Calming an Angry Person

A client confessed, “When I encounter a difficult person I have a tendency to become difficult in response and I don’t like that.”

Anger is an emotion common to all. However, the manner in which we display this emotion is within our control. An angry person is difficult to communicate with. Whether employed by a two year old or an adult, angry outbursts are temper tantrums meant to control another.

There are two types of temper tantrums. One is whim-of-the-moment-frustration. The other is pent-up wrath over unresolved issues. Learn to distinguish between the two and respond accordingly, whether calming yourself or another.

Unprovoked angry outbursts. Frustration is the feeling one has when life says “No” and we wanted it to say “Yes”. The impulsive outburst is a release of emotions based on denial, fear, irritation, hunger, fatigue or illness. It is a sudden thought, want or feeling rather than reason or need. In a state of emotional anger, a person gives opinions rather than genuine thinking.

Ways to respond:
• Give compassionate attention by approaching in a calm and reassuring manner.
• Respond with kindness. Be tough on behavior and gentle with the person.
• Understand. Acknowledge his/her pain.
• Encourage self-control. Ask the individual to sit a moment and catch his breath.
• Empathize. Consider that in similar situations you may have acted rashly. Be compassionate where you have developed self-control.
• Give guidance, not condemnation or criticism.
• Value the individual regardless of behavior.
• Help the person to determine a solution; suggest, do not command.

Chronic wrath. Another type of temper tantrum is an outcropping of ongoing pent up unexpressed anger. The outburst is an attempt to control. Unresolved anger smolders and acts out in a variety of ways including aggression, passive-aggressive moods and irrational behaviors. It is manipulative. It is trying to get one’s way, regardless of how the absurdity. This anger is the breeding ground for violence.

Ways to respond:
• Be an adult in the situation. Do not sink to the angry person’s level of wrath
• Stay calm and speak in quiet tones. Whisper if necessary to quell the other’s shouting.
• Do not allow their manipulative behavior to be effective. If the person gets you angry, as diabolical as it seems, s/he has accomplished a goal, whether she gets what she wants or not.
• Respond to the need rather than react to the behavior.
• Ask “What” to illicit an honest response, rather than “Why” blames or justifies.
• Allow the individual to own his own feelings. They are legitimate, even if irrational.
• Give appropriate space. When push comes to shove, DON’T.

When we are able to verbalize the injustice – and are heard (without judgment or condemnation) - we are in a position to do the necessary emotional work that leads to overcoming. As one is able to appropriately express emotions he/she becomes a more developed person.

Let's talk. Share how you have handled a difficult situation or where you may need encouragement.

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Daily Thanks

Two things cannot occupy the same space.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to remain stressed when focused on being thankful. Your frustration with the inept co-worker eases as you mentally search for his/her positive qualities. The disgruntled mate seems less irritable as you appreciate his/her continued contribution to the family on a daily-thankless-basis. The childishness of a child is softened as you are thankful for the contribution of his innocent life.

It’s fact, not feelings. At the moment you may not feel grateful, but consider the alternative. No birthdays means no life. No messes means no opportunities to be responsible. No difficult relationships means no family, friends, neighbors or co-workers.

Eliminate negative thinking. Each time you feel negative, stop, acknowledge that thought and deliberately dismiss it. Look deeply to find the root of your emotion and consciously replace it with the greater truth of your potential. This practice is profoundly spiritual and life changing. Use it. Embrace it.

Adopt a spirit of forgiveness. To forgive or to not forgive, each has a powerful sway over your day-to-day existence. And it is a choice. True, it may be difficult to forgive. However, I suggest that it is also hard to not forgive.

Unforgiveness keeps one bound to the past. It sets you up for more hurts. Unforgiveness keeps you in misery. Would you not rather be happy?

Forgiveness does not mean condoning bad behavior nor does it render the offender free of justice. Forgiveness frees you of negativity. It gives you energy to enjoy life. It deepens your well of thankfulness.

Accept what is. Living in the present gives insight into the past and makes for more effective future decisions. The reason for this is because it adds depth. You begin to understand how yesterday touches today and connects to tomorrow.

Accepting what is lends to an unbiased assessment of what is working and what is not working. Failure to accept what is hinders the ability to make manageable improvements. Failure to accept what is magically expects things to improve in the future, while subconsciously doubting that it will happen. Failure to accept what is blinds you to the creative energy of solutions.

