Monthly Archives: August 2011

BLOG # 24 Anger and Stupidity

The most frustrating form of anger is that which we direct against ourselves.  Often this anger is the result of poor decision-making.  Education is the only way to avoid this form of self-directed hostility.  The more you know about anything, the greater your number of alternatives.  Stupid and uneducated people make bad decisions because they make their decisions not on facts or knowledge but rather on how they feel at the moment or on hear-say principles that have no relationship to the issues they are attempting to impact.  Here is a story that beautifully illustrates my point.

 

Karla was a sophomore in high school when she became involved with Matthew Harris (bad decision), the high school’s premier football player and a senior.  Both she and Matt were more interested in good times than in their education (bad decision).  Karla soon discovered that she was pregnant (bad decision) and so she dropped out of school (bad decision) to marry Matthew (bad decision).

 

Karla knew that Matthew was very jealous of any attention she gave to other people – male or female.  She thought his jealousy was proof of his love for her (bad decision).  Without a college education and a baby on the way, Matt took the first good paying job he could find – driving a delivery truck.  Within a year, Matt was driving long-haul delivery trucks.  Often Matt was gone for days at a time.  He began to obsess over what Karla might be doing in his absence. With three little kids to look after, he really didn’t have anything to worry about.  Karla had her hands full at home.

 

Nevertheless, Matt began to suspect that Karla was cheating on him.  When he came home, he would question her harshly at length.  Karla reacted negatively to Matt’s lack of trust and began to withdraw her affection.  Matt felt her growing coldness which confirmed for him that there was indeed another man in Karla’s life.  Soon Matt was not only speaking roughly to Karla, he was also slapping her around.  Karla went to court and got a restraining order against Matt which Matt ignored.  Then Karla filed for divorce.  Matt didn’t want the divorce so he retaliated by refusing to pay child support.

 

With her parent’s help and financial support, Karla packed up her things and took the children to a nearby state where she set up a new household.  With three youngsters to look after and no education, Karla went into the house-cleaning business.  She did reasonably well.  There were always customers who wanted her services and she was able to arrange her hours so as to be home when the kids returned from school.

 

Karla had been advised to get health insurance for herself now that she was self-employed but she did not want to spend the money (bad decision).  One day, Karla was in an auto accident which severely damaged her back.  She could not work for several weeks.  Her recovery and doctor bills took every cent she had.  While she was unable to work, her parents once again came to her financial rescue.  They told her, however, that she had to make her own way as soon as possible.

 

Karla now found that because of her accident, she was no longer able physically to do house-cleaning.  Desperate, she turned to a friend who suggested that Karla sell drugs.

Friend:            Look, it’s easy.  Anyone who wants stuff knows where to go to get

it.  All you have to do is stand on the right corner after dark and

take in the money.  I can introduce you to a supplier.  Best of all, you can make your own hours.

 

What a great solution, Karla thought.  I can put the kids to bed, get my neighbor to baby sit for three hours and be home before the kids even know I’m gone.  Karla agreed to take the job (bad decision).  Soon money was no problem in Karla’s little household.  However, one night Karla unknowingly sold drugs to an undercover FBI agent.

 

I met Karla just as she was completing a ten year prison sentence.  Her three kids had been taken away from her to be adopted by other families.  In tears, she told me how she hated herself for how she had messed up her life.

 

If you are a parent, the most important obligation you have to your children is to make certain they are educated so they have options and choices to deal with the tough times that occur in everyone’s life.

 

The most valuable ability you can bestow upon your children is a comprehension of how to recognize the kind of person who will make them a good life companion.

 

What is so difficult about parenting is that we are preparing our children for a world we actually know nothing about.  Fifty years ago, our parents had no knowledge or concept how things like credit cards, social media, television, I-pads or would impact our lives today.

 

DeAnne’s Anger Tips

Our contentious congress is a great example of how people view conflicting ideas as threatening and adversarial rather than as opportunities to look at issues from another perspective.  Viewing different ideas as wrong, unpatriotic and a threat to a smooth running society is hampering congress’s ability to deal effectively with different opinions.

 

Perhaps we should not be so surprised.  Human history is filled with bloodshed over differences. People have perceived conflict as a negative occurrence since the beginning of time.  Human beings are willing to wage long and devastating wars over differing ideologies, ethnic differences and divergent religious beliefs.

Don’t you think it is time we all grew beyond this zero-sum method of looking at the world?

 

In some successful business, the most successful work teams are made up of people with divergent ideas and different ways of looking at problems. Instead of viewing one another as adversaries, they share their various ideas and points of view creating many choices for moving ahead.   As a result, they enrich one another’s thinking and actually find creative, innovative solutions to intractable problems.

 

We need congress to do the same.  We can no longer afford to have people who have become ossified into thinking that their way is the only way – people who put “principles” ahead of an analysis of current reality.  That is akin to driving your car forward by looking in the rear view mirror.  The problems we face today cannot be solved with yesterday’s solutions.

