Archive for the ‘Healthy Anger’ Category

How To Deal With The Panic When Anger Management Doesn’t Work

February 16th, 2013 Comments Off on How To Deal With The Panic When Anger Management Doesn’t Work

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


Do you panic when you can't control your anger despite going to anger management classes?

Do you hate yourself when you fly off the handle and act like someone from your past that you have tried so hard to avoid?

Is your explosive anger destroying your important relationships and items of expensive equipment that you value?

Is the anxiety about failing now bigger than the anger itself?

Are you ready to really deal with the anger rather than just bury it, whip it into shape or squish it?

Then watch this video and learn how I helped someone do just that after he had tried and failed at using the cognitive strategies taught at anger management classes which ignored his emotional traumas of the past.

Learn how to notice the hair line triggers that spark your intense anger and express it in a safe way that honors its origins, because if you don't it will simple grow into a bigger monster.

Take the stress out of trying to control your anger by using the successful techniques I taught my client that helped him link his past and present together to make his future calmer so that he could believe in himself again.




Copyright © Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. All rights reserved.


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Four ways to manage anger when you are taken for granted

October 10th, 2012 Comments Off on Four ways to manage anger when you are taken for granted

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


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Needing Approval

Preparing for her younger sister's visit put some pep into Shelly's steps. She recalled Natalie's last visit when they had fun at the beach, going to movies and eating out. The thought of having those precious moments again made Shelly feel warm inside. She wanted to show Natalie the home she and Devon had made together. She wanted her sister to recognize her determination to make something of herself as she made her way through Acupuncture school. She wanted her sister's approval. Shelly wanted to play the generous host. She also expected something in return.

Her buttons were pushed, but she never said a word.

Natalie left her dirty dishes on the table, threw her clothes on the floor, and went out without inviting her hosts. She never offered to take them out or pay for anything during family outings. Natalie treated Shelly''s place as a free hotel, with a maid thrown in!

Natalie took the hospitality for granted, and Shelly saw red. How could Natalie be so blind, insensitive and callous? Couldn't she tell how much she was hurting Shelly? Didn't Natalie know how much Shelly had put her life on hold to organize the visit? Wasn't it obvious how much money she had to borrow from Devon, and all the activities with friends and colleagues she had turned down? Shelly couldn't get over the fact that her well heeled sister would be so selfish, thoughtless and ungrateful. Her buttons were pushed a million times a day during that long weekend. But she never said a word.

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Anger Explodes on the Wrong Person

After Natalie left, Shelly sniped at Devon just for breathing! All the things she had wanted to tell Natalie, she said to Devon. " Wash the dishes before bed!" she commanded. "You can do your own laundry, I'm busy," she pronounced as he got undressed for bed. " I paid for the groceries this weekend, so you better pay for the rest of the week," she vented at him. Her sister had abused her, so now she was going to abuse Devon.

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Four steps to managing Shelly's anger

1. Self-honesty

Shelly needs to be honest and clear with herself about what she expects for her troubles. A conscious awareness of what her hidden agenda is, means that she communicate her needs clearly, avoiding future hurt and anger when she isn't recognized.

This preventive first step reduces the triggers for anger,by putting Shelly more in control.

2. Communicate her Expectations

Once Shelly knows what you expect in return for her generosity, she should  spell it out to the those who receive her largesse.

Putting it out there means there are no misunderstandings. That is preventive step number two. Shelly are reducing the risk of being disappointed, used and abused.

3. Don't expect grown up behavior from someone Shelly treats like a child

Allowing someone to get away with insensitive and abusive behavior means Shelly gives out a huge message that they are too infantile to be expected to be equal players in the game. Shelly is giving them permission to act in a totally selfish way. To avoid getting angry when they do so means taking preventive step number three – speak up when they violate your personal boundaries, rules and space.

Shelly shouldn't be a doormat! Waiting for someone to see and treat her like an equal human being, means she has to have feet firmly planted on the ground, that can take her where she needs to go and help her be a player rather than a place for others to wipe their feet.

4. Express her feelings as they come up

As soon as she feels that gut wrenching anger rise,  she should get in touch with it and use it as a sign that she needs to stick up for herself and be an equal.

Shelly should speak her feelings as clearly as she can. It helps the other person know what she is feeling and why, so they can adapt right away.

Shelly should avoid stuffing her anger because she thinks it will cause bad feeling. Wouldn't she rather know how to please someone and do it right, rather than have long term resentment and explosive anger that ruins relationships for ever?

