Archive for the ‘Unhealthy Anger’ Category

Six Ways to Defuse Your Anger When Your Children Fight

September 10th, 2014 No Comments

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

snapping with frustration

It's frustrating when your kids are constantly bickering and you have to be referee.

Choosing one side or the other often makes you feel bad,and guilty later on.

You wish your kids could get on with one another and let you attend to all the other things on your plate. But they don't!

They are not invested in harmony or collaboration. They want ownership and control over what they feel is 'right.'

So they fight and argue. They battle till they draw blood. And that's when you lose it!

One of your children gets hurt, is sobbing uncontrollably and you are now furious at having to take time out to care for the hurt child, chastise the other and somehow bring order to chaos.

Your expectations of peaceful play were shattered and now you have to take charge and undo the mess. Your anger probably comes from being forced to intervene.

So how do you mange this thorny parenting problem of facing sibling rivalry?

Do you punish the child who hurt the sibling and give all the attention to the child who is crying?

Or do you find other things for them to do and ignore what just hapened?

which part of me  do I choose


Things you should never do as a parent when you are angry at your kids for fighting

  1. Never gnore them because that makes them anxious and escalates the conflict.

 DO comment on their frustrations and distress, it’s very calming when a parent notices and acknowledges how you feel, which immediately stops the fight. Since you are angry too, it's a chance for everyone to notice that anger is around, and everyone is angry for a similar reasons.

  1. Never fight with them , because the parent becomes another child joining the fight adding to the conflict when what they really need is a for their mother to contain and manage their feelings.

DO talk about their need to feel stronger, and ‘better than’ the other, rather than focus on the rights and wrongs of the fight, and who started it. Then you will have taken charge in a way that brings them to attention without bitterness and blame. Your anger will diffuse as your children feel your understanding.


offer a helping hand


  1. Never try to compete for control because it’s sending a message that control is something to aspire to and is the go to method of interacting.

DO invite the siblings to share their feelings as mom shares hers about seeing them fight. It gives the kids a model of how to tune into one another and that everyone has similar feelings. The advantage for you  is that as you address their feelings, you teach the basics of empathy, showing them that fighting isn’t productive. You make it less likely that this pattern will repeat. Sharing your feelings means you too feel seen and heard and everyone takes equal responsibility for their feelings rather than passing the blame ball around like a hot potato.

     4. Never yell at them to stop –  You may get momentary relief but the siblings conflict remains unresolved, and it will be revived soon.

DO invite them to tell you and their sibling what they are feeling, needing and wanting without blaming or dissing the other. You benefit because you can also 'show and tell' what your needs are and how you feel when they can't be met. Everyone reduces the anger and you feel like a good mom, rather than an impatient, mean parent.

5. Never reprimand them. It is ineffective because they hear their mom disapproving of them as humans.  They get no idea of what they have done wrong and don’t understand why they are being chastised .It can lead to shame based narcissism later in life. You may feel vindicated in the moment, but you will regret it as you see your kids self-esteem falling through the ground.

DO comment on their frustration and distress. It's immediately calming because you are recognizing, not judging their emotional state. You benefit because you are giving voice to your frustration to. When you make space for your feelings and those of your children, anger is replaced by bonding.

6. Never punish them and then over-compensate when you feel guilty. This strategy is unproductive because it’s all about the mom dealing with her own hot buttons when she punishes them, showing her own desperation – then she fears losing their love and gives in. It teaches the kids that relationships are based on fear, and that evoking guilt is a great way of managing relationships. It does nothing to make them fight less or find new ways of expressing their needs.

DO create mutually agreed rules about 'fighting' or dealing with conflict, and praise them when they conform. When you feel you are taking steps to prevent the sibling fights, your anger dissapates. Including the children in making the rules ensures their compliance, and now your children are allies, not nuisances.


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 manage your anger when your kids drive you nuts

Are you covering up the sadness of being a bad parent with anger?

Is envious anger stopping you from connecting wih your kids?

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



Five Benefits of Mindfulness

September 3rd, 2014 No Comments

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


mindfulness benefits


Mindfulness is a hot topic in the area of anger and stress managment. But do you know what it is?

Have you got any idea of what it entails and how it can aid you in dealing with your anger and stress?

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Let's start with what Mindfulness is not!

Mindfulness is not meditation.

Mindfulness is not digging into yourself and discovering your unconscious wishes.

Mindfulness is not getting rid of all your thoughts and feelings

Mindfulness is not about detachment from the people and world around you

Mindfulness is not an escape from bad feelings like hurt, pain, anger, fear or envy.

Now let's look at what mindfulness is and how it can be of use to you.

1. In his book 'The Mindful Brain', Daniel Siegel describes mindulfulness as being aware of your mind and it's processes, so that you are not operating on auto pilot.