 

Thursday’s Special

Last Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Cody Washington was building a large patio onto the back of his home…

 

Here is an example of what happens from holding anger inside for too long.  Alex Glenn finally exploded over the continuing noise.  He should have talked to his neighbor, Cody, a lot sooner.  Cody, for his part, did the smart thing – never argue with someone who is holding a gun.  Exit the area as fast as you can.

 

Scenario #2

Jimmy’s parents knew their son had problems controlling his anger…..

 

Here we have an example of someone – the librarian – trying to talk common sense to someone who is reacting emotionally – Jimmy.  Jimmy is way beyond the reach of reason.  The librarian should have simply left the area.

Hopefully the librarian went on to sue Jimmy’s parents.  They are the proximate cause of her attack.  Perhaps a good blow to their pocket book will convince them to get Jimmy the help he sorely needs.

 

Scenario #3

Alicia was on her way home from an exhausting day at her job…..

 

The fashionable woman in the Mercedes should just get into her car and, lock the doors and drive quickly away.  Confronting a person who is totally lost in a rage is dangerous.  You put yourself directly in harm’s way.

 

 

This Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Your 22 year old daughter is enrolled in a great college near your home. The fact that she can live at home is a great cost-saving.  Without it, you and your husband would not have been able to afford her college education.  One evening she tells you she has met a wonderful guy who is planning to transfer out of this local college to a university in Pittsburgh.  She wants to transfer with him.   How do you think you should handle this situation?

 

Scenario #2

You are the manager of a successful advertising agency.  One of your employees has been working on a magazine ad for one of your best customers.  The ad she has created is quite elaborate, complete with many colors and expensive art work. You believe the product that is being advertised doesn’t need all that.  From your experience, you know that a simple ad would work better.  In addition, a simple ad would be less costly for the client.

Since this is one of your most creative employees, you do not want to say anything that might discourage her.  How will you tell her to re-work the ad so that it is a better fit for the product?

 

Scenario #3

In your small town, a huge brick building where the manufacture of auto parts used to take place has become available.  Those in city government would like to use the building to create low-income housing for the poor.  The residents who live near the site want the building to be rehabbed into a shopping mall of trendy retail shops.  At town meeting, the arguments for and against both plans were hot and angry.  Nothing was decided and all the residents attending went home in a snit.  Suppose you are the editor of the local newspaper.  You want to report on the conflict in a fair and balanced way that might bring both sides a little closer to finding a compromise solution.  What kind of information might you put in your editorial?

 

