Managing Your Anger!

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 12, Number 5

Although Memorial Day is filled with barbecues and sales, it is important more than ever to remember those who paid the ultimate price to protect our freedoms. While we live in a country that seems to run amok with rumors, accusations, lies, half-truths, and angry posturing, it is still the best and most open country. We can have a lifestyle of relative safety and security and the ability to have almost anything we want. This freedom did not come cheap. We urge you to remember and pay respect to those who gave their lives so that we can have a life of abundance.

Our May E-Letter is about Managing Your Anger. Dr. K’s blog continues and our email of the month is about 12 Things Learned From Mothers. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the numerous comments and messages of support we have received.

Practice News

Low Cost Therapy. We are now able to provide lower cost therapy as Tara Passaretti, LMHC, has joined our practice. Tara is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Nationally Board Certified Counselor who has extensive experience working with children and families in private practice and in the court system. While she is being credentialed by the different insurance plans, she is able to provide counseling at a much lower fee. If you are in need of a therapist but do not have insurance or are unable to afford the high copays, Tara would be willing to see you. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our office at . 954 755-2885. .

Testings. If you are concerned about your child’s placement in school, this would be an excellent time to have them evaluated. Typical parent questions have ranged from should their child be retained to whether they are gifted to whether they have a disability that can qualify for accommodations at their school. Our practice does the different types of evaluations to help answer those questions. Information regarding the tests can be found on our website. If you have more specific questions, please contact Dr. Kimmel or Paul Dolnick.
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Support groups. Our ongoing weekly therapy groups have been quite successful. A men’s support group and a women’s support group are run by Dr. Jim Kaikobad and meets for one and one-half hours. The group is educational, supportive, and confidential and is limited to 8 people.

Benefits of these groups include significant cost reduction, time effectiveness, and the support and understanding of other members experiencing similar issues. If you or a family member would like to participate in either of these groups, please contact Jillian in our office at 954 755-2885.

Handouts from previous E-Letters can be found on our website, www.KimmelPsychology.com. We invite you to read and download them if desired.

MANAGING YOUR ANGER!

Do you get angry when someone cuts you off when driving? Do you get angry when you are on hold for a half-hour with some company and they hang up? Do you get angry when your child challenges your authority? It seems that anger surrounds us. Whether we are reading on the internet, watching television and movies, or listening to others, someone somewhere is angry. Someone feels mistreated or taken advantage of and responds with anger. This is not a new phenomenon yet it seems like today, it is constant. Ten years ago, did you ever hear the term “road rage”? Whatever happened to politeness, courtesy or common respect?

Many people today feel that by getting angry, they get their way. There is some truth to that. However, they leave emotional damage in their wake. In fact, they are just bullies. Intimidation can become a way of life, ruining friendships, employee motivation, and even one’s health. But all of us get angry and not all of us become bullies.

Anger is a normal human emotion as it is a response to a perceived threat. It is not just a feeling but a physiological response that includes increases in blood pressure, heart rate, adrenaline, and energy. It can inspire strong and aggressive responses that allow us to defend ourselves when attacked and we need to manage our anger to be able to function in society. An angry person gets focused only on their point of view and can become illogical and unable to be reasoned with until they calm down. It is as if emotions take over and logic is gone. There is also a certain quality of righteousness as the angry person perceives that only they are right and everyone else is wrong.

Anger is an emotion, neither good nor bad. How we deal with the emotion of anger may really be the problem. People typically use three ways of dealing with angry feelings. They suppress, express, or calm themselves. Being able to express angry feelings in an assertive manner is probably the best way to manage your anger. Being assertive often uses “I feel” talk and is not threatening but respectful. Anger that is suppressed is often turned inward and can cause depression, anxiety, and hypertension. It can lead to passive aggressive behavior or covert hostility and cynicism. Calming oneself lowers the intensity of anger and your physiological responses but is does not resolve the situation. Venting one’s anger can be dangerous as it can lead to escalation of angry feelings.

Situations that cause angry feelings will always happen but you can learn to manage your anger. You can reduce both the emotional feeling of anger and the physiological responses that accompany it. Remember that anger is a reaction to a perceived threat. The key word here is perceived. How you view and interpret a situation will affect how you react to it. Often times, people get angry when they have a should, or a must, or an ought to thought such as: Things should go my way. Or people should be responsive to me. Or he/she must be on time. When this expectation is not met, people get angry.