2. Mindful awarness involves reflection of what you are thinking, doing and feeling so that you are conscious of the choices you are making, and can opt for different ones to better your moment to moment, day to day life.

Benefit: when you feel irritated and angry you can sense it in your body, as you tune into your muscle tension, teeth clenching and sighing. You can then formulate words to describe your anger, and then share it in the moment. Putting your emotional experience into words, dampens the intensity of the feelings, and helps you stay and feel in control. Others experience you as genuine, adapting the converstion accordingly. You don't store anger and it doesn't build up into stress that makes you sick.

fed up but silent

3. Reflecting on your mind and what it is thinking and doing gives you the opportunity to empower yourself, instead of just being reactive and blaming everyone and everything around you for your actions.

Benefit:you are in full control of your reactions and responses. You can choose to interpret other peoples motives in a more benign way, instead of letting your autopilot take you to the same old place of rejection and hurt. You don't feel helpless and you avoid the shame and guilt of being 'reactive.'

4. Tuning into your mental proceses puts you in the here-and-now, so that you fully participate in and experience the person you are with, the surroundings you are in and the needs you have at that time.

angel but devil in disguise  

Benefit:   staying in the present releases you from captivity. Your past negative experiences predispose you to be over cautious and dismiss anything that looks or feels good as sinister, suspicious or a fluke. Mindful awareness focuses you on the reality in front of you so that you see and create a more positive life experience.

5. Embedding yourself in the here-and-now allows you to meet your need for connection with someone else, or to be apart and take care of hurt, pain or fear. Feeling your emotions as they arise means you take care of yourself in a natural organic manner. You don't brush it off and let it build up into intense anger or resentment.

Benefit: you never get hijacked by your frustration, anger or pessimism. You tolerate the bad feelings with the good and give both equal space. You have more of you to use as a resource because you are not trying to suppress feelings that you don't approve of. That's how you build self-compassion and compassion for others.

6. You don't hide from yourself, so you come across as authentic from the inside out. The image you show to others matches what you feel inside, making relating easy, and fun.

Benefit: you are at peace with yourself, non-judgmental and accepting. You have more space to be curious about others and invite them to be with you rather than perform certain functions for you. Relating becomes more meaningul and satisfying.

bend and stretch together for flexibility

7. Reflecting in a mindful way about what you actually want or are conflicted about builds self-compassion and patience for your process. It reduces the judge inside you that wants you to be perfect.

Benefit:flexibility of spirit means you can adapt to the situations around you without getting into a panic or fearing bad outcomes. Being in step with the world around you makes life easier than if you were fighting it to suit what you think it should be.

8. Mindfulness is cheap in terms of financial outlay and you don't need to depend on others to do it. But you do need to see it as a way of being, not just a 15 minute mental exercise as if you were going to the gym or jogging. It has to become like a skin that you wear and adapt to depending on your emotional state.

Benefit:being a mindfully aware person means you can start to read others more accurately. You get to understand the dynamics of the relationships you are in and most of all, you develop the fortitude to enjoy emotional intimacy instead of fearing it.

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:

Four ways to turn anger into love

How to get your partner to listen to your side of things without tuning out

How to deal with panic when anger managment doesn't work


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

Four Ways To Turn Anger Into Love

June 30th, 2014 No Comments


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


turning anger into love 2



1. You expect loved ones to read your mind.

When you are full of anger and rage that your loved ones don't treat you with respect or consideration, chances are you expect them to read your mind. You are sure that they know what's going on for you and deliberately ignore it, making you suffer.

That's what's make you angry and unloving.

2.  You believe that your loved ones know what you want and when you want it.

So you don't figure stuff out for yourself. You don't take the trouble to work out exactly what you want and why, leaving you in an unsettled place, angry that your loved one is not doing the job you assigned them.

So you blame them and push them away by spewing out all their faults.

3. You shouldn't have to feel the discomfort of sensing your needs.

When your loved ones don't instantly tune into your needs you get angry, because now you have to actually feel those needs and put them into words. But that is shameful, so you switch your focus to preparing a litany of their faults. Much more comfortable to see the evil in them than the shame of feeling needy in yourself.

So you start accusing them of all the wrongs they have ever done you and push them away even further from ever being able to see and meet your needs.

4. You believe that it's justified to punish your loved ones for not taking care of you even though you haven't told them what you want.

When you feel aggreived, you want to punish and feel strong by avenging yourself.

So you shut the door to all communication, give your loved ones the silent treatment and the cold shoulder. You are icy on the outside but smoulder on the inside.

5. You beleive that loved ones aren't human when they fail you.

When your loved ones fail to sense your needs and take care of your feelings before they become intolerable, you forget that what you really want it to feel close and connect – to be important and meaningful in their lives- intimate in an exclusive way.  Anger blinds you to your true purpose and all you want to do is to obliterate those who make you feel so insignificant.

