How to Starve the Anger and Nourish your Relationships
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ANGER KILLS RELATIONSHIPS
HOW TO STARVE THE ANGER AND NOURISH YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D
Mike Hayes, M.Ed
A Self-Help Manual For Anger Control and Anger Reduction When Anger Is Destroying Relationship With the Partner and the Children
By Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D
3250 Blueberry Hill Place
Cleveland, TN 37312-4401, USA
All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any reasons, electrical, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.
copyright (c) 1997 by Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D.
Library Of Congress Catalog Card Number (LCCN) 97-075431
ISBN 0-9628382-4-1 $11.95 Softcover
Anger Reduction: Anger Management: Marital problems
Partner-Relational Problems: Violent Love; Domestic Abuse:
Men-Women Relations: Male Aggression;
Male Cultural Stereotypes
Includes bibliography and index
Cover and other paintings by Jaqui Streeton
WARNING -- DISCLAIMER
This book is written to provide information regarding the disorders of people fear. The reader should understand that the publisher and author are not engaged in rendering professional, legal, or other expert services. If professional, legal, or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. It is not the purpose of this book to provide all the information that is otherwise available to the authors and/or publishers, but to complement other texts on this subject. You are urged to read extensively the available material, learn as much as possible about the anger management and related problems, evaluation, treatment, and self-help techniques, and to tailor the information to your individual situation. Although painstaking effort has been taken to make this book complete and accurate, you may encounter lacunae, gaps, and mistakes in structure and content. Therefore, this text should be used only as a general guide, and not as an ultimate source of information on anger management and its effects on relationships.
The aim of this book is to educate and inform. The author and the publisher shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by the content, style, or format of this book. The book is not intended to substitute for treatment and/or professional advice. In fact, if you have a problem, you must seek professional consultation and evaluation.
If you do not wish to be bound by the above, you may return this book to the publisher for a full refund.
About The Author And The Book
Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D is a psychologist and an author. As a practicing psychologist, he has helped thousands of clients including children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families in his career of thirty years. He has written over two hundred articles and books on personal psychological and relationship problems. He writes a weekly column "Understanding Emotions," a popular feature helping people who are interested in self-help, personal development, and self-initiated growth. His book, "Insane Jealousy," has gained national recognition. Dr. Sharma, is director of Behavioral Medicine Center, a comprehensive psychological treatment clinic in Cleveland, Tennessee. He has practiced clinical psychology from 1967 after completing postgraduate training in Medical and Social psychology at the Indian National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences. Thereafter, he completed Advance Training in Clinical Psychology at the Tavistock Clinic and Institute, London, UK, and received his doctorate in psychology from Lund University, Sweden. He has been licensed in Tennessee since 1981
Mike Hayes, M.Ed. is a licensed professional counselor with a designation as a Mental Health Service Provider in the state of Tennessee. Currently, he works as the Director of Student Events at Lee University, where he is also an Instructor in Psychology. His research interests include leadership, the effectiveness and utilization of self-help materials, and religious issues in psychotherapy. He has served as a counselor, administrator, trainer, and consultant in a variety of contexts. His contribution to this work consists of writing the boxed tips, questions and answers for each chapter, and the chapters 18 and 19, entirely.
The book, Anger Kills Relationships is an educational program based on Dr. Sharmaís experience in working with angry individuals and couples and their families. This book is for education and general information and is not intended to substitute for treatment and/or professional advice. In fact, if you have a problem, you must seek professional consultation and evaluation. However, individuals with anger control problem will find it highly practical and useful in enhancing the benefits of their recovery treatment program. Mental health professionals will find in it an invaluable tool for client education and for rendering self-help assignments to their clients.
I am greatly indebted to my clients and families who have helped me tremendously to understand the problem of anger and the difficulties they encounter in controlling and managing it. I have also learned from them what works and what does not. Success of this workbook depends on its "user-friendliness."
