Archive for the ‘Anger and Relationship Problems’ Category

ManagingHostile Anger in Relationships

July 1st, 2016 No Comments

Anger, Stress and Anxiety Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

 

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How does hostility show up in your relationship?

Are you shocked when your partner suddenly turns nasty? Do you wonder what on earth made someone you love become angry, hostile and aggressive in their attitude towards you? Does it feel like they have a surprising well of hatred directed at you?

Perhaps you cower in fear until your partner calms down, not daring to breathe in case the hostile attitude becomes physically violent. Maybe you try to stand up for your side of the story but find that you are drowned out, mocked and or dismissed. But when all is said and done, you’re still left wondering how it got this way. You still don’t understand what makes your partner so mean and even cruel when you haven’t done anything different and are not knowingly provoking them.

This was exactly the puzzle facing 35-year-old Cara, a school nurse, who loved and cared for her partner Miles, a 38-year-old district sales manager for a soft drinks firm. They both loved their 3 young children, and had a good standard of living. The only problem was that Cara frequently  got destabilized when Miles suddenly flew off the handle and either accused her of being disloyal, or devalued her role in the family by suggesting that her financial contribution was insignificant and she cared more about the kids in school she worked at than her own.

 

 

The Trifecta of Hostility

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1.Contempt

The language Miles used when he verbally abused his wife was contemptuous and demeaning. It made him feel strong and superior, exactly the feelings he wanted but daren’t express when he was growing up. Now he could stand his ground and let that long held defiance, aggression and sense of righteous power take the stage.  He had nothing to lose.  In that moment when he felt that Cara was more into her job than her family, he was filled with contempt, making his wife a dispensable object. He was better than her!

When Cara heard his contemptuous words and tone, she did feel inferior, just as he intended. It took her back to her childhood when she heard her mother talk to her father as if he was a wimp, threatening to leave him, and going as far as having an affair; confident that her husband wouldn’t do anything about it.

 

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2. Anger

When Miles was calm Cara tried to talk about their way of relating, hoping that he would make room for her need to have a job that was fulfilling. She hoped to get him to understand that just because she worked with kids and enjoyed it, it didn’t mean that she didn’t love him or their kids. But he never believed her and refused to talk about their different views about love and how each of them wanted it shown. Other times he would be so furious if she came home late that he would literally corner her into ‘talking’ about their relationship. It was more like a monologue of ranting about how he wasn’t going to take this anymore because she was not acting like a loving wife.

 

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3. Disgust

 Often his sadness over her not being the kind of wife he wanted, and his fear that she might leave him underpinned his hostility. He would get rid of the sadness and fear because they made him feel weak. Instead he felt disgusted with her, as if her inability to be what he wanted somehow tainted him.  At these times he threatened her with moving to another place so she would have to stop working, or by refusing sex and affection.

Cara travelled her own path of fear that their marriage would become untenable, and sadness that her husband didn’t see that she loved him and, that her actions were not a sign of lacking love. She too felt angry that there seemed to be so little room for her to be herself, but she just couldn’t get her head around the hostility erupting from Miles.

Anger, Contempt and Disgust (ANONI) Are Triggered by Different Relational stresses

So let’s help Cara out. An article in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, February 2016 described hostile people as having a combination of anger, contempt and disgust, and to a lesser extent experiencing fear and sadness too. This group of people are referred to as ANCODI . Researchers found that those who fitted into this hostile group were more physically forceful moving around from task to task. People in the ANCODI group would show anger if they felt obstructed in a goal, like Miles felt when he couldn’t get Cara to obey him. The feelings of contempt emerged when a person felt superiority, just as Miles felt when he demeaned her role in the family. When an ANCODI person perceived their partner to be ‘contaminating’ then they would show disgust, as Miles did when he was disgusted with Cara for loving her work more than her family. So Miles is a perfect ANCODI candidate.

How does someone like Miles Become Hostile?

But these labels and descriptions still don’t help Cara in understanding how Miles got this way and what she can do to manage it when he becomes hostile. An article in the journal Psychiatry Research, 2016 detailed a history of childhood trauma that messes with the development of impulse control in the frontal lobes of the brain. The experiences of being bullied, ridiculed and emotionally abandoned by two alcoholic parents on an ongoing basis interfered with the normal development of his executive function. He wasn’t able to develop impulse control, self-monitoring and goal directed behavior when provoked, scared or angry. His early emotional traumas stunted his psychological growth, leaving him operating without those crucial abilities.

We also know from research published in the journal Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 2016, that when the development of these vital executive functions are disrupted or stopped, there is reduced volume in frontolimbic brain structures and that it is associated with increased aggressiveness. The traumas of his childhood disrupted the development of his brain’s emotion-regulating circuitry that now increases his propensity of rage and aggression, two factors associated with hostility.

Hostility shows up when each partner’s history mixes and creates a perfect storm

Cara’s responsibility to make the marriage more balanced and settles

 

 

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So now that Cara has a better idea of where and why Miles’s hostility is coming from, she can breathe one sigh of relief that it is not personal in the way she experienced it. Miles has undeveloped and poorly formed skills of emotional control and use of judgement. But her childhood experience of watching her father get kicked and trampled by her mother led her to see men as walk overs. So when Miles acts in a hostile manner she is off guard and can’t deal with it.