So you use your anger to obliterate your humanity and that of your loved ones. You can't feel for them or yourself. Destruction is the only option.

relationship problems psychotherapy Los Angeles








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:

Avoid the pain of losing loved ones because of anger issues

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

Six ways to manage anger when you feel ignored


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

Stress Prevents you From Using Your Skills in Controlling Negative Emotions

May 19th, 2014 No Comments

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

 west los angeles anger management

Have you ever been annoyed and frustrated that everything you learned and practiced about managing your emotions failed you at the crucial moment?

It’s so disappointing when you have been to an anger management class, or spent time and money on CD’s, DVD’s and or coaches to help you master those intense feelings, only to find that you can’t access that learning when you need it the most.

That’s what happened to thirty-six-year-old Hugh a film distributor over and over again when he was out in public with his thirty-four-year old second wife June, a publicist. He was very much in love with June who was beautiful, smart and caring – so different to his first wife who only seemed interested in material things and never made him feel good as a person. Yet, at one of the many parties they attending, when June didn’t go to his side the minute he called her, he felt the blood rush to his head and an irritated voice coming out of him – getting angrier and angrier with each demand he made.

west los angeles therapy for stress related anger


He ‘knew’ she was just mingling and playing the crowds, but something inside him overrode that information, and he became belligerent.

His stress levels were through the roof and he couldn’t just stand there and wait. He pulled her away from the people she was with, castigating her for not obeying him as she should. June was mortified and made him sleep on the sofa. She didn’t speak to him the next day, and Hugh was left ashamed and scared that he might lose this wonderful woman.

Aware of his quick temper when he didn’t get an immediate response from her, June encouraged her husband to attend anger management classes.

She also bought him the latest expert DVD’s on handling anger productively. Hugh wasn’t keen, but he knew he had to do something drastic to make sure his life and his relationship didn’t go south. He learned some useful strategies in his 12 week class, and thought he had it licked. He’d practiced the skills in class and rehearsed them when he was out on the road, but somehow the emotional aroused in him when he didn’t get June’s attention immediately, just overcame all his learning and hickjacked him. The anger burst out, even though a couple of minutes later, he apologized and said he ‘knew’ he should have given her a signal that he was feeling insecure.

Topping up the classes with the CD’s made Hugh feel like he got a second chance, and this time he was going to conquer his angry outbursts. But despite his perfectly learned signals, breathing exercises and words to say how he felt instead of exploding, the anger erupted, as if against his will.

west los angeles therapy for self-hate


Unbelievably anxious and frustrated that his genuine efforts at anger management were fruitless, he started to beat himself up

 He got very concerned that June’s patience would run out, leaving him alone and unhappy. Hugh tried to beat himself up into being a calmer guy around June, until he realized he needed professional help. He first tried a life coach and the personal touch made things a lot better. He got to call the coach when he thought he would explode and get taken to a safer emotional place. After nine months, he ended the contract, believing he was cured. One month later, he was devastated when that same old explosive anger reared its ugly head while he was shopping with June, and she didn’t respond to his pleas to hurry up. He flew off the handle and embarrassed them both.

 west los angeles therapy for stress related marriage problems

 Disgusted with himself and angry as hell that all his learning and coaching hadn’t done the trick, Hugh went to therapy – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Now, finally he discovered the core beliefs that were being engaged when he blew up. He learned about the triggers that made him explode. And most of all he learned how punishing himself made things worse. He had a whole list of other ways to think that would prevent the anger from bursting out even though he knew it was inappropriate.

For the next six months Hugh was in seventh heaven. He was using his new found skills, and feeling successful. But one day he was upset when June said she was going on a two week business trip to promote a client’s book. Hugh got anxious. He knew there was no need to worry, but the stress got to him and all his skills flew out the window. He screamed at June for leaving him and accused her or not caring. He had gone ballistic.

west los angeles counseling for anger and stress

Accessing his skills was like getting blood out of stone!


So why did the CD’s, the coaching and the Cognitive Behavioral therapy not have a lasting effect?

Because as reported in  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, August 26, 2013, even the mildest amount of stress impairs the prefrontal cortex that tempers emotion with reason and judgment. All the techniques that Hugh learned in anger management class, the CD course and his Cognitive therapy were not able to withstand the effect that small amounts of stress can have on previously learned skills. Emotions win out, as the stress alters and or blocks the communication from the prefrontal cortex to the amygdala (the emotional center of the brain). So Hugh didn’t stand a chance.