END

Larry Samuels earned his living as a day trader in the stock marker.  One evening well after dinner, he had his head buried in the stock pages of several newspapers preparing his strategy for the next day.  It had been a very volatile stock market lately and Larry knew he had to come up with a clever strategy to avoid losing money.   Larry’s wife, Donna, was attending an evening course at he local high school and had arranged for a neighbor to look after the children in her absence.  The children had been watching television in their pajamas.  At nine o’clock the neighbor told the children it was bedtime and turned off the television.  She then walked into the dining area where Larry was working and said, “I’m putting the children to bed now.  Do you want to say good night to them?”   Larry exploded into a white hot rage.  “How dare you interrupt me when I’m working, you dumb bitch.  Can’t you see I’m busy? Our livelihood depends on what I’m doing right now.  If I don’t get this right we could lose everything.”.   The neighbor was completely taken aback.   She was holding a throw in her hands which she immediately started waving from side to side in Larry’s direction as if he were a bull and she a matador. “Hold on there, Larry.  Do you recognize who you are yelling at?  I am your neighbor, Mrs. Baker.  Why are you screaming?  Who are you shouting at?  Why are you flying into a rage?”  Larry stood up with his hands raised as if to punch or slap the neighbor.  Then he stopped, shook his head and said, “I don’t know what came over me.  Sorry for the outburst.”   Larry is a rager, a person with poor impulse control.  Larry’s problem is common to about 20% of Americans who experience reoccurring periods of extraordinary rage.  Such frightening outbursts are caused by a distorted sense of danger.  People like Larry feel deeply threatened or attacked when there is actually no real danger facing them at all.  People like Larry believe they are under consistent attack.  They perceive the world as a hostile, threatening and dangerous place.  Although any situation can set them off into a full blown rage, most often the rage reaction is the result of: ●overwhelming stress ●emotional trauma ●perceived insults and put-downs (whether or not the other person actually intended to be insulting) Note:  a person’s perception is their reality ●a sense of having been victimized ●feel powerless over important events that affect them personally   People who have problems with anger, aggression and rage are already so close to a exploding that it does not take much to push them over the top into a complete meltdown. All it takes is a little pressure or a tiny bit of agitation and off they go.  Four things these people most certainly do not need: ●recreation mood-altering drugs ●alcohol ●prescription medication that lists rage-inducing as a side effect ●a government that uses fear as a political strategy   If you have parents who were ragers, you are more likely to be a rager yourself.  The process does begin in childhood and for many, persists into adulthood.  There is a big difference between a childhood tantrum and a child having a full blown rage.  A kid having a tantrum has a goal: to get his or her way. A child having a rage is bent on destruction.  Here are some of the telling signs of a child with rage problems: ●easily upset when under stress ● fairly inflexible ●unable to adapt to new situations ●little tolerance for frustration ●lacking in social skills ●high degree of anxiety ●often irritable Individuals suffering from depression are also prone to outbursts of rage.  Some do become suicidal turning their rage inward again themselves.  The problem is, nobody – not even the rager, knows when the next explosion will occur.  What most of us do, once we realize that somebody we know is a rager, is cut them out of our social circle.   Joanne and Carol were friends who got together infrequently.  The problem hanging over their friendship was Carol’s continuous conversation about her many health issues.  Joanne tried to be a patient listener but when her own beloved twin sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, Joanne found her tolerance for Carol’s minor medical problems at an end.  She tried to explain this to Carol but her words were ignored.  Joanne finally told her family that if Carol should call to please say she was out.   Several weeks later, both women were attending the wedding of a mutual acquaintance.  Both women were standing in the receiving line just after the ceremony.  Dozens of people were milling around.  Joanne walked over to Carol to say “hello” and tell her that her twin was on the road to recovery; the surgery had been successful.   When Carol laid eyes on Joanne, she started screaming using angry language and shaking her fist.  Her face was purple with rage.  “How dare you not return my phone calls. I’m outraged that you would insult me like that.  You are one lousy human being.  You don’t really care about anyone but yourself.  You knew how I was struggling with my bladder condition and my hip issues and you never called.  Now you want to say hello?  Forget it.“  Everyone in the vast room stopped talking, turned and stared at the two women.  Joanne immediately exited the room shaking her head in bewilderment leaving Carol to face the social results of her public meltdown.  Since that day, Joanne has maintained her distance from Carol even to the extent of not acknowledging her when they run into one another socially.  “I don’t want to give Carol another opportunity to unload her rage at me in public ever again,” explained Joanne.  “I can never be sure that it will not happen again so I have cut Carol out of my life.”   If you are married to a rager, you should try to convince them to get some help before they take out their rage on you or the children.  There are professionals who can help.  There are also medications that can impact the lack of impulse control.  If you cannot convince him or her to get help, perhaps you need to consider leaving the partnership.  It may save your life and the life of your children.   Suppose, however, you have a possible rager at work. What can you do to protect yourself?  First of all, you have to recognize the signs that a person with possible impulse control issues might exhibit in the workplace.   Here is a list of the telling behaviors that signal someone with rage issues: ●blames others for their problems ●feels outraged about what others get away with ●dwells on past issues; has trouble moving on; can’t let go ●deliberately hurts people verbally ●cannot forgive others for their mistakes ●minor issues are blown up way out of proportion (awfulizing) ●paranoid; thinks everyone is out to get them ●every argument with them is like a fight to the death ●lives in a state of perpetual agitation ●treats others with disrespect ●innocuous comments are often misinterpreted as insults   Secondly, give them a wide birth.  Try to avoid close interaction with them.  Should any explosion occur, even if it does not involve you, make sure you speak to the boss or to human resources about your concerns regarding this person.  These are the people who are likely to go postal when sufficiently upset.   