Cara now needs to develop her assertiveness and personal boundaries – the very things she wished her father would do, but didn’t! She can begin that process by working through her experiences of witnessing a strong powerful mother overshadow a meek doormat of a father. In a psychodynamically oriented therapeutic relationship she can gain a more balanced view of romantic relationships without fearing that if she owned her own power, she would become like her mother that she disliked and feared. A good relationship with a strong but not overbearing female therapist would enable Cara to get up to speed on developing her assertiveness and sense of comfort with her own self-empowerment. Then she can deal with Miles’s hostile attitudes as he focuses on building up his abilities in self-monitoring and control.

 

 

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Miles’s responsibility to make his marriage more stable and comfortable

Miles would benefit from having the optimal developmental experiences that he missed out on, so that he can wire his brain in a more mature manner, so that he can integrate emotion and judgement, and develop a better control of his impulses. He can do this in a nurturing psychodynamic therapeutic environment where he receives the appropriate parenting experience. Then the right neural connections can be created, reinforced and practiced. As he uses the therapeutic relationship to foster the essential emotional learning he needs, he will be less fearful of Cara not loving him enough. He will become more comfortable with the idea that love of her work is different to, but not in competition for her love of him. Miles will feel more secure and less in need to using hostile attitudes to control and force Cara to obey him out of fear.

Some of you might be wondering why couples therapy is not a good option. It’s a good question. The answer is that both Cara and Miles have very personal and unique traumas that prevent them from making a team based on equality and stability. So unless they work on themselves and come to a point of development where they are ready for that, couples therapy will only escalate their already rocky relationship.

copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2016

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How to stop anger from ruining good times

How to deal with verbal attacks from loved ones

Do you suffer in silence in order to prove your love?

 

 



5 Ways Self-Care Strengthens Relationships

June 13th, 2016 No Comments

Anger, Stress and Anxiety Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

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A LACK OF SELF-CARE LEAVES YOU DEPLETED WITH NOTHING LEFT TO GIVE AND NO CAPACITY TO RECEIVE

 

Are you exhausted taking care of your partner, your family, your extended family, your colleagues and your living arrangements?

Does it make you feel good that you attended to your partner and children, put them first and played the role of dutiful and loving care giver?

Perhaps you think that by making everything and everyone else your priority that you will be rewarded with appreciation, recognition, and admiration.

But there is probably another part of you that is aching to get off the treadmill and feed your soul. You know you are depleted and often not able to enjoy your relationship as much as you would if you didn't feel burdened with never ending duties and jobs.

You know that most of the day you shut off your feelings and needs because they conflict with your dutiful self. So you kind of 'die' inside, feeling less than human.

When you aren't able to fully enjoy your relationship, you put it in jepoardy. If you can't fully participate emotionally then the threads of connection get lose and threaten the unity between you.

In order to avoid losing your connection, you have to take care of yourself and others. It's not an either or situation, it's a "both" scenario. It doesn't mean leaving them and going on trips or avoiding chores for a day or two, but rather a recognition of your humanity and the important role it plays in maintaining and sustaining your most important relationship.

What is self Care and Why is it So Important In a Long Term Relationship?

Self-care means you tune into your feelings and needs, and take charge of getting them met. Self-care involves putting your contentment and fulfillment in your own hands, being empowered to create and utilize opportunities to have your emotional needs met – for security, stability, achievement, caring and being cared for.

Self-care is about valuing yourself in an authentic manner and taking your emotional and psychological wellbeing seriously. It’s more than just surviving physically so you can get by on autopilot. It’s about functioning as a tuned in, grounded, centered and flexible person, able to go with the flow of emotional upheavals that would otherwise decimate you.

Self-Care is relevant to both men and women struggling to keep their balance in relationships in same sex and heterosexual connections

The evidence for self-care in maintaining good mental, emotional and physical health

Science tells us that self-care is essential for healthy relationships with good boundaries and realistic expectations. Without proper regular and consistent self-care people end up in abusive relationships, co-dependent relationships, use and abuse substances and are prone to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and psychosomatic conditions like chronic pain, gastric and skin problems.

When we neglect self-care we are depersonalizing ourselves and giving the power and authority to others to value us enough to take care of us.

For example many of my clients will go on till they drop to show their commitment and martyrdom to their loved ones. They do this hoping to get permission to slow down and take care of their need for down time, alone time, play time and soul replenishing time. Then they get angry when those same loved ones respond by saying, " I never asked you to do this!" Resentment festers on both sides, and distance grows as each party tries to navigate the trecherous waters of isolation versus relying on one another in a healthy way.

Los Angeles Self- Care in Couples Counseling

Taking Care of You Own Emotions and Needs Makes Less Demands on the Relationship, Making More Time for Enjoying Each Other

 

How did you get to be this way? How have you become a master at taking care of everyone else and a loser when it comes to taking care of yourself?

Growing up in an atomosphere where your parents needs competed and conflicted with your own sowed the seeds for neglecting yourself. You were probably focused on making sure your parents were okay and were rewarded for it by getting some attention or treat. On the other hand, if you cried out for what you needed or showed displeasure when you didn't get it, you were most likely berated and or punished. So your needs became dangerous and ugly. You survived by putting all your energies into taking care of those around you, waiting for the praise and recognition, that you were important and deserved care too.

Real life examples of clients who struggle with self-care

A. Joanne, a 37 year old carer in a residential home for the elderly, cannot stop working and has projects lined up so that when one finishes she has another. She gets anxious when she has ‘space’ for herself because it echoes her childhood desperate need to “work” to please and get attention from her mother who was a work- a- holic! Now as an adult she is not able to be emotionally present for her husband, She is drowning in guilt She has to break a toe, forcing her to stop her frantic work/exercise routine and take time for some personal space. As her therapy progresses she is beginning to notice that she gets care from me just for being herself and that she doesn't need to please me in order to get it. This is the beginning of her entertaining the idea that she is worthy, and deserves to care for herself.