Things finally shifted for Hugh when he started attending therapy that focused on the emotional experiences that made him insecure and stressed. He found that he had to return to the source of the upset that stressed that as a child he could only express through anger. In his therapy Hugh made the connection between his mother always leaving him to talk to others, forgetting him in stores, at the county fair and so on, and his intense anger. The connection he made wasn’t just insightful. He felt it in his sessions when he was secure that the therapist wouldn’t do likewise. That’s when the stress diminished, and he was able to truly feel June’s commitment to him. Before he ‘knew it.’ Now he ‘felt it.’ It made all the difference. He and June are now much more stable. When those old buttons get pushed, he can use all the skills he learned but apply them at a feeling level – so that his rational and emotional brains synchronize and make him behave as he wants.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You might also like:

Do you numb yourself in an effort to control your angry outbursts, only to have them explode later on?

Unresolved anger and stress keeps you depressed longer

How to relieve stress in a marriage by sharing jobs

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

Are You Losing Loved Ones Because of Anger?

May 5th, 2014 No Comments

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

west los angeles anger management

Has your loved one told you that they want nothing more to do with you until you learn how to manage your anger?

Are you scared that you will lose your loved one for ever, be alone and miserable for the rest of your life?

Do you wish you could just cut out that angry part of you and then live happily ever after?

Then you must be feeling ashamed and even more angry that you can't get rid of that angry monster inside you. Angry at yourself you punish yourself in a masochistic way.

Watch this video and learn why you are so angry that other people make relationships with you conditional on you taming your anger!

Discover what it is that you want more than anything from your loved one that they aren't giving you – which infuriates you.

Then follow the strategy I give you to fill yourself up with good feelings so tha you can avoid the pain of feeling abandoned and unloved.

Try it before it gets to the stage where you are forced to come to therapy to deal with the anger that is costing you your dreams.



Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


You might also like:

Depression buries the anger that keeps you from connecing with loved ones

How to get your loved one to prove their love without using anger

Managing anger that comes from feeling unwanted and insecure

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.

Feeling Insecure In Your Relationship Makes You More Prone To Angry Outbursts

April 25th, 2014 1 Comment


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

West Los Angeles Anger Management for Insecure Relationships

Do you believe your loved ones when they tell you that they love and want to be with you?  OR are you suspicious of their intentions when they invite you to hang out with them?

Are you constantly testing them out? Then you may have a deep sense of insecurity just like forty-year-old Mackenzie, a stock broker, who blew up into a rage whenever he thought that his long-time girlfriend Pauline was lying about her wish to marry him.

Out at a restaurant with thirty-nine-year-old beautician Pauline and their friends, he was upset that she seemed engrossed in a conversation with Mark about a basketball game. Feeling excluded and uninteresting to her, he got scared that she would soon leave him. The vision of Pauline abandoning him brought up intense anger. He goaded her all way home about her disinterest in him during the meal. No matter what reassurances Pauline offered, he was determined to make her admit that she didn’t care for him because he was so insecure in their relationship.

anger managment psychotherapy, Los Angeles

By the time they got inside their apartment Mackenzie was trembling with anger and fear.

“Why don’t you admit it?” he yelled, “You think I bring your mood down!”

No longer able to hold her tongue against these false accusations, Pauline snapped.

“You know what! You’re right, when you poke and prod me into not liking you, then yes, I don’t like being out with you because you have habit of destroying the nice time we had,” she yelled as she walked out, refusing to be baited anymore.

Mackenzie’s rage at being rejected and victimized made him feel even more insecure – alone, uncertain as to what would happen between him and Pauline and scared as to whether he would ever be wanted or loved again. He started texting her furiously to try to reconnect but Pauline didn’t respond. Each of his frantic texts got more desperate and insulting hoping to spark a response but all he got was a blank screen.

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In several studies conducted with chronically insecure people, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, (2009) found that the tendency to get angry and enraged got higher when the feelings of powerlessness and insecurity were at their strongest.

In addition, insecure people believe that their loved ones see them as insecure and likely to leave even when their loved ones do not judge them that way. The insecure individuals then became suspicious of their partner’s authenticity and damage the relationship.

Mackenzie fits the profile that the researchers described and lost out on a warm and nurturing relationship with Pauline. The anger that stemmed from his insecurity had previously ended a gentle and affectionate relationship with Mandy some three years ago. Two years before that his insecurity based anger had killed the friendship he had with a co-worker just as it was starting to move into a romantic phase.

Angry at himself for losing control and not being able to test Pauline out anymore, Mackenzie tried to meditate and calm himself down. He hoped it would prove to Pauline that he wasn’t a monster and that he could learn to be more secure. But she didn’t want to be put through his insecure tests again and left his life for good. His anger was still there as large as life despite his meditation exercises. So he gave it up.

    west los angeles psychotherapy for insecurity and anger

Disgusted with himself for being so insecure and destructive, Mackenzie had a series of hypnotherapy sessions, hoping that his insecurity and anger could be eliminated from his being, washing him clean. It worked for three months; until Mackenzie got attached to a girl he met at a friend’s party. Within a month he started to feel those familiar pangs of insecurity when she wanted time to herself or was busy with something else. At their next meeting he was irritable, angry with her for not wanting to be with him, and the taunting and testing of her commitment started.