DeAnne’s Anger Tips People with rage control issues fail to see the difficulties and problems in life as challenges to be solved.  Instead, they react in a predictable, repetitious pattern of brooding over perceived unfairness and injustice directed specifically at them. They complain and grumble about common everyday frustrations that most of us deal with easily or hardly even notice.  In addition they may also run from these frustrations by engaging in avoidance activities such as excessive gambling or substance abuse.   In The News When those dancing flash mobs first appeared in our world, did you suspect that they might become a blueprint for group violence?  I did.  We have become a very violent society – angry and hostile about almost everything.   Thursday’s Special Last Week’s Scenarios Scenario #1 Beverly Lawson’s new husband, Howard Gundry, was unable to create a relationship with Beverly’s eight year old daughter……   Howard should continue being the nice guy who wants to be friends with the daughter.  If he continues behaving toward the daughter as if he genuinely likes her and would like them to be friends, eventually the daughter will come around.  It may take months,  but it will happen.  Howard just needs to maintain his I’m-open-to-a-friendship-with-you position.   Scenario #2 Rowena Diaz salary was far and above what those already working in the company were receiving………   Jealousy is an emotion characterized by resentment of one person against another party because of his or her success or advantages.  People troubled by jealousy have suspicious fears of rivalry in which they will lose.  The emotion keeps them stuck rather than moving ahead to acquire whatever it is they need to gain those same advantages.  At work the unfortunate truth is that everyone wants you to be successful but not more successful than they are.   Rowena needs to remember that all those jealous others do not have her expertise.  Her pay is a reflection of that expertise.  She must ignore the hostile feelings coming her way and just do her job.  She could also volunteer to help others gain some of the knowledge she already has.     Scenario #3 The Bsiscsenmasnany’s were the first family from Southeast Asia to move into a small southern town….   Often people fear that which is different from what is familiar to them.  They fear the unknown.  In their fear, they strike out with hostility against that which they do not understand.  One thing the Bsiscsenmasnany’s can do is invite their new neighbors to a cookout where they share a little of their culture with them. A little interesting food, some pictures of the old country and some good conversation will do amazing things to calm people’s fears.   This Week’s Scenarios Scenario #1 Cody Washington was building a large patio onto the back of his home.  Every day, after work and an early dinner, he was out there sawing the wood and nailing it into place.  Cody’s neighbor, Alex Glenn was unhappy about the noise that continued until 10:00 pm each night.  From spring all through summer the banging continued.  For Alex, the noise went from a minor annoyance in the spring to the “most horrific racket a sane person could stand” in August. One hot summer evening in August, seething with rage, Alex crossed the hedge into Cody’s yard with his shot gun in hand and demanded that Cody quit making such a furor.  “I can’t stand it anymore.  You are making my life miserable.  I expect to come home to peace and quiet and there you are disturbing the entire neighborhood with your racket.”   Cody took one look at Alex and saw that he was totally out of control.  If he stayed there and argued with Alex he would probably be putting himself in mortal danger.  He therefore put down his hammer and retreated into his house.  Cody then called the police to say that his life was in danger from his crazy neighbor.  Both men later wound up in court.  What might have been a better way for Alex to handle this situation?   Scenario #2 Jimmy’s parents knew their son had problems controlling his anger but felt he would grow out of it as he approached adulthood.  They were wrong.  One day, Jimmy was working on a research paper for class.  It was a challenging subject and Jimmy was spending lots of hours in the library at the computer, in the archives and reading books on his chosen subject.  One particular book seemed to be especially crucial to Jimmy’s research but it was no where to be found.  He asked the librarian to assist him in locating the book.  The librarian looked in her register and discovered that the book had been borrowed by another patron.   Lib:      You will just have to wait until that book is returned. Jim:     That’s not fair.  I need it now.  It’s critical to my report. Lib:      I’m truly sorry, young man.  But it is in the hands of someone else until the end of the month.  You will just have to wait for it to be returned. Jim:     (stamping his foot and using his fists to beat on the librarian’s desk and  shouting) You have to get that book for me. Lib:      Be quiet.  This is a library.  You do not raise your voice here – ever. If you don’t calm down, I’ll have to ask you to leave. Jim:     (screaming even louder) You are going to make me fail that course. It will be all your fault. I hate you.   With that, Jimmy started throwing whatever was on the librarian’s desk at her.  Then he tried to beat her with his fists.  Several other patrons finally pulled Jimmy away from the librarian but by that time, the librarian was bleeding from a blow to her head and her glasses had been broken.   No doubt Jimmy will be punished for his rage meltdown.  Please consider, however, the responsibility of Jimmy’s parents.  They were aware of Jimmy’s lack of impulse control and did nothing about it.  How do we as a society protect ourselves from people like Jimmy who engage in random episodes of rage and their parents who refuse to recognize the signs and do something about it?   Scenario #3 Alicia was on her way home from an exhausting day at her job.  She was a sales associate at the city’s most elegant and expensive ladies dress shop, Ritzy Missy.  Today had been their annual blowout sale and she was weary of dealing with wealthy, self-absorbed, demanding women.   Alicia realized she needed gas so she pulled into a gas station.  She was third in line for the self-service pump.  She put the car in park and went rummaging in her purse for her credit card.  When she looked up, some well-dressed woman in a Mercedes sports car had muscled her way in front of Alicia’s clunker.  Alicia went ballistic.  She leaned on her horn, screamed at the woman, put her car in gear and gave the Mercedes a good hard bump.  The smartly-dressed woman got out of her car to confront Alicia.  By this time, Alicia had retrieved an old heavy umbrella from her back seat and began to beat the woman about the head and shoulders with it screaming all the time, “You G-d damned people think you own the world because you have money.  Well, I’m sick of your lousy attitude.  You’re not my customer and I don’t have to play nicey nice with you, you scum bag.”  If you were the woman in the Mercedes, what would you do?   END