Mrs. Anita Green has been infinitely patient with my revisions and re-revisions and has demonstrated her user-friendliness with her computer in re-keying the script. I am most grateful for her patience, skill and willingness to help. I am equally indebted to my beloved daughter Shali Sharma, M.S.W. for her suggestions to make this workbook more practical. Taz Randles, M.Ed. has been very generous with his time in reviewing the manuscript for editorial suggestions.
Chapter 1 ZINGER CAN UNDO 20 "I LOVE YOUíS"
PREVENTING AND RESOLVING CONFLICTS IN RELATIONSHIPS
Chapter 2 IMPROVING ON YOURSELF
THE KEY TO MORE SATISFYING RELATIONSHIPS
Chapter 3 ANGER AND YOUR HEALTH
Chapter 4 MORE ON ANGER AND YOUR FEELINGS
Chapter 5 CURB THE INSTINCT OF REVENGE
Chapter 6 VIOLENCE AFFECTS EVERY INDIVIDUAL
Chapter 7 DO NOT CONFUSE VIOLENCE WITH LOVE
Chapter 8 LET HOME BE A PLACE OF SAFETY AND SECURITY
Chapter 9 SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH HOW SOME MEN RELATE TO WOMEN
(Anita, do the rest the same way)
Chapter 10 EVEN IN ANGER WE CAN BE CARING AND CONSTRUCTIVE
Chapter 11 NO SHORTCUTS ... HAVE PATIENCE
Chapter 12 BRING TO YOUR CHILDREN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING
OF THE OTHER SEX
Chapter 13 WARNING SIGNS OF A VIOLENT LOVE
Chapter 14 LOW FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE BREEDS ANGER
Chapter 15 WE MAKE OURSELVES ANGRY
Chapter 16 REDUCING ANGER
Chapter 17 COMPASSION, A VIRTUE OR A NECESSITY
Chapter 18 LEARNING TO ASSERT YOURSELF HELPS DEFEAT ANGER
Chapter 19 LEARN TO RELAX TO CALM ANGER
A. How Do I Physically Change When I am Angry?
B. This Thing I Do -- My angry Behaviors
Threatening gestures Towards Others
Anger at Objects
Angry Facial Expressions
Angry Verbal Behaviors
Angry Voice and Tone
Degrees of Anger
Contact - Violence
C. Types of Violence
Cycle of Violence
D. How Many Hours Did I Work Last Month Without Pay?
E. How Much Time Do I Waste Being Angry?
F. Reasons To Control Anger.
Why Do I Want to Control My Anger
G. Picture of "Angry Me"
H. Picture of "Calm Me"
I. My Conflict Resolution Plan.
J. Daily Self-Assessment Of Anger
Answers to exercises
ONE ZINGER CAN UNDO 20 "I LOVE YOUíS"
PREVENTING AND RESOLVING CONFLICTS IN RELATIONSHIPS
Love and commitment are necessary for a good marriage, but they are not enough. John Gottman, author of "Why Marriages Succeed or Fail," from his study of nearly 2,000 marriages, says that for a marriage to be successful, a couple must have at least five positive moments for every negative moment. If the 5-to-1 ratio drops, lowering the number of positives, the marriage descends into a state of emotional poverty. The partners in the marriage suffer from "positive strokes deprivation." Beware the power if the negative is far greater than the power of the positive. Unkind words echo in our ears for years, while the kind words are forgotten in days. A "zinger," that is a cruel and aggressive quip or retort, can cut wounds too deep for pacifying words to heal.
Many marriages break up simply because they canít withstand the crushing pressure of bitter arguments, insults, and unkind deeds. When the episodes of yelling at and blaming each other outnumber the times of laughing together and enjoying one another, the loveóthe juice of the relationshipósimply dries up. Once the love dries up, it may be too late to fix the relationship and mend the differences because there is nothing left to work with. Even if the couple comes for counseling at this stage, there is no real desire in either partner to change his or her ways, accommodate the other, or make sacrifices for each other.