Refocusing your anger can create the security in relationships you long for

September 19th, 2012 Comments Off on Refocusing your anger can create the security in relationships you long for

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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Reuben's angry that he has to hide his anger

A barrage of customer complaints roused Reuben’s anger. It wasn’t his fault that the city was doing sidewalk repairs and making it difficult for people to enter his cafe for lunch. His anger got worse when his regulars didn’t pay attention to the signs he had put up to warn them of this inconvenience. Each customer had a few minutes of frustration , but he had to suffer entire days of it!

Reuben expresses his anger only in his fantasies

After the cafe closed at night Reuben would go over the complaints he had forced himself to sympathize with earlier. He retaliated in his imagination, telling the complainers that they were selfish, whining individuals who couldn’t tolerate anything out of the ordinary. He yelled at them in his fantasy, threw their meals in their faces, and hiked up their bills in an effort to feel powerful and in control. The fantasy could be called up anytime he needed to feel strong.

What family members did once, Reuben continued indefinitely in his psyche

It was a familiar experience, this rehashing and doing it over in his mind, going all the way back to his early childhood. As a child he would imagine hitting and wounding people who didn’t see his side of things. As an adult he had visions of cutting out his father’s tongue, stuffing his wife’s hurtful words down her throat, and muting his brother by taking out his voice box!

Wounding words from family members would repeat like a tape that looped over and over again, punishing him with their stinging insinuations. Each time the words replayed it was as if he were being wounded afresh. What family members did once, Reuben continued indefinitely in his inner world.


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Reuben fears the consequences of his anger and decides to deal with his problem

Reuben’s business became just another place where he had to be prepared to ward off undeserved bullets and poisoned arrows. Fury and resentment prodded Reuben to be short, rude and hostile to staff and customers. When he saw that he hurt people with his angry and impatient demeanor, he became afraid that he would end up alone, hated and penniless. Reuben decided to take notice and he came to psychotherapy. He was about ready to burst anyway and had known for some time that it was becoming impossible to control.

Refocusing the angry lens makes Reuben feel fortunate and grateful

It was hard for Reuben to have a therapeutic comrade with whom he could look at and understand his experiences. He discovered that he expected people to be mean and hurtful and interpreted their communications in line with that view. The breakthrough came one day when he shared his experience of feeling angry and hurt when his father said “ we never see you and your family on Sundays!” What Reuben heard was a criticism and reprimand insinuating that Reuben and his family were not doing their duty and were bad people. In his therapeutic work he was awakened to other interpretations, such as

1.the possibility that his father missed him

2.that his father may be jealous of how self-contained Reuben’s family could be

3.that his father may be giving a compliment about Reuben’s dedication to his café on Sunday’s

4.that his father wanted to have the discipline that Reuben displayed towards work


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Reuben uses his new perspective to build good relationships

Reuben found a whole new more comforting and inviting world when he re focused his lens from ‘hurtful’ intent to ‘benign or positive’ intent.

Reuben used his new perspective to advantage with his complaining customers. He put a big sign up in his window acknowledging and sharing in their frustration. Included in that message was an invitation to look at the benefits of the work being done on the sidewalk. The customers would have a beautiful patio dining area with greenery and fountains to enjoy. There would be areas for children and pets, all at no financial cost to the public or to Reuben. He described the benefits as a gift that would last for ever, if everyone could endure a few weeks of frustration and inconvenience.


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Using anger positively gains Reuben four long term advantages

By refocusing his lens of anger Reuben:

A.Connected with others who were also angry.

Benefit Reuben made himself an equal rather than a victim.

B.Created a unifying purpose for staff and customers.

Benefit everyone’s anger shifted towards an expectation of a positive goal.

C.Promoted a sense of cohesiveness where everyone could express frustration.

Benefit shared experiences detoxify the anger, promoting safety and security during difficult times.

D.Opened up a pathway for others to see and hear him through a joint experience.

Benefit: negative and self-destructive anger was transformed into positive, liberating and connecting emotions which built strong bonds among all concerned.

Five ways to use angry energy to empower yourself

September 19th, 2012 Comments Off on Five ways to use angry energy to empower yourself

  Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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Hollow praise turned Paul's pride into an angry rage of betrayal

Paul’s heart filled with pride as his year end performance review glowed with positive and encouraging feedback. His heart sank to his boots when the expected raise didn’t materialize. The praise and recognition that made him feel validated turned into a silent, choking, disappointing rage of betrayal.

Shock and disbelief made Paul behave go through the day snapping at his colleagues, impatient with customers and dismissive with his wife and child when he got home. What was the point of all the overtime, taking on extra work, and covering for others? Why had he bothered to take classes and do exams to get certified at a level that enhanced the software company’s credibility and marketing potential?

