Posted in Mental Health, Psychology

10 Anger Truths

  1. Anger is a set of behaviors that can include yelling, kicking, fighting, drinking, drugging, cheating and so on. Any word ending in ING is a verb and behaviors are verbs.

  2. Everyone uses anger behaviors at one time or another because we have learned that they “work.”

  3. Anger behaviors can be justified, are usually rationalized and are always authentic and genuine. Anger is the one behavior people do not “fake”.

  4. When we say, “anger is an emotion”, we are referring to the emotions of hurt and fear. Anger is the sound of hurt and fear leaving our souls.

  5. When we say we “feel angry” we are “feeling” the automatic emotions our thoughts are driving and the physiological affects of the Flight/Fight/Freeze Response, which is our body physically preparing to run or kick somethings/someone’s butt.

  6. You cannot control emotions; they are automatically fueled by thoughts. However, you can choose how you interpret the world around you. This is called a coping skill.

  7. Behaviors, including anger behaviors, express our thoughts and emotions while also trying to fulfil our needs for connectedness or autonomy or recognition.

  8. We can choose the behaviors that express our thoughts and emotions and fulfill needs. That choice is then be evaluated, by us and others, as being either effective/ineffective and healthy/unhealthy. Ineffective and unhealthy behaviors destroy lives.

  9. When a behavior effectively communicates our thoughts and emotions AND fulfills our needs, we continue to use it remains effective. Anger behaviors are usually effective just not healthy for us and our relationships

  10. Ending anger behaviors comes when we heal our hurt and fear triggered as we interpret the world around by using good coping skills while choosing to respond to life situation by using behaviors that we evaluate as effective and healthy.
Posted in Mental Health, Psychology

Grief is Healing

Let’s take a backward approach to this life lesson.

Sometimes to understand how you arrived at a location it is helpful to trace your steps backwards.

Grief is the natural healing process for trauma. Trauma is the automatic emotional (hurt and fear) and physical reactions we experience when our mind imagines or recalls (i.e. memory) a bad day, week, month or year from our past, present and even future.

I buried two of my infant children during the course of my life. That event is over. That event is in the past. That event will never change. My kids will always be dead and I will have always attended their funerals. The event of their deaths and the other events associated with their deaths are permanently etched into my history.

Sometimes I watch the movie what would it be like if Dakota and Kyle had not died. I sometimes wonder what Kyle and Dakota would be like as people I watch my living children live out their lives.

Would Kyle have liked baseball as much as Cade loves baseball?

Would Dakota have cheered and done pageants like Sierra?

I also experience panic when I am worried that my living children could be injured or killed. When my mind recalls the deaths of my children or wonders what they would have been like I can and often do experience trauma.

Unlike the crisis events of their deaths, trauma is experienced in the present time. I may recall a memory, experience an “in the moment thought” or worry about the future yet my trauma is present time. I experience the pain and panic and the physical reactions like stiff muscles, shortness of breath, tight chest NOW. We grieve for the purpose of lessening the effects of the present time, in the moment, NOW trauma.

Grief, the healing process of accepting broken attachments and loss, is the ONLY way we can effectively lessen the pain and panic of trauma. Grief is a process by which we come to grips with and accept the crisis events that have destroyed our lives. We learn to recalibrate our world view to accommodate for the new information: babies die. Grief is not only cognitive, in that we must learn to integrate the events into the fabric by which we take in and understand the world, we must also assign a meaning to the healing process we engage for the purpose of soothing the pain of loss and broken dreams.

By accepting the loss and applying meaning to our decision to heal, we move WHY did the crisis event hit my life to HOW am I going to respond to the results of that crisis.

For me, I have accepted that my children have died. It is a matter of fact. Medically their hearts would not sustain their life. The meaning I have associated to healing from my loss, broken attachments to my children, shattered dreams of raising them, joy of knowing them as people, is that I can honor their lives by sharing my healing experiences, writing, hosting my radio show and using my life to make a difference in the lives of other grievers.

