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Monday, July 27, 2015

Emotional Outbursts - Losing Control.... What it does to You and Those around You.... and how to fix it

Geez Wills - could you squeeze any more words and controversy into a Title?

Man.... this is a subject that I have a lot of experience with....

Cause I've done it and seen it so many times in my life.... grew up with  it.... lived it.... and still struggle with it.

So there's the full disclosure to all the alcoholics out there..... that I'm a recovering alcoholic.... so to speak.

So where do I begin?

Well... first of all, you have to realize there's a lot of the population out there that has no clue what I'm talking about.

Basically, they grew up in "functional" (whatever the hell that means) households where there was no hollering or screaming or throwing shit....

Which also means there was probably no "genetic" predisposition to express themselves in such a negative way....

And as I said, they have had little or no real world exposure to it.

So.... when these genetically and experientially "calm" people see someone lose their control and start hollering and screaming and cussing.... they just look at each other and go....

"What's this person's problem.... they must be imbalanced".

And the truth is.... they're pretty much right.

If you were to look at 100 people who consistently and frequently lose their cool, it is likely that at least 95 of those grew up in a household where that misbehavior was practiced and demonstrated with some recurring frequency.

The point is that the root of this type of negative Emotional Drama is likely in the genes and in the household.

Like everything else in Life, if you grew up with it, you are likely to practice it in your own Life.

So there's the "Where Did it Come From" Part.

Now.... let's talk about the Real Negative Consequences of Getting Mad, Losing Your Temper, Throwing a Fit, Losing Control or creating Senseless Negative Drama.... there's probably a label in there you recognize.

And while we're talking about that, let's work in the "How you Fix it" part.

There is usually some trigger point for the beginning of any emotional outburst.

For the person susceptible to this sort of misbehavior, it may seem like a Mountain.

To any other non-susceptible person, it likely is a Mole Hill.

This little Trigger Point or Minor Perturbation in the Universe might be something as simple as the male spouse leaving the toilet lid up....  or not washing their coffee cup when they're done with it.... or being late to church....or... you fill in the blank.

Bottom line is that it's not World War, Cancer or Losing Your Job.... in other words not something that you really should get excited about.

And this is the first and best place to cut this whole negative process off before it even gets started.

When you see that trigger point or insignificant event and you feel yourself starting to react to it..... STOP...

STOP right there and ask yourself this....

Is this something significant that I should get upset about?  Is this worth fighting about?

And here's a suggestion as to how to quantitatively decide that.  Notice that I'm forcing you to stop and analyze.... bear with me here.

Here's a random assessment method for measuring whether something is worth getting pissed off about.

Pick a dollar value that is important to you.  Each person of varying net worth and earnings scale will pick a different number.  For me it's $500.

Next, pick a time duration that is important to you, in terms of time it takes to fix something or time that is meaningful to you to spend on a project or working on something.  For me, it's about 4 hours.

So now you have a dollar value and a time value.  What's that for?

Here's how it works....

Here's my suggestion:  If the trigger point, what you're about to get pissed off about, doesn't breach your dollar or time value, then....


For example, let's say you get home late and you see that your husband didn't mow the yard like you asked him to before you left for work.  That starts to piss you off and as you're getting out of the car, you're thinking about how you're about to tear into him about it....

STOP - and realize it will only take about an hour to mow the yard OR you could pay some neighborhood kid $30 to mow the yard.... and the issue would go away.

And this scenario brings up another checkpoint for getting pissed off.... and that is the PROPER TIME AND PLACE.

As you're starting to get pissed off, ask yourself....

"Is this the best time to confront this person about this issue?"

If it's 8:00 at night and you're tired and haven't eaten and the other person is the same way, let me suggest to you....


OR if you're driving to dinner and he changed lanes without signaling and you are about to tear into him about that....

Realize that it's probably not the right time or place either.

Bottom line is that if you filter the Trigger Point or Initial Event through the criteria of:
  • Minimum Dollar Value
  • Minimum time spent to fix the problem or address the issue
  • Appropriate time for an Emotionally heightened event
  • Appropriate place for an Emotionally heightened event
And the Trigger Point trips none of the conditions listed above....then...

Save yourself the energy... and don't get pissed off.

Which brings me to the next point of discussion....

And that is the effect that getting pissed off has on YOU.

There is a physical mechanism to getting pissed off.

When you perceive a potential trigger point through one of your 5 senses, that perception is registered by your brain and something happens in your brain to release some chemicals into your bloodstream.

Those chemicals instantaneously increase your heart rate which raises your blood pressure.

You have a heightened and perhaps hypersensitive awareness of your surroundings.

Let me do a little test with you.... at this point you're reading this post and I'm assuming you're pretty calm.

Try to holler out real loud just spontaneously.... you can do it but it's kinda hard to do.... it requires a moment of preparation to do it.