Anger and disappointment makes Paul want to stop trying

Paul began to recall all the times his boss gave him signs that his efforts were being noticed and would be rewarded at the appropriate time. Was that a dream? Did he misread the signals? How could he be so easily fobbed off with a few sweet words?

Work became a burden. Paul lost all interest in his job and isolated himself from everyone else. If they treated him as if he were expendable, then that’s exactly what he would make himself – a mere cog in the wheel! His anger created a wall around him that no one could penetrate. If he wasn’t good enough to get the raise he believed he was promised then he wasn’t going to give them anymore of himself than he had to.


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Fury at his boss made Paul a mean demanding husband

Paul took his bitter resentful protest out on his wife. Paul made her pay for the mistake of his boss, demanding that his wife read his mind, and do everything to make up for his disappointing experience at work. She refused to play the game and made Paul even madder. Now no one was giving him what he deserved and he was furious, frustrated, sad and afraid that he was never going to get what he was entitled to in any area of his life – no matter how much he did his part.

How Should Paul Use His Angry Energy?

Anger sets off a slew of physiological reactions in the body that prepare it to fight for survival. From stress hormones to increased blood flow in certain regions of the brain, anger acts as a fuel, providing the energy that motivates you to act in your own best interests. How you decide to use that energy determines whether you have a positive or negative outcome.

The energy produced by the rage at not getting his fair share of goodies motivated Paul to do something different. Instead of just using up his energy in the gym he decided to make sure he was never blindsided again. Isolated and left to stew in his own juices, he realized that no one was going to come to his rescue and cajole him back into relationships.

Paul used the potent energy of anger to stop feeling sorry for himself, be proactive and fight for himself. Instead of wishing and hoping in vain that his boss, his colleagues and wife would sympathize and make amends, he chose to work on using the massive amounts of energy he felt to empower himself.


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Using anger as a positive source of empowerment

Once Paul put himself in the driving seat he began to understand that he had let his magical wishes interfere with his participation in life. Paul figured out that his assumptions about raises and promotions were just that – assumptions that he believed were identical to the thoughts of his boss – as if there were only one mind involved in this process. He learned that he has to check things out and correct false assumptions on both sides. He discovered that he has to be actively involved in ensuring his success. The overwhelming energy from anger when his hopes were shattered brought Paul to his senses.

Five ways for Paul to use angry energy to empower himself

1. Paul can use his anger as motivation to clearly express his wishes and expectations.

Benefit: taking his share of the responsibility for his future by reducing uncertainty.

2. He can ensure that he gets a clear idea of what rewards his boss has in mind at the outset, and negotiate on his own behalf.

Benefit: solid information that takes him away from victim hood to proactive mastery.

3. Paul can make sure his boss is aware of his achievements instead of hoping they will be noticed, and be devastated when they go unseen.

Benefit: certainty that his boss recognizes Paul’s value, with increased likelihood that he is compensated accordingly.

4. He can discuss reward options when he covers for his colleagues or does extra shifts, such as time off, alternating shifts, money etc.

Benefit exercising autonomy rewires the brain making it more likely that he will engage in using anger beneficially rather than as a downward spiral of protest and negativity.

5. Paul can ask for monthly and quarterly projections of tasks and decide whether the incentives to take part in extra work are worth it to him.

Benefit: taking an active part in the decision making process in advance makes the consequences more satisfying and frees him up to have a healthy and satisfying relationship with his wife.

Paul no longer waits to see whether people in his life will “see” how great he is and magically reward him. He makes sure he tells and shows them what he wants them to know, and what he expects from them. It took the energy of intense anger and frustration to motivate him into actively shaping his life for the better. The rewards are consistent, sustained and very fulfilling.


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Depression burries the anger that prevents you from connecting with loved ones

September 18th, 2012 Comments Off on Depression burries the anger that prevents you from connecting with loved ones

  Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


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Careless Terry is Mortified

Terry couldn't get over himself. He had hit his neighbor's car while pulling into his driveway. He was mortified at this inexcusable mistake. How could he be so careless? He wasn't unusually tired, so why hadn't he been more alert?

If Only the Clock Could Be Turned Back!

The damage to the car was the least of Terry's worries. Shocked, he was unable to take in any words of comfort or reassurance from his wife. He was oblivious to the affectionate nuzzling of his dog, and the adoring smile of his two year old daughter. He replayed the scene in his head a million times. Each time he pressed the rewind button he rehearsed ways in which he could have avoided this disaster. If only the clock could be turned back.! But life wasn't that kind, and neither was Terry. He tortured himself for not paying attention and bringing shame on himself.

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Terry Wants To Hide In Shame

Visions of being chewed out by his neighbor flooded his mind. He imagined being shunned when he walked his dog. Everyone would know what he had done, and think badly of him. How could he hold his head up around the apartment complex again? Choked with horror he couldn't eat dinner. He couldn't sleep either. As the next day approached, all he wanted to do was to numb his feelings and hide from the world.