Notarious and Markman, authors of the book "We Can Work It Out." say that a marriage is in serious trouble when one or both partners exhibit one or more of the following damaging behaviors.
instead of arguing the point or talking it out, begin to withdraw from the conflict
have a tendency to escalate conflict
are unable to stop fights before they get ugly
hurl insults at each other during an argument
Occasional arguments and angry exchanges of words are resolved much easier in a relationship in which love and liking for each other prevail. But once a pattern of insults and ugly fights is established, all arguments and even the minor behaviors displayed during those arguments become highly "negatively charged." Each partnerís body and nervous system respond with an increased heart rate, perspiration, and adrenaline pumping into the blood. Thus, minor behaviors and topics of disagreement are to a couple what the red cloth is to the bull. Tests carried out in the laboratory on couples in marital conflict have shown that when they begin to talk about the conflictual issues, even a slight change in the facial expression or tone of voice, a raised eyebrow or curl of the lip will trigger an increase in the heart rate, perspiration, and the adrenaline level.
The increase in heart rate, perspiration and adrenaline level and other physical stress responses result in production of more stress hormones. The body then goes into a full-blown "fight or flight" gear, creating intense anger and fear. Just consider the impact on the physical and mental health of partners in bad marriages who live in this highly charged condition day after day for hours on end. They live in a chronic state of "flooding" -that is, the body is being flooded by the stress-related secretions and hormones, which not only damages their health, but also makes it extremely difficult for the partners to discuss the differences of opinion in a calm fashion in order to find solutions.
Furthermore, in such a state of flooding, it is difficult for either partner to think of the positive qualities and characteristics of the other partner, to remember the good times they had, or recall the things they used to do to please and make each other happy. The partners have first to learn to be calm and relaxed in each otherís presence. Until then, they should not attempt to discuss or resolve their differences, due to the intensity of the negative response they evoke in each other. Partners need to sit down, take a deep breath, relax and learn to physically and mentally calm themselves while in each otherís presence. They may need a third party or a counselor to help them achieve this.
To learn to handle a conflict without hurting, insulting and engaging in ugly fights is the single most important skill partners can learn to save their marriage. Learn to suppress those facial expressions, modulate the tone and the pitch of that voice, avoid raising eyebrows and curling of the lips, and suppress the words and actions that provoke the partner. Studies show that conflict management and effective communication cut down the divorce rate and domestic violence.
Recognize that "triggers" that provoke a fight between two partners are not necessarily critical differences of opinion over major family issues. Minor behaviors such as, a slight change in partnerís facial expression, tone of voice, a raised eyebrow or a curled lip can make the other partner shake like a leaf in anger or fear. Recognize that one zinger can undo 20 "I love youís".
To prevent "positive stroke deprivation," a couple must have five positive moments for every negative moment.
If you have to fight, fight civil. Do not let the fight become ugly. Curb the desire to hurl insults at your partner. Insults and fights can never resolve conflicts.
When you find yourself "heated up," come back to the cool zone.
TIPS FOR RESOLVING CONFLICTS IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Do not try to discuss or resolve differences until you can be calm and relaxed in each otherís presence.
Breathe deeply and relax in the otherís presence.
Control non-verbal clues like facial expression and gestures.
Modulate the voice tone.
PREVENTING AND RESOLVING CONFLICTS IN RELATIONSHIPS
Chapter 1 Exercises
Complete the items below.
1. Author John Gottman says that a couple needs to have at least ____ positive moments for every ____ bad moment to have a successful marriage.
2. What is a zinger?
3. According to authors Notarius and Markman, a marriage is in trouble when one or both
Partners exhibit four damaging behaviors. List the behaviors.
4. In bad marriages, often minor behaviors can trigger intense negative physical reactions.
List some of the behaviors and physical reactions.
Triggering Behaviors Physical Consequences
5. Define the term "flooding" as it is used in the article.
6. a. List topics/issues that create disagreements in your marriage or significant relationship.
b. Rate the level of anger you experience in these scenarios, using 0 as the lowest and 100 as the highest.
c. Select and issue that you rated above 50. What might you do to decrease the anger?
d. What expressions, words, or other behaviors contribute to the argument and level
e. Recall a recent disagreement in your marriage/significant relationship. How
could you have handled the conflict to prevent fighting?
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