Dealing with loss during the Covid 19 epidemic. Anger as a feeling of loss

Dealing with Loss

Last week I looked at some of the characteristics of loss, which are shock, denial, disbelief, sadness, depression, anger and anxiety and fear.
First of all we all deal differently with loss, because while we may have experienced a similar loss, we grieve differently. We are affected by our childhood, or capacity to feel, our emotional resources, and a whole lot of external factors, such as having friends, a close or not so close family, what we have learned from our parents, our values, our age, gender and so on.
Over a number of weeks I want to look at a number of grieving factors – anger, anxiety/fear and depression. Today I will look at anger.
Anger is one of the biggest feelings of loss. It is a natural reaction to adverse circumstances. It is a good healthy feeling and SHOULD NOT BE SUPPRESSED BUT VENTED IN A SAFE WAY. So we can be angry at the gardai who mount check points to ensure we are staying safe, we can be angry at God for allowing this plague to happen, because we are more or less locked up we can become angry at our partners’ behaviour/habits, whatever. It does not really matter who we are angry with; our task is to distinguish between the feeling of anger and angry behaviour which affects others. There are different types of anger – explosive (blowing up), implosive (blowing up inside), passive aggressive and winding up. Explosive and implosive anger are very dangerous to our health.
It was once thought that expressing anger in a forceful way was the best way to do it, now research shows that expressing it in a more gentle way is the best way to do it. There is a 5 step technique that is very useful, probably the most useful way to vent anger, bearing in mind that we have only about two seconds to deal with it before it takes over. So, the answer is to delay it and so control it. These are the steps –
1. Body cue – where do you feel the anger in your body, your head, chest, stomach hands etc. Note the body cue first
2. Become aware that the body cue is telling you that you are about to get angry. That awareness is vital.
3. Acknowledge that you are angry i.e. the anger has now arrived.
4. Have an internal conversation about it, what is making you angry, think about that for a while. It might be like ‘I’m stuck here. It’s a love day, I want to go out but I can’t. Or, it might be ‘That woman/man is driving me mad. I need to get away.’ The longer this internal conversation is the better.
5. Empathy. This is key to ensuring your anger is properly managed. Empathy in this case means a very small amount of emotional understanding of the person/situation that is causing the anger. For example, you are angry at your husband during the lockdown because he spends a lot of time watching TV and you are trying to cope with managing the children and running the house, so the empathy there might be like ‘well, John is a good worker, now he has no job, that must be hard on him, I guess he is trying to get away from the distress by watching TV. That is just one small example, and it may not be a very good one, but a tiny bit of empathy heals the anger.
When you look at that technique you will see that it prolongs the time before the anger emerges, you can increase the time from two seconds to ten seconds and then you will be able to control the anger rather than have it control you.
There are other ways of anger management, such as abdominal breathing; that however is something you have to learn. It can take several months to learn abdominal breathing.
The best way is the 5 stage way outlined above.
For those who have lost someone during this awful time, the feeling of loss is much greater and correspondingly the feeling of anger is also increased. You can still use the 5 stage anger management technique, but you can use other techniques. Try the breathing, listen to soothing music, listen to water flowing gently (you can listen to that on your computer for some meditation exercises, talk to others even if you can’t visit them, and go for counselling where someone will listen to you in an emphatic way. It is always most distressing to lose a close relative, especially a child or a partner, and in these abnormal times you are without the comfort of others. If you lose someone at this time, there will be days when you feel you are going insane. On Those day you need to hear a friendly, empathic voice. My heart goes out to people experiencing such loss. I know what it is like to feel insane after losing someone I loved.