Having an “attitude of gratitude”
serves you on a daily basis, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, all the years of your life. Is there a downside to being thankful? I have not found one. Can you honestly think of an upside to focusing on the problem? I have not found one.

What if I am right? Isn’t it worth a try? A genuine expression of thanks for whatever shows up in your life contributes to ongoing happiness and improved relationships.

P.S. Don’t forget to connect with me.

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It is more important that you take care of you than that you take care of them. Does that sound selfish? Done in the right spirit, it is the first step toward selflessness. You cannot give out of an empty basket. A hungry man is unable to feed another. A full chef delights in serving.

Decay or grow. Our bodies are built to move. Movement stimulates cell growth. Reduced movement results in cell atrophy. A lethargic lifestyle causes the body to waste away. Decay. The body is a good servant in that it responds as gracefully as possible to the treatment we give it.

Endless recycle program. Our bodies consist of trillions of cells. They continually die off and are replaced. Bones dissolve and regenerate. High school health class taught that we have a completely new body ever seven years. But it is in increments, like 1% a day. What determines the quality of replacement? Whether the replacement quality is high or inferior depends on the lifestyle choices we make every day. Stronger or weaker cells? Our choice.

Intentional care. Remember the airline instructions? In case of emergency, you place the air bag on you first before helping the child, elderly, infirmed or others. Be intentional about your nutrition, your rest and your needs so that you are in optimum condition - mentally and physically - to help others.

Emotions play a big part. Human beings are composed of molecules therefore everything affects our molecular structure. Destructive emotions such as anger, hate, resentment, stress and loneliness send a “decay” message to the cells. These long-held emotions lead to chronic pain. Even though the angry person may be wishing ill on another, in reality, he is issuing his own death warrant.

Conversely, positive emotions such as optimism, love, compassion and community promote strength, thus healthy molecules. Not only does the molecular body benefit, but also one’s mind, heart, spirit and social life.

Handling the day-to-day stresses of life begins with self-care. Start with quality quiet time. What if it really does work?

Please let me hear from you. Thank you for your friendship, your business and your continued support. Let’s reach our goals together.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”


Overcoming Being a Jerk

In the movie, The Call of the Wilderness, Stewart Little befriended Carlos the Skunk. In building their relationship Stewart Little taught Carlos valuable life lessons. Carlos said “I thought the other animals didn’t like me because I smelled. Now I realize they didn’t like me because I was a jerk.”

Here is a simple assessment of jerky behavior and thoughts for overcoming.

Are you tactfully and respectfully able to speak openly and honestly? Do you give thought before addressing an issue? Do you respect the person even when you disapprove of the behavior? Or do you blurt out your truth (opinion) and let the chips fall wherever they may?

Can you address hard issues without undue anxiety? Are you emotionally honest about your feelings? Do you allow anger to mask your hurt?

Do you enjoy spending time with your family? Or do you dread togetherness? What is your attitude in taking care of common household responsibilities? Forced or willing? Are you a team player or a lone-ranger?

Do you recite a litany of what everyone is “supposed” to do? Do you keep score? If things do not go your way, do you raise a stink?

How do you handle criticism? Being defensive when corrected is a mark of immaturity. Rather than get honest with one’s shortcomings and deal with them head-on, a jerk tries to protect self at all cost. The ego is too bruised to handle the comment so he counter-attacks.

The jerk views his offensive behavior as an ill-fated flaw which he has no power to correct. It goes beyond being wrong to being a failure. Overcome being a jerk by realizing you have been given the opportunity of seeing yourself from another’s point of view. One outside of yourself. That the critic’s response is a mirror reflecting you back to you.

Do you mask your imperfections? Perfectionists are especially tough on themselves. Not so much from not knowing their faults but from fear of another finding them out.

Get over yourself. Become a part of the human race; one flawed individual interacting with other flawed individuals. See their comment as a meaningful suggestion not as a pronunciation of your being a totally inept person. Good response: “Oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thank you for pointing it out.”