Blog # 21 Anger and Decision-Making

How many times have you found yourself obsessing over some decision you made which didn’t work out as you had hoped?  I’ll bet lots of times.  We tend to revisit our bad decisions and drive ourselves nuts with our self-directed anger.  Mentally we beat ourselves up with “I should have…” thoughts.  This is not healthy because there is no way of unloading this type of self-directed hostility.  Such emotions leave us feeling depressed.

 

What’s past is past.  It doesn’t accomplish anything to obsess about something you did in the past because you cannot change the past.  You have to deal with the situation you have today – right now.  That way you change the future with what you do today.

 

Failure is only feedback.  It tells you that the action you took or decision you made did not work out well.  Therefore, try something else.  We are only human. We can only do the best we can with the knowledge we have at the moment of the decision-making.  To avoid this self-hate, you must build in an attitude that regards failure as just feedback.  That way, any failure is only temporary.  Obsessing over it makes something so horrendous that you cannot recover from it nor get past it.

 

There is an often told story about Thomas Edison whose friends chided him when his 200th attempt at making the incandescent light bulb failed.

Friends:          My God. Tom, you’ve failed again.  What is this, your 200th

                                                experiment?  Give it up, man.

Thomas:         I haven’t failed 200 times.  I’ve found 200 ways my idea won’t work.

 

Superior problem-solving is one of the measures of an effective human being. You must be able to gather and analyze facts and then reason things out systematically.  Then you have to select a strategy that does not complicate things by creating more problems than it solves.  If you do this, you can expect your decisions to produce good results.

 

 

 

Decision-making is the process of problem-solving through making a conscious choice or selection of one alternative from a group of two or more alternatives to achieve an objective. The key here is: your decision’s purpose is to achieve an objective.

 

Decision-making can cause a good deal of anxiety in circumstances where:

●the actual problem situation is ambiguous;

●circumstances are vague;

●available information is unclear;

●the ramifications of the decision are obscure;

●the problem situation is new and there is no strategy for dealing with it;

●there is no historical data on which you can base your thinking;

●you have to put your trust on the information and expertise of others;

●you may not see the outcome or results of your decision for a long time;

●the consequences resulting from your decision will be far-reaching.

 

What follows is information about a simple and very basic method for decision-making which will work well in most situations. If you employ this method, it will severely reduce any hostile revisiting of old decisions.

 

 

The Basic Model for Decision-Making

 

This model for anger-free decision-making has ten steps:

 

1. recognize that a problem exists;

 

2.set a solution objective;

 

3..analyze the situation;

 

4. identify uncertainties;

 

5. determine “workable” solutions;

 

6.gather data, information and seek expert help if necessary;

 

7. select the best alternative;

 

8.  develop a plan for implementation and action

 

9.  implement the plan

 

10. follow-up: examine how the decision worked out; evaluate its effectiveness in solving 1he problem.

 

 

A diagrammatic illustration of this process follows. The process is represented in a circle to stress two critical issues:

 

●All good decision-making begins with a clearly stated solution objective. This way, the direction of your efforts is explicitly stated.  You know where you are going.  You have an answer to the question, “What are you trying to accomplish anyway?”

 

●Decision making is a skill that can be learned, and like any skill, you need to have a logical, repeatable process into which you can incorporate what you have learned from previous situations.  That way, the more decision-making you do, the better you will become at it.  Moreover, the fewer opportunities you will have for beating yourself up over poorly made decisions.

 

 

 

 

Suppose your decision does not achieve its solution objective.   The first thing you want to look at is your analysis of the situation; perhaps it was not complete and accurate.  It if was not, maybe that is where you went off the track.  The next item you want to look at is the alternatives you generated.  Perhaps you did not generate enough choices.  Thirdly you want to examine your selection of “workable solutions”; perhaps you missed something important there.  Maybe you neglected to obtain necessary information that was easily available from sources other than yourself.  In other words, you go around the circle, examining each of the ten steps to see where you went off track.  The circle gives you an effective, logical method for evaluating your decision process.  This allows you to set things up for going around the circle a second time – repeating the ten steps – and this time, achieving your solution objective.

 

To know how good your decision has been requires measuring it against your objective.  If your decision did not achieve your objective, do not obsess about it.  Just go around the circle again.  Here is a true story of a friend who went off track by starting her decision cycle with a poor solution objective.

 

 

Nancy Waldorf was a good looking forty-something woman who feared getting old looking.  She decided to have some cosmetic work done so she saved up her money and then went looking for a plastic surgeon.  She wanted to locate a doctor who would charge her an amount of money that was within her saved and budgeted funds.  Unfortunately she had not saved enough to hire a top plastic surgeon.  She went with a newly minted inexperienced cosmetic specialist.  The result was that although her turkey neck was gone, one ear was now two inches higher than the other.  Every time she looked into the mirror, she was filled with anger at herself and loathing at her bargain doctor. Now Nancy had to locate a specialist in plastic surgery who could correct her bargain doctor’s work.

 

Illustrated below are Nancy’s two trips around the decision cycle.

 

 

 

Decision Steps First time around the circle Second time around the circle
Objective doctor who charged what she had budgeted best available specialist experienced in correcting poorly done surgery
uncertainties None considered Even the best specialist might not be able to correct the problem
Alternatives Wait until she had more saved Live with the problem
Workable solutions Keep looking for a doctor who would charge what she had saved Arrange some monthly payment plan
Gather Information Yellow pages, “plastic surgeons; calling each and asking “What do you charge for…..” interviewed other plastic surgeons and their patients to locate the best person for the task
Best Alternative Hire the cheapest doctor Hire the doctor considered the best plastic surgeon by his peers
Plan of action To make a surgery appointment as soon as possible In depth conversation with her chosen doctor about expectations and risks
implement Just do it and get it over with Surgery was planned after several preparation visits
Evaluate Poor outcome Successful result

 

 

Here is an example of someone who  made such a morass over a so called poor decision that his entire life came to a standstill.