B. Brody a 39- year- old banker is permanently stressed out. He travels for work, has a large team to manage, and feels overwhelmed when he is at home and the demands of a wife and young children get to him. He feels guilty if he spends time with friends, sleeps too long or responds to work calls when he is home. He tries to organize activities and do practical household repairs and such to take care of his family, but never feels that he earns some "me time." He keeps waiting and hoping that his wife will see the pressure he is under and take him off the hook. But she doesn't, making him feel inadequate. Instead of taking care of his emotional needs he doubles down on doing things in the home, and then in the guise of 'fitness', goes for bike rides, in an effort to free himself of the vicious cycle.

C.Helen a 45- year- old personal assistant and single parent of a teenage boy has a hard time with self-care. Keeping house and home for her son, earning her way in life and managing co-parenting with a difficult divorcee she is easily overwhelmed. She gets exhausted, depressed, angry, protests and then drops off the world into a bubble and does nothing – giving herself back to herself in a way. She also develops pains and ‘fainting’ that make her stop being a robot and take care of herself. Otherwise she numbs herself with food.After a period of therapy when she has allowed me to nurture her, she then takes care of herself by joining dance, photography, and other creative arts classes, as well as being with friends. 

D. Tyrone a 32-year-old self made business man worried about his three young children all the time. He didn't trust his wife to treat them with care and kindness becasue of her harsh personality. He put all his efforts into ensuring that his kids had good nannies, extra-curricular activities to which he accompanied them, and most of all he made himself available to adddress their emotional hurt, anger, frustration, desires and fears. He went overboard on the latter because he didn't have those important things when he was young. He knew the toll it took on him and went all out to make sure his children didn't suffer in the same way. But while doing this, he completely ignored himself. He was tired all the time, pushed himself when he was exhausted and irritable, He hoped that his wife would notice, and learn from him so he could let go a little. But that was a pipe dream. He was always at hand to help his mother and siblings when they needed something, and they never hesitated to ask because he was so willing . Similarly with cousins and other extended family figures He was known for his unselfish devotion to duty, except that it was killing him. He didn't have any sense of self-care until his health started to deteriorate. His blood pressure rose with his weight, he started drinking and suffered insomnia. Finally well into his therapy he began to see the value of self-care. He was feeling empty and cut off from his loved ones. He gave of himself, but got nothing in return and was angry and bitter. We worked on him saying 'no' when he didn't want to do things. At the same time, we worked on his guilt about it, and his fear that he would be alone and shunned if he didn't take care of everyone the way he had been doing.

 

 

 

 

los angeles self-care in relationship counseling

 

Beginning The Act of Self-Care: Setting up strategies

One of the most important aspects of self-care is to realize when you need to depend on someone for something. Self-care involves knowing and allowing yourself to ask for help and support for as long as you need it while you are dealing with difficult issues.Recognizing your energy limitations, stress overload, need for sleep or solace is a vital component to self care. Waiting till you get ill and incapacitated or someone rescues you to ease your guilt and suffering is the opposite of self-care.

1. Develop a hobby and or interest outside the family and make it part of your life, not just fit it in if you suddenly have a few free minutes.

2. Work on being aware of and in tune with your body without trying to push yourself into exhaustion just to feel the 'burn!'

Yoga, running, hiking, biking, swiming, dancing, tai chi, etc. 

3. Make sure you have healthy boundaries with family and friends. That means not getting sucked into other peoples needs and treating them as kids, while being encouraging when they begin to take care of themselves. Healthy boundaries includes developing a skin that takes care of what you are experiencing in ways that honor yourself, without panicking or leaking out for others to mop up.

4. Make time for personal 'check-ins' to discover what's going on inside you so that you plan for and take care of your needs before they reach a crtical point. A 30 second check in several times a day works and when it becomes automatic, your awareness will ensure effortless maintaining of boundaries and satisfaction of need. That means you won't be over dependent or have others be overly dependent on you.

5. Express your feelings when they come up in the moment. That ensures that you don't stuff them, become stressed, ill and angry. Expressing your feelings in the moment educates others and maintains authenticity on both sides. Being true to yourself means you take responsibility for yourself, another term for self-care.

 

How do I as a therapist help clients engage in Self-Care?

In addition to helping my clients understand their mind-body connection, I help them view the repeated patterns of relationship interaction that create co-dependency rather than mutual inter-depenency. 

I have used art therapy – specifically collage to give them a chance to get in touch with and talk about their feelings, processing their experiences rather than just going at it. In addition I have found giving clients permission to step out of their routine and go to a museum, hike, spa, tea shop, farmers market etc. has been enormously powerful in developing habits of self-care.

 

copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2016

You might also like:

Checklist That Tells if you are in an Abusive Relationship

How to Express Anger at Family Members Who Used and Abused You

How to Deal With That Damned if I do……..Damned if I Don't Feeling



Fastest Way to Recovering From an Anger-stress Induced Depression

June 22nd, 2015 No Comments

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

stress-induced depression

 

Thirty-five-year-old plumber Tyler got angry with Gemma, his thirty-seven-year-old partner for inviting his brother over for the weekend pot-luck event. She knew that he didn’t get on with Roy but she kept trying to get them together. Tyler didn’t speak to Gemma unless it was absolutely necessary. He was civil in front of family and friends, but the stress was killing him. He was too tired to fight!
 

