The 3 Options You Have When You’re Angry

The 3 Options You Have When You’re Angry

The 3 Options You Have When You’re Angry

BRAD SINGLETARY, LCSW

Founder, Producer, Host, Men's Coach

BRAD SINGLETARY, LCSW

Founder, Producer, Host, Men's Coach

THE 3 OPTIONS YOU HAVE WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY

As I have worked with people over the last 20 years in a coaching capacity, I have found that one very common issue underlies people’s pain, stagnation, worry and failures: anger.

I’m not talking about the kind of anger where you are throwing things around you too make people feel scared or relieve some intensifying arousal based on momentary hatred or rage. I’m talking about anger that you don’t even realize is anger.

The Freudians would say that depression is anger turned inward. I find that to be so true; low energy, sadness, feelings of worthlessness, and lack of motivation are often really just anger in disguise. Conversely, much of anger is merely a masking of sadness.

What gets us angry in the first place is often the unrealistic expectation that people must meet our demands. We don’t consciously march around with this kind of demand, it’s just an internal system of beliefs where we maintain that we must get our way. So we expect others meet our selfish demands and we demand that we are to be successful, respected, and given breaks.

So we become entitled and feel that things in life should fall into place just as we planned, and then when reality clashes with the fantasy of smooth simplicity, we get angry. The experience of anger is, again, not always the raging type that we think of when we talk about anger management classes and violence, but it can be passive in nature as well. How we feel anger is often in other forms, not just the classic fist banging, hollering and swearing we do when we lose control.

So what can we do when we’re angry about how something has happened, how we’ve been treated, something we have done ourselves, or the encounter of some other triggering event or adversity?

I love to use the acronym A. C. E. which which symbolizes the only three realistic options we have when we are angry.

  • A. is for adjust
  • C. is for complain
  • E. is for escape

ADJUST. Is something you are doing accidentally making the situation worse? Are your expectations unrealistic? Are you misinterpreting aspects of the situation? In general, adjusting or adapting is the only viable option with anger.

COMPLAIN. This is to confront the person or the issue with an explanation of why what is happening is not okay with you. So if someone is being rude, we can complain and tell them that they’re being rude and that we expect more appropriate interaction. What I have found, though, is that complaining or confronting people never really works. Those who would respect your complaint are usually so agreeable that they’re not causing you a problem in the first place.

That’s not always true, however. Sometimes people are unaware that their words or actions are offending you, and they just needed to be brought to the awareness of it in order to change it. But typically, complaining just doesn’t work. People either don’t care, or don’t want to make the changes necessary just to keep you happy.

ESCAPE. Sometimes the only option is to escape the situation or the relationship. For example, if you are in a public setting and become overly irritated or frustrated you have the ability to leave. Sometimes that’s all you can do. If you’re in a failing relationship and the other options haven’t worked after a long and diligent effort, escaping or leaving the relationship maybe your best response to what has been going on. If you are in the presence of fools who just don’t understand your vibe and you are becoming angry with theirs, you can always get away from them.

But many times, you cant escape. You need to stay at the job you hate because there are no other options. You have children and don’t want to be divorced. You are on a vacation and cant exactly leave the company you’re in for 10 days. Here’s where you go back to the other options.

Can you Complain? Will that work? No? Already tried that?

Now you’re back to adjusting YOURSELF. What this means is to take a look and see if anything you are doing is accidentally making it worse. Are your expectations unrealistic or selfish? Are you interpreting things to mean something they don’t? Chances are, maybe both of those are true.  Alpha up👊💪

When You Should Never Say “I Don’t Know”

When You Should Never Say “I Don’t Know”

When You Should Never Say “I Don’t Know”

BRAD SINGLETARY, LCSW

Founder, Producer, Host, Men’s Coach

BRAD SINGLETARY, LCSW

Founder, Producer, Host, Men’s Coach

It happened again today–twice–by two different people.

There is no more counterfeit humility known to man than the use of the easy-out reply “I don’t know” when asked for an opinion.  Two men did this today in my office and it put the nail in the coffin for me for my theory that this is one of the most likely of indicators that a man has become weak and lazy.

In the first incident, it was a man of maturity.  A former engineering professional who is struggling in his marriage after impulsively quitting a career of 35 years due to a new female manager’s bossy ways. This reactive move put he and his lady in a bad spot, first financially and now emotionally

This man is a former soldier who had spent time abroad serving in the United States military. He had been an avid runner, even completing marathons, I believe.  Today, the flashing red warning-light buzzing about my office was his frequent use of the escape-artists most elementary tool:  “I don’t know.”

When we are asked about matters of fact or of information that we simply do not have, the best and most honest answer may indeed be an admission of innocent ignorance.  I’m not talking about never being able to admit your lack of knowledge on a subject.  I’m talking about your opinions.

In this case, his wife asked, “what can I do to be more supportive?”

Maybe that’s a tough question.  Maybe that requires some contemplation and brainstorming. I triangulated the dialogue by suggesting he instead say, “let me think about that one, Babe.  I need a minute to just work on that question.”  That’s a pause button on the football game while you go take a piss, instead of abandoning the whole televised 4K event.

Give yourself a minute, dude.  It’s normal to need to think for a moment. Or a day. Or a week.  But to follow a request for an opinion with I don’t know is just pure and simple indolence.

The other fellow that did this today was a teenager.  He was nervous about being in a therapists office and wasn’t sure what it was all about since his mother brought him in without much explanation about this encounter with me.  But he had been playing a particular musical instrument for 5 years and when I asked what his favorite musician was, he did it, too.  SMH.