 

Bernie Wycoff was a computer wiz at college.  In his senior year one of his classmates, Tony DeBaio, told Bernie that he was going out to Seattle, Washington to start his own software company.  He asked Bernie to come with him as his VP of Development. Bernie was reluctant to leave his family and friend.  Moreover, he believed that good-time Tony would never make a success of anything.  Therefore, he turned Tony down.

 

It is now ten years later. Tony DeBaio’s company is one of the most successful software development companies in the world.  Bernie has settled into a back office bank job that uses his computer skills. During the ten years since his graduation from college, Bernie

 

has watched his beloved parents sell the homestead and move to Florida.  His three

best buddies took jobs in different parts of the country.  Even Bernie’s two sisters have married and moved away.  There is only one relative left in Bernie’s home town, an old uncle in a nursing home who no longer remembers who Bernie is.

 

Bernie has a girlfriend, Beverly Anders, to whom he complains every day about the poor decision he made ten years ago.  “I should have gone to work for Tony DeBio.  My life here has gone nowhere.  I was so stupid. I literally threw away what might have been a brilliant future.”  Bernie tells Beverly he is very depressed over his situation.   Beverly is tired of hearing this old story.

 

Beverly:          I’m tired of hearing how depressed you are. You make me depressed because you are living in the past.  Meanwhile your present and future are quietly slipping away.  Do something about it and stop complaining.

Bernie:            I don’t know what to do.

Beverly:          You could start by calling Tony up on the phone.

Bernie:            What?  And ask him for a job?  He’d laugh at me.

Beverly:          You could just make it a friendly how- are- you- doing sort of call and let him take the lead.  He’ll ask what you’re doing work-wise and you can tell him you are thinking of making a change.  See what happens.  Doing nothing and complaining is making a mud-hole out of that ten year old decision.  All you are doing is digging that mud hole deeper and deeper until it buries you alive.

 

 

DeAnne’s Anger Tips

Anger and depression are very closely related.  They are, in fact, two sides of the same coin.  Depression is anger turned inward against yourself.  Anger is an emotion that explodes outward.  Depression is like beating yourself with a rubber hose – it leaves no marks.  You do it to yourself.  Here’s the critical issue.  It is by far healthier to be angry than it is to be depressed.  When a person becomes seriously depressed, he or she is in danger of committing suicide.  The next time you feel depressed ask yourself, “What am I

 

angry about?”  Keep asking that question until you get an answer.  Then, don’t stop there.  Ask yourself, “What am I going to do about that?  How will I move forward from this?”

 

 

Thursday’s Special

Last Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Sally Miller is the VP of Human Resources.  At a meeting she makes a suggestion; no one says anything.  Then one of the men makes the same suggestion.

 

If this sort of thing happens to you at work, there is only one way to stop it. Put your idea in writing, with all the attending data and make sure your name is all over that document. Then you can hold up that document and say, “It is gratifying to know that all of you believe my idea has so much merit that you are all wishing my idea was actually Bill’s.  But it is not Bill’s idea.  It is my idea and here is the proof.”

 

 

Scenario #2

Your spouse nags at you from the moment you get home from work until you leave the house the next morning.

 

At a time when the kids are not around, say something like this:

●I have asked you three times over the last three weeks not to nag me and complain about issues when the kids are around.  Nevertheless, you continue to nag me and complain when the kids are around to hear it.

●This makes me feel concerned because the kids are developing negative personalities as a result.

●I want you to reserve your nagging and complaining for times when the kids are not around.

●How else can we ensure that out kids grow up with a healthy and positive attitude toward life?

 

Then, no matter how your spouse responds, you continue to repeat that third line.  You want to emphasize that you are not asking that he or she stop nagging and complaining.  Just that you want it not to occur when the kids are around.  As a result, you will experience a huge reduction in the nagging and complaining.

 

 

Scenario #3

Your child tells you she hates school and doesn’t want to go there anymore.  Every day she comes home upset and crying.

 

This is very serious because she refuses to tell you exactly what is going on.  Perhaps a visit to her teacher and then the principal might be a good starting point for your investigation.  If you are acquainted with her friends and classmates, you might ask them what is going on.

 

If you try again to persuade your child to reveal the reason for her intense dislike of school, start the conversation from another place.  For example, you might ask her to describe what a school that she likes might look like and sound like.  What kind of kids would go there?  Describe the type of teacher she would like to have. How would everyone be dressed?  What would they be learning?

 

 

This Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

About twice each week, your neighbor’s teen-aged son and a few of his friends go rummaging through your waste can of unwanted mail and other pieces of discarded paperwork. You are concerned that he is searching for personal data such as social security numbers and bank account information with which to do identity theft.  You have no proof that this is his intension.  But, you are very suspicious that he is up to no good.  What do you think you should do?

