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7 Types of Toxic Friends to Watch out For PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . .

The Drama Queen

This friend’s life is like one long soap opera. Every day there seems to be disappointments, letdowns, heartbreaks, and sadness. With this friend, you become the problem-solver. But remember, they are probably not really interested in changing because they actually thrive on the drama.

What’s more, this type of friend is typically self-absorbed and is not interested in hearing about your issues or concerns. A Drama Queen is so wrapped up in their life, they never notice when you might need an encouraging word.

Good friends have healthy outlooks on life. They also are there for you when you need them.

The Critic

This friend is mean and controlling. They make little jabs and digs, often in front of others, and pass their comments off as “jokes.”4 Instead of letting it get to you, remember this is their way of making themself feel better while trying to make others think less of you. Keep in mind though, that true friends do not ever put each other down. So, if you have a Critic in your life, you may want to cut ties to this friendship. Or, at the very least, call them out on their critical nature. 

The Gossip

You know that friend who is always in the know? The Gossip is the one spreading rumors and engaging in gossip. This friend is dangerous because if they are talking about others, then they are likely talking about you too. It's important to be able to recognize when talking behind someone's back is potentially harmful and detrimental to their character.

Your secrets are not safe with this type of friend. Be very careful what you tell them.

The Rebel

While hanging out with this friend seems adventurous and exciting, it is also very dangerous. The Rebel will surely get you into trouble. The instability and unpredictability of this friend can be draining after a while. Most likely, you will also deal with peer pressure from this friend on more than one occasion.5

If at all possible, it is best to avoid this type of friend. Even though hanging out together will seem exciting at first, in the end, this person’s lack of responsibility will start to weigh on you and damage your own life in the process.

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7 Types of Toxic Friends to Watch out For

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Friendships are an important part of life. Friends can motivate you to follow your dreams and teach you how to be a better person. They also are fun to spend time with and can cheer you up when you are down. But when you have the wrong types of friends in your life, your alliances with them can do you more harm than good.

 

As a result, it is important to choose your friends wisely.1 Be sure the people who are closest to you are the ones that make your life better, not worse. Remember, good friends improve your life, while toxic friends destroy it.

The User

This type of friend is sometimes called a fair-weather friend. The User seems to be there for you, make plans with you, and even invite you places—that is, until something better comes along. This friend is always looking for a way to improve their social status or to find a romantic partner. They also do not want to be alone on the weekends. But once you have served your purpose, they will be gone.

 

You deserve a friend who is friends with you even when they are in a relationship or while other friends are vying for their attention. With a User, you are just a friend of convenience.

The Leech

This type of friend always needs you and expects you to drop everything when they call. While it is important to be a supportive friend, with this type of friend, you have to set boundaries.3 If you do not, after a while, this type of friend will drain your energy and your time.

 

The Negative Nellie

This friend is never satisfied with anything they have. As a result, they spend a lot of time whining and grumbling about how the world is so unfair. Negative Nellies also tend to have negative opinions about almost everything. Not only is this type of friend negative about their life, but they also direct that negativity toward you as well. They may criticize everything from the clothes you wear to the people you talk to. They also struggle with jealousy and envy at times and will never compliment you.

 

Look for friends that can be happy for you and supportive. Avoid those who are negative and critical.

TO BE CONTINUED . . . 

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7 Characteristics of a Bully-Proof Friendship PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . . 

Stand Up for Each Other

Friendships help deter bullying when one friend stands up for another or defends someone who has become a bully's target. A good friend will tell the bully to stop, help the victim report the bullying, and support them once the bullying is over.

 

Good friends are more than just bystanders. They form a support system that will help your child cope with bullying and other challenges they encounter.

 

Support Other Friendships

Solid friendships are not exclusive friendships. When your child is in a healthy friendship, their friends are supportive of them having different groups of friends.

 

On the other hand, cliques are not supportive of branching out and may even "punish" members for having (or pursuing) other friendships.

 

Cliques insist on exclusivity and often pressure those in the group to conform by ostracizing others.

 

Are Real and Authentic

In a healthy friendship, your child will feel comfortable being themselves. Their friends will also be their authentic, real selves. No one in the group will feel as though they have to think or behave in a way that isn't who they are just to fit in.

 

If your child is hanging out with fake friends, there may be a lot of pretending. They may feel that they cannot show who they really are or express their true interests, personality, and preferences.

 

Do Not Engage in Peer Pressure

Good friends respect another person’s boundaries. If your child asks a friend not to do something or says no to a request, a good friend will respect the request.

 

Conversely, unhealthy friendships involve a lot of peer pressure. If your child’s friends pressure them into saying or doing things that they don't want to do (which may include bulling others), talk to your child about how to handle peer pressure.

 

A Word From Very well

If your teen's friendships don’t have these seven characteristics, it's possible that your child is vulnerable to bullying. Talk with them about what constitutes a good friend and support them in trying to develop healthier friendships.

