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Flashcards in Management Skills Deck (29)
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I am not to blame because I struggle with anger.

I am not a bad person because I've forgotten repeatedly all of my resolutions to be calm and cool. Rather I am a person in pain. Whether the pain is occasional or chronic when it hits it feels overwhelming it is a wave that drives me into a state of mind where nothing matters but expressing what I feel. I shout it out no matter who gets hurt or whatever the consequences.


My anger is:

A response I learned early in life to cope with pain.
A way, however temporary, to overcome feelings of helplessness and lack of control.
A habit that, up till now, I've lacked the tools to break.


What to do when becoming angry.

Don't act on angry feelings.
Try to step back from the feeling, and label it. Notice it's strength, be aware of how it pushes you towards action.
It will come like a wave. Building, cresting, then slowly receding. Let it come, then let it go.
Don't dwell on the unfairness of the situation.
Don't rehearse in your mind the events leading to your anger.
Just notice and accept the feeling, watching. As it gradually diminishes.


One of the quickest ways to change a painful feeling is to act the opposite.

Smile instead of frown. The very act of smiling when angry tends to diminish the strength of your upset feelings. Speak softly rather than loudly. Go overboard on this. Make your voice lower and gentler than usual try to make it sound soothing. Relax instead of tightening. Let your arms hang loose. Take a breath. Lean against something in a casual way or sit with your legs crossed comfortably. Look calm even if you don't feel it. Disengage rather than attack. You may want to get right in the others persons face. You may want to shake them emotionally it's not physically. Instead look or walk away. Make no comment about the provoking situation. Save it for another time. You'll only blow up if you try to deal with this now.


Consequences of keeping the body in a constant state of emergency.

Anger can contribute to hypertension, heart disease, and increased mortality.


Type A personality:

Traits of urgency (always in a hurry), and competitiveness. They are highly ambitious, hyper aggressive, and experience free floating hostility. They can be seen as someone seething with anger, always ready to boil over.


Angry people:

Have cynical attitudes towards others, and are therefore unable to recognize support when it's available. Similarly, their unrealistic and overly demanding expectations make the available support seem not "good enough".


Anger Payoff #1

1. Anger reduces stress.
Right after a blow up people feel oddly relaxed, like a weight has been lifted from their shoulders. Like they can breath again. These effects are brief, tension soon returns, and that reinforces more discharges of anger. The down side to using anger for stress reduction is that it comes back with a vengeance. Each time you indulge in anger to cope with stress, the next outburst becomes that much easier, and stronger-harder to control.


Anger Payoff #2

2. Anger hides emotional pain.
Anger is a good defense against fear, loss, guilt, shame, and feeling rejected or failure. We learn that we can stop almost any painfully feeling if we just get mad enough. This is again, a short term payoff. It's important to experience feelings that may be important signals to do or stop doing something in your life. A problem with using anger to defend against your feelings is that the feeling often gets worse over time. So now your not just guilty for some past failure, now your feeling guilty for the new damage your anger has caused. The third problem with using anger is that it becomes habitual.


Anger Payoff #3

Anger gets you attention.
Sometimes it seems no one is listening unless your yelling. Once again this short term burst has long term consequences that hurt you. First, a certain percent of people don't respond to anger with attentive listening. They get immediately defensive and tune you out. They start avoiding you. Second problem with using anger to get attention is that people who respond initially get injured, and hardened over time. They stop being alarmed by your anger and start being disgusted by it. Instead of listening, they resent you and shut you down.


Anger Payoff #4

Anger may be used as punishment and revenge. Someone lets you down. They screw up because they are lazy, or stupid, or don't care about you. You want to punish them or teach them a lesson. You want them to feel as much pain as you do. You hunger for the chance to get them back. The trouble is, each time you act in these impulses, you make enemies, and the enemies are often the people you love and need the most. Naturally, your enemies want to punish you. The world becomes a stage for butter struggles where old hurts and grudges pushes each of you to new excesses of rage and aggression.


Anger Payoff #5

Anger helps you change others. We coerce them with blow ups, into complying with our demands. It's tempting to use anger as a club because, at least in the short term, people often give you what you want. In the long run, of course, they turn off and turn away from you. They resent being controlled by fear. But worst of all is what it does to you. Using your anger to change others leaves you feeling helpless. When your in pain or something hurts, it always seems like the other person has to fix it. This makes you feel powerless to overcome the problem yourself. And all you know how to do is coerce the other person into corrective action. It's a slippery slope towards helplessness and depression. Your leaving others in charge of your pain and your life.


