Dealing with Anger Issues

Are you angry? If so, are you angry often? Do you know how to identify anger and the signs that might appear? If you feel angry often, your face may get hot, your heart rate may increase, you may grit your teeth, or you may even make fists without being aware you are doing it. Uncontrollable anger can lead to problems not only with your health, such as stomach ulcers and heart disease. It can also lead to problems in your relationships, with your friends, your family, and/or with your spouse. Try to identify the fact that you are feeling angry and take control of it before it takes control of your health or ruins your relationships. Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not.

First, you have to realize when you’re angry and try to calm yourself down. You may lessen the physical signs of anger by practicing deep breathing exercises, taking a walk, or just removing yourself from the area before you act on your anger. Think before you speak. Hurtful words can come out of your mouth and be directed towards the most important people in your life before you even know what you said. Once you say something, you can’t take it back. Practice collecting your thoughts before you say anything. Think of all the good people or things or accomplishments in your life. Is it really worth being so angry that you want to destroy those things? After an episode of anger, don’t hold grudges. Chances are, if you insulted someone, they insulted you too. Forget about it. Apologize and let it go. Hopefully the other person can do the same. If this can happen, you’re on the right path to making a change in your behavior.

If your anger seems to become a trait that every single person you know relates to their relationship with you, or if you feel hopeless or helpless after an anger outbreak, you should probably consider seeking counseling. If you are causing conversations to turn into out of control exchanges and the outbreaks cause you deep regret, it can lead to depression and sadness.

This is when you may want to reach out and let the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Is Your Partner’s Texting Hurting Your Relationship?

Is technology driving a wedge between you and your partner?
With social media nearly omnipresent in our lives, the technology has sometimes outpaced common sense when it comes to understanding how being in constant contact with others can intrude on our most intimate relationships.

Let’s imagine a couple, Martha and Fred, whose experience demonstrates the potential pitfalls. Social and chatty by nature, Martha has a lot of friends, male and female alike. Fred has always admired Martha’s outgoing personality, but lately, what seems like constant beeping from her phone has been getting on his nerves. One night he finally asks her, “Who are all of these messages from?” She picks up her phone, reads the latest and replies, “Oh, that’s Dan—he’s a dad from our daughter’s preschool class.” Naturally, Fred would like to know what Dan is texting about; Martha replies that he was just suggesting an article she might be interested in reading.

While Dan-the-dad-from-preschool might be sending a perfectly innocuous text, Fred might feel very uncomfortable with the idea of another man feeling free to chat up his wife at any hour of the day or night.

There are a lot of reasons why one’s texting habits can bother his or her partner, especially when it involves someone of the opposite sex. But what I’d like to focus on is the importance of how—and how quickly—Fred and Martha each respond to this fledgling point of tension between them.

It is imperative that Fred express his concern about his wife’s texting the moment it begins bothering him, because Martha might never have guessed it was a problem.  First, he might point out that her texting habits make him feel that their personal time together is not important to her. Second, when he discovers that at least one of the texters is a man, he should state simply and calmly that this makes him uncomfortable.

He owes it to Martha to give her the benefit of the doubt that the texts are innocent and give her the chance to show that she respects his concerns, rather than letting things build up until he’s so angry and/or jealous that he assumes the worst, makes angry accusations or even begins monitoring her phone. If that happens, trust issues will run rampant in both directions.

Once Fred has expressed his feelings, the ball is in Martha’s court. She might feel that he’s overreacting or even be perplexed by his concerns. But this isn’t so much time for debate as a chance to show respect for Fred’s feelings and appreciation for his honesty—rather than accusing him of overreacting or being a jealous nut.

Together, Fred and Martha need to come to an understanding of what truly feels comfortable for both of them, which might include setting a curfew for texting. She can inform her friends that they’ve made a family decision not to read texts in the evenings, so if they need to reach her immediately, they should call.

When it comes to Dan and other texters of the opposite sex, she may have to set stronger ground rules. She could tell any man who wants to text her that she’s decided she spends too much time in the company of her smartphone and wants to limit texting to emergencies. It’s a little white lie if she’s setting different ground rules for her girlfriends, but it solves the problem without appearing to be rude.

Addressed early, effectively and openly, this is an issue that can be resolved in a positive way for Martha, Fred and the relationship itself. And if that means Martha cuts her texting with males and females alike down to a fraction of what she’s accustomed to, she might find that she actually enjoys her new freedom from the phone. Meanwhile, Fred appreciates Martha’s respect for his feelings and swift response to address the problem. And together they’ve beat back a potentially spiraling resentment in their relationship, which is always something to celebrate.

If you are considering couples counseling, let the counselors at Relationship Center of Orange County help you.  Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Handling Anger When You’re in the Red

Let the counselors at OC RElationship Center help you get your anger under control.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” ~ Mark Twain

Do you ever feel so angry your face gets hot, your heart starts to pound, and you begin to grit your teeth?  Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion, but it’s imperative to deal with anger in a positive way.  Uncontrollable anger can lead to destruction, as well as to problems with your health and your relationships.  It can lead to ulcers and heart disease and can ruin friendships and relationships in no time flat.  Take a step back and feel the anger before you act on it.  Here’s how to control your anger before it controls you.

  1. Acknowledge It – Admit that you’re angry, either to yourself or as calmly as possible to the person you’re angry with.  Doing this can feel very validating and can put you on the right track to resolving your issues.
  2. Take Time Out – Count to 10 and take deep breaths before reacting to a stressful situation.  This can help calm your nerves and lessen your anger.  If at all possible, remove yourself from the area in order to take a break from either the person or the situation.
  3. Go Mental, Think Blue – If you cannot remove yourself from the area, look around and count the blue things in the room.  When you get angry, all of your energy is focused on being right and justified.  This is an emotional place that can ruin your connection with others.  It is a better idea to try to pull away from the emotions a bit so you can actually explain your feelings to the person with whom you are angry.  How do you do that?  Play a mental game.  Count the blue things in the room where you are.  This engages the thinking part of your brain and helps defuse the emotion. (Still angry? Count the red things.)
  4. Think First – Think before you speak.  This should be a motto in everybody’s life, “Once you say it, you can’t take it back.”  Collect your thoughts before you say one word.  Allow others in the situation to do the same.
  5. Seek Perspective – If possible, think of all the things you are grateful for in your life, and all the positive things going on in your world.  Doing this can really make you wonder if your anger is even worth it.  Try to remember you will not always feel like this.  When you are angry, you can quickly feel despair and a sense of hopelessness.  If you can remind yourself that this feeling is transitory, you might find that you feel more hopeful.  This hopefulness can lead you to communicate more easily, making it more likely for you to get what you really want – connection and acceptance.
  6. Don’t Hold Grudges – If you allow anger to overshadow positive feelings, you may find yourself in a position of bitterness.  Forgiveness is divine.  If you can forgive the person who angered you, you are on the right path.
  7. Find Your Rock – Discuss the problem with someone you trust, whether that’s your spouse, your parent(s), another family member, a friend, or your counselor.  Ask them to allow you to vent to get the situation out of your system.  Tell them you are not asking for advice, you just need to get it off your chest.
  8. Lose Your Lizard Brain – Understand that when you are angry, you are in “fight or flight” mode.  Brain science tells us that when we are angry, the primitive part of our brain (think: lizard or crocodile) is in charge.  The blood and oxygen normally involved in the thinking process leave the brain and go to the main muscle groups. This is so you can decide to flee or to fight.  That said, the more developed, “thinking” part of the brain is not flushed with blood and oxygen.  This means that communicating clearly and understanding relationship intricacies is not possible.  Knowing this bit of brain science can help you decide to “get your point across” later when you are not in your lizard brain and better prepared to communicate.

Knowing when to get help to learn to control your anger is challenging.  If your anger seems to make you out of control, causes you regret, and hurts those you work with or especially those you love, it’s time to seek help.  With professional help, you will learn what anger is, what triggers your anger, the signs that you are becoming out of control with your anger, how to respond to your anger in a healthy way, and if there are underlying feelings present, such as loneliness, sadness, or depression.

