Once upon a time, a man whom I will call Charles, was deeply distressed. He had recently changed jobs and was confused about the decision he had made.
Charles had enjoyed the work at his previous job and was very successful at it. He and his boss occasionally disagreed on how to handle situations yet they usually worked things out. One day they had a particularly bad argument about one account. Charles was livid.
Charles was very personable, connecting easily with others in his field. As a result, over the years, he had received a couple of serious offers from other people to come and work for them. He was pleased about these offers but had not been interested in taking any action on either of them.
When Charles had this huge argument with his boss, he decided to look into one of the offers that particularly interested him. He got the job and gave notice at his current work.
At the time Charles came for therapy he had been in his new job for three weeks. Although he liked the work, he found it lonely. He worked on his own. He missed the work at his previous job and the people he worked with.
Through therapy, Charles realized his main motivation to change his job had been to get back at his boss. He felt his boss did not respect or appreciate him. His hurt shifted into anger, which acted like an engine, driving him to want to prove a point to his boss. He realized his hurt and anger had distorted his thinking.
Also, he realized how important the people he worked with were to him and how camaraderie in the work place mattered to him. Working with people he respected and enjoyed was part of what made him tick.
He deeply regretted his impulsive decision. He said that if he had been more aware of what was going on for him, he would have handled the situation with his boss differently.
The Job Decision Quiz is designed to help people in situations like Charles, avoid making decisions they regret. Sorting through the statements helps individuals identify factors important to them. It helps them clarify their priorities about work and the work environment. It also can point out where a person might be stuck or blocked in their decision-making. All this can keep thinking straight.
The best decisions evolve from knowing oneself clearly.
With care and concern,
Scenario: Jack was furious at his boss for undermining his authority yet again. He wanted to quit! He felt powerless. He met with a business colleague and was telling him about what had happened. The business colleague had offered him a job before and told him the offer was still open. Jack was interested. That would serve his boss right if he quit. Still furious Jack said he’d like to think about it and get back to him.
Jack went home. He rolled up a newspaper and put duct tape around it. After making four more paper bats he went down into his basement. He found a pole and wailed on the pole until all five of the paper bats were in shreds. He was exhausted. His anger was gone. As he rested he realized that he did not want to leave his current job. He realized that besides liking the job, he valued the people he worked with and would miss them. He decided that he would find a way to address his issues with his boss.
When people are angry they want to attack or defend – anger has a purpose – make something happen or stop something from happening. There are many ways to express anger constructively and productively.
1. Do not hurt anyone else.
2. Do not hurt yourself.
3. Do not damage or destroy anything of value.
4. Do this alone only if you are confident that you can control your impulses. If you are not sure, seek out one or more people you trust to act as monitors for you. Or, seek professional help.
Types of attacking motions:
Slapping, hitting, pounding, chopping, stomping, swatting, poking, throwing, smashing, slamming, grabbing, kneading, kicking, shoving, squeezing, pushing, pinching, pulling, screaming, ripping, tearing, cutting (with knives, scissors).
Many sports provide us with outlets for anger by doing attacking motions. Hockey, soccer, tennis. Racquetball, badminton, football, volleyball, basketball, boxing, wrestling, archery, darts and more.
Martial Arts provide excellent ways to do attacking motions.
[Many of these sports involved running or skating yet those activities are not attacking motions, they are fleeing motions.]
Roll up a magazine or newspaper and put tape around it. Pound the kitchen counter or furniture with it.
Punch or kick pillows, throw rolls of toilet paper at the bathroom wall, throw a rug over a railing and pound it with a broom. Tear or cut up an old bed sheet. Rip up a phone book. Stomp on bubble packing material.
Household chores: Scrub the floor. While making bread, knead the dough.
Gardening: pull weeds, dig, prune trees and shrubs, etc.
Workshop: pound nails into wood, sawing, hammering, pulling nails out of wood, grinding, chiseling, etc.
By doing attacking motions anger is dissipated and does not build up. Afterwords, people may still be angry yet no longer want to attack. They think more clearly. They are better able to access the underlying vulnerable feelings that are generating the anger. They are better able to deal effectively with whomever or whatever is making them angry.
Because the anger is not building up it is easy to manage. Now, when an upsetting event happens there is a response rather than a reaction. Small events generate small responses and more serious events generate larger responses. That is, the response fits the event.
With care and concern,
Anger expressed positively can convince a lover or a child that he or she is loved. It can help you get a job done when you’re tired. It can be motivating. Tiger Woods, one of the top golfers, says, “I sometimes lose my temper on purpose to fire myself up.”
Anger expressed negatively can devastate a child of any age, but especially when they are tiny. Anger can destroy relationships and ruin things of value. People often hurt themselves when they get angry.
There are times when it is appropriate and productive to get angry. But often getting angry can be dangerous, even embarrassing. It is helpful to know the difference and have the impulse control to carry out the choice. Most important of all is how a person acts when angry.
Lesley pulled into her garage after a long hectic day at work. As she got out of her car she heard glass breaking. She went around the corner of her home and saw the shattered living room window. Her son and his friends stood on the street frozen. One of the boys had hit the baseball through the window. Lesley was enraged! Last time it was the neighbor’s bedroom window. She’d told them many times to practice in the school yard nearby.She wanted to scream at them and slap them silly, every one of them!
Lesley knew that she was too angry to deal with the boys right then and she told them so. She sent her son to his room and his friends home. She changed into her jeans and a T-shirt, went out into the back yard and chopped some wood. As she chopped, her rage dissipated. She was still angry but not enraged. She then got her son to help her put some plywood over the broken window. Later that evening she and her husband sat down with their son to deal with the problem.
Lesley did not blow up, nor did she block her anger. She allowed her muscles to do what they needed to do – attack. But she did not attack her son or his friends, she attacked the wood. She actually destroyed something and created something simultaneously.
When people get angry, their bodies pump adrenalin into the bloodstream, preparing their muscles for fight or flight. Their muscles are primed to act and as they do the adrenalin is processed. However, if the anger is blocked then the muscles do not do what they naturally do. The adrenalin stays in the muscles often causing side effects, such as shakiness, until it is eventually processed. Blocked or unexpressed anger builds up over time. The brain and the body need to deal with it in some way. Some people blow up because they can no longer tolerate the tension. Others suppress and repress their anger which can lead to physical and emotional illnesses. Depression is often the symptom of repressed anger. Neither is healthy and both can cause a lot of harm.
It is not very easy to find wood to chop but there are lots of other ways to express anger constructively and productively.
Next blog post – Ideas for channeling anger.
With care and concern,