People can also feel angry when they feel mistreated or taken advantage of. They feel harmed and as if they are not important or valuable. Their sense of identity is challenged and this becomes a perceived threat. That is why name calling or demeaning a person when fighting can have consequences long after the conflict is over. Trust gets impaired and one develops a defensive posture when dealing with that person. So much of marital counseling is focused on developing trust and respect in both parties.

There are many strategies to deal with angry feelings. It is important to understand that it would be better to manage your anger than to give in to angry feelings. With practice of the following techniques, one can stay in control of angry feelings:

1. Try to identify what you are really angry about? Are you taking some situations personally when they are not? Are you using should or must or ought to thinking? Ask yourself why things should go your way? Reframe the situation so that you see that it is not personal and you are not being challenged.
2. Try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view.
3. Ask yourself if the situation is really that important in the grand scheme of things.
4. Be willing to forgive.
5. Ask yourself if winning an argument is more important than losing a friendship.
6. Calm yourself using deep breathing, positive self-talk, or counting to ten techniques.
7. Use mental imagery to visualize a happy place or a state of relaxation.
8. Remove yourself from the situation until you can calm yourself down.
9. Express yourself calmly and clearly using “I feel” talk.
10. Exercise regularly in order to care for yourself and to reduce tension.
11. Talk to friends and family about the situation to get their point of view.
12. Do not use drugs or alcohol to escape from feeling angry as they may make it worse.
13. Do not hold a grudge as it doesn’t affect the other person but it does you.
14. Inject humor in to the situation if possible to lighten the tension.
15. Seek professional help if you are unable to control your anger or the above techniques do not work for you. Therapy can help you learn what triggers your anger and different techniques to manage it in a safe environment.

We offer the following information on Managing Your Anger!”

MANAGING YOUR ANGER!

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned— Buddha

WHAT TO KNOW!

  • Anger is a completely normal human emotion that if not managed properly, can become destructive and lead to all kinds of problems
  • Anger can vary from mild irritation to intense rage
  • Anger has physiological and biological components including increased heart rate, blood pressure, energy, hormones, and adrenaline
  • How you perceive a situation can lead to you feeling angry and how you deal with it
  • Often times, people feel angry when their feelings are hurt or feel mistreated by others
  • The concept of should, or must, or ought to plays a large part in feeling angry as people have beliefs of what should or should not happen or how people should behave; when it doesn’t happen, they can become angry
  • Anger can be a response to perceived threats and can inspire aggressive behavior
  • Venting your anger is very likely to damage relationships, impair goal attainment, and negatively affect others who will keep their distance from you
  • The main goal of anger management is not to prevent the expression of angry feelings but to express them in a healthy and constructive way
  • Holding angry feelings in or repressing them can lead to anxiety, depression, headaches, digestive problems, high blood pressure, and disrupted relationships
  • Being angry may get you what you want but even so, it will damage relationships, cause others to be afraid of you, and contribute to more angry feelings
  • WHAT TO DO TO MANAGE YOUR ANGER!

      • Identify any should statements in your thinking and challenge them as to why things should (must, ought to) go your way
      • Try to be more understanding of others and see things from their point of view
      • Consider whether you are taking the actions of others personally when they aren’t
      • Recognize your bodily reactions that indicate you are getting angry and calm yourself
      • Walk away from the situation, take deep breaths, count to 10, exercise, and stretch
      • Ask yourself if the perceived wrong is really that important in your life
      • Be assertive: use “I feel” talk to express your anger clearly and calmly
      • Believe that you don’t always have to win or get what you want
      • Respect that winning an argument may lose a friendship
      • Be willing to forgive others when they are wrong
      • Know when to let things go; you don’t always have to win
      • Do not abuse drugs or alcohol which can increase angry feelings
      • Don’t hold onto a grudge
      • Try to see things humorously to release your tension
      • Use mental imagery to visualize a happy place or a state of relaxation
      • Use logic and cognitive restructuring; recognize your demands and expectations of others and change them
      • Seek professional help if you are unable to control your anger; therapy can help to identify irrational thinking and anger triggers as well as learn new techniques
      • WE CAN HELP!
        Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at DrKimmel@KimmelPsychology.com

        Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
        5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
        Coral Springs FL 33067
        Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.

        Dr. K’s Blog
        May 20, 2017

        This is a hard entry to write.

        It was a difficult month for me as my wife’s absence was highlighted due to several events.

