience, men especially like this approach to counseling, because it is action oriented. I hope this answered your question.
(LPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

What are ways I can reduce outbursts of anger?

Hi Zebow, I'm glad you've reached out. It takes courage to admit that you need some support, and you've taken the first, and sometimes the most difficult, step to getting the help and making the changes you desire.  Everyone gets angry, right? And, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting angry. However, we have to be careful with the actions we take and the words we speak when we're angry. You asked specifically about reducing angry outbursts, and the good news is that there are many things you can do to manage your anger.  Probably the first thing you can do is practice self-care. I suspect you lead a busy and stressful life with your wife and kids. Do you do anything to relieve stress? Some things you can try are scheduling alone time, couple time, and family time. None of those things need to be fancy or cost a lot of money. For yourself, you could go to the gym, or go for a walk or hike, watch a funny show, do one of your hobbies, or learn a new hobby. With your wife, you could pick one night a week (or month) to go out to dinner. Or, after the kids are in bed, you could cook a meal together and watch a movie. Family game nights are often a fun way for families to spend time together. Have a schedule is good because it gives you something to look forward to. Also, the better you take care of yourself, the less stressed you'll be, and the more easily you'll be able to deal with frustrating situations. Identify the early warning signs that your anger is building up. Some people feel their stomachs start to flip or their faces get hot. Others clench their jaws or fists. Others tense up their shoulders. As early as possible, step away from the situation. Take a time out. Pause and think about how you want to respond rather than reacting emotionally to what is bothering you. You always want to respond out of your principles rather than reacting out of emotion. Giving yourself a moment can make all the difference in the world. Very rarely is an immediate response needed. Challenge your thoughts and feelings in the moment. Remind yourself that you often regret acting out when you're angry. It is also important that you identify the triggers for your anger. If possible, avoid those things. Of course, many of the things that lead to us feeling angry are unavoidable. In those cases, arm yourself with tools like healthy distractions. When you're driving, listen to music or podcasts you like. Call a friend (with your Bluetooth device, of course) and catch up. Practice deep breathing or other grounding techniques. One technique a lot of people find helpful is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Identify 5 things you can see, 4 you can hear, 3 you can smell, 2 you can feel, and 1 you can taste.  Finally, when you are calm, express your anger. Communicate assertively, not aggressively or in a confrontational manner. Expressing your anger in a healthy way will hopefully lead to resolution of the triggering issue.  I hope you find these suggestions to be useful. Of course, it never hurts to seek professional help. If you have insurance, look for mental health providers that are covered. If not, many counseling centers offer sliding scale fees. BetterHelp may be offering a special as well. Make your mental health and wellness a priority. I wish you all the best as you face this challenge. 
(MS, LMFT)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I'm afraid of being outcast from my friend group because of my PTSD. How can I control it?

Thank you for reaching out for some help, X. You seem afraid of being treated as an outcast by your friends because of your behaviors towards them. You wish to obtain advice on how to make your friends feel comfortable in your presence. It sounds like you have reason to believe you may be diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) although you have not been formally diagnosed by a licensed medical professional. While we are licensed therapists qualified to diagnose mental illnesses,  we are not permitted to diagnose our clients here at BetterHelp. PTSD is a diagnosis you can only acquire from a licensed medical professional.  In order to qualify for a PTSD diagnosis,  the symptoms (anxiety, flashbacks,  nightmares, avoidance,  hypervigilance, anger, etc.) must have at least a six-month duration prior to witnessing or experiencing some type of traumatic event in which you encountered or feared coming in close proximity to serious injury, death, or violence. Without knowing what leads you to believe you have PTSD,  it is difficult to speak to the specific sequelae of the PTSD you presume to have. I wonder why you mentioned you have not been able to receive a proper diagnosis for PTSD. Nevertheless,  the issue at hand seems to be related to your how your anger is expressed around other people. Anger issues can be a result of so many different pathologies or temperaments.  It is impossible to ascertain if PTSD can be identified as the culprit for the said anger outburst resulting in a "massive fight." Regardless, I would hesitate blaming a diagnosis for your behaviors as that can easily become a rationalization for unhealthy behaviors. While it is admirable you desire to change your behaviors for others' sake, you cannot control how others feel. You wish for others to feel comfortable in your presence,  for example. While it would make sense that you would want your friends to feel this way when they are in your company,  you cannot force your friends to feel anything much like they cannot control how you feel.  We can only control how we respond. Seeing support in the form of psychotherapy would be a first step in learning more adaptive strategies to manage your anger.
(LCSW)
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

What should I do when I become overwhelmed with anger?

Hi and thank you for your question!  First step in making a change and addressing an issue is becoming aware that something is wrong, so you should be proud of yourself for seeking guidance moving forward.   Even though you didn't go into detail with your question, you did state that a lot of your anger stems from past situations and/or disappointments. Sometimes we, collectively as individuals, don't necessary know what to do when we feel angry.  Anger, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, it's just an emotionthat we all experience.  A powerful quote that I often refer back to is this: "it's only 10% of what happens and 90% of how we react".  Quite simply this means that there is so much outside of our control, for example how someone says or does something that we don't like (not saying excuse me).  However, what IS within our control is our response.  The following will break down your question into two different parts, first the underlying issues leading you to being angry and then second what to do in the moment when you "become overwhelmed with anger". In order to understand where your feelings of anger are coming from, you first have to really begin to process what past experiences have caused you to feel this way.  That is the first step to healing.  Often times when we don't deal with something, it will build and build and build, until there is no more room for it, and then we explode.  There is only so much that one can hold in and sometimes that explosion is set off by the tiniest of triggers (like you Eluded to in your question).  Have you ever sat down and tried to work through any of those situations which caused you anger, pain, hurt, or any of those emotions that would lead you to feeling the way you are? I know it may be painful in the moment, but could really be cathartic and be benefical in the long run.  How you decide to work through it is entirely up to you.  Some people journal, some draw, some write letters, some have conversations with supports, it all looks different. It really all comes down to what is best for you. While the first part of the response looked at more of the underlying causes for your anger, now let's turn specifically to what to do when you feel overwhelmed with the anger.  The next series of questions is intended to get you to start thinking a little bit more about your experience(s) in the moment.  What does being angry look like to you?  And how do you respond to it? For example - do you yell/scream?  Or get really quiet and want to be left alone? Or none of the above? When you feel yourself getting angry, do you ever try to talk yourself through the situation as a way to calm yourself down? Or if not, how do you eventually calm down?  Are you able to tell when you start to get angry or do you go from 0-60 with little to no warning? Now that you have some food for thought, I want you to start thinking about how you might be able to "catch these feelings" sooner to help either prevent or interrupt them from happening in the moment so the "explosion" doesn't happen.   Very similar to what I was saying above, the goal is to help you work through the situation so the anger is resolved and you're able to calm yourself down.  Just remember that change does not happen overnight and that you are actively working on changing how you react in the moment, which will take time! I hope this response gave you some things to think about while you are on this journey and I hope that this is just the beginning of you unpacking it all.   
(LMHC, LPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I need to control my emotion and don’t get crazy behaviors

Dear LE,   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