Terry's Wife Becomes Impatient When Terry Shuts Her Out

The next day was a blur. Terry called in sick to work and didn't take calls from friends or family. He exiled himself from the world in a depressive funk. One day turned into five weeks – thirty five days of shutting himself off from everything except his self-recriminations. His wife at first sympathetic and understanding became impatient and irritated.

"What's up with you? You're not interested in our child anymore, you're mean to the dog, and you avoid me like the plague. It's intolerable. You won't talk to anyone or let me help you. I'm fed up with being shut off. I'm moving in with my mother."

The Worst Imaginable Scenario Is About to Happen

In a flash Terry's wheels started turning. The worst imaginable scenario was about to become a reality. He must be an ogre for his wife to threaten him with the one thing that mattered more than anything in the world- being a good dad. Terry felt powerless. His wife had all the cards and he had no bargaining chips.

Terry Recalls Being Made Fun Of

The hollow pit in his stomach growled as he recalled his father punishing him by taking him out of the school he loved when he missed getting chosen for the football team. At that moment he had felt like a moron that wasn't fit to be alive, never mind a part of his family. Terry tasted the bitter cruelty of kids taunting him as he relived that humiliating experience. He wanted to disappear then as much as he wanted to evaporate now.

Terry excelled himself in math at his new school. Gradually he won the respect of his teachers and class mates. He was nicknamed "super-math-man." Kids asked for his help with homework. This superman thing was quite something! It got him noticed, made him popular and gave him a reason to take up space. But the one thing it didn't do was get his father's attention. Terry's confidence was squashed by his father's mocking tone calling him a nerd.

The Old Familiar Battle Begins Again

Accidentally hitting his neighbor's car rolled out this old familiar battle. The battle to win approval by being superman. Losing concentration and hitting the car burst the superman bubble. All that was left was the reincarnation of the ridiculing remarks made by the brats at school, and his father's belittling comments.

Terry played both roles. He was Superman until he hit the car. At that moment he forfeited his right to be a husband, father, friend and colleague. Terry the brat took over, gloating at Superman's downfall. The brat was in his element, enjoying this moment of superiority, laughing as Superman became hu-man!

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Terry's Desire To Be a Good Dad Rescues Him From Depression

Superman Terry's refusal to eat, take calls or be comforted was his way of going off to die having lost his battle. But Terry's daughter saved the day. His strong desire to be a good dad made him put the old battle back in it's box, and try a different playing field. He took the plunge and come to therapy with me.

He discovered Terry the gentle, sensitive, loving and smart human being, who could forgive and learn from his mistakes. The turning point came when he got accepted and cared for because he was human enough to make mistakes. Receiving compassion enabled him to put it on his menu. Now he takes calls and responds to his wife. Terry was glad he got depressed because it gave him the impetus to let go of the superman versus brat battle and sign the hu -man peace treaty.

How anger can sap your will power to give up smoking

September 6th, 2012 Comments Off on How anger can sap your will power to give up smoking

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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Making The Same New Year's Resolution

Jim made a new years resolution to give up smoking for the umpteenth time. Last year it had worked for 3 months , until a bitter row with his best friend weakened his resolve. The familiar comfort of smoking saw him through many a lonely moment. Painful memories that were played over and over in his mind were dulled as he inhaled and let out sighs of smoke filled hurt and disappointment.

Water Tight Procedure – It Will Work

This time he was more determined to conquer the habit. This time he made contingency plans for dealing with temptations and ensuring that his iron will overcame any emotional calamity, no matter how dire. He joined a support group, devised rewards for not smoking, and extracted promises from his colleagues and friends to come down hard on him if they noticed any signs of lapsing. He got the nicotine gum and the patch to get his through the worst cravings. He would call his sponsor if he had a desire to smoke, go out for walks, go to the gym, meet with friends or start a new project that would distract him from thinking of smoking. Notes to himself were stuck all over his apartment, desk, and car. A recording of his own voice reminding him to be strong with lots of good affirming statements from his cell phone recorder greeted him each morning and repeated every couple of hours.

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So Far So Good

He was good to go. The foolproof structure he had constructed supported him admirably. He glowed with success as he saved money, found new flavors exploding on his tongue, and jogged for a mile without getting out of breath. He was proud of himself, and so were his cheerleaders. He no longer had to worry whether a date would be put off by his smoky breath! In fact Jim found a great girl who joined him in sampling new cuisines, and walking off their hearty meals.