 

As a parent, you can help your child identify the difference between good friends and toxic people. Be patient and supportive along the way. Making lasting, healthy friendships is not always easy and it may take your child some time to find where they fit in.

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7 Characteristics of a Bully-Proof Friendship PART ONE

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Everyone wants to feel like they belong, especially kids and teens. Having healthy friendship will help your child feel connected to the world. Studies have shown that healthy friendships also have a positive impact on overall health and well-being.

 

Friendships are crucial when it comes to bullying prevention. Bullies often target kids who are socially isolated. Kids who have a strong circle of friends are less likely to become victims of bullying.

 

Problems arise when friendships are unhealthy. In these situations, your child’s friend might be a bully. As a result, the friendship is more harmful than helpful. 

 

Here are the top seven characteristics of bully-proof friendships.

 

Treat Each Other as Equals

In a healthy friendship, all friends are treated as equals with an equitable say in what they do and where they go. Even if one or two friends tend to take the lead, they still treat your child with respect and as an equal.

 

In unbalanced friendships, one person typically takes control by wielding power, being bossy, or demanding that things are done a certain way. In these friendships, there is no collaboration or fair treatment.

 

Behaviors that enforce an imbalance of power are especially apparent in "mean girl" circles. If your child is not being treated as an equal in their friendships, these relationships are not healthy.

 

Are Honest and Trustworthy

Healthy friendships exist when friends are honest and trustworthy. Friends do not engage in gossip or rumors, and keep things others have shared with them in confidence.

 

If they do make a mistake, such as slipping up and sharing something, a healthy friend takes responsibility for their actions and apologizes.

 

Celebrate One Another's Successes

One of the best ways to determine if your child’s friendship is healthy is to watch how their friends respond when something good happens to them.

 

For instance, if your child makes a sports team or an gets an honor, do their friends celebrate and congratulate them? If your child makes a good grade or gets an award at school, are their friends happy for them or jealous instead?

 

Jealousy and envy are emotions that can lead kids to bullying. If you notice signs of jealousy in your child's social circle, talk to them about healthy friendships.

TO BE CONTINUED. . . .

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6 Signs of a Controlling Friend PART TWO

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continued. . . .

These relationships may start out looking like true friendship, but as time goes on, it can be draining to be friends with someone who tries to control or manipulate you, which is when it's important to learn how to tell the difference between healthy friendships and unhealthy friendships.

Creating Drama

Sometimes, controlling people will start arguments for the sake of arguing. In other words, they simply like to take the opposite position. They may also display drastic mood changes or have sudden emotional outbursts.

 

In general, they feed off of drama and will look to make a normal conflict or disagreement into a huge offense. They may also enjoy rumor spreading and gossiping. Meanwhile, in a healthy friendship, you might argue but it's done in a respectful way without trying to hurt the other person.

 

While disagreements are normal in a healthy friendship, if you feel like there is always an issue that needs to be dealt with in your relationship, this could be a sign that your friend is prone to creating drama. And while this behavior may not seem controlling, it's often a tactic used to keep you off balance and feeling insecure in the relationship.

 

When someone seems to always be stirring something up, this is not healthy behavior.

Being Manipulative

Manipulative people use your compassion, values, fears, and other hot buttons to control you or the situation. They also may try to manipulate and control you by making you feel guilty in order to get you to do what they want.

 

Sometimes controlling people will even try to use your generosity and compassion to take advantage of you. But in a healthy friendship, your friend will value the kind and giving side of your personality without trying to use it to benefit them in some way.

 

Another sign of a controlling and abusive friend is that they have a tendency to exaggerate your flaws and humiliate you in public. It may feel like they want to make you look bad—even if they play it off as a joke. Remember, a good friend would never want you to be embarrassed.

 

A friend who regularly makes you feel uncomfortable or embarrasses you is not a true friend.

Isolating You

Controlling people often attempt to control who your other friends are. They may also want complete control over who you spend time with and may even take your phone, read your texts and e-mails, and listen to your voicemail messages.

 

In a healthy relationship, a friend will respect your privacy and not read your personal messages. They also will honor the fact that you have other friends and obligations and, as as a result, will be understanding when you cannot spend time together. In fact, spending time with different types of people is healthy for your relationship.

 

But controlling people usually feel insecure and threatened when you have other friends or when you spend time with your family. So they might criticize you, your other friends, and your family members. They may even try to sabotage those relationships or use peer pressure to get you to do what they want.

 

Controlling people may look for ways to manipulate you into spending all your time with them and get angry when you have other friends.

A Word From Very well

Cutting ties with a controlling friend can be tricky and may even expose you to more bullying before it gets better. Let someone you trust know about the challenges you are facing so that they can help you end the relationship in a safe and healthy way.