The folk music she put on while the guests were out on the patio grated on his nerves. He hated it, and Gemma knew that. But she went right ahead and turned the volume on full blast, disregarding him. Feeling himself get more stressed, Tyler played with the dog for a few minutes to calm himself down.

 

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Over the last year Gemma seemed to do things that made him feel like she didn’t think of him, and nor was she interested in catering to his tastes. Feeling unacknowledged over and over again made him feel small and devalued – two key ingredients that made him insecure and stressed him out. He could do nothing to control it, and this weekend was the straw that broke the camel’s back. When the guests had gone, Tyler didn’t have the energy to clean up. He crashed on the sofa and slept for over 24 hours – straight, as if he had been drugged.
 

Waking up the next night, Tyler’s heart was heavy. He didn’t want to get up; he wasn’t hungry and had no interest in checking the messages on his phone. It was as if he were in a parallel world, looking at himself, lifeless and unmotivated to attend to his work calls or the notes left by his angry wife.
 

Tyler had fallen deep into a stress-induced depression. It had been creeping up, and now he was in a weird place – he wasn’t exactly numb, but he wasn’t full of the joys of spring either. His anger was subdued but so was his ambitious nature.  Nothing seemed to matter that much, except the hopelessness that he felt.
 

Gemma nagged to no avail. She tried to bring him back to normality with seductive acts, and dangling vacations in front of him, but nothing jump started his motor. He stayed in this morose, worn out, hopeless place, anxious about doing anything but hiding out.
 

What’s going to become of Tyler, his health, his marriage and his business if he stays locked in this stress-induced depression?


It’s a good bet he will suffer loss of self-worth and feel powerless. He will probably be zonked out on medication and or alcohol to make things easier. He may lose his wife and business if he remains in this awful place.
 

The secret to getting out of a stress-induced depression
 

Research published in the journal Nature in June 2015, found that focusing on positive memories could ‘override’ the negative effects of a stress-induced depressive mood. Stress is known to damage the memory centers of the brain, making it harder to learn, or unlearn and retain the new information. But a deliberate focus on past positive experiences can dampen if not negate the harmful effects of stress that triggers a depressive state.
 

Recalling those positive experiences alters the neurochemistry in the brain by neutralizing the effects of stress hormones in memory cells of the dendate gyrus area in the brain.
 

recovering from depression

So, how can Tyler use this research to counter his depression and empower himself again?


1. Recall times in his marriage with Gemma when he experienced her as caring and sensitive to his needs.
2. Re-live and recapture the good feelings of lovability and self-worth he once enjoyed by using photos and videos of better times.
3. Listen to music that evokes those happy times.
4. Watch shows that remind him of his carefree, humorous and wild times with or without Gemma.
5. Eat foods that he once enjoyed and looked forward to.
6. Share all of the above with Gemma.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

AUTHOR OF:' Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.

You might also like:

Six ways to avoid anger, stress and depression that ruins your relationships

Anger makes you swing from one type of depression to another

Pull out the roots of your anger and stress by exercising amid nature

 

Disclaimer: this article is for educational and informational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have when reading the material or following the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.

 

 

 



Why Men Who Fear Women Become Raging Bulls

June 11th, 2015 No Comments

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

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Are you a man who is an obedient, loyal, dependable guy with your female partner?

Do you give her the authority to make decisions, take the lead and initiative on parenting, spending money and organizing your social life?

Then you may be very conflicted about having no power yourself just so you can ensure that you are loved and cared for.

Maybe you just don't know which part of you to go with?

What will the consequences be if you take on a more authoritative role?

How will it be if you continue to avoid asserting yourself?

You know that inside you there is a raging bull ready to smash everything that smacks of needing to depend on your female partner for care.

And it comes out when you can't take being the obedient little 'good boy' any longer.

If this your only exit strategy and does it actually work?

This video gives you a deeper look at the two waring sides of yourself you carry as a heavy load.

You will also get a wonderful tip on how to quell the war inside you, and peacefully co-exist with both sides in balance.

 

 

 

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

AUTHOR OF:' Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.

You might also like:

Feeling insecure in your relationship makes you more prone to angry outbursts

Should you apologize after an explosion of anger?

How to manage when two parts of you want different things

Disclaimer: this video is for educational and informational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have when reading the material or following the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.

 



Are You and Your Partner Getting Off on Addictive Rage?

May 29th, 2015 No Comments

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

 

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Jackson just found out that his partner Stacey has been keeping a secret about a friendship with a past romantic friend. It all came spilling out when he saw a text message on her phone while she was in the bathroom and he was getting ready for bed. Stunned, he gave Stacey the cold shoulder when they got into bed. But inside he was smoldering. The lightest touch from Stacey ignited his rage, setting off a cascade of accusations that he wanted her to plead guilty to.

Enraged and humiliated about being duped, Jackson wanted to get back in control. One part of him wanted to beat the truth out of her and feel strong doing it, while another part of him wanted a denial so the relationship remained secure. It was hard to know which part of himself he should fight for.

Furious at his audacity, Stacey yelled that he was overreacting

Jackson went ballistic. He just saw a text that made it clear that something is going on between them. It  looked suspicious. How could she pretend he made it up?

Hiis head  throbbed and he felt his heart racing as he began interrogating Stacey. He imagined all the ways he had been kept in the dark and made a fool of. His imagination ran riot, and he wanted to get every last drop of “admission ” out of her.

Desperate to calm him down and get to sleep, Stacey decided to answer his questions directly hoping it would do the trick. There was no risk for her since she had nothing to hide.