        I was out of the country for two and one-half weeks. Before I left, I did all the preparing and packing. But, we used to do it together. I would usually bring home a present for her but not this time. And when I got home, she wasn’t there for me to share my experiences. I just missed her more.

        This was also the first Mother’s Day without her. Again, I could not make it special for her. She was on my mind all day. This was difficult for my children which made it even more difficult for me. Not only do I hurt but so do they and we all miss her.

        We also had a Bat Mitzvah to attend. This was the first family event without her and she was missed by all. It just didn’t seem the same without her. How does one participate in a joyous moment when they are grieving?

        Finally, the school where my wife opened, developed, and ran the Media Center held a dedication for her. They named the library after her and posted her picture and her favorite quote above the entrance. Colleagues she worked with and former students shared their memories of her. My family and I endowed a legacy award to be given each year in her name to a student who loves to read. The dedication was beautiful and it was very significant to hear how she affected the lives of so many and the future of her students. She would be happy to know that many of her students love books and love to read all because of her love for reading. Her presence was everywhere.

        So I have great pride but it is mixed with missing her greatly.

        April 17, 2017

        I don’t know if time really does help but the pain is not as intense or as frequent. There are moments of intensity where I really miss Jill but they are less frequent. Maybe I am just coming to terms with her being gone. Maybe it’s what we call resilience. Or maybe I am just used to being alone.

        Do I miss her? Yes greatly. But not as desperately as before. I think I am just getting used to being on my own. Spring has brought many firsts. For the first time in fifty years, she was not at our Seders. She is not here to plan our summer trips. She is not here to celebrate the birthdays.

        But I believe she is with us in spirit. In fact, I don’t know how to explain this, but I have felt her presence. I cannot put it into words as it is just a feeling but I do believe she is with me and that I feel comforting. I miss her greatly but I am determined to go on for myself, for my children, for my extended family, and for my patients. She would want nothing less.

        March 20, 2017

        First, I would like to thank all of you who read this blog and have been moved to reach out to me. People who I have not seen or spoken to in decades have sent me their heartfelt wishes and their personal memories of my wife. She had a great, beautiful impact on people and she truly had a well lived life.

        I question myself sometimes whether I should put my personal experiences out there yet I hope that by reading what I am going through, others can be helped. Our society does not prepare us to deal with the death of loved ones. So in some small way, maybe I can help.

        As time passes, the grieving continues. It has changed a bit but there are moments which are still very difficult. The most difficult part now of the grieving process is the loneliness. It is over six months now and I still have difficulty in accepting that she is gone. I still expect her to walk through the door or see her curled up in her favorite position reading a book. But I painfully know that will never happen again.

        The house is big and empty without her. I find myself filling my time with chores just to keep busy but when I am alone, it hurts. I miss her and our lives together. I feel so powerless that I cannot bring back those days. We think we are in so much control of our lives. And we are for some things, but for the most part, we are not. We just have to accept what is and what will be. Accepting what you don’t want to accept is quite a struggle.

        I am dealing with the loneliness by being with friends, taking a yoga class, and seeing my son and daughter. Yet there are always those moments where it truly hurts; words cannot describe it. But what else is there to do? I have been told by others who have lost loved ones that with time, it will get better. I hope they are right.

        February 20, 2017

        I wish I could say that it has gotten easier but it hasn’t. Another month has passed and the hurt remains as strong as it has ever been. This month brought the first Valentine’s Day without my wife and my daughter’s first birthday without her. I now realize that there will be many, many “firsts” most of which will be painful.

        It is still so hard to believe that I will never look into my wife’s eyes again. Never kiss her or touch her like I always did. Never hear her advice or support again. How does one accept never, especially when you don’t want to?

        I go out a little bit more. I see friends for dinner but for the most part, the evenings remain empty. The house also feels empty. My life is different. What I thought was important before is much less so if at all. Death changes your perspective but you cannot give in or give up. I continue to work and feel the satisfaction of helping others figure out their lives.

        I am fortunate to have friends who keep in touch to see how I am. I am fortunate to have children who despite their own grief, check in with me. I am fortunate to have had 50 wonderful years with my wife. So I try to count my blessings.

        I now believe that the only thing that will help me in this grieving process is just the passing of time.