 

 

Scenario #2

Your husband’s best friend, Derek Grable, is married to a very beautiful woman named Antonia.  Derek is absolutely nuts about Antonia.  However, Antonia is unhappy in her marriage.  Over coffee the other day Antonia confided in you that she plans to leave Derek within the month.  “That will break Derek’s heart”, you said.  Nancy replied, “I’m being stifled by all this housework and cooking.  I want a career.  I want to spend my time doing something significant.  I’ve told Derek this but he just doesn’t understand.  So I’m leaving him.   Please don’t tell anyone what I’ve just told you.  Please.  I will tell Derek myself when I think the time is right.”  What do you think you should do?

 

 

Scenario #3

 

It is a dark, rainy night.  You are driving home from a friend’s home where you had a nice dinner and some great conversation. You are replaying the evening’s events in your head and smiling to yourself.  You are unaware that you crossed into another lane without signaling your intended lane change.  You nearly hit another car.  The driver in the other car becomes enraged and starts to tailgate you, honking his horn and putting on his bright lights.  Suddenly, you feel a little fear creeping in because you do not know the reason for the other driver’s strange actions.  He appears to be screaming at you from his open window.  You see his fist pumping.  You speed up.  He speeds up.   What do you think you should do?

 

 

END

Blog # 20 Anger Against Inanimate Objects

Lucas Snelling was on his way to make a sales presentation at his office to his company’s biggest client.  Traffic was terrible.  He began to agonize that he might be late.  Then, for no understandable reason, his car started making strange noises.  Lucas edged the car over to the side of the road and turned off the engine.  He took off his suit jacket, got out of the car and raised the hood.

 

“Why am I doing this?” He thought.  “I don’t know anything about car engines.  We’ll probably lose the client because of this stupid automobile. The boss will blame me.  AAA will take hours to get here because it’s drive time”.  With that, Lucas slammed down the hood and gave the car a good kick – and – broke his foot.

 

Two hours later, after a trip to the hospital, Lucas finally arrived at the office on crutches with his foot in a cast.  The client was waiting.  “I heard you had a little car trouble but I didn’t realize that you had been in an accident.  Are you all right?”  Sheepishly, Lucas explained that he had taken his anger and frustration out on his car.

 

Does this make Lucas abnormal?  I don’t think so.  All of us can easily relate to poor Lucas.  If you have been following this blog, you know that a key generator of rage is unfulfilled expectations.  We all have certain expectations about the equipment we purchase – that it will work when it is supposed to; that it will not let us down.  Then, when it doesn’t, we simply lose it.

 

Here is another example.  Louise Jensen was busy in the kitchen preparing a grand meal for her new in-laws.  She had arrived home a little late and was frantically hurrying to get everything ready.  Louise was serving a crown of lamb roast.  At a gourmet shop Louise had purchased an imported can of special mint salsa to go with her lamb.  This little touch would guarantee a memorable dinner.

 

However, Louise’s electric can opener refused to do its job.  She tried and tried to make the thing work.  Finally, in frustration, Louise yanked the can opener from off the wall and hurled it out the opened kitchen window.

 

Louise’s apartment was on the forth floor.  A man was walking home on the street below.  The flying can opener hit him a glancing blow to the head.  When Louise’s husband and parents arrived at the apartment some twenty minutes later, they were greeted by the police and an angry neighbor who was threatening to charge her criminally for assault and battery.  Here again we have a situation where rage is generated because an expectation that went unmet.

 

Here is my favorite example of this type of rage.  Walter Nolan had a neighbor, Ray Hogan who had purchased a second-hand riding mower.  The machine made an awful grinding noise whenever Ray used it.  The noise was so loud that the entire neighborhood always knew when Ray was cutting his lawn.  His bargain mower would often break down but Ray was good with equipment and he always seemed to know how to get the thing working again.

 

The one day, the mower evidently came to the end of its miserable existence. That terrible grinding noise suddenly stopped.  Walter looked out his window and was treated to the spectacle of Ray swearing at the machine and throwing his fix-it tools at it.   Walter chuckled and went back to what he was doing inside his house.

 

Several minutes later, however, Walter heard a series of gun shots.  Racing outside to see what had happened.  Walter found the riding motor on its side on Ray’s front walk.  The machine was full of bullet holes and was lying in a pool of oil.  Ray was stretched out in his hammock, sleeping.  His gun was resting on his stomach and there was a beatific smile of satisfaction on his face.

 

There isn’t a person on this earth who hasn’t felt this depth of rage.  Most often, the feelings are directed at another person rather than a piece of equipment.  The feeling is so very strong that we literally scare ourselves.  We’d love to kick that person or maybe throw something lethal at their head or even take a gun and shoot them.  But we don’t.  We pack all that hostility away inside.