 

Remember, it may be hard at first to break ties with a controlling person, but with healthy boundaries and assertiveness, you can move on and find friends who respect who you are.

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6 Signs of a Controlling Friend PART ONE

Not every friendship is a healthy friendship. In fact, sometimes your friend might really be a bully masquerading as your friend, especially if they are trying to control and manipulate you.

 

While this can be painful to recognize, don't feel bad if you discover this is your situation. Likely, you're a kind and generous person who accepts people for who they are. The important thing is that you recognize the signs that your friend doesn't respect you and move on.

 

Overview

The best friendships are healthy and rewarding relationships. In these friendships, you not only bring out the best in one another, but you also enjoy spending time together and appreciate one another's differences.

 

Other times, relationships can be unhealthy and might include people who are fake friends. These relationships may start out looking like true friendship, but as time goes on, it can be draining to be friends with someone who tries to control or manipulate you, which is when it's important to learn how to tell the difference between healthy friendships and unhealthy friendships.

 

When people who claim to care about you are controlling and manipulative, this is abusive behavior—the epitome of bullying.1

Remember, controlling people want to deceive you into believing that they are your friend and that they have your best interests at heart. But in reality, the relationship is based on their attempt to control you—not on mutual respect. 

 

Characteristics of a Controlling Friend

When it comes to identifying a controlling person in your life, it's important to recognize the key behaviors of controlling people early so that you can end the relationship. Here are the top six characteristics of overbearing friends.

 

Being Demanding

If someone places unreasonable demands on you and expects you to put everything aside when they need you, that is controlling behavior. They also may demand that you spend all your free time with them. Controlling people may even try to control what you wear, what classes you take, and who you date.

 This type of controlling behavior is not healthy friendship behavior. In healthy friendships, a friend respects your right to make your own decisions and is not threatened by the fact that you might do things differently. Controlling friends, on the other hand, may accuse you of not being a good friend when you do not meet their demands.

 

If you feel like you are not in control of your own decisions in the friendship, then this is an unhealthy friendship.

Lacking Respect for You

If your friend doesn't respect you, makes fun of you, undermines your perceptions, or engages in name-calling, take notice. This is not a healthy friendship. Healthy friends respect one another and build each other up. They also are encouraging and supportive.

 

Another red flag signaling an unhealthy relationship is when the person tells you how you should feel rather than accepting your true feelings. Likewise, controlling people may accuse you of being too sensitive, especially when they make jokes at your expense. And they may even accuse you of being selfish if you communicate what you want or need, especially if it doesn’t meet their agenda.

 

Do not be deceived. This is not healthy. Not only are you in control of your emotions and feelings, but your friend should be respectful of how you feel even if they disagree.

 

If you are being ridiculed for feeling the way you do, that is a sign of an unhealthy, controlling friendship.

Acting Superior and Entitled

When someone expects or demands special treatment in a relationship, that is a sign of controlling behavior. They also may use sarcasm when speaking with you, and they might act as if they are always right—that they know best and are smarter.

 

Controlling friends may talk down to you or be condescending and rude. They may even tell you that your opinions are stupid or don’t make sense. In a healthy friendship, you treat one another as equals and value your differences. Likewise, you are kind and supportive of one another.

 

If your friend communicates that you are inferior in some way, this is unhealthy.

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15 Ways to Tell If Someone Is Gaslighting You PART FOUR

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CONTINUED. . . 

15 Signs You Are a Victim of Gaslighting

Being subject to gaslighting can cause anxiety and depression. It also has been linked to panic attacks and nervous breakdowns. For this reason, it is important to recognize when you are being gaslighted. Ask yourself if any of the following statements ring true.

 

    • You doubt your feelings and reality. You try to convince yourself that the treatment you receive is not that bad, or that you are too sensitive.

    • You doubt your judgment and perceptions. You are afraid of speaking up or expressing your emotions. You have learned that sharing your opinion usually makes you feel worse in the end. So you stay silent instead.

    • You feel vulnerable and insecure. As a result, you often feel like you “walk on eggshells” around your partner/friend/family member. You feel on edge and lack self-esteem.

    • You feel alone and powerless. You are convinced that everyone around you thinks you are strange, crazy or unstable, just like your partner/friend/family member says you are. This makes you feel trapped and isolated.

    • You feel stupid and crazy. Your partner/friend/family member's words make you feel like you are wrong, inadequate, or insane. Sometimes you even find yourself repeating these statements to yourself.

    • You are disappointed in yourself and who you have become. For instance, you feel like you are weak and passive and that you used to be stronger and more assertive.

 

  • You feel confused. Your partner/friend/family member's behavior confuses you—with actions that appear like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  • You worry that you are too sensitive. Your partner/friend/family member minimizes hurtful behaviors or words by saying “I was just joking" or "You are too sensitive."