But each time she answered him Jackson’s fire got stoked again. To him, it was as if she was proving that there was no smoke without fire!

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How did those angry fires get started?

He was taken back to a place where his parents and grandparents had played with his mind, making him question what he saw, felt and knew with his own senses. They would mock his mind, destroy it and then put their own minds into the spot where his belonged. It was a form of cruel obliteration. He had no way of fighting for his right to his own thoughts, his own feelings and his own interpretation of events.

But now, as an adult, he wasn’t going to allow that anymore. He was going to fight tooth and nail for the truth of his own reality, even if he had to take his relationship to the brink of destruction.

Stacey on the other hand was taken back to a place of being a ‘naughty girl’ and getting spanked by her dad when she broke a rule and tried to hide it from her parents. Getting caught was humiliating and negated her as a person. When Jackson accused her of keeping secrets about her other romantic partners, it felt as if she were being treated like that naughty girl who should own up to her bad deeds, take the punishment, feel ashamed and behave!

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Both were experiencing the destabilizing feeling of having their minds messed with.

Both got furious and wanted their reality and truth to win out. But they reacted differently. Jackson went into offensive mode and Stacey responded in the defensive mode.

After a while exhaustion set in. Jackson couldn’t keep up the desperate attempt to have his experience verified, and Stacey failed in her quest to defend herself. They went off to their corners until the next bell of suspicion brought them back into the boxing ring.

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Name calling and labeling cooled them off

Stacey sloughed it off by calling Jackson jealous and paranoid.

Jackson stepped back by thinking of Stacey as ‘out there,’ without appropriate standards of behavior.

Then they would miss each other and start talking again, enjoying the exciting connection they enjoyed when they first met – until Stacey’s interaction with a guy from her past started the whole ball of suspicion rolling again. Jackson threatened to leave and Stacey tried to appease him. They couldn’t go on like this for much longer.

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Couples therapy helped tease out the addictive quality of their relationship

Jackson couldn’t rage at his family members when they messed with his mind, BUT HE CAN NOW, when Stacey‘s actions push those same buttons.

Stacey couldn’t rage at her father when he spanked her and made her feel humiliated, BUT SHE CAN NOW, when Jackson pushes provokes her in the same spot.

Each of them felt powerful when they got enraged, and that was addictive. It made them want to continue the cycle so that they could feel the surge and 'high' that rageful power gives. After a respite to recharge their physical batteries, they were at it again.

Once they realized how this addicition kept fueling each other’s dormant fires, they began to feel less personally persecuted, and humiliated. They learned to understand the triggers for one and other and make allowances, without fighting to the death for their version of reality to prevail. Both were real and valid and important.

Couples therapy helped calm the rage as they processed their experiences of having their minds messed with, allowing them to have a more authentic relationship.

 

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

AUTHOR OF:' Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.

You might also like:

Feeling insecure makes you more prone to angry outbursts

How to express anger when you feel used and abused

Ray Rice and his wife in couples therapy

Disclaimer: this article is for educational and informational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have when reading the material or following the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.

 



Two Ways to Overcome the Anger When Your Partner Insists on Seeing You in a Negative Light

May 6th, 2015 No Comments

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

west los angeles therapy for anger and stress in marriage

Do you feel frustrated and angry when other people like you, and see your worth, BUT your partner thinks you are a waste of space and is always complaining about you?

Why be pushed and pulled, when you know who you really are and like it?

All you get is insomnia, anxiety, pain and suffering.

Maybe you have a wish that one day your partner will stop being blind and see what a treasure you are, and be eternally grateful!

You know that it is unlikely.  You can hope and wait for ever, OR you can take steps to fulfill that wish yourself.

Being assertive makes you self-empowered, which in turn grounds and centers your sense of self. You don't rely on your partner or others defining you.

This video tells you how to do that by following 2 steps, on a consistent basis. Do it for yourself or work with me individually so that you can end your suffering.

 

 

 

 

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

AUTHOR OF:' Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.

You might also like:

How to turn envy into togetherness

Three ways to manage the anxiety about pleasing loved ones

Are you at war with your partner or yourself?

Disclaimer: this video is for educational and informational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have when reading the material or following the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.

 



Shameful Anger is Detoxifed By the Pain of a Bone Fracture

April 7th, 2015 1 Comment

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

 

   west los angeles therapy for anger and shamephoto copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

A long awaited vacation was coming up for thirty-nine-year-old Alex who was looking forward to seeing his younger sister Fiona, 3000 miles away. He wanted to go with her to an exhibition of ancient and modern pottery that they both loved. Practicing throwing pots in a class on ceramic ware, he had made a gift for Fiona’s family using a special design with a color tint of his creation.

A week before his flight to Salem Oregon where Fiona lived with her husband and two children, Alex began to imagine that Fiona would be too busy to join him in visiting the exhibits and having fun at their old haunts. He recalled previous occasions when he had high hopes of rekindling their childhood closeness, only to find that she was either non-committal, busy, or with him in body but not in spirit.

 

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Not wanting to be disappointed again, Alex began to talk himself out of the trip.

It wasn’t that big of a deal to see the pottery exhibition! Fiona wouldn’t like his gift anyway! She would have other priorities and just pay lip service to him. He would be alone and wouldn’t enjoy anything!

So different to the bond they had shared growing up, trying to support each other against a critical mother and a stressed father who never made them feel loved and valued as kids.

When had they drifted apart? How did Fiona become so difficult to pin down when he wanted to be with her and share his life? Why was it that she could call him up when she couldn’t sleep and talk about her troubles with her husband Jeremy, but not tolerate hearing about his life experiences?