Are you willing to forgive? Regardless of how painful, do not allow a passing moment to become a lifetime hurtful memory. Do not allow your scars to turn into sarcastic, demeaning responses, aimed at the guilty and innocent alike. Start with the decision to forgive you. In time, that will give you the courage to extend forgiveness to others. Come to grips with your past so you can move beyond it.

Rationalization is not evaluation. Cessandra Farmer says that “Rationalization is giving a socially acceptable answer for a socially unacceptable behavior.” Rationalization is being a jerk. No matter how much information is given, either positively or negatively, until the individual evaluates the situation for himself, the confrontation is mute.

I suggest Carlos came to his conclusion by observing his previous off-putting behavior and assessing the lack of fulfillment. I encourage you to do the same. Self-evaluate, get honest and overcome. Even skunks can become pleasant to be around.

Let’s start a conversation. What jerky behavior have you observed? What are positive steps for change? Please make a comment regarding this post. Thanks.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”


America, Land of the Free

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,

that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Declaration of Independence

The human spirit loves freedom. The human heart also searches for truth. Truth, morality and rights, are not of human origin, but of divine origin. The rights we enjoy in America did not come from Thomas Jefferson, nor from the founding fathers, nor from our constitution, but from a higher source.

Man is not the creator and arbitrator of right and wrong. Right and wrong, good and evil are universal moral facts. It is not a matter of relativity. Some things are right. Some things are wrong. And you know it. To try to alter them is to invite chaos. The ambiguity of morality is evidenced in the actions of a society by what it esteems and by what it disdains.

Although we do not have the right to make up our own right and wrong, we do have a duty to enforce established civil laws. This fact is evidenced in literature of all ages with the theme being good vs. evil, from the Bible to Harry Potter. Regardless of the ensuing death and destruction, good always wins in the end. Michael Esses observed, “An endless number of laws have been enacted just to uphold the Ten Commandments.”

Mankind has been gifted with a conscience; that innate knowing of right and wrong. Conscience is that small voice inside that compels us to do what is moral, honest and encourages humane actions. Conscience produces guilt when disavowed.

Psychiatrist Victor Frankl, a survivor of four concentration camps assessed the state of America by suggesting that a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast supplement the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast. The liberties we enjoy - the ones fought for and sustained by the sweat and blood of patriots - are being threatened by usurped individual freedom to do what one sees as right.

Thanks to our God-given gift of freewill, mankind is ultimately self-determining. The liberty we experience and the world reputation we esteem will remain strong (and grow) in proportion to our individual and corporate appreciation of freedom and our moral responsibility to all humanity. Let freedom ring loud and clear.


Communicating Appreciation

A concerned parent asked, “How do I get my child to say ‘Thank you’ without prompting? Here are some thoughts.

Model a leadership role. Manners are more caught than taught. Be diligent in verbalizing thanks to others for acts of kindness, large or small. As you create an optimal environment of appreciation – at home as well as in social settings – the child is going to mimic you.

Give time time. It takes an incubation period, but at the end of the day, children are mirrors reflecting you. In YOU Raising Your Child, Drs. Oz and Roizen pronounce parents as the most powerful messenger in a child’s life from day one and that the communication “may involve no words at all.”

Robert B. Sloan, Jr., former President of Baylor University and father of seven, calls it the “lunch pail principle”. If you plan to be a good parent, then bring your lunch pail, for it is an all day affair.

Observe and comment. As a young mother I watched our daughter’s childish response to an impromptu gift given to her. She received the beautifully wrapped box with wide-eyed wonder. She issued “aahs” and “oohs” while un-wrapping it, but did not utter “thanks”.

As she removed the object from its container, she said, “I have always wanted one of these.”

Still no magic words.

The giver was obviously receptive to the child’s joy. It took great patience for me to observe without prompting.

As Melinda rewrapped the gift and returned it to its treasure chest she said, “Well, all I know to say is, ‘Thanks’.

I breathed a sigh of relief and learned a valuable lesson. A smile can imply “thank you” before words are formulated. To anxious parents I preempt their prodding by acknowledging the child’s unspoken communication. You can do that too.

Be gracious and give grace. In reflection, what is more gracious, an instant canned reply or a delayed genuine response? Extending training and patience is more a test of the parents own character than that of the child.

Parenting skills do pay off. Enjoy your child as you learn and teach each other.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Corporate Trainer, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”