Shocked that he was still feeling angry and insecure so soon after the hypnotherapy, he decided to try psychotherapy. He hated having to do it with every bone in his body. He just wanted to get this annoying part of him out of the way and then everything would be fine. But what he discovered was that wishing it away just made it worse and then he was filled with self-loathing.

He started and stopped therapy over and over again for the first year, until he surrendered to the fact that he couldn’t change without understanding the roots and reasons for his insecurity – and he certainly couldn’t control his anger until he understood where it was coming from.

Reluctantly Mackenzie talked about his fears growing up when he saw his parents split and come together and split again. He was never secure in his mother’s love because she beat him when she was upset with his dad. Punished as a young boy Mackenzie dismissed the scars it left trying to be strong. But now the scars were throbbing and his rage at both his parents for creating so much insecurity in his life couldn’t be contained. As his therapy progressed and he felt more compassion for himself, letting out his anger at his parents, he was freed to build a relationship with a woman. He no longer had to sabotage his romantic relationships with his insecurity and anger.


Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


You might also like:

Managing anger that comes from feeling unwanted and insecure

Rules about how to be secure in your relationship can end it!

Is anger the only way you can whip people into loving you?

Getting proof that your partner is commited to you

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.


Stress From Guilt Worsens Allergies and Prevents Enjoyment of Life

April 7th, 2014 No Comments

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

west los angeles psychotherapy for stress and allergies


Now that Maureen a divorced medical secretary had reached her fiftieth birthday, raised her children and had a chunk of disposable income she wanted to go on cruises with her friends. But each time she thought about booking her travel plans she felt sapped of energy. Her allergies played up and she lost the will to go through with her plan. Sometimes she got as far as buying theatre tickets, but a day or two before the show she would be swamped with work and too exhausted to use them.

Unable to have what she looked forward to, Maureen became anxious and stressed. Her allergies got worse and she had to stuff herself with Benadryl just to make it through the day. She worked hard for her money and now that she didn’t have dependent children or a boyfriend, she felt entitled to use it on herself. But she was either too busy or too sick to take advantage of her good position in life. After noticing that she continually missed out on her dreams, Maureen got angry and felt deprived. She felt as if life was taunting her with goodies and then snatching them away at the very moment she reached out for them.


On the odd occasion that she did go out with friends and enjoy a meal she was wracked with guilt.

She came home with a massive headache and drank herself to sleep while beating herself up for being so foolish with her money. She told herself she didn’t deserve her evening out, that it was just an indulgence and she ought to have used the money to buy her granddaughter ballet classes. Maureen’s self-castigating added to her stress and worsened her allergies. No matter how much Benadryl she took she couldn’t get out of bed and lay there depressed, feeling unworthy.

 west los angeles therapy for emotional stress and allergies

Research Evidence About Stress and Allergies

What Maureen didn’t realize was that antihistamines like Benadryl isn’t effective for stress that is long term or that peaks on particular days, according to researchers from Ohio University, 2008, and others, published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2009.

A report in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology,  2014 indicates that allergies are exacerbated by actual stress and perceived or anticipated stress, and recommends relaxing and doing fun things, meditating and deep breathing exercises to reduce stress in order to minimize its effect on allergies. But the troube is that stress caused by long term emotional problems don’t respond to these remedies.

Maureen’s source of stress was way back in her childhood

Growing up in a large family, Maureen had never felt seen and wanted. Shuttled from her parents to her grandparents and then aunts and uncles when it suited her carers, she longed to prove her value. She excelled in school and used her smarts to get jobs at the weekend to earn money and buy stuff for herself and family members. She didn’t want to feel like a burden, and enjoyed taking care of others. Basically she bought herself a place in their good books. That’s what made her feel good, and when she spent money on herself it didn’t give her that same sense of value and self-worth.

So Maureen filled most of her waking hours busy – as far away as possible from her feelings of not being wanted and loved for who she was. The long term stress that she endured wasn’t easy to manage. She read self-help books when she couldn’t sleep at nights. She bought meditation DVD’s and tried Yoga a few times before she felt guilty about working on herself and reverted back to her routine.

It wasn’t until she couldn’t shut out the fear of not being loved just for herself any longer that she came to therapy. Nothing distracted her from the palpitations and breathlessness that she experienced on waking up and during here working day. Physical checkups revealed no problems with her heart or lungs and Maureen was left with having to face the fears and the guilt about wanting to have a good time but believing that she didn’t deserve it in the eyes of her family.

