Category Archives: Anger

Communication Problems

Often times one hears of couples saying they have “communication problems”.  Such a term is very often used and can be for the most part rather nebulous.   It can sometimes be a description for many other problems and or underlying issues in a relationship that have not been explored.

Couples for the most part to communicate very well either directly or indirectly their unhappiness, disappointment, resentment, contempt  or anger for each other.  Sometimes they punish each other by using avoidance, manipulation or intentional harm that they might be less than willing to talk about or admit to each other.  Often times in couples therapy the process of discovering the source of the discomfort  or negative patterns might take some time.

Many times the presenting problem of what the couple labels as the issue soon gets overridden by past wounds, hurts or betrayals that have been buried between them and unresolved. Often times these other issues come bubbling up.

Couples who have issues with “communication”  sometimes have been carrying these wounds or unfinished business in an indirect way for months or even years.  These unhealed wounds are often dragged along unresolved in the relationship and/or marriage longer than is healthy and this can impact their current relational health.

If left unresolved the couple may find that the misunderstanding can escalate very quickly and eventually destroy their relationship. Exploring these resentments, patterns of attachment styles and past wounds every so often sometimes can reconnect a couple.  Sometimes the help of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists can be a good start for a couple to begin to tall openly and to reconnect once again and clear their communication channels.

How to tell your kids your marriage is over?

How do you tell your children your marriage is over?  Is  there a best way or worse way?  First of all make sure that both of you are certain that divorce is going to really happen and it is your final decision after exploring all other options.

Less than ideal ways are each for each  parent to  tell  the children at a different times and blaming the other parent, or doing some drastic changes in living situations without telling the children or their spouse. Also harmful is  passing messages through the children,, dating too early and not giving children time to grieve.   As a parent crying to or leaning on your children for emotional support for your separation or divorce because they are so “mature” and you feel they understand is not advised.  Showing your children your anger towards your ex is also not advised even if you feel you are in the right.  All these  are usually less than ideal and will put more stress on your children through the divorce and through the co-parenting  years that come after.

What might be better guide rules?  Having a joint  story that you both share together when you are both sure that divorce is inevitable is important.  Get  the story straight and stick to it,, and that should only be told  one time,  clearly and calmly, not every few months, or years.

Decide how to best tell children, when and where. Neither parent needs to be thrown under the bus in front of your kids.  Often times kids feel they are half of each parent  and the child begins to internalize that half of them is bad or if both parents insult each other they might feel that all of them is bad, so nothing they do is ok or matters.  Saying thing like you look or act just like your ex spouse is not helpful.  A child’s may worry that  they have some how have, or will in the future contribute to parental issue,  separation, or divorce  and feel guilty or sad. They are left in a loosing situation, that they feel can’t be resolved.

The divorce story should not include any thing bad about either parent, Try not to personalize and react to comments from your ex when negotiating or when setting up scheduling for your children. Let things fall without reaction. That is  easier said than done, and that is where a therapists might be able to help.  Anything you can do to reduce parental conflict is going to serve your children’s best interest and allow them to be happier and better adjusted after the transition.

A neutral  story,  may sound like …….”we do not love each other in ways parents  should or we do not get along any more and sometimes in adult love and in couples love thing can change..” Then emphasize that love for kids from a parent does not change, remind your children that  you both still love them now and will continue to love them always, followed by hugs or time to ask questions.  The children need to feel no sense of responsibility for the loss of your marriage. They also should not be made to feel  any responsibility to manage the relationship of their parents, keep you happy, be your confidant, keep your secrets or be your best friend.

That is why its so important to talk with a therapists who understands pre and post divorce issues.  The pain you might be  feeling , anger, animosity or maybe just a strong desire to move forward. Often times couples are not on the same page as far as wanting to divorce and this creates animosity, resentment and anger in the process of  the separation.  Children at different ages also may react differently.

So consider taking responsibility for your own actions  and for your language and reactions even in very difficult situations, in front of your children.   Love your children more than you hate your spouse , advance the needs of your children over your animosity , take a loving kindness approach.  Do it for your kids.

 

What is EMDR?

(Adapted From the EMDRIA Network website)

What is EMDR? 

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a cost-effective, non-invasive, evidence-based method of psychotherapy that facilitates adaptive information processing developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD in the late 1980’s.  EMDR is a treatment which comprehensively identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity, and have thereby generated traumatic symptoms and/or harmful coping strategies. Through EMDR therapy, patients are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive.

How Was EMDR Developed?

In 1987, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions. Dr. Shapiro studied this effect scientifically, and in a 1989 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress she reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma. Since then EMDR has developed and evolved through the contribution of therapists and researchers all over the world. Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements of many different treatment approaches.

How Does EMDR Work?

No one knows exactly how any form of psychotherapy works neuro-biologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, that individual’s brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way the person relates to other people.

EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following successful EMDR sessions, a person no longer re-lives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind.

The client still remembers what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically-based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.

What Is An EMDR Session Like?

During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session. The client brings to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, heard, felt, thought, and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held about themselves and the event. The therapist facilitates directional movement of the eyes and/or other dual attention stimulation of the brain, while the client focuses on the disturbing material, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control the direction or content.

Each person will process information uniquely based on personal experiences and values. There is no right or wrong way to process  the information or feel.  Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive self-beliefs.  EMDR is often used for trauma, PTSD, as well as other situations.

If you feel  EMDR would be something you would like to try please call my office to set  an appointment.  I am an EMDR level two practitioner.

 

 

Anger & Idioms, our colorful expressions.

Anger seems to be one of our most  often used emotions and often our only “go to” emotion.  Real anger is rarely a primary emotion. Anger is so often expressed  that we have many idiomatic expressions in our language that describe how some people  may feel when they become angry.

We say expressions  like:

  • driving me up the wall
  • driving me nuts
  • hot under the collar
  • blowing off steam
  • blowing our top
  • hitting the ceiling
  • flying off the handle
  • blowing our stack
  • mad as a wet hen
  • rage quit
  • hissy fit

Do any of these sound familiar?  These are all colorful ways that have been weaved into the fabric of our vocabulary and that we use to communicate our frustration, fear, or thoughts of being overwhelmed.  Try for a moment to really notice where anger resides in your body when your feeling over the top angry?

Are you able to visualize any of these expressions? Can you see yourself literally driving up the wall? Seeing that in your minds eye might bring some level of humor to the situation . Ask yourself how important is this really now? And in 25 years?  Is it really about this situation now or maybe there are some unresolved feelings from past that you might not have even been aware of?

You might find that “seeing red” does not always have to be the end result of your anger once you are aware of having anger notice where it resides in your body and of your triggers, and how to release it …. noticing this mind body connection might open up the possibilities to seeing aqua blue, emerald green, sunshine yellow and many more. Take a moment to consider all the other different emotions that we choose from, or at least allow.

Image result for free downloadable images of driving up the wall