The Bombshell Drops

He celebrated his seventh month without smoking by booking a vacation with all the money he had saved. Then came the bombshell. He saw his girlfriend in a close embrace with another man at a café while he was out walking.

Life Came To a Halt

For a split second Jim's life came to a complete halt. His breath ceased, dizziness made him unsteady and there was a strange sound in his ears. The next thing he knew he was inhaling smoke from a cigarette held in his shaking hand. The smoke filled his lungs, and jolted his heart beat into frantic action. The tinny sound in his ears grew louder as he tried to deal with the scene he had stumbled upon.

The Resolute Jim Gets Wiped Out

The Jim of the last seven months had just been obliterated by the savage betrayal he had just witnessed. He felt as if she had been propelled into another world with no land legs, and no compass to find his way to safety. Some automatic part of him had rushed to the nearest store and bought a pack of cigarettes. Grasping the familiar white tube, lighting it, and inhaling it was like finding his way home. The rush of nicotine mobilized his survival instincts, uncorking his rage to fuel his fighting spirit.

Jim Plucks Up Courage To Figure Out Why It Failed

Jim was horrified that he had fallen off the wagon so easily. He realized that something more than just a lack of will was at play. He got up the courage to address his deeper issue in therapy with me.

Discovering The Hard Wiring

Smoking had brought a smile to his mother's face after long nights waiting for her husband who never came home. When his mother smoked she wasn't absent like his dad, but right there with her kids, being a loving parent.

Jim learned that smoking was an effective pick-me-up. He used it as his comfort food when his first girlfriend dumped him. Eventually it became his indispensable pacifier. The rhythmic actions of inhaling and exhaling let out all the tension. His brain and body recognized the nicotine and smoke as dollops of reassurance. They responded by reducing the unbearable emotions that betrayal created inside him. Support groups and sponsors helped with minor let downs, but were useless when the big betrayal hit. He was hard wired to use cigarettes to manage the tsunamis.


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Jim Disconnects the Old Wiring and Kicks the Habit

Jim disconnected the wire from nicotine to relief. He made new connections allowing love and care to take the place of nicotine. It was hard work but he did it. The therapeutic dialogue created fresh new neural pathways in his brain. He got relief and comfort from people who were reliable, trustworthy and loving. Now hid chances of successfully sticking to his new year's resolution are excellent.

Keeping silent about your feelings may predispose you towards Irritable Bowel Syndrome

August 15th, 2012 Comments Off on Keeping silent about your feelings may predispose you towards Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Anger Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

West los angeles psychotherapy for Irritable bowel syndrome


Irritable Bowel Disease makes Meryl want to stay home

Meryl woke up often through the night with abdominal pain and cramping. During the day she often felt bloated and uncomfortable. It messed with her appetite and eating routines. The constant tenderness in her gut made her afraid of going outside her home and work place. She worried about being near rest rooms. She was embarrassed about leaving events frequently to visit the rest room with no apparent relief. She never told anyone and pretended all was well.

Silence was Meryl's best weapon against emotional abuse

Meryl usually kept her feelings and opinions to herself. She had long since learned that the one sure fire way to avoid rocking the boat was to keep quiet. It wasn’t safe saying what she felt if her mother would go into a tail spin and shower her with a spate of hurtful remarks that she was powerless to defend against. It was dangerous to play with her father’s wrath if she dared to speak for herself. The only times she did so resulted in being torn to shreds and then ignored for weeks. Taking the blame for things that went wrong in the family seemed to make everyone else accept her, and reduce the condemnations. Self-silence and self-blame were the only way to avoid the emotional abuse that came with expressing her feelings.

Looking good in public was Meryl's ticket to feeling good

Meryl felt good about herself as a professional that other people respected. She wasn’t going to let anything spoil that feeling of being admired and valued. She was the first to own the blame and fix problems at work. That was her insurance against nagging thoughts about what others may be thinking of her. It was like an automatic reflex that went into action the second someone she cared about was upset or angry. Self-silence and self-blame became Meryl’s way of protecting herself against the sense of helplessness and worthlessness that came with emotionally abusive interactions.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome was the culprit ruining Meryl's life

Meryl did a lot of research on her symptoms, altered her diet, took supplements and kept herself hydrated with water. She regulated her times of eating and made sure she fed herself regularly with small easy to digest meals. But nothing seemed to make a difference. It was time to consult with the experts. Meryl’s nursing background came in useful. She knew who to talk to and what questions to ask. A series of tests ruled out Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Colitis, and Chron's disease.

The diagnosis was Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) of the constipation type. It is a functional disorder in that physical symptoms persist in the absence of any structural or biochemical abnormalities. Twice as many women as men suffer from IBS.