In psychotherapy we worked on Maureen’s terror of being overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and anger about her childhood. Putting words to them and feeling them in the presence of someone who understood her dilemmas gave her permission to value herself for who she was and not just for how well she took care of others at work or in her family. Gradually her stress levels abated and her allergies subsided. She is now able to handle yoga and meditation without the terror that her suppressed feelings would overwhelm her if her mind was at rest.

Take the stress quiz

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You might also like:

Migraine is triggered by years of unexpressed emotional pain

Anger at your self makes you sick – masochistic anger part 2

How to get your own way, avoid guilt and still be lovable


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



Unresolved Anger and Stress Keeps You Depressed Longer

March 24th, 2014 No Comments

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

can't take another moment

It was eleven o’clock on a Tuesday morning, and Raul, a thirty-six-year-old property developer was struggling to keep his mind focused on the high powered meeting he had organized. He felt sluggish, his mind wandered and he could barely keep track of the agenda items he was supposed to bring to the table.

For the last six months he had felt lethargic and uninterested in things that he usually enjoyed. He stopped playing squash with his best mate, and he rarely went out on Friday nights with his interior designer wife Pat to their favorite restaurant as they used to do. His day-to-day routine felt awkward, as if he were undertaking something foreign. His autopilot stopped working and he had to force himself to think hard about the simplest of things over and over again.

Raul was depressed but he didn’t want to admit it.

It couldn’t be happening to him. After all he was the whiz kid who started his own company at age 18 and rocketed to becoming the biggest and most famous property developer in the State of Utah. From fancy upmarket shopping malls to exclusive residential gated communities his name was on all the signs. But just when he was about to expand to China and India, his body slowed him down. At first it was just the odd headache that stopped him from ‘Skyping’ all night with people on the other side of the world. Then he developed a pain in the back of his right shoulder that made him feel he was carrying an enormous weight. A week later he noticed that he was clenching his jaws and gritting his teeth – unable to relax his facial muscles. Then the pain all the way down his right leg throbbed and kept him awake night after night.

Medications didn’t help like they used to, and Pat’s home remedies and massages felt loving but did nothing to ease his symptoms. Slowly Raul’s various aches and pains turned into a sort of panic. When he got in the car every morning, he felt his heart race for at least 30 seconds and he often wondered whether he was having a heart attack. Yes, he knew that he should slow down and smell the roses, but that was crap! He needed to prove that he could do what his father talked of but never did. Raul wasn’t a dreamer, he was a doer! Yet no matter how much he achieved it wasn’t sufficient proof that he was not like his dad.

west los angeles  stress and anger managementThe stress of trying to be as different to his father as possible had been with Raul since he was fifteen – when he saw his dead beat dad take to the bottle after losing his job as an auto-mechanic –  giving up on life, and his responsibility towards his family. Raul’s anger was murderous, but he channeled it into making something of himself as an entrepreneur and had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.  Yet the anger still rankled him. He had never expressed his fear of having to take care of his family after his father gave up, and he continued to be bitter about the way he was forced to grow up and support his drunkard father.

Years of bitter anger added to the stress of being robbed of his teenage years before his time. But Raul’s discomfort with expressing it made the stress a chronic condition, ultimately leading to depression at the pinnacle of his career.

This time it was serious. It had lasted much longer than his previous dips into down states which he had always been able to get himself out of.  Now his whole life seemed like a nightmare that made him not want to do anything. The more he tried to force himself the less productive he was.


west los angeles therapy for anger related depression


As reported in The Proceedings of The National Association of Science in May 2013, chronic stress makes depression last longer. It prevents regeneration of nerve cells in the brain that would normally counter the chemical imbalance linked with depression. So without the necessary neurotransmitters to change and rebalance his mood, Raul was suffering a longer spell of depression than usual. And this time it was seriously threatening his entire way of life.

Until one day he couldn’t express his words clearly to his colleagues and partners around the world. He snapped at his wife and couldn’t bear her to touch him or want to have sex with him. That’s when he made the call to me and decided to come into psychotherapy, something he had thought weak and stupid for most of his adult life.

As we worked on the raw hurt of his early life Raul’s physical pain eased considerably. At first he felt the pain less intensely and later it was less frequent – we could always trace a flare up to emotions that he had not dealt with, that were adding to his stress load. But most important of all, Raul was able to decide what kind of man he wanted to be irrespective of his parentage and the hell he had been put through. He no longer needed to be the high powered executive since there was no one he had to prove himself to any longer. Instead, Raul and Pat took on exclusive clients and built their dream homes – inside and out – just as Raul had done for himself.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


You might also like:

Cure insomnia by dealing with anger and sress in relationships

Depression buries the anger that prevents you from connecting to loved ones

Is anger spoiling the enjoyment of your achievements?