Posted in anger

Being in Lockdown or partial lockdown during the corona virus epidemic

Today I am departing from my usual blog to say that I am thinking of all my readers, who are experiencing the impact of being locked down. My wife and I are in our seventies and are in total lockdown. Counselling is part of essential services so I see some of my clients throughout the week, and it is an escape from the challenges of lockdown, which they call cocooning here in Ireland. I don’t like that word; it is a nice word for something that can be stressful!
Being deprived of freedom (of movement in this case) is a huge loss for all of us. Loss brings about a feeling of being bereaved, which means being robbed. At this time, we are robbed of our freedom, of meeting other people and interacting with them, of going to the pub or a café/restaurant. Young people cannot go to discos, night clubs, be involved in sport. So, there is loss for all of us and it varies from age group to age group.
If we look at what happens during loss, we can make better sense of how we are. When we experience loss, we feel a sense of shock, denial, disbelief, sadness, a depressed feeling and anger, to name but a few. That is why we look forward to an easing of the restrictions, but the impact of what happened will not go away easily and can leave us fearful, anxious and depressed.
The main thing is to remember that your reactions to this loss of freedom is unique and real. It is painful and can bring boredom, irritability and being short tempered. Next week I will have a look at how we might deal with our grief.
Best wishes,
Jim

Posted in corona virus, corona virus
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Your gut is your most important asset. Learn to be in contact with it.

In the last blog we were looking at the different types of intelligence we have. We may be strong in some areas and not so strong in others. I mentioned that emotional intelligence (the capacity to connect emotionally to another) was the most important. After all you would prefer to be married to an emotionally available person than to a genius who is distant and remote! Creativity is part of our human intelligence, and other creatures have enormous creativity. Look at how birds can weave a nest, or the beautiful nests that mice create for their young. It is innate and we all have it. It is how we do things in our unique way.
Part of your creativity is using your gut feeling. Your gut is your best adviser. You will find it a rich source of inspiration, when you become acquainted with it by constantly practising gut communication. This can take some time and effort. It may be true, as some writers claim, that those with fear of failure make poor choices in terms of careers, but they also make poor choices in most areas of their lives because of this debilitating underlying condition. One of the best ways to look at your precise goals, your judgement, and your proposed behaviour is to use your gut. Many people instinctively close it off, probably because they are not used to referring to it or because subconsciously they fear what it will tell them. I have studied the gut from my own experiences and made some important decisions on its response. I will give you an example. I once considered becoming a counselling supervisor. It would not have been difficult and I made enquiries from supervisor trainers. My head said yes. Statistics in my county showed that there were hundreds of counsellors and only a small number of supervisors. My head rightly said that I would make more money than the small amount I make from counselling. I asked my gut, confidently expecting its approval and was surprised when it strongly rejected my plan. The gut usually responds in about five seconds and using it will save you many headaches and prevent poor decisions. I try not to go against my gut, and whenever I do, I create problems. I do not immediately accept the gut’s simple response of yes or no. I like to know the reason for its answer and your gut will tell you, because it knows everything about you. The reasons it gave me was that my job was to sit with people rather than telling counsellors what to do. It also hinted that my health would be under too much strain and that I had sufficient money. The gut is always right, because it knows you. It cannot, however, predict how others will react, but that is not your problem.
Extract from my recent book – Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLING TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD
ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
FEAR
ANGER
JEALOUSY
SHAME
I am the author of six books
When a Child Dies. Footsteps of a Grieving Family
Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying
Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
I’ll Meet You at the Roundy O
Priest, Politics and Society in Post Famine Ireland 1850-1891
Prince of Swindlers. John Sadleir MP 1813-1856
I am currently writing a major work on DID (Multiple Personality Disorder)

Posted in gut feeling
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There are nine types of intelligence and we all have our own unique creativity

Before I begin this blog, I would like to send my best wishes to all those people, who read it every week. I am very conscious of the awful plague that has us locked down and how stressful this is for many people. My prayer is that all of you stay safe, and let us remember that this will end and we will return to normality. It is like a bereavement for us and we are all in it that bereavement. Please make sure you keep in contact with others in a safe way and most importantly take exercise every day. Jim