        January 20, 2017

        It is now four months since my wife has passed and I can’t say that it has gotten any easier. I have gotten busier and in that sense, I have been preoccupied and am not dwelling on the sense of loss. But those moments when I am alone and are not doing anything are the most difficult moments. Friends have called me and invited me to make sure I am busy but you always have moments of aloneness which still hurt. I rationally know that my wife is gone but I still haven’t accepted it nor do I want to. My life is different. I am different. And it will never be the same.

        I don’t know how long it will take, if ever, to heal from this grief. People constantly ask me how am I doing and I find it a very hard question to answer. I know they mean well and are interested but what do you say. I am doing fine? I am not doing well? I am really just doing okay and keeping busy. That is probably the best I can say right now.

        Everywhere are constant reminders of the life I used to have. Some are poignant and other very sad. We dedicated the new office in my wife’s memory and seeing her picture gives me the feeling that she is with me all day long. I am glad we did that.

        I also went to the cemetery with my daughter and it was emotionally, one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Yet when we left I felt some comfort.

        I think my period of grieving will be over when I can truly accept that my wife has gone and that she had a wonderful life. I hope I can do that one day.

        December 19, 2016

        Another month has gone by and it doesn’t get any easier. In fact, the holidays highlight the emptiness and the loss. These are very difficult times and the powerlessness of not being able to change what happened is overwhelming. Keeping busy helps as it distracts from the grief yet even around people I feel alone. I grapple with acceptance and I am not there yet and probably won’t be for a long, long time.

        I also realize that I have changed. No longer do I have my best friend to travel with, to talk to, to learn from, and to share my private thoughts. My wife and I grew up and grew together and we shared many, many wonderful experiences. Now those experiences are over and all I have left are the memories and the possessions. Yes, my children are wonderful and we have a very good relationship. But they too have their own grief to deal with.

        I have found that death is the hardest part of life. Rationally, I understand that we will all pass at some time. But are we ever prepared for it? I give thanks that my wife did not suffer long; that is a blessing in itself. But I miss her.

        I have learned that despite all we control in our life, we are never really in control of what matters the most. I am glad that we had such a close and warm relationship yet, precisely because of this, it hurts now that she has passed.

        November 21, 2016

        It is now 2½ months since my wife died and the transition to acceptance is extremely difficult. Cognitively, it sounds like an easy task. But emotionally, it is one of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever faced in my life. I have spoken with others who have lost loved ones who seem to be the only ones who can understand what I am going through. They know the depths of emptiness and loneliness that one can only experience when one loses one’s partner. It is almost like a club of grievers who never ever really stop grieving. They just seem to put it aside to go on with their lives for the sake of themselves and others. They say that it gets better but the pain never leaves.

        How does one go from sharing everything with another to being alone? Things we were going to do, places we were going to travel to, renovations to the house, movies we were going to see, friends we were going to visit, and new experiences we were going to learn from are now all gone. They have to be done by me alone and yes I will do some of these but it is not the same. Ideas that I usually bounced off my wife or opinions where I needed her input now have to be decided only by me or by family and friends. Everything has changed internally since I am now a “me” and not a “we”.

        Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it has always been a family holiday for us. Yes I will be with my adult children but our loss will be paramount. As we always do, we will give thanks for our health and everything we have in life. We will also give thanks for having had my wife in our lives for as long as we had her. We will also give thanks that she is suffering no longer and we will remember her joy, her wit, her love for people, animals, and books, and her love for us.

        Email of the Month

        We would like to thank Mary W. for the following email:

        12 Things My Mom Taught Me

        1. APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE: “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside; I’ve only just finished cleaning.”
        2. TIME TRAVEL: “If you don’t behave, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”
        3. LOGIC: “Because I said so, that’s why!”
        4. FORESIGHT: “Make sure you’ve got clean underwear on in case you’re in an accident.”
        5. OSMOSIS: “Shut your mouth and eat your dinner.”
        6. CONTORTION: “Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck.”
        7. STAMINA: “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is finished.”
        8. TERRORISM: “Your room looks like a bomb’s hit it.”
        9. SOLVE PHYSICS PROBLEMS: “If I yelled because I saw a meteor coming toward you, THEN would you listen?”
        10. OXYMORONS: “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times; don’t exaggerate.”
        11. IMPROVEMENT BY EXAMPLE: “Stop acting like your father.”
        12. ENVY: “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have parents as good as yours!”

        Till June…

        The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

        If you no longer wish to receive future E-Letter reminders, please send an email to DrKimmel@KimmelPsychology.com requesting to be removed from this list.

        If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.