 

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Five days before his departure date Alex was ready to cancel the trip. His right foot had swollen up and looked bruised

He had no memory of twisting it or hurting it in the last few days. He was in pain and couldn’t imagine walking around exhibits or waiting in line to get on and off the plane. He was furious that this injury should happen at this particular moment, spoiling his vacation and reunion with Fiona.

He huffed and puffed feeling that life was unfair. The angrier he got the worse the pain. Just doing the most basic of self-care activities increased the pain, until he got a CT scan that showed a tiny fracture.

As he spouted anger about his foot needing to be put in a special boot, it became apparent that Alex’s anger was deep and as penetrating as the pain in his foot. Good job he was already working on his relationships in therapy – the pattern of connections that usually made him upset, disappointed, resentful, anxious and of course angry.

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Once his foot was encased in a boot to allow it to heal, Alex was able to focus on the real reasons for his spoiler voice dousing his desire for the sibling reunion.

As we talked about Fiona rejecting him in his imagination, it became apparent that Fiona’s husband was the ‘third party’ interloper that he was viewing as an enemy.   Jeremy’s presence became the ‘fracture’ in the sibling relationship. Fiona had mentioned that he was a bit jealous of the special world she and Alex went to when they were together. That set of some anxiety and anger for Alex. That made him want to cancel the trip because he didn’t want to deal with Fiona and her jealous husband. He wanted her all to himself.

Alex was proud of the relationship he had with his sister. It transcended their unhappy childhood, his unhappy marriage and divorce, and Fiona’s on-again-off-again marriage. He could always claim Fiona as ‘his.’ He was her brother before she married and had children. She was more ‘his’ than belonging to her husband or children. He enjoyed exerting that right – it felt legitimate. It felt good and powerful and intoxicating. It was a victory – putting to rest all those times he tried and failed to get his dad’s attention on him and away from her mother. Now he could do that with his sister – get her all to himself – away from her husband and kids – what a triumph!

When Alex realized what his hidden motives were, he had the opportunity to think about having a good bond with Fiona while honoring her marriage and motherhood. In therapy he was able to acknowledge his need for possessive victory and talk more about the thorny issue of the triangle – Alex, Fiona and her husband.

 He was grateful to his bone fracture, the pain it caused and the chance it gave him to understand his emotional pain regarding his special relationship with Fiona.  These shameful emotions were too much to bear up front, and needed to go first through his foot – to be externalized, before he could manage to confront them without shame. Alex was able to bypass the shame and find ways to connect with his sister without trying to extricate her from her family – less competition, less possessiveness and less jealousy and less victory – all boiling down to less pain.

 

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2015

 

AUTHOR OF 'Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationships."

You might also like:

Expressing anger appropriately is a natural pain relief mechanism

Is fear of standing up for yourself causing you allergies?

Fear of disapproval and rejection brings on Tinnitus

 

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond.



Three Ways to Control Rage When You Feel Abandoned

March 25th, 2015 1 Comment

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

Los Angeles Anger Management Therapy

 

The sounds of begging and pleading for another chance fell on32-year-old Trudy’s deaf ears. Her 35-year-old husband Max had promised to stop using alcohol and drugs umpteen times, but he never got sober for more than a day or two. She had been let down too often, and now needed to protect herself from being seduced by those pitiful eyes, and his attentive ways.

Enraged at losing Trudy and their 5 year old daughter Sasha, Max spent most of his time enraged that he couldn’t get Trudy to listen to him. There was no other woman for him. He wanted her to pick him up when he was down and do the same for her. The only problem was that he remembered the good times and she remembered the bad times.

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Owning up to his misdeeds wasn’t a problem for Max.

In fact the sooner he admitted fault, the sooner Trudy's heart would soften and he would get the gentle loving he yearned for. He openly admitted that he wasn’t reliable and didn’t act responsibly. But when Trudy accused him of not being emotionally available for his family he exploded! Those accusations made him feel completely misunderstood. But when he tried to put her straight, she just talked over him, shutting him down. Rage built up and out came the bad language, accusing Trudy of never seeing any good in him and making him feel worse, when he was already owning his stuff and making efforts to improve.

 

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Other times Max broke down in tears of helplessness. Trudy responded by bucking him up only to then get enraged herself and hold him accountable for the things he did that had wounded her – and that still stung.

“What about the time you left Sasha alone in bathroom while you went to get high?”

“You weren’t there when I made dinner, night after night!”

“Your place was full of drugs when I brought Sasha to see you! What if I get labelled a negligent parent for leaving her with you in that place?”

 

Max wanted comfort and numbness of his bad feelings, but he was treated like a naughty boy who needed to acknowledge his sins

She became the authority figure reminding him about his transgressions just when he was vulnerable, making him squirm in shame. The shame turned to guilt, and guilt fueled anger. Max exploded again. This time it was be more like a tantrum, destroying things around him, just as Trudy’s way of interacting had crushed him.

During his most vulnerable moments with Trudy, Max wanted her comfort and understanding, but he got a reminder of how bad he could be. The experience felt like abandonment.

Max wanted Trudy to be there and know how wretched he felt, but he felt scolded. She wasn’t there in the way he needed, adding to his sense of abandonment.

When Max tried to defend himself against her recalling his past bad actions, she shut him down by talking over him. He felt abandoned again, because he was alone in his world, while she had flown to another.

Max didn’t help himself by exploding each time he felt abandoned. All he did was make Trudy feel more righteous in keeping her distance.