In the last blog I mentioned a saboteur, an internalised negative voice which destroys our lives. I gave you some ideas on how to get rid of it. When you have booted the saboteur out of your life, write down the different traits that you wouldlike to have. If you have difficulty doing this, look at people you envy, who seem to have all the desirable qualities that you lack. You will find that despite your fear and feelings of inadequacy, you have many desirable traits. You may, for example, be helpful, persistent, diligent, honest, be good at sport, music and so on. It is worthwhile considering the concept of multiple intelligences (nine types) outlined in the writings of the American developmental psychologist, Howard Gardner, and you will discover that you may have a richer persona than you thought. Emotional intelligence is far more desirable that IQ. Spatial intelligence is also very advantageous. You also have an innate creativity. If you mistakenly label yourself as unintelligent, remember that creativity is your greatest gift. Those who succeed are invariably creative and studies show that child prodigies with high IQs frequently lapse into ordinary, uninteresting adults. All of us have an inner creative child. All you have to do is awaken her. We will look at this in the next blog.
Extract from my recent book – Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLING TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD
ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
FEAR
ANGER
JEALOUSY
SHAME
I am the author of six books
When a Child Dies. Footsteps of a Grieving Family
Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying
Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
I’ll Meet You at the Roundy O
Priest, Politics and Society in Post Famine Ireland 1850-1891
Prince of Swindlers. John Sadleir MP 1813-1856
I am currently writing a major work on DID (Multiple Personality Disorder)

Posted in fear of failure
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Our self-esteem must come from our qualities not our achievements

The word locus seems to be liked by psychologists. Carl Rogers uses the term an external locus of self-evaluation, which means that your self-esteem is based on external factors such as your work, wealth or some other factor that you value. Without question, those who have an external locus of control also evaluate themselves externally and lack confidence and the ability to dictate their lives. I cannot think of a greater recipe for unhappiness or fear of failure. I remember a client telling me that his self-esteem lay in being good at his job. When I asked how he would be if he became ill and could no longer do his work, his answer was ‘I would feel empty. I would feel nothing.’ When your self-esteem lies outside of yourself you are constantly on the treadmill of shame. You should realise that you are more than your job or whatever external reality you rely on for your self-esteem. It must lie within yourself.
But, first you have to eradicate that false self who carries your wounds and it is helpful to realise that the false self contains a saboteur, who continuously whispers negative messages about yourself in your ear. Creating an image of the saboteur is one good way of concretising the negative thinking that binds you and nurtures your fear of failure. Imagine that little black saboteur sitting on your shoulder, whispering into your ear telling you that you are not good enough, that you will fail, that you are not intelligent enough, that you will fail an interview, that you will not be able to do the job advertised and there is no use in applying for it, that you will never have a relationship, and so on. To make that little saboteur more realistic paint it, and make it as hideous as possible. Then feel your power over your creation as you tear it up or burn it.
Extract from my recent book – Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLING TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD
ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
FEAR
ANGER
JEALOUSY
SHAME
I am the author of six books
When a Child Dies. Footsteps of a Grieving Family
Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying
Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
I’ll Meet You at the Roundy O
Priest, Politics and Society in Post Famine Ireland 1850-1891
Prince of Swindlers. John Sadleir MP 1813-1856
I am currently writing a major work on DID (Multiple Personality Disorder)

Posted in The saboteur
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We must feel in control of our lives and it must be based on our intrinsic qualities not on external factors which can vanish