When your system is getting jacked up with adrenaline and cortisol and all the bad juju that your body secretes when it's in Danger mode,  it is preparing for some significant confrontation, like battle or war or a fistfight or a run for your life cause you're getting shot at.

When you're jacked up like that, the first thing you do is raise your voice.  You holler, it's inevitable, cause your body thinks it's about to go to War.... and you holler in War.

When you holler, your face gets red and contorts in some unattractive and likely threatening way.... your whole body language changes from Calm Human Being to I'm Pissed Off Animal.

The people around you or the Person who is the target of your anger sees that.... and they are affected by it also.... whether they respond in kind or not.

Why?  Because your hollering is recognized by their brain as a threat.... so the same bad juju starts flowing through their body.

Hopefully, they have the good sense to not respond, but God forbid they do....because then now you got 2 unreasonable people hollering at each other....

About dirty dishes or an unmowed yard or buying the wrong mustard or whatever.

Now a professional counselor or psychiatrist at this point would say....

"Well.... there's likely some underlying reason why this person is making such a big deal about these little things".

And they're probably right.... but that's a longer, deeper issue.... and it probably began with You getting pissed off about something little.

The bottom line is getting pissed off regularly is a Hazard to Your Health and everyone's Health subject to it.

So, here's another effect getting Pissed Off continuously has.

When you get pissed off at someone, they don't trust you anymore.... they want to distance themselves from you.... even if you kiss and make up later.

Why?  Because most sane people in the world value Predicatability and Consistency and Calm....

And all that is violated when you get pissed off in the presence of someone else.

So there is a deeper and more long lasting negative effect of losing control of your emotions....

It destroys Relationships and alienates you from those you likely care the most about.

Let's finish up with the most important part..... How to Fix It.... How to Improve on Controlling Your Emotions.

I like lists so here goes:
  • First off, just like with an Alcoholic having to admit they're an Alcoholic, you have to admit and realize you have a Problem Controlling yourself.  Don't put any clinically negative labels on it like BiPolar or Manic-Depressive or whatever.  Just keep it simple... just say you have a problem Losing Your Temper.
  • Second, once you've gone through the Self-Realization phase, you have to Resolve to Change.  You have to want to do something about it.
  • Third, you have to have a Plan for addressing the problem. I've already given you one step in that plan and that is having a cut off point in the process to evaluate the $Value, Time Value, Time, Location and Circumstance of the potential event.  The key here is time and thought.  IF you just stop and think about what you're about to get upset about, it gives your System some time to come off DEFCON 2 and resolve itself in a peaceful manner.
  • Fourth, and this is what I have found to be the most important and effective treatment of all.  Change your Lifestyle - 
  • Exercise Regularly and Intensely as possible.  Believe it or not, in most cases, this will be much more effective than all the Drugs a doctor can give you.  Because it is a Drug treatment in and of itself. When you exercise, your body secretes Endorphins and Enkelphins into your blood stream.  These are the most natural and purest form of opiates.  They are secreted to ease the pain you feel in your muscles after working out and to help your muscles relax to begin the rebuilding process.  Almost any effective treatment plan given to a patient by a Psychiatrist will include Regular Exercise.  The medical industry recognizes the importance of it in regulating critical brain and body chemistry.
  • Eat Right - Get on a Good Diet / Nutrition Plan.  You would be amazed at how much better you will feel and how much more positive your outlook and social exchanges will be when you put the right fuel in the gas tank.  Avoid foods that cause inflammation:  Eat food that fights inflammation:,,20705881,00.html  For me, the Paleo diet is a godsend because it removes all the things that made me feel bad after eating them:  Dairy Products, Bread, Pasta, Rice, Fatty foods, Processed Foods.
  • Get enough sleep.... Most people don't.... at least 8 hours per night.  There is so much that gets fixed when you sleep that you just can't put a high enough value on it.  Make your sleep Priority 1.
  • Seek to Manage Stress and Your Schedule and DON'T OVERCOMMIT, i.e. Learn to Say NO!  This goes back to putting yourself First.... taking care of yourself first before anybody else.  So many people have been brainwashed by their church, their culture and their family to feel guilty if they put themselves first and then they end up destroying everything they're working for and that they value by Going Off on their co-workers, their family or their spouse.  Plan Your Life around You and Taking Care of You and see how much easier it becomes to get the best out of your Life and the Relationships you value most.
I could go on with the list and talk much more about this subject but this is already one of the longest post I've written in a while.

But it's an important subject...of which I am No Expert... just a recovering Rage-aholic.

So, as I say in most of my "Advice" posts, my opinion is worth what you're paying for it.... which is nothing.

Maybe.... Just Maybe.... Something I have said will be of some benefit to somebody and will avoid one argument or one negative interaction....

And that's worth a lot more than anything I can say.

Peace to you World.

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