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Abandonment anger is explosive and tenacious.

So how can Max control his rage and then have a meaningful relationship with Trudy?

  1. First he has to cry out his deep wound of abandonment instead of using drugs, alcohol and Trudy as plasters. He needs to mourn the loss of having someone reliable to fill that empty emotional hole. Until and unless he does that, he will always “use”, while desperately attempting to get Trudy to step in there, so he doesn’t have to feel the pain.

 

  1. Max needs to learn how to express his feelings in words rather than just explode when he can’t get through. In order to express feelings he has to be willing to feel them – not numb them with substances or get Trudy to put her finger over the hole! That’s where therapy comes in. Getting in touch with the hurt, pain, rage and fear of being alone and abandoned requires a therapeutic relationship of trust, safety and learning where he is accepted and tolerated – so that shame doesn’t undo him.

 

  1. Next Max can learn the vocabulary of feelings and describe them accurately as he feels them, writing them down as a story or letter to Trudy, Sasha or whomever he is feelings things for and about. Research has demonstrated the value of writing about experiences to help calm the anger and become more coherent.

 

  1. Lastly, Max can learn in therapy how to do reality checks. He needs to discover whether he just wants to be rescued as a way of receiving love (co-dependency) or whether he wants a relationship of equality and true partnership. He can reflect on this as events arise with his therapist and then make a commitment to a healthier way of life. Rage will be needed no more.

 

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2015

 

AUTHOR OF 'Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationships."

You might also like:

Feeling Insecure in a Relationship Makes You Prone to Angry Outbursts

Do You Numb Yourself to Avoid Angry Outbursts, Only To Have Them Later On?

How to Get Your Loved One to Prove Their Love Without Using Anger?

 

 

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond.



Anger Makes You Swing From One Type of Depression to Another

March 13th, 2015 No Comments

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

 

west los angeles therapy for anger and depression

Sadness, loneliness, lack of energy, withdrawing from the world

 

You may find it hard to believe that anger may be at the root of your sad and lethargic feelings when you get depressed. But the link between anger and depression has been established centuries ago by the Greek philosophers and then more scientifically by the turn of the 19th century.

Treatment with SSRI's is the most widely practiced medication route. But recent research shows that there are two types of depression and that SSRI's are at best no better than a placebo (sugar pill) and that where they are effective, they are more helpful (with psychotherapy) for one  more than the other.

 

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Depression triggered by anger at yourself

When you are down, do you find your critical and judgmental voice beating you up because you didn’t match your ideals? Do you feel like you let yourself down even though you did your best? Anger at yourself makes you more likely to experience a war within yourself that exhausts you and makes you want to step back from life so that you don’t have to fail again, and hear the self-torturing condemnation that goes on inside your head.

An article reported in 2009, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, describes the strong relationship between anger and depression, with guilt and shame strongly featured in the mix.

Words from loved ones that attempt to make you feel good don’t work because they feel so unrealistic and therefore not worth taking in. You can’t be comforted, or allow yourself to go easy on yourself.

A 2002 study reported in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, found that self-critical  or introjective depressioni is based on negative self-evaluation of self-imposed unrealistic standards of perfection.

In addition, growing up with at least one harsh and judgmental parent, made you fearful and mistrusting of people who supposedly want to take care of and comfort you. Not only did you internalize that harsh and critical voice but you were suspicious of anyone offering a soothing balm!

The stress of having to bear your own condemnation and wrath is painful, and chronically so. Your suffering may be so overwhelming that it becomes a pain in your body. It could be headaches, back pain, muscle or joint pains. Your type of depression is linked to stress induced physical pain because you have closed the door for emotional comfort or compassion.  

Antidepressants like Cymbalta  target physical pain but they don’t really work for introjective depression because the area of the brain that is responsible for rage doesn't respond to this class of drugs.

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Taking the exit ramp to the empty-lonely road, tends the mental lashings and restores your sense of well-being.

Sometimes your harsh judgmental attack on yourself makes you isolate yourself from the world which is more tolerant and compassionate than you are in the moment. So you end up feeling empty and alone when the punitive voice has done its worst. The shift to a more lonely and fearful place may help you seek comfort and security in others to make you feel worthwhile again.

Ironically you have shifted to the opposite pole of depression to escape the discomfort of this one, as you will see below.

 

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Depression based on anger at others

If you feel lost, alone and empty when you are down, it’s most likely brought on by anger at losing a relationship that you relied on. It could be a friend who doesn’t call anymore, a close family member who moved away, or a mentoring relationship that came to an end. You may find yourself trying to fill that hole with food, alcohol, work, or being busy just to numb yourself and feel stabilized again. Or you might get clingy with others, feeling unsafe and scared to be on your own.

The 2002 study above found that the empty sad type of depression, known as anaclitic depression was characterized by a need to get reassurance and approval from others by meeting their high standards. So if you are not ‘perfect’ as others apparently expect, you risk losing them, you get stressed and insecure, and your feelings of self-worth plummet.

Growing up trying to please your parents or other loved ones and not succeeding made you feel ‘insufficient’; and so you attempted to win their approval by trying harder to be what they wanted you to be, losing yourself in the process. Having lost yourself, you are empty and scared.

When you constant efforts to be accepted, and “good enough” for significant others fail, you fall into a depressed state. You get angry at others for not acknowledging and rewarding your efforts, but you can’t show this imperfection, and get put in the reject pile for good!

Antidepressants such as SSRIs when they work at all, are better able to alleviate anaclitic depression because the symptoms of sadness can be lifted when more serotonin is made available.