If you’re having a difficult time handling your anger, anger management can be accomplished by attending counseling.  The sessions can be attended by just you, you and your spouse, you and your family, or in a group setting.  If you’re ready to get your anger under control, let the counselors at Orange County Relationship Center help you. Call us today at 949-220-3211 or book your appointment via our online calendar. 

Healthy Ways to Share Stress

­­Let OC RelatiLet the counselors at OC Relationship Center help you find your way back to each other.onship Center help you find your way back to each other.When you’ve had a bad day, it can be a mixed blessing to have a built-in audience at home in the form of a spouse or partner. In an ideal world, you would always be aware of what is bothering you and feel comfortable sharing it with a partner who is ready and willing to listen and commiserate.

But we all know that’s not how it always works. What if you don’t feel like talking about what’s really bothering you and instead turn your partner into a scapegoat? Conversely, what if he or she is under a lot of stress too, and not in the best position that day to offer comfort?

Here are a three common ways that stress can place a strain on marriage, along with a few dos and don’ts as to how to handle it:

Scenario #1: Misdirected Stress.

Sometimes it’s tempting to misdirect what’s really bothering you into frustration with your partner. After all, you’re so on edge that everything is a potential stressor, and you’re primed to snap over any number of unrelated issues, whether it’s the kids’ toys strewn all over the living room or weekend social plans made without your knowledge. As a result, your partner might begin to feel they have to walk on pins and needles around you, never knowing what might set you off.

If that sounds like you, DO take your emotional pulse at the end of the day: If you are feeling particularly stressed, don’t be afraid to say so and ask for a few minutes to unwind by yourself. Use that time to decide if what you are experiencing is just run-of-the-mill stress and fatigue, or something you want to discuss with your partner. DON’T try to keep it bottled in to prove how tough and capable you are only to jump on family members over things that don’t really matter.

Scenario #2: Venting stress but never doing anything about it.

For other people, the problem is nearly the opposite: they come home dying to talk about the stress they’re experiencing. However, if the stress is constant and prolonged, it can become difficult for their partner to hear about over and over again. Your partner may begin to take on the stress as their own, or tune it out, making you feel they don’t care.

If that sounds like you, DO tell your partner what’s bothering you, but if you find yourself always complaining about the same thing, DON’T rely on them as your only means of support—especially if it’s truly outside the realm of anything with which they can help. DO seek resolution by addressing whatever is bothering you as directly as possible, or talking with a counselor about different ways of coping. Most partners want to provide a shoulder to cry on—but many also grow worried when your stress goes unresolved.

Scenario #3: Sharing stress—then taking it back.

Have you ever come home and talked with your partner about something that made you angry that day but then withdrew as soon as your partner started offering advice? “Never mind,” you might snap. “It’s not that big a deal.”

It may be that the stressed or angry partner has either already handled the situation or decided to let it go, and therefore doesn’t want any advice—just a chance to vent or feel validated. The other partner might assume they’re being asked for advice and grow annoyed by what appears to be the other’s refusal to listen.

If this sounds like you, DON’T assume your partner is a mind reader. DO explain what you really want. You might say: “Something made me really angry today. I think I have it under control, but it would make me feel better to tell you about it.” It might not come naturally to your partner to listen without giving advice—some people tend to feel helpless if they aren’t able to “solve” your problem—but if you’re clear enough what you need, they should understand.

Finally, always remember that no matter how difficult your day might have been, your partner might be going through a lot of stress of their own. Always be attentive to their needs as well, and make sure that communicating about difficult situations in your lives is a two-way street. The bottom line is that stress is an undeniable part of everyone’s life, and being able to share it in a healthy way with your partner is a good way to put it in perspective as well as build intimacy.

If you find that stress is more often undermining your relationship than building it up, please give us a call at 949-220-3211 or schedule an appointment via our online calendar. We at the OC Relationship Center are here to help you.