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

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