In honor of World Mental Health Day, we thought we would re-post one of our favorite entries, “Quick Tips to Control Your Temper”:
Are you in control of your anger? Or does it control you? We all feel angry at times, and it can actually serve a useful purpose in some situations, but when this powerful emotion gets the better of us, it’s no easy task to rein it back in.
That doesn’t mean that there’s no hope for managing one’s anger, however. “I always figured that my Dad had a bad temper and I inherited it from him… that there wasn’t really anything I could do about it,” comments Cynthia, a 46-year-old businesswoman. “I knew I could try to control whether or not I acted on it – you know, laid on the horn in traffic or something – but if I was going to get mad, it was just going to happen and that was that! Now that I realize I can actually avoid even getting angry, I am so much happier! I don’t fight my emotions all of the time.”
No matter what sparks our anger: careless drivers, billing errors, rude co-workers, selfish siblings – none of us have the power to eliminate all of these annoyances from our lives. We can’t prevent the world from creating the irritants which make us angry, so that really leaves only one option: changing the way we think about those unpleasant events. “The way you think about events has a powerful influence over your feelings and actions,” state clinical psychologists and anger experts Chip Tafrate and Howard Kassinove. “Your thinking contributes to your anger and to some of the self-defeating behaviors that go along with it.”
Cynthia knows her perceptions were causing her anger problem, “My brother was driving us to a restaurant when some guy cut him off and then gave him the finger. Tom just waved at the guy like it was no big deal and didn’t even let it bother him. I was downright amazed!” she laughs, “I knew then that having my dad’s temper wasn’t the problem, my attitude was.” Tafrate and Kassinove agree: “Becoming more aware of how you typically think when you become angry and changing these long-standing thoughts are key in reducing anger. The good news is with some effort and practice you can change the way you think about unpleasant events and thereby reduce your anger and increase your joy and happiness.”
Drs. Tafrate and Kassinove, authors of Anger Management for Everyone: Seven Proven Ways to Control Anger and Live a Happier Life (November 2009, Impact Publishers, Atascadero, CA), have developed a program which suggests key steps to controlling one’s anger, among them:
Analyze past anger episodes you’ve experienced in order to recognize the events which trigger your anger.
Identify your thoughts to find if you are distorting or exaggerating the situation unnecessarily.
Learn relaxation techniques and how to apply them when needed.
Discover assertive, productive ways to express your anger.
Tafrate and Kassinove offer specific exercises, evaluation charts, and examples in their book to help participants implement the program, so “… you learn to reduce your anger, you’ll be able to make better decisions in your life, manage your relationships better, and behave in ways that are likely to bring about the results you want the most. Misfortune, unfairness, and disappointment are part of everyone’s life; we’ll show you how to think about such events – and respond to them – constructively.”
Raymond Chip Tafrate, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, professor, and chairperson of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department at Central Connecticut State University. Dr. Tafrate serves as a consultant to state criminal justice agencies and trains practitioners in client engagement skills and the application of cognitive-behavioral interventions. His research on the nature and treatment of anger has been published in scientific journals and books, and presented at international conferences.
Howard Kassinove, Ph.D., ABPP, a board certified clinical psychologist, is past chairperson of the Psychology Department at Hofstra University and past director of their Ph.D. Program in Clinical & School Psychology. He is director of the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Anger and Aggression, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the Albert Ellis Institute, and the Behavior Therapy and Research Society.
Anger Management for Everyone is published as a trade paperback and available at online and local bookstores nationwide or directly from Impact Publishers, P.O. Box 6016, Atascadero, CA 93423-6016, www.impactpublishers.com, or phone 1-800-246-7228.
Marsha Temlock’s newest post, “The Parent’s Dilemma: Open the Couch, What About The Wallet?”
Most parents struggle with the ongoing issue of how much financial support to give to their children. The problem becomes that much more pressing when their son or daughter seeks help during his or her separation and/or divorce. Especially in these tough economic times when seniors find their retirement and pension funds less secure, there will be issues affecting family relationships.
Jack held off offering his daughter Bonnie money when she and her husband separated. In the beginning, his soon to be ex son-in-law was meeting his responsibilities. But then Phil lost his job and Jack came through with a monthly check to pay for her household expenses.
Bonnie appreciated her dad’s help. Once her divorce was finalized (and Phil got a job), Jack assumed he would be off the hook. Instead he found, a year later, he was still digging into his wallet.
Parents who want to help their children during this difficult time ask the following questions:
When should I withdraw financial support?
While there is no easy answer, the rule of thumb is not to create a dependency situation. Circumstances vary in each case, but keep in mind that when you offer to help your divorcing child financially, you are setting a precedent for the future — not only for that child, but also for any other child who might one day come to you with a similar request.
Should I loan the money or make it a gift?
Even if it’s a loan — “Only give what you can afford not to get back.” If you expect your child to pay you back, establish a realistic pay-back plan. You can avoid creating a dependency if you pay for a particular expense (rent for a year, for example), instead of giving a blanket loan. One attorney suggested considering a promissory note to accompany a loan as this then becomes a marital debt and is added to the financial affidavit. The loan has a better chance of being repaid once the assets are divided.