I do not advise self-help books, but you can get many useful books which will help you make sense of your life. A book you might like to read to help heal your perfectionistic tendencies is The Green Platform. This was written by Declan Coyle, who was fortunate enough to have the Holocaust survivor and internationally famous psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, as his visiting professor during his post graduate studies in Ottawa. The green platform is a metaphor for positivity and one of the most positive outcomes is the demise of perfectionism, the acquisition of boundaries, the dissolution of negativity and a corresponding sense of being in control of your life. Being in control of your life is personal power and should not be confused with power and control over others. It is an internal state of calmness with a sense of direction and is a necessary ingredient for living. It is profoundly disrupted if your childhood has been negative. Even if you are outwardly successful, not being in control is like being chronically ungrounded and uncertain. In the nineteen fifties Julian B. Rotter, a prominent psychologist, explored the concept of control and came up with a theory, which he labelled locus (location) of control. He differentiated between an internal and an external locus of control. If you have an internal locus you believe that you are in control and in charge of your life. You are unfailingly positive. If, however, you have an external locus you believe that your life is controlled by external factors and you are by and large powerless to properly dictate the course of your life. In one you give yourself credit for success and in the other you complain about external obstacles, normally obstacles you feel you cannot overcome. These are the obstacles you often erect yourself and are the by-products of perfectionism.
Extract from my recent book – Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLING TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD
ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
FEAR
ANGER
JEALOUSY
SHAME
I am the author of six books
When a Child Dies. Footsteps of a Grieving Family
Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying
Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
I’ll Meet You at the Roundy O
Priest, Politics and Society in Post Famine Ireland 1850-1891
Prince of Swindlers. John Sadleir MP 1813-1856
I am currently writing a major work on DID (Multiple Personality Disorder)

Posted in incompetence
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Perfectionism can lead to other psychological complaints.

Since perfectionism is bred from an insecure attachment it will be accompanied by other issues outlined as follows –
Fear of abandonment – fear of failure – social fear – toxic jealousy – envy – toxic anger/rage – depression – anxiety – panic attacks – controlling impulse – internal unease – impatience – self-loathing – separation difficulties – chronic stress – suicidal ideation – poor concentration – lack of meaning – procrastination – difficulty finishing assignments – magical thinking – body image problems – negative outlook – negative thinking – stress related illnesses – avoidance mechanisms – worry – competitiveness –aggression – lack of assertiveness – people pleasing –taking in the feelings of others – low self-esteem – emptiness – addictions – perfectionism – sadness – existential loneliness – shame – poor boundaries – relationship difficulties – parenting difficulties – possible increased fear of death – difficulty in meeting the challenges of life development stages – fear of ageing – insecurity – frozen feelings – lack of empathy – compulsive behaviours – possible promiscuity – dissociation – eating disorders – inability to self-soothe – an emotional or soul wound –feeling unloved/unwanted – feeling unlovable – uncertainty –poor judgement – warped perspective – lethargy – being driven – impaired immune system – physical illnesses from stress response systems (heart problems, diabetes, blood pressure etc.) – abusiveness – psychosomatic complaints.

It is easy to see how perfectionism can lead to those listed; for example, the treadmill of continuous striving and failure can lead to a low mood and confirms your feeling of not being good enough. This in turn can stoke anger and resentment. The concretisation of not feeling good enough in body image problems leads to eating disorders in a futile striving to be physically perfect.

Extract from my recent book – Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLING TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD
ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
FEAR
ANGER
JEALOUSY
SHAME
I am the author of six books
When a Child Dies. Footsteps of a Grieving Family
Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying
Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
I’ll Meet You at the Roundy O
Priest, Politics and Society in Post Famine Ireland 1850-1891
Prince of Swindlers. John Sadleir MP 1813-1856
I am currently writing a major work on DID (Multiple Personality Disorder)

Posted in perfectionism, perfectionism
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Keeping a diary is a great way to manage emotional/psychological issues