 

We aren’t afraid to act out when it comes to equipment.  Unloading that level of severe and dangerous rage on a piece of equipment is (most often) a safe method.  But, when it comes to another person, we:

 

●rationalize………………..”He/she must be having a bad day”

●minimize…………………”Really, it wasn’t that big a deal; let it go”

●self-deprecate……………”I’m too thin skinned; I shouldn’t let these

things bother me”

●excuse bad behavior……”I’m sure he/she didn’t mean to do that.”

●deny……………………….”I must have misunderstood him/her”

 

None of these reactions will support your very valid anger.  If you are truly angry about what someone has said to you or something they have done, go talk to them.  Maintain your sanity by getting into action. Holding things inside is not healthy.  Moreover your anger will leak out anyway in strange behaviors (passive aggressive actions).

 

 

IN THE NEWS

This week a thirty-four year old man and his live-with girl friend were having one of their many knock-down, drag-out, screaming fights.  The argument spilled out onto the street in front of their home.  The man was holding his three month old baby girl.  In a fit of rage, he slammed the baby down onto the concrete curbstone splintering the baby’s skull.  Neighbors called the police; an ambulance rushed the baby to the local hospital where it is reported the baby is in intensive care and not expected to live.  The man ran away but later gave himself up to the police.  His explanation was “Sometimes that woman makes me so mad…”

 

DeAnne’s Anger Tips

Perhaps this has happened to you.  A person angrily accuses you of something which they did.  Immediately you want to (angrily) correct them with an “I did not such thing” statement.   Step back a little and consider this:  sometimes an angry accusation can be a confession.  The person may feel extremely guilty about something they have done.  Furiously, they will accuse someone else of having done it. This strategy diverts attention away from them and helps them maintain their self-image.

 

Thursday’s Special

Last Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Your boss asks you to help do the work of Sugar Lee Jones who spends her day tweeting friends…..

 

This is clear evidence of very poor management.  Your boss needs the work to be done and the easiest way for him to get that accomplished is to give it to the most capable of his employees, allowing the deadwood and the slackers to do very little.  He wants to avoid confrontation.

 

You need to have a conversation with this boss.  Put your concerns out as a personal hardship; that you are suffering from all this overwork.  This type of boss wants everyone to be happy.  You want to tell him you are not happy and that only he can solve this problem.

 

 

 

Scenario #2

Your boss, Reggie Gill is a real turkey.   Reggie’s boss, Bret Baylor, evidently wants you to confirm that fact to him.  That’s why he asked you to give him some feedback on Reggie’s performance as a manager.

 

Politically, this is a mine field.  It is not your job to provide performance feedback on your boss to his boss.  Reggie may well be a dufus but while you work for him you have to support him.  Tell Bret Baylor not to put you in this position. It just isn’t right.  You must say nothing negative. Nothing

 

By the way, as long as you work for Reggie, you career will go nowhere.  When your boss is a dufus, you get tainted with dufus dust.  Your hard work is what keeps him in his position.  He gets any credit; you remain invisible.  Your best move is to find another boss.  Ask for a transfer.  Say something like, “Now that I’ve learned all about framistats, I’d like to learn about gizzlestats.

 

Scenario #3

Your boss, Reggie Gill is the son-in-law of the company’s CFO. How will this knowledge affect what you say to Bret Baylor?

 

This knowledge should not affect what you have to say one iota.  Reggie is the company’s problem to solve.  You don’t want to get involved.

 

 

This Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Sally Miller is the VP of Human Resources at her company.  Because of the poor economy, the company is facing some serious financial issues.  All department heads, Sally included, have been called to an important meeting with the company president.  The president wants to solicit ideas from his senior staff for reducing the company’s operating costs.

Sally has an idea which she shares with the group.  Since manufacturing and sales are very slow during the summer months, Sally suggests that the company consider giving every employee Mondays and Fridays off during July and August.  She presents the group with savings figures which the company would realize if her plan were executed.  Silence follows her presentation.  After a long pause, several more suggestions are presented.  Then, the VP of finance offers the exact same idea that Sally had suggested.

Pres:                           That’s a great idea!

VP of Sales:              The staff would love the long weekends.  I’m all for it.

VP of Marketing:       Good suggestion, Bill.  That would work out very nicely.

VP of Manuf’in:          That would give us time to do any mechanical repairs.

Pres:                           That’s what I call thinking outside the box.  Nice work, Bill.

If you were Sally, what would you do now?

 

Scenario #2

Your spouse nags at you from the moment you get home from work until you leave the house the next morning.  This doesn’t make for a very happy household because the kids hear all the complaints and respond with their own negative behavior.  You have asked your spouse to save the complaining for times when the kids are not around.  Your spouse’s reaction is as if you haven’t said anything at all.  The complaining continues.  What do you think you should do?

 

Scenario #3

Your child tells you she hates school and doesn’t want to go there anymore.  Every day she comes home upset and crying.  When you asked her if she was being teased or bullied, she refused to answer.  Since you don’t know what the problem is, you are feeling angry, frustrated and worried.  What do you think you should do?

 

END