Should I specify how the money is spent?
For better or worse, once the money leaves your hands, consider it a fait accompli. If your son or daughter has been financially irresponsible in the past — thrown away money, run up high credit card debt, taken money for granted — you may have to set limits right from the start. Remember, you are dealing with an adult. Just hope that the money you so generously shelled out will be used wisely.
What if my child comes back asking for another loan?
That’s easy. Gently remind him or her that you have expenses, and that there are other means for obtaining the money.
Am I being selfish if I turn down a request?
It’s not easy to draw the line, but it’s also wrong to lose sight of your needs, your spouse’s, or other family members you are taking care of. More and more baby boomers are members of the club sandwich generation, responsible for kids living at home and elderly parents who are living to a ripe old age.
You’re not being selfish if a gift to your child is going to compromise your lifestyle or cause you to put your retirement plans on hold. Even if your plans seem “frivolous” — that safari trip you’ve waited your whole life to go on — you have a right to use your money as you see fit.
Am I being fair to the other family members if I support my neediest child?
If maintaining your divorced child’s standard of living means creating tension and resentment, you better think again. Be aware that a loan to your divorced child can build guilt and resentment that can last a lifetime.
Case in point: Cathy is sixteen and a straight A student. Instead of going to that private college she set her sights on, she is attending her local community college. Why? Her parents used her college fund to pay off her divorced sister’s mortgage.
The best policy is to be open and honest with other family members about the kind of financial help you are giving your divorced child. Money lending (or gifting) can be especially dicey when one of the parents is remarried. Partners may not always agree how the money should be spent or how “desperate” the divorced child’s situation is.
The best kind of support may not cost a dime.
Know that there are many ways you can communicate your love and support without having to open your purse strings: open your home, fix dinner, offer to babysit, carpool, attend your grandchildren’s sports events, research lawyers and divorce tax consultants, take your child and grandchildren on vacation, etc. By relieving the day-to-day burden you will be showing your generosity.
As a parent your role is not to provide long-term financial support unless there is no other recourse. As I said earlier, circumstances vary. But generally speaking, your goal is to point your divorced or separated adult child toward financial independence. Doing too much and for too long is as bad as doing too little.
There are many more tips how to help your son or daughter pre- or post-divorce in my book “Your Child’s Divorce: What to Expect – What You Can Do” (Impact Publishers, 2006.)
Original post can be found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marsha-temlock/the-parents-dilemma-open-_b_984048.html
This article is from Time magazine and features a quote from our author, A. Thomas Horvath! The article can be found on page 50 of the February 28 issue hard copy and online at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2050027-1,00.html .
By John Cloud / Malibu Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
A difference between an addict and a recovering addict is that one hides his behavior, while the other can’t stop talking about it. Self-revelation is an important part of recovery, but it can lead to awkward moments when you meet a person who identifies as a sex addict.
For instance, within a half-hour of my first meeting Neil Melinkovich, a 59-year-old life coach, sometime writer and former model who has been in Sex Addicts Anonymous for more than 20 years, he told me about the time in 1987 that he made a quick detour from picking up his girlfriend at the Los Angeles airport so he could purchase a service from a prostitute. Afterward, he noticed what he thought was red lipstick on himself. It turned out to be blood from the woman’s mouth. He washed in a gas-station bathroom, met his girlfriend at the airport and then, in the grip of his insatiability, had unprotected sex with her as soon as they got home — in the same bed he said he had used to entertain three other women in the days before.(See how addiction affects the brain.) Read More »
Marsha Temlock’s latest blog from Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marsha-temlock/government-stimulas-preve_b_819236.html) :
It’s bad enough when your parents, friends and plain old budinskis tell you to stick out your marriage, but now the Feds are getting in the act. Walk though a subway car and you might see a poster that shows a couple lying in bed. Mouth wide open, he’s snoring away and she, well, she’s clearly making the best of it.
So what’s behind this story? The subtext is the ad was paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to encourage couples to work on their relationship. According to Metro New York, the posters appeared on mass transit systems in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The ads direct commuters to a website called TwoOfUs.org that is run by the National Healthy Resource Center (NHRC). TwoOfUs dispenses tips on dating and advice on meeting the challenges of family.
I visited the site and watched a video excerpt of an interview Michelle Obama gave on the Today show. The First Lady was quick to say that she and the President did not want their marriage to appear flawless. Every marriage, she noted, has its ups and downs. Living apart can take its toll. To keep romance alive, she suggested other couples follow their example and institute a date night. Carving out space from the pressures of everyday life, getting away from the kids, the television or any other distraction and focusing on each other makes sense — although it struck me as another stimulus initiative. Read More »
Patrick fell for Zoë the instant he saw her. But he wasn’t prepared for the intensity beneath her pretty, seductive surface. Sexually demanding, volatile, and even suicidal, she turned their brief relationship into a vortex of instability and negativity that left Patrick wary of risking intimacy again.