How you get angry:

Anger is a two step process. It starts with the experience of pain. Physical or emotional. It can be stomachache, or fatigue, feeling rejected, or loss. It really doesn't matter, you just want to put an end to it. The second part of the anger response is trigger thoughts. These are interpretations, assumptions, and evaluations of a situation that make you feel victimized and deliberately harmed by others. Trigger thoughts blame and condemn others for the painful experience you've suffered.


Fuel for anger:

Emotional or physical pain. It's like a can of gasoline, and your trigger thoughts are the match. Either of these anger components are harmless, but pain, plus trigger thoughts equals anger.


Trigger thoughts:

Once you get angry, trigger thoughts can also make it worse. They can escalate your upset by continually painting the other person as bad and wrong and deliberately out to harm you. Each new trigger thought pushed your anger notch higher, until you end up saying and doing very damaging things. Pain begets trigger thoughts, which beget anger, more trigger thoughts, more anger, and so on.


Two step process to getting angry are?

First physical tension or stress has to exist in the body, then it requires anger triggering thoughts to complete the picture.


What makes it nearly impossible to get angry?

Relax your body.
Proven fact!!


Reaction to trigger thoughts

It's not what actually happens that you react to, but the conclusions you draw and the assumptions you make.


When we make assumptions about the motives and feelings of others-

Often we are very wrong-and get enraged by them.


Basic components of trigger thoughts

1. The perception that you've been harmed or victimized.
2. The belief that the provoking person harmed you deliberately.
3. The belief that the provoking person was wrong and bad to harm you, and should have behaved differently.


Trigger thoughts assert what?

That you've been harmed, deliberately, and wrongly. Not only did the provoking person cause you pain, but they ought to change so the pain can stop. We feel they are both responsible for the harm and required to fix it. This thinking leaves us feeling helpless.


What happens when we wait for people to change?

We remain stuck. We keep hurting, and the problem feels beyond our control. It's a vicious cycle. The feeling of helplessness makes you feel even worse, even more angry, even more frustrated that the provoking person won't change.


How do I break the cycle of feeling angry and helpless?

I have to take responsibility for changing what's painful, and not wait for the other person to change, or do it.


What happens when we take responsibility for our anger, and pain?

Both anger and helplessness melt away. We're suddenly free to solve the problem. Instead of always asking the question, "Who is responsible for my pain?", we instead ask, "What can I do about it?"


Three coping mantras that can help stay focused on taking responsibility:

1. I am responsible for what happens between us.
2. No point in blaming, I'll try a new strategy for taking care of myself.
3. What can I do about this?


Some if my trigger thought themes are:

People ignore my needs.
People don't see or understand me.
People are inconsiderate or impolite.
People take advantage or use me.
People are selfish.
People are stupid or thoughtless.
People are mean or cruel.
People disrespect me.
People are unfair or unjust.
People are lazy or don't do their share.
I'm helpless, stuck, and have no choice.
People are incompetent.
People are irresponsible.
People don't help.
People don't do the right thing.


General Coping Thoughts

Take a deep breath and relax.
Getting upset won't help.
Just as long as I keep my cool, I'm in control.
Easy does it-there's nothing to be gained in getting mad.
I'm not going to let him/her get to me.
I can't change him/her with anger; I'll just upset myself.
I can find a way to say what I want without anger.
Stay calm-no sarcasm, no attacks.
I can stay calm and relaxed.
Relax and let go.
No one is right, no one is wrong. We both just have different needs.
Stay cool, make no judgements.
No matter what is said, I know I'm a good person.
I'll stay rational-anger wont solve anything.
Let them look all foolish and upset. I can stay cool and calm.
His/her opinion isn't important. I won't be pushed into losing my control.
Bottom line, I'm in control. I'm out of here rather than say or do something dumb.
Take a time out. Cool off, then come back and deal with it.
Some situations don't have good solutions. Looks like this is one of them. No use getting all bent out of shape about it.
It's just a hassle. Nothing more, nothing less. I can cope with hassles.
Break it down. Anger comes from lumping things together.
Good. I'm getting better at this anger management stuff.
I got angry, but kept the lid on saying dumb things. That's progress.
It's just not worth it to get so angry.
Anger means its time to relax and cope.
I can manage this. I'm in control.
If they want me to get angry, I'm going to disappoint them.
I can't expect people to act the way I want them to.
I don't have to take this so seriously.
I have a plan to relax and cope.
This is funny if you look at it that way.


How to reduce tension during a provocative situation.

Lower your voice.
Look for a compromise.
Agree to talk about it later.
Remember that your not stuck.


When is it good to leave a provocative situation?

When you see that your on a slippery slope to anger and disaster.