Category Archive: Anger

Nov 18

Avoiding Heartbreak in a Relationship

An attractive, intelligent young woman asked me, “Why can’t he show me any love, what is wrong with me?” The two of them have been having a difficult time recently and she was feeling sad about how their relationship had changed in the last several months. She told me that she was in the shower crying …

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Sep 21

It Takes Two to Fight

“I just can’t believe what my mother told me on the phone, she said I was a bad mother, can you believe it? I wasn’t going to put up with that, believe me…” A delightful and pretty feisty mother came in the other day brimming with frustration. We spent the entire session talking about how …

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Oct 08

Controlling Crazy Behavior

Controlling Crazy Behavior

A young man came in and wanted to talk about his friend with bipolar, who, when he gets manic, can become uncontrollable. I said that the idea of controlling dangerous behavior can be problematic. The need to control someone else’s recklessness can lead towards confrontation and anger, which often does not work out well. I thought …

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Dec 15

Through the door 1 – Therapy needed

A few years back and I am living in Paris with my Irish wife who works for a large International think-tank based in the city. I work in London and return to Paris on weekends via Eurostar. I have had many ‘episodes’ in the past, but for a while now I’ve been free of them. But I …

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Oct 23

Digital noise – don’t you just love it?

Digital noise: phone chatter, loud music cross-talk, the incessant tip-tapping of keyboards, the beeps, bongs and rings of text messages and horrible mobiles ring tones that expose you to things like Wagner played on what sounds like a xylophone – I’m stuck on a bus in the middle of nowhere. It’s hell. Coping with noisy, busy places …

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Oct 16

Law of Attraction – Creating a Hostile World

law of attraction - anger

The law of attraction is the belief that “like attracts like.” Focusing on positive or negative thoughts can bring about positive or negative results. If you are angry or hostile your world responds with anger or hostility. Wikipedia has this to say about the philosophy that is called the Law of Attraction – “This belief is based …

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May 21

Irritability and Coming Home from Work

I feel bad about it but at the end of the day I end up in a fight with my husband. It starts with me telling him that I am anxious about the work I am doing… there are lots of things going on and I feel anxious about whether I am doing a good …

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Sep 05

Men Get Mad Not Sad

There are hundreds of papers written about why it is that women have a much higher rate of depression than men. A new article published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry (August 28, 2013) suggests that some if not all of that difference may have to do with the fact that men express and experience depression differently. …

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Aug 21

Pay Attention

We need to be noticed and attended to. It is one of the most important psychological needs we have. For several years, I have been lecturing residents in psychiatry at UCSF on the management of people in crisis. One of the topics, is how to work with people who are potentially violent. On an inpatient …

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Aug 18

Emotion Regulation and Bipolar

Researchers from the University of Mannheim investigated brain activity in people at increased risk of bipolar disorder to see if there was something about how these people handled negative emotions that might them be at increased risk of mood cycles. They used a powerful brain imaging technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging that allows researchers …

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Jul 16

Leaving War Behind

I spent many sessions working with a successful entrepreneur to try to help him cope better with stress and depression. His problems seem to be neatly encapsulated in Joseph Campbell’s notion of the Hero. Like all of the heroes in the past, he set out as a young man to make fame and fortune and …

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Apr 25

The Big Fight

How is it that so many couples end up having knock down, drag out fights?  How can seemingly rational people end up saying things that just don’t make any sense? Several people that I’ve seen recently have told me a similar story.  As in every relationship, they have had certain long-standing issues in their relationships, …

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Mar 10

Creative Tension

I was inspired to write today’s post after watching a video sent out by a colleague as her “Valentine’s Day gift” to a group of mental health professionals interested  in women’s issues. The video was from the TED series (strongly recommended) and had to do with the challenge of having a long-term passionate relationship. The …

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Mar 06

A Protest

So many of us have to deal with things that are not fair – depression, unsupporting spouses, financial reversals, weight gain, etcetera, it can be tempting to launch a protest of some kind against the unfairness. These protest actions don’t have to be obvious at all, but they can have powerful effects, nonetheless. A few …

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Mar 06

Hot Button Issues in a Relationship

denial

Dealing with a partner with emotional or psychological issues is tricky. We spent some time today trying to figure out an approach that would work for one woman and her partner. This is what we came up with. It may help you if you are navigating in turbulent waters in your relationship. The link will …

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Feb 08

Tripolar Disorder

For a long time I have been trying to figure out how to convey to the people I work with the view of mental health professionals that a certain type of depression is really a kind of mania, called “mixed mania.” From an “objective” standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. A mixed state generates …

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Nov 20

What’s the Hurry

It’s been a very busy week for mental health professionals in the Bay Area. The holidays are ramping up. And it has been dark and rainy. Many people are feeling a great deal of stress. Last night, we got a call from a wonderful woman who we’ve been working with for several months. She said …

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Nov 15

Anger and Change: “It’s Wrong” Mentality

“It is just wrong, I can’t accept it, I have to stand up to things that are wrong.” We were talking with a young man who was frustrated because he had to complete a year’s worth of general education requirements before he could graduate with his degree in film. He was very upset, and noted at a …

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Nov 06

Aikido for Bad Behavior

We had an opportunity to visit Japan several times, over the course of a decade working with Japanese psychiatrists to improve how Japanese psychiatric hospitals work with potentially violent patients.  During one of those trips, we came across a wonderful story that has stuck with us ever since.  It is the story of a young …

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Nov 06

Disaster’s Aftermath

The recent hurricane that hit New Jersey and New York reminded us of the research on the aftermath of disaster conducted by a friend and colleague, Kent Harber, PhD. Kent has been very interested in posttraumatic stress disorder, and in particular, the work of Dr. James Pennebaker, on the value of sharing one’s story in …

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