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, Ph.D.









OCD Therapy May Involve Getting in Touch with Suppressed Anger

June 18th, 2013 No Comments

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

west los angeles therapy for ocd and anger

For the seventh time in less than a minute twenty-five year old Denise, a proof reader, found herself checking that she had marked the page she ended on before she closed the book. Each time she put the book down and tried to get out of her chair a huge wave of anxiety and panic swept over her. She couldn’t be sure she had marked the last page she had read and that meant that she would have to start the book all over again. As the panic washed over her she ‘knew’ that she had marked the page but she wasn’t positive until she had checked again. A blanket of relief came over her when she found the page marked, but it was instantly replaced by another dose of doubt that started the checking cycle all over again. It was as if she couldn’t hold on to that proof for more than a Nano second. Irritation and annoyance gave her a break from the anxiety and panic, but she was exhausted with these obsessive doubts, and her compulsive checking.

Feeling fatigued and depleted of energy Denise had no desire to go to her twenty-five year old sister Eileen’s birthday party. She just wanted to stay home and veg out. Just two hours ago she had been looking forward to the party. She had thought about what to wear and imagined playing with her two-year old niece Shelly and her one year old nephew Felix. But now it just seemed too much of a burden. 

west los angeles anger managemen

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

One set of OCD syptoms lessened only to start up another set of OCD symptoms

The more she thought of the effort she would have to make to get ready and drive over to her sister’s place the more she started to worry about the notes she made as she did her proof reading. Were they complete? Were they legible? Would she be able to remember the nuanced points she needed to highlight as she prepared her final draft? The thoughts became so loud in her head that she had to go back and check all her notes, and not just the ones she had made that day. Panic drove her to check and recheck the entire set of notes she had made since starting the book, all the way to the penultimate chapter that she was now on.

Denise was consumed by the job. There was a mild rush of anxiety as she checked each page of notes, scanning for legibility and errors. But overall there was a massive sense of relief, as if she’d just been dropped into a soft feather bed. She felt weightless and free despite the rumblings of anxiety about her notes. By the time she had finished it was late and the party would be coming to an end.

west lost angeles counseling for anger and ocd symptoms

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Obsessive thoughts rescued Denise from having to face her envy of Eileen

The obsessive thoughts and compulsive acts had made Denise uncomfortable in the moment but they saved her from a fate much worse. For years she had been envious of her sister. Eileen had been the golden girl doing everything in life at the expected time and being praised for it by her parents. Denise was less outgoing and yearned for a slower pace of life. She found some peace and comfort when Eileen got married and moved out. She and her parents enjoyed their time, doing stuff together without any pressure on her to grow up and be like her sister. But then the first grandchild came along and her mother in particular was enchanted. She spent more and more time with Shelly and then when Felix came along both grandparents built their lives around Eileen and the grandkids. Denise’s comfortable existence was shattered.


Suppressed anger often leads to Obsessive Compulsive (OC) symptoms

She was angry and frightened at having to go it alone. Eileen had a smooth transition from home to marriage and family, but Denise was thrown in at the deep end and her rage was enormous. But the shame of her envy and anger was overwhelming. She couldn’t live with it choking her every waking moment. She couldn’t get rid of it either, so the only safe compromise was to distract herself from the envy and rage – by focusing on checking and rechecking her work. It did the trick since she never felt bad about her sister or the loss of her parents company. That took care of the stress that otherwise threatened to swallow her up.

Treatment for OCD and suppressed anger

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Why on earth would OCD be useful?

Obsessive Compulsive behaviors often come to rescue you from anger and rage that feels shameful and destructive. An article in the Journal Cognitive Therapy and Research 2004 reported that people high in OC symptoms tended to experience more anger than those without OC behaviors. They also had greater difficulty controlling the anger and suppressed it as a way of managing the negative experience of their rage.

Another piece of research published in the Industrial Psychology Journal in 2001 showed that people with OC symptoms experience attacks of anger that become intolerable and result in depression to quiet it down.


OCD Therapy – Denise went to therapy from time to get relief from the exhaustion and annoyance of her OC symptoms. Each time she tried out the strategies of self-talk and refocusing it worked for a short time and then just like her OC it came back as strong as ever. But what did eventually make the OC go away was when Denise was able to feel safe enough to deal with her anger, envy and shame in therapy. Taking the risk of feeling those awful feelings freed her from the need to screen them, hide from them and ruin her life in the process. So when you want to know how to cure OCD think of the long term, go in for the long haul and deal with all the unbearable emotions that OCD may cover up and you will be free.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You might also like:

Understanding your panic attacks, part 1 – facing your dilemas

Understanding your panic attacks, part 2 – getting past shame

Understanding your panic attack, part 3 – fear of going it alone

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, Ph.D.