Really, bro?  You’re in an advanced performing group with this specialized instrument you play and eat, sleep, and breathe this thing and you can’t tell a fat, bald stranger your favorite artist?  He really froze up!  Surely for him, there is some anxiety or some other deeper issue going on that we will address as part of our work together.  But this is an everyday deal for me as I coach and counsel men and young men in all kinds of situations, seeking help for a wide variety of difficulties.

The principle I am trying to teach here is that of discernment.  We must decide.  Perhaps ALL of our thinking is judgement in which we must figure out between options.

  • Am I too close to this car in front of me?
  • What time do I need to start getting ready to be on time?
  • What is the most appropriate thing to wear to this important interview?
  • What do I want for lunch?
  • What can my wife do to help me?
  • What is my favorite _______________________?

 

Discernment is one of the Red-9:  the nine attributes of an Alpha.  That characteristic means many things and part of that is to “have my own opinions and assertively express them, even if they are unpopular.”

Sometimes you won’t know.  Sometimes you need more information.  Sometimes it isn’t convenient to discuss.  Sometimes you don’t want to cast your pearls before swine.  Sometimes, you’re being a chicken shit and you need to decisively figure out your opinion and express it.  To me, that is one mark of a strong man: he can easily express his opinion on a variety of topics, especially of ordinary, every day matters that he won’t first need to do a book report on.

Carry on, brothers. Try to never say you don’t know.  Go get your Alpha game on.

take action instead of waiting to be acted upon

take action instead of waiting to be acted upon

take action instead of waiting to be acted upon

Here’s a question for you, who owes you an apology? Answer, no one.

I wish I had learned this one earlier in life.

Nobody cares about your feelings. The sooner you can accept this fact the better.
Stop what you are doing right now and repeat this to yourself, “Nobody cares about my feelings.” Do it while staring in the mirror if it helps.

Repeat this ten times.

Stings a little, doesn’t it? Life is full of truths that sting, deal with it.

Your wife doesn’t care, your kids don’t care, your mother doesn’t care. NONE. OF. THESE. PEOPLE. CARE. Now I am not suggesting that these people don’t want you to be happy, in most cases they most certainly do. Your loved ones care about your well-being, that’s what makes them your loved ones. However it is your well-being that concerns them, yours. You own your well-being. Those of you married or in a relationship, have you ever been able to “fix” your partner’s feelings? Are you waiting for someone to fix yours?

I must admit that I am guilty of emotional blackmail. Validate my negative feelings right now or I am going to be an asshole.

Speaking of truths in life that sting, yikes.

That was not a fun sentence to write. It’s even less fun to go back and read. I wonder how much my already half-spent life has been spent waiting for someone else to fix my crappy attitude. More than I care to know.

One more thing that must end right now.

No more wasting my life away waiting for apologies that don’t matter.

Validation can be a wonderful thing, it feels nice when someone else “feels our pain.” Whether it contributes to our personal development is another. We all know people that love to get together and commiserate in various problems, misery loves company. Feeling isolated and stuck is a frustrating experience and being with people that can identify with your frustrations can be empowering as long as other actions are taken. Were it not for the twelve steps AA would only be a bunch of drunks telling stories. I live in Las Vegas, there are plenty of places for drunks to congregate and tell stories none of which I am aware send you home with specific action steps to improve your life.

Here’s a question for you, who owes you an apology?

Answer, no one.

Man, truth bombs are dropping from everywhere today.

“Waiting” for an apology just another form of emotional blackmail.

I am not moving on with my life until you apologize to me. Why on Earth would we surrender our own well-being waiting on apology? Again I ask the question, who owes you an apology?

Answer(in all caps for maximum emotional impact) NO ONE!!

Grab a pen and paper, its homework time.

Write you down everyone in your life that for whatever reason did something to you that believe would warrant an apology, and apology for which your are still waiting. What would warrant an apology? If you were guilty of the same infraction you feel the need to apologize, use that metric as your guide. Take as much time as you need this is gonna be awesome.

On your mark, get set, go.

Hum the Jeopardy theme music if it helps.

Done? Anyone else you would like to add? Dig deep, we are only going to do this once.

Do not pass this point until you are done with your list, we are going to call this A

Now let’s make another list.

List all the people that maybe waiting on an apology from you. Again, dig deep. Anyone and everyone that comes to mind. Your journey of life has included casualties, I guarantee it. It happens to the best of us.

There is a scene in the movie Billy Madison where Billy, played Adam Sandler, makes a phone call to make amends with someone he had bullied in grade school. After the phone call the ex-classmate of Billy’s, played by Steve Buscemi, turns around and marks Billy Madison off his “people to kill” list. Let’s get ourselves off some of those list “people to kill” lists. If you’re name is rattling around a few of those lists.

Ok, done?

We will call this second list, list B.

For the next step, please find a well ventilated area. Somewhere you can be alone but also out of the vicinity of oily rags, dry brush or gas pumps.

Now take a long hard look at list A, soak it in. Who is on that list? Is it your mother? Is it your father? Is it your wife? Ex-wife? Son, daughter, ex-business partner that left will all the money? Allow the pain of the others past mistakes wash over you. This should hurt, so take as much time as you need.

Here comes the fun part, I promise.

Now when you have felt all you care to feel I want you take that list, list A, and light it on fire.

Watch it burn.

Let it go.

You can admit it, It feels better than it should. I have seen some amazing fireworks in my day, this one puts them all to shame.

Now for step 2. Take the second list, list B, and soak that one in too. If this part doesn’t make you feel like a total dick, you are doing it wrong. Who is on this list? Is it your mother? Is it your father? Is it your wife? Ex-wife? Son, daughter, ex-business partner that you cheated?

Now take that list and call the first person on it and start to make things right.

Take action instead of waiting to be acted upon.

Repeat as needed.

Feels good, doesn’t it?