Meryl was shocked and upset because it meant that there was no ‘cure.’ All she could do was ease the symptoms with medications when the flare ups were severe.


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Research evidence on IBS and emotional abuse

A. An article in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine published in 2000 reported a strong link between emotional abuse and IBS among women.

B. IBS sufferers have a heightened need for social desirability (as reported by the Journal of Gastroenterology in 1990, and the International Journal of Psychiatric Medicine in 1992).

C. Emotional abuse destroys self-esteem, so there is an increased need to look good, to be socially desirable. The need to have a good image conflates with the need to protect others from feeling bad, and triggers coping mechanisms like self-silencing and self-blame.

D.Self-silencing is a way of maintaining intimate relationships by silencing thoughts and feelings, resulting in a devaluing of the self. It is a way of avoiding emotional abuse.

E.Self-blame is another way of avoiding emotional abuse. It works by lowering self-esteem and accepting responsibility for negative events. Better to blame yourself than be skinned alive with abuse from so called loved ones.

F.Self-blame and self-silencing increase stress.

G.Stress hormones like cortisol exacerbate symptoms of IBS and reinforces the negative downward spiral.

Communicate feelings and thoughts for improved gastric health

1. Meryl can turn the tide for herself by taking the risk of speaking her mind.

2. She can practice sharing her thoughts and feelings with herself at first.

3. Next she can write them down.

4. Finally she can begin sharing one or two thoughts and feelings with trusted colleagues.

5. Allowing others to share in the responsibility when things go wrong will make Meryl experience a more realistic world, where she won’t have to protect herself against anticipated emotional abuse.

Take the relationship quiz and discover your profile of relationship security with tips on helping you become stronger.

How to save yourself from your self-destructive anger- masochistic anger part 1

August 5th, 2012 Comments Off on How to save yourself from your self-destructive anger- masochistic anger part 1

Tips on Anger management for Satisfying relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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Anger overwhelmed Conrad when he couldn’t hang on to a relaxing day.

Conrad woke up angry and upset. Why did the good time have to end? He had relaxed, enjoyed being spontaneous and free with family and friends at the barbecue yesterday, but he was angry that it hadn’t lasted long enough. He wanted more of that feeling of utter abandonment and not caring what anyone thought. Conrad was angry that only eighteen hours later he had to settle for a fast fading memory.

Anger put the lid back on Conrad’s joy so he wouldn’t feel the loss.

A sense of loss invaded Conrad’s mood. He couldn’t allow himself to wallow in sadness, and anger borne of protest. He pulled himself together and set about getting on with the tasks of the day. As the hours flowed, Conrad felt ‘bunged up’ and irritable. He was curt in his interactions. He didn’t want to talk about or share his happy experience from yesterday. It was as if it had never happened. He put the brakes on the pleasant memories by multi-tasking and focusing on accomplishing the items on his agenda. Better to spend energy on things for which there was a tangible result than relive moments from his liberating experience of the day before. The latter only led to anger that he had been prematurely wrenched away from a rejuvenating source.

Anger helped Conrad keep his joyful but messy emotions under control.

Returning to the routines of regular life meant Conrad had to be ‘in control’ again. He had to watch for signs of excitement, joy, eager anticipation, the thrill of the unknown and the risk of letting people see him the way he really was. The earliest rumblings had to be quickly stamped on and killed. He put the shackles back on and wore a mask of robotic predictability. What was joy yesterday became ‘out of control messiness’ today. Relaxation, fun and being authentic turned into images of ‘disgusting sentimentality.’

Conrad had ‘bunged up’ his inclination to be authentic, feel his feelings without being self-conscious and be happy in his own skin. Putting a stopper on the bottle of joy and authenticity made him feel safe, contained and in control. He wasn’t allowed to enjoy life with others by being true to himself for more than a day at a time. It felt like he had exceeded his quota and now he had to be boxed in, ‘bunged up’ and not allowed out for a long time. He was afraid of allowing his feelings of joy to come out again for fear that he wouldn’t be able to modulate them.

Anger serves two important functions for Conrad.

Conrad’s experienced anger in two ways. First as a tool to stifle real and permanent feelings of enjoyment with life. The anger burned any strands of happiness that lingered beyond their allotted time. Secondly, after the massacre of joy, and no possibility of messy emotions, Conrad was safe enough to feel the anger of having to be his own executioner. Why was Conrad such a self-punishing control freak?

As a young child Conrad felt all his feelings naturally, fully, deeply and in the moment. But the reaction he got from his parents made him despise and fear his own feelings. His mother couldn’t tolerate Conrad’s genuine sadness or pain. She was unable to understand or comfort Conrad. He effectively ‘lost’ his mother by expressing his feelings organically. Conrad’s show of feelings scared his father, who set out to terminate them. There was no empathy, understanding or comfort. Just fear and abandonment.