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Self Criticism helps you armor up and prevent yourself feeling so sad again

You may begin blaming yourself for ever letting yourself get attached because it just ends in abandonment, so why bother? You armor up against being sad and empty again by beating the drum of strength in not needing anyone ever again.


To escape the weak feelings of anaclitic depression to move towards introjective depression, evaluating yourself harshly and engaging in a lot of critical self-talk so that you will feel strong and not need anyone.

BUT, you are still depressed and continue to shift between the self-critical to the sad and lonely and back again.

 

Anger at not being perfect is at the root of both types of depression, brought on by lack of adequate acceptance and nurturing in the early years.

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Working in an accepting, tolerating therapeutic relationship where you can express your anger – AND your guilt and shame about it is the best long term solution.

 

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2015

 

AUTHOR OF 'Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationships."

You might also like:

Four ways to silence your self-critical voice

Six ways to avoid anger, stress and depression that ruin your relationships

Depression buries the anger that helps you connect with loved ones

 

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond.

 



Six Ways to Avoid Anger, Stress and Depression That Ruin Your Relationships

February 24th, 2015 No Comments

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

 

west los angeles therapy for anger and stress managementJuliette was at the end of her rope

Working as a risk management specialist for a large medical group was getting 36-year-old Juliette down. She was exhausted and had no energy left for her husband, 38-year-old Elliot and their 5 and 6 year old children Aden and Mara. She hated having to work, but was the only breadwinner. The pressure on Juliette made her depressed. All she wanted to do was to sleep. She left the chores to her Elliot who attended to them with pride, seeing them as his contribution to the family.

Even when she was awake, Juliette felt fatigued and disinterested in playing with her kids. She preferred to look on as Elliot engaged them in cycling, swimming and ball games. She was easily upset when things didn’t go right with the family, and felt useless as a mother, sister and wife. Depression had taken hold, and Juliette was steeped in a lack of self-worth. Her anger at having to be the breadwinner was buried in the depression, as was her disappointment and resentment towards her husband for not taking on that role.

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The happiness Elliot felt taking care of the home and family was tainted by his anxiety about Juliette’s depression. He was scared that if she got worse and couldn’t work, he would be forced to step into the breach! Since losing his sales job three years ago, he had given up looking for other opportunities having had little response and numerous applications rejected. He had settled into being the primary care taker, but Juliette’s depression was stirring up fears again. Frantic efforts to cheer up his wife, and fix whatever problems she talked about didn’t make things any easier. She just got more and more morose and shut down, hoping that he would take up the baton and support the family.

 

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They didn’t talk about Juliette’s depression or about Elliot’s anxiety that he would have to get a job if she didn’t pull herself together. They were caught in a vicious cycle where Juliette’s depression made her more dependent on Elliot to take care of parenting, housework and the children’s school issues. The more dependent Juliette became the more Elliot countered that he couldn’t get a job because he was burdened with all the child care and household management!

Depression promotes stress about not being able to cope, resulting in poor romantic relationship outcomes, says a study reported in Clinical Psychology Review, 2010.

Another study reported in Communication Monographs, 2015 monitored the communication between romantic couples where one partner was depressed.  They found that depressed members of a romantic partnership avoided talking about the depression and how it impacted their relationship, as well as about the relationship itself.  The uncertainty about the status of the relationship was the primary reason for avoidance. Women were less likely than men to talk about the depression, exacerbating the uncertainty in the relationship.

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Depressed people like Juliette are motivated to avoid negative outcomes and often use avoidance as a way of managing their relationship problems. Although it may ease the stress in the moment of choosing avoidance, over the long term, there is a price to pay. Opportunities to practice interpersonal skills are removed. Chances to deepen bonds through understanding and empathy are neglected, leading to and interpretation of each other’s behavior in increasingly negative ways.  The threats to their identity as individuals and members of a couple are never faced and resolved, adding to the stress, and deepening the depression, as reported in an article in Clinical Psychology Review, 2011

A depressed partner may take anti-depressants like SSRI’s (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Cimbalta, Effexor, Celexa etc.) and still not get any better. A recent study reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Feb. 9, 2015 found that stress prevents the medication from doing its job, making the depression even worse. This study described the ‘punishment center of the brain’ (lateral habenula) that rules, making a person feel down on themselves and more depressed.

Put that together with a finding that placebo pills were as good if not better than anti-depressants in affecting mood (Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 2010) we have a perfect storm of bad feeling and estrangement between a romantic couple. Putting Juliette on anti-depressants won’t make her better, nor will it remove the cause for her depression. She needs to be depressed to push her husband into being the breadwinner.

 

 

west los angeles counseling for stressed and anxious couplesSo what can this couple do with this awful situation?

 

Attend couples therapy and begin the process of implementing these 6 essential steps

  • Discuss their expectations of each other.
  • Express their disappointments, fears and anger at one another for the roles they are forced to adopt.
  • Discuss the depression, it’s purpose and impact on the family, including the rage Juliette suppressed, about having to be the one supporting the family when she really wanted to be the one taken care of.
  • Explore coping mechanisms for the relationship stress by noticing the trigger points.
  • Begin the process of sharing parenting and household tasks
  • Shift Elliot from feeling “forced” to get a job, to “wanting” to get a job

 

 

copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2015

AUTHOR OF: Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.

You might also like:

Expressing anger is a pain relief mechanism

Unresolved anger and stress keeps you depressed longer

Depression buries the anger that prevents you from communicating with loved ones

 

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond