Making Friends with Anger: How Anger Serves Us

Most of us receive societal messages that insist that anger is only the purview of men, who are permitted a range of angry expression, from screaming, to punching drywall, to fistfights. For everyone else, society says, anger is a negative emotion that must be suppressed. Thus, many women and nonbinary people struggle with expressing or even recognizing anger when they first begin therapy. While anger can certainly be unpleasant to feel, it is not a "negative" emotion. It is a neutral emotion, and like any other emotion, it's a signal to us. The message embedded in anger is, essentially: You can't treat me…

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Love vs Lashing Out: Doing Conflict without Drama

Most people loathe or are even afraid of conflict. And for good reason: most people don’t handle it well-- and that goes for both others and ourselves! We have had plenty of bad past experiences with conflict, and very few (if any) good experiences, and so we associate conflict with negativity and drama. We may be afraid that the other person will yell at us or we may lose the relationship. We may be afraid of the uncomfortable feelings that conflict gives rise to within us. We may not like who we become during conflict; reactive, angry, defensive or obsequious. And so we…

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