Conrad was forced to become the terminator extraordinaire of his feelings.

Conrad learned to control his feelings from the get go so his mother wouldn’t be ‘disgusted’ and disown him. Conrad discovered that ‘bunging’ up his emotions was the only way to ensure that his father stayed calm and available to take care of him. He became the terminator extraordinaire!

Anger was used as a masochistic weapon to stomp on joy.

Just imagine the anger Conrad piled up each time he had to chop off his feelings in order to make sure his parents would stay around!

Just imagine the anger that built up when Conrad realized time and time again that his emotions were threatening to his parents, and as a result became a threat to his safety and well-being.

Just imagine the anger that boiled over and spilled into his existence when he had to curtail his enjoyment of life so that he didn’t become ‘out of control and messy!’

Just imagine the anger that Conrad got in touch with as an adult when he tasted some good times and found himself scurrying to put the shackles back on!


psychotherapy for turning unhealthy anger into healthy anger west los angeles

photo copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

How Conrad can use his anger to regain his right to feel joyful.

Conrad’s anger at having to be ‘bunged up’ is healthy anger and opens up a pathway to break from the stranglehold he has imposed on himself most of his life. He has an opportunity to do a reality check and discover whether his natural feelings really are over the top, scary, and disgusting.

Conrad can recall the connection he made with all the people at the barbecue who were all with him when he lived in the moment and didn’t hold back. That is one piece of reality that shows his feelings are acceptable and facilitate bonding experiences.

He can also start to check in with himself and learn that he can modulate his emotions in a way that allows for joy over a longer term.

Anger at being his own murderer can provide Conrad with the incentive to give himself credit for being able to manage feelings without having to be a control junkie.

Giving up anger as a weapon for psychological suicide by killing joy, and embracing anger as a fuel to develop self-trust and acceptance is Conrad’s best way forward.


copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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Ten ways to direct your anger in a productive way

July 29th, 2012 Comments Off on Ten ways to direct your anger in a productive way

psychotherapy for anger about being ditched west los angeles

Louis's shock turns to disbelief and anger

The world caved in on Louis when his girlfriend of three years ditched him, complaining he was ‘too needy!’ Louis had been the devoted boyfriend and caretaker. He did whatever she asked no matter what the cost to him. He cut out his friends and family. He stopped playing sports and dropped out of college. When the shock of his rude dismissal from the relationship hit him, he went through a period of disbelief and then he became angry.

Getting zero return on his relationship investment made Louis furious

Louis had given her his undivided attention, and anticipated her every need. He lost himself in the relationship and was furious that his investment had failed. Louis despondently recalled his fitness routine in the gym and on the basketball court. He remembered the exhilaration of Marshall arts and the fun he had winding down with his mates. He thought of the ease with which he sailed through high school math and science. He could have done a lot with his talents and energy. By rights he ought to be on a stimulating career path, earning good money. But at the age of 26 he was penniless, jobless and rooming with a relative. He was overweight, out of shape and despondent.

The anger of wasted potential jump started Louis's recovery

Anger washed over the sad and sorry parts of Louis. He hated feeling beaten and hung out to dry. It reminded him of the times his mother scolded him for not doing his homework right the first time. He relived the sting of his teachers calling him lazy, and other students mocking him with jealousy when he got straight ‘A’ grades without studying. Louis felt the taste of his wasted potential as his rage kicked him in the gut. He couldn’t sleep, eat or enjoy hanging out with friends. Louis decided to rediscover his old self and bring it up to speed.

Louis used anger as his power tool to rebuild his self-esteem

Louis developed a daily routine at the gym. He found his way back into a basketball team and practiced hard. It made him feel strong and on fire. He focused his attention on getting his body toned up with a good diet. He slept better and woke refreshed ready to explore his abilities. He enrolled in college and took a full set of classes to make up for the wasted years. He found himself to be sharp, able to concentrate and achieve grades he was proud of.

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There are many resources in Max's tool box to use anger productively

What does research tell us about anger and achievement?

In 2007 a study outlined in the Journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin indicated that anger is often helpful in thinking through a problem in a more rational and analytical manner. Louis used his anger exactly in this way. He had been blinded by the relationship and fear of loss. Anger at being dumped made him think more clearly and rationally about his needs and he set about putting his own house in order.

A 2008 study reported in the Journal of Psychological Science suggests that anger is beneficial when people have to perform confrontational tasks. Anger improved performance on tasks that involved ‘beating an enemy.’ Louis had many internal enemies. Louis had to confront the fact that he had been rejected. He had to confront the loss of self-esteem, self-respect and his part in losing himself in a one-way relationship.

