When anger does overtake you, always remember that you are almost never upset for the reason you think you are. Only after you calm down will you see the truth, and it will almost always have its root in some kind of fear. I suggest to clients that when anger rises, they should stop and ask, “What am I afraid of right now?” Common fears are those of embarrassment, rejection, loss, and danger. Getting to that root will always put things in perspective.
When you get upset, your brain knows that you need something at that moment, so you may experience a hundred images in seconds, giving rise to anger, frustration, self-pity, and loneliness that support and validate your current belief about the situation. This can happen quickly especially when you are disappointed by someone close to you. The next time someone does something to upset you, see if you can spot how many “blaming” memories flood in to validate your outrage toward this person. You will have to be fast because the memories will be there in under a second yelling, “Pick me! Hey, over here! I can prove he did that on purpose. I can show you that she doesn’t really care.” Next thing you know, you become angrier at the person than the situation warrants, and when pressed for a reason, you will probably bark, “Because you always do this!” Your brain is programmed to ignore any information that would disprove your violated feelings. It does this to protect you.
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