Do you numb yourself in order to manage your angry outbursts only to have them explode later on?

June 11th, 2013 No Comments

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



west los angeles anger managment psychotherapy


If your partner is threatening to leave if you don’t go to anger management therapy, then you are probably trying to be quiet and unassuming to avoid risking an angry outburst.


But ironically you are only making it more likely that you will have more angry explosions, more often and of a fiercer nature.

That’s what thirty-seven year old clothing importer Dorian discovered after he came to therapy. He was terrified that his wife Amelia, a thirty-three year old nurse would leave him and never let him see their child due to be born in a couple of months. He didn’t want to come to therapy. But he came to appease Amelia and reduce the risk of devastating loss.

Dorian was very quiet in therapy. It was hard to believe he could have angry outbursts and frighten Amelia to such an extent that she wanted to end the relationship and protect her unborn child. He spoke in a matter of fact manner, calmly, clearly and logically. He understood and owned his problem and he got why Amelia had presented him with an ultimatum. He was willing to do what I suggested and practice the skills that he wanted me to teach him.

The only problem was he didn’t show any emotion. He was like a machine saying all the right things to show his commitment except talk about the experience of being angry. He had ready answers for why he shouldn’t be angry, and how he knew that there were better ways of communicating. Dorian was in perfect control of himself during therapy and for most of the time when he went about his daily business. He successfully numbed himself to whatever triggers could have made him and most other regular folks angry, or so it seemed in the moment. What he didn’t realize was that he was building a massive pyre on which to burn and destroy himself and those around him when the fuse was eventually lit.

What he really wanted was to be seen and heard as a person with good intentions.

But he never felt the comfort of knowing that Amelia “got” him, so he would keep trying and when he reached breaking point he would explode in anger, misery, and terror that his efforts were useless. He would find his heart going like an express train when he felt misunderstood or not given credit for things he had thought of and carried out, like that time when he had got up at the crack of dawn to do the laundry and make breakfast when Amelia was resting during a nauseous phase in her pregnancy. All he got was a criticism for being noisy!

At first Dorian related these incidents as if he were reading the weather forecast. But then he started to relive them and he began to notice his body reacting with tension, breathing difficulty and rapid heart rate. The memories became real and alive. His voice choked up and he became agitated when he recalled countless incidents of this nature that accumulated into a tinder box of pain and hurt ready to ignite when the sore wound was poked again. That’s when I was able to witness, acknowledge and soothe his pain, shame and grief at his lack of success in getting through to Amelia except by angry outbursts.

As he shared more of his emotions by talking about them, Dorian noticed that he didn’t fear going home every day. His heart rate didn’t escalate to bursting point whenever he had to relate to Amelia. Things were calmer and the relationship settled down into a more stable and relaxed routine.

west los angeles anger management counseling

So what happened to make Dorian calmer and less likely to explode?

As the journal PLoS ONE reported in 2013, talking and reporting on strong feelings of anger reduce heart rate and stress. Dorian’s experience of reliving his painful experiences in therapy meant that he was reporting them as if they were happening in the moment. He expressed in words what he had been stuffing in an undigested manner that previously would have exploded when he got triggered by an accusation.

Dorian learned that expressing himself in words got him acknowledgement and understanding – in other words he got his message across.

That led to him feeling calmer and more able to have a discussion based on what the issues of the moment happened to be. Instead of fighting for entry into Amelia’s awareness, he was now showing her in a way that was relevant and not clouded by weeks and months of pent up pain and anger. Putting strong feelings, especially anger into words meant that Dorian was not reacting to raw and messy stuff inside him, but expressing the genuine impact that relating to Amelia evoked in him. It was not shameful or childish any more, once it was put into words. It was just real.

Yes, Dorian had to pay a price – he had to feel those feelings up front and deal with the pain and hurt, the wish to punish and retaliate and the sheer anguish and desperation of trying to get accepted and understood. He hated reliving these moments when the feelings came rushing in and he felt like he was drowning without a life jacket. He often avoided therapy to skip out on experiencing his feelings.


west los angeles anger management for couples

But as time went on and he got used to it he realized that the feelings got smaller and went away sooner.

They became tolerable and he was then able to share them in the moment with Amelia. It was a long hard road with many bumps but the threat of losing Amelia and their child was enough to encourage Dorian to sustain the course with clear and lasting benefits. He is no longer labeled as one who has explosive bursts of anger, but one who just like everyone else gets angry from time to time but expresses it in words and gets it attended to.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You might also like:

How to deal with panic when anger management doesn't work

Is anger the only way you can whip people into loving you?

Work on anger issues to help your relationships


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, Ph.D.