Ten ways Louis used anger to build himself up and succeed.

1. Anger lit the fire of personal control and power

2. Anger propelled Louis to focus on himself- his present and his future.

3. Anger at being dumped made Louis decide to zoom in on his dormant strengths and skills.

4. Anger helped Louis to shut out distractions and focus his energy and intelligence to take charge of his life.

5. Anger made Louis determined to feel capable and accomplished.

6. Anger pushed Louis to test himself and feel the pride of success.

7. Anger directed Louis to put himself through his paces, reaching new heights.

8. Anger allowed Louis to come back fighting, performing better and ever.

9. Anger took Louis from a sense of defeat and loss to triumph and gain.

10. Anger drove Louis to overcome the humiliation of being dumped and find multiple reasons to think and believe well of himself.

We have all seen athletes and opposing teams whether political or commercial ‘psyche’ themselves up with anger in order to ‘win.’ Louis’s case is an example of using anger to win the internal battles with yourself against your own blind spots.


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Dealing with anger about not getting what you want!

July 22nd, 2012 Comments Off on Dealing with anger about not getting what you want!

psychotherapy for anger problems in marriage

anger pokes at a marriage like a thorny fern

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


I do what you want, but you never let me do what I want!

Justin had his heart set on the new BMW sports car, but Bernice wondered whether it was the best way of spending money at this point. There were other more important priorities like her business start up, the kids school fees and house repairs to consider.

Justin blew up. “ You never let me have what I want! When you wanted to go to Costa Rica I agreed because I knew what that meant to you. I let you choose the living room furniture even though I hated it. Yet when something is important to me you pour cold water all over it, and make me feel selfish.”

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You just want to stack up points to use against me!

“ I’m sick of your whining. You have the money. You can buy whatever you want. I don’t know why you bother asking for my approval. You’re going to do what you want anyway. If I don’t agree I’m a spoiler, and boy do you punish me for it afterward! You make me pay for all the times you did things my way. You just do it to stack up points that you can beat me with when I don’t agree with you.” Bernice retaliated with fury to being manipulated.

Justin wanted his wife's permission, so he didn’t feel guilty

Justin was independently wealthy. The BMW wouldn’t hurt his financial portfolio, and he could take it as a business expense. But buying the car just because it was possible wasn’t satisfying to him. He was hungry for something much more valuable- permission to want things just for himself. That was the real prize. He was fed up with always having to justify it as worthwhile.

Justin was torn between feeling selfish and being a burden

Justin had been angry a long time. As far back as he could remember his mentally challenged younger brother Trevor got all the free passes at home. His father gave into Trevor’s tantrums to keep him quiet and manageable. His mother was torn between trying to anticipate Trevor’s moods and erratic behavior and keeping her marriage together. Justin was expected to be the good son who never needed nor wanted anything other than the basics.

Why was he always second best?

There was little room for him to have his childhood wishes without shame, guilt and a belief that his needs were illegitimate. That’s when the anger started. Why were his needs less important than Trevor’s.? Why was it wrong for him to want his mother’s approval and his father’s attention for being a normal healthy son? Why couldn’t he be spoiled just once?


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Justin became furious when his carefully thought out plan failed

The injustice of his childhood kept the anger smoldering on a bed of hot coals that was constantly stoked up. Each time Bernice didn’t gush with enthusiasm and give him the green light to get what he wanted he relived the torment of his childhood. He got more and more furious that even when he didn’t have to compete with a needy brother, he still didn’t get his wishes accepted and nurtured. Justin made a deal with himself. If he let his wife have what she wanted even if he didn’t like it himself, then he would be entitled to expect the same from her.

Justin’s plan didn’t work. Bernice didn’t buy into his scheme. Justin’s rage grew fiercer and the relationship became a battle ground. Justin refused to give himself permission to enjoy things he could get for himself, and Bernice refused to be put in the role of the bad guy who spoiled his life.

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How can Justin and his wife stop getting mad at each other?

How can Justin and Bernice stop the cycle of anger that interferes with their intimacy?

1.Justin needs to get clear on what his anger is really about. His anger is not about the car. It is about not knowing where he stands with Bernice and trying to figure it out.

2. Justin should share with Bernice his feelings of guilt, unworthiness and rage at never feeling secure enough to be able to legitimize his own wants and needs.

3. Bernice should try and hear it as part of Justin’s issue rather than take it personally and strike back. She can then share her hurt when he puts her in the role of judge and jury.

When Justin and Bernice feel and hear each others hurt, anger and frustration, they have begun to take a new journey together towards satisfying the hunger they both have to be seen as good, worthy and lovable people.

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