The meaning that I associate to my healing from the loss of my children is self-sustaining. Each time I speak about grief or write about grief or counsel a client on grief or meet someone in a hospital ER who thinks that death is a better option than grieving, I build upon my own healing.

I honor Kyle and Dakota by dedicating my life to the pursuits of helping others to help themselves. Helping other people live mentally well. Helping others to find psychological fitness and meaning in their losses and broken attachments.

I have moved from WHY to HOW by simply focusing on my mission which is what gives meaning to my healing and my grieving.

Posted in Mental Health, Psychology

Grief Can Be Wonderful

If You Find the Right People, Grief Can Be Wonderful. Yes Wonderfully Healing

Grief, the art of healing from trauma generated by thinking about a really bad day, week, month or year, is bipolar: individualized and communal.

We all have a natural style of grieving. Just as our bodies heal naturally and according to the program built into our genitive, our grieving, our healing of our minds and souls plagued by trauma as a result of crisis, there is a order, a plan for that healing that is unique to us and us alone. Built upon our temperament and personality as well as the life lessons we learn along the journey, we grieve in a style that benefits and includes a variety of ways in which we work to accept and incorporate the loss into our present and future perceptions of our lives. 

Our framing of the crisis events that led to the loss of an attachment to someone or something of vital importance as well as the meaning that we draw from the loss is a cognitive exercise. For the most part, this is a solitary activity as we are the ONLY ones who can frame and draw a meaning for ourselves out of a crisis even in which we live through. Sure, other people’s perceptions and thoughts on our loss and broken attachments play a factor yet at the end of the day, we and we alone are the only ones who develop a meaning from the crises and losses of our lives.

When we are surrounded by people who fail to understand or simply don’t agree with the new world order we are developing as a result of the crisis event and the meaning we are assigning to that event, relational tension starts. People who knew us PRIOR to the crisis want us to REMAIN the same old person. That is impossible. How can we be the same old person after a crisis has rocked our world? The very fact that we have experienced loss and broken attachments means that our world is different. Thus, our perceptions of the world have been recalibrated and we are different. When grieving, it is critical, at least from my experiences and for me, to find those who will support your new, recalibrated world view. Those people who wanted me to stay the same old Bob wanted me to remain the same old Bob because it made their life easier. They were not interested in my grieving and healing. So, I cut them out.

As your new world order, your new world view and perceptions of life are recalibrated, your mind changes. Your soul is renewed. And when your mind and soul go through an overhaul so your expression of the remodeling will be evident via behaviors. In addition, as we grieve, we engage in new behaviors designed to help us with the healing process. Grievers develop new routines and new activities. New routines and new activities often open the door for new, healing and supportive relationships. That does not mean that you have to attend a support group and talk about loss and pain. You may join a book club as a result of a loss and form new relationships with people who didn’t know you before the death, divorce, affair or what ever crisis rocked your world. These new relationships can be much more supportive and healing than the relationship you had established with other people who knew you prior to your loss and crisis.

In many ways, a griever will enter a new community, usually that of other grievers. No matter how that new community is formed such as a support group, book club, therapy group or whatever, the new community becomes the communal healing environment that the grieve enters to process their individualized style of grief. The individual griever processes the loss and crisis cognitively. A group of supportive and understanding individuals can help the griever with this process. In addition, the griever’s meaning applied to the loss and the crisis event fuel automatic emotional and physical reactions to the cognitive processing. The emotional and physical reactions are expressed and expelled via behaviors. And again, a healthy community of grievers who are supportive can assist the griever in finding healthy and healing behaviors.

From my experience, finding a community of supportive grievers can be the most wonderful part of the healing process. Grief is an individualized process with styles, and world views and behaviors as unique as the griever themselves. Yet, grief and healing are also community oriented activities that require the love and support of others.