Antony and Swinson (2009) detail many strategies and exercises for dealing with pathological (unhealthy) meticulousness. Their initial advice is to assess the seriousness of the perfectionism. You can do this by checking for the main areas where the problem arises. From preceding chapters you will have guessed that the most practical way to do this is to keep a diary, which you can label your perfectionist journal. You can then more easily assess these areas that provoke this behaviour and look at triggers such as situations, people, or activities. You will see how high you set the bar, how this interferes with your life, and especially how it interferes with your relationships.
According to Antony and Swinson (2009) the diary will help you set realistic goals. Being a perfectionist, you may be tempted to set the bar too high, so keep your goals simple and specific. In doing this choose a few specific areas where you wish to tackle perfectionism. This might refer to your work where you spend too much time over planning or over preparing and, therefore, fall behind in your work. It might be about preparing an assignment where you spend innumerable hours writing, changing and checking, bringing on anxiety, or it might concern how you tend to be critical of others. The diary will also help you to recognise thinking that promote perfectionism. You will find that there are irrational beliefs behind the perfectionistic thinking that inevitably provoke anxiety. If you suffer from Ellis’s ‘musturbation’ you are probably perfectionistic. One of my clients, whose basic belief was that he must always please his boss, suffering severe anxiety as a result. He was perfectionistic and weighed down with shame as he struggled under an unreasonable workload, which made it impossible to satisfy his perfectionistic tendencies. It was a matter of changing the irrational thought to ‘I will try to please my boss if that is feasible’. It is essential and relatively easy for a perfectionist to make such a radical change. Look back at cognitive restructuring in the chapter on anger for further information on how to change your thoughts.
Extract from my recent book – Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLING TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD
ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
FEAR
ANGER
JEALOUSY
SHAME

Posted in perfectionism
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The constant need for approval is crippling. It comes from parental lack of affection for the child

The need for approval is a deep and hurtful wound from childhood. I was driven by the need for approval. As a Principal, I needed approval from the students, the staff, the parents, the Board of Management, the Department of Education, the townspeople and the trustees! And my perfectionism was murderous. I took responsibility for every brick in the building, every mark on the walls. I constantly felt under scrutiny. It is no wonder that I retired at fifty-eight and for three months lay on a couch exhausted, until I found the motivation to complete the final part of my counselling course. This was the result of spending years on that treadmill, being hard on myself, driving myself, worrying, lacking self-empathy and fearing failure. The upshot of all of this striving was that I was rightly regarded as a good Principal. It was, however, to the detriment of my health. My perfectionistic thinking and my inability to properly delegate were my downfall. This type of thinking is well explored in the second edition of When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough by Martin Antony and Richard Swinson. They identify perfectionistic thoughts and provide exercises to help change such thoughts. Some of the common characteristics of perfectionistic thinking is the intense focus it has on yourself and the possibility of intense anger and shame. I wanted everything to be perfect in my school – the quality of the teaching, the behaviour of the students, the quality of the school building. That is all very well, but the fact that I took personal responsibility for all of these pointed to perfectionistic thinking. If there is a mark on a wall, it is my fault. If a child misbehaves during lunch break, it is my fault. If a teacher is underperforming, it is my fault. Each one of these is a monkey, and as the monkeys accumulate on your shoulder exhaustion and stress will eventually come. You might like to read Ken Blanchard’s book, The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey. The Monkey is the next move!!!
Extract from my recent book – Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLING TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD
ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
FEAR
ANGER
JEALOUSY
SHAME

Posted in Uncategorized
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The need for approval is a painful wound from childhood and prevents us being truly happy

In the last blog we have been looking at perfectionism. The subconscious desire to be good enough is a parallel, but connected, treadmill to perfectionism promoting fear of failure. It has many roots, and the behaviour is a never ending drive to please others. The greater your fear of failure the more approval you seek. The need for approval is one of the greatest forces driving the perfectionist. You will never say no because your boundaries are flawed and apart from fearing that you might hurt others by a refusal, you crave to be liked. You will always be obliging to others to help you feel better. You might say that it is a good thing to be nice, to be helpful. It is important that you define yourself by your kindness, but, that is different from defining yourself as being nice to get approval. That definition of the self is fatal. What happens if for some reason, for example, illness, you do not get the opportunity to be nice to others? You will feel empty. You will feel the nothingness of fear. Being kind is an intrinsic trait not a behaviour. If you define yourself by this intrinsic trait you will never feel empty because no matter what happens it will be there in your core.
Extract from my recent book – Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLING TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD
ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
FEAR
ANGER
JEALOUSY
SHAME

Posted in Uncategorized
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