  • You have a sense of impending doom. You feel like something terrible is about to happen when you are around your partner/friend/family member. This may include feeling threatened and on edge without knowing why.

  • You spend a lot of time apologizing. You feel the need to apologize all the time for what you do or who you are.

  • You feel inadequate. You feel like you are never “good enough." You try to live up to the expectations and demands of others, even if they are unreasonable.

  • You second-guess yourself. You frequently wonder if you accurately remember the details of past events. You may have even stopped trying to share what you remember for fear that it is wrong.

  • You assume others are disappointed in you. You apologize all the time for what you do or who you are, assuming people are disappointed in you or that you have somehow made a mistake.

  • You wonder what's wrong with you. You wonder if there’s something fundamentally wrong with you. In other words, you worry that you might truly be crazy, neurotic, or “losing it.”

  • You struggle to make decisions, because you distrust yourself. You would rather allow your partner/friend/family member to make decisions for you, or avoid decision-making altogether.

  

In the meantime, remember that you are not to blame for what you are experiencing. The person gaslighting you is making a choice to behave this way. They are to blame. You did not ask for this treatment. You did not cause it. You did not bring it upon yourself. 

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15 Ways to Tell If Someone Is Gaslighting You PART TWO PART THREE

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CONTINUED. . . .

 

Denying Wrongdoing

Bullies and abusers are notorious for denying that they did anything wrong. They do this in order to avoid taking responsibility for their poor choices. But it also leaves the victim of gaslighting confused and frustrated because there is no acknowledgment of the pain they have caused. This also makes it very hard for the victim to move on or to heal from the bullying or abusiveness.

 

Using Compassionate Words as a Weapon

Sometimes when called out or questioned, a gaslighter will use kind and loving words to try to smooth over the situation. They might say something like "You know how much I love you. I would never hurt you on purpose." These words are what you want to hear, but they are not authentic, especially if the same behavior is repeated.

 

When you are dealing with someone who uses gaslighting as a manipulation tool, pay close attention to their actions, not their words. Is this person truly loving, or are they only saying loving things?

Twisting and Reframing Conversations

Gaslighters typically use this tactic when you are discussing something that happened in the past. For instance, if your partner shoved you against the wall and you are discussing it later, they may twist the story in their favor. They may say you stumbled and they tried to steady you, which in turn caused you to fall into the wall.

 

When stories and memories are constantly retold in the gaslighter's favor, you may begin to doubt your memory of what happened. This is exactly the goal.

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15 Ways to Tell If Someone Is Gaslighting You PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . .

Tactics Used in Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a technique that undermines your entire perception of reality. When someone is gaslighting you, you often second-guess yourself, your memories and your perceptions. After communicating with the person gaslighting you, you are left feeling dazed and wondering what is wrong with you.

 Tactics like these can confuse you and cause you to question your sanity.

 Lying to You

People who engage in gaslighting are habitual and pathological liars. They will blatantly lie to your face and never back down or change their stories, even when you call them out or provide proof of their deception. Lying is the cornerstone of their destructive behavior. Even when you know they are lying, they can be very convincing. In the end, you start to second-guess yourself.

 Discrediting You to Others

Gaslighters spread rumors and gossip about you to others. They may pretend to be worried about you while subtly telling others that you seem emotionally unstable or crazy.

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15 Ways to Tell If Someone Is Gaslighting You

In a suspense film from the 1940s entitled Gaslight, a manipulative husband tries to make his wife think she is losing her mind by making subtle changes in her environment, including slowly and steadily dimming the flame on a gas lamp. Not only does he disrupt her environment and make her believe she is insane, but he also abuses and controls her, cutting her off from family and friends.

Consequently, the wife is constantly second-guessing herself, her feelings, her perceptions, and her memories. Additionally, she feels neurotic, hyper-sensitive, and out-of-control, which is the goal of gaslighting—to leave the targets feeling off-kilter and unsure of what is true and what isn’t. The film was an accurate portrayal of the controlling and toxic actions that manipulative people use. Psychologists and counselors began to label this type of emotionally abusive behavior "gaslighting."What Is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that occurs in abusive relationships. It is an insidious, and sometimes covert, type of emotional abuse where the bully or abuser makes the target question their judgments and reality.1 Ultimately, the victim of gaslighting starts to wonder if they are going crazy.

 

Gaslighting primarily occurs in dating and married relationships. But it is not uncommon for it to occur in controlling friendships or among family members as well.

 

Toxic people use this type of manipulation to exert power over others in order to manipulate friends, family members, and sometimes even co-workers.2 

Tactics Used in Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a technique that undermines your entire perception of reality. When someone is gaslighting you, you often second-guess yourself, your memories and your perceptions. After communicating with the person gaslighting you, you are left feeling dazed and wondering what is wrong with you.1 Tactics like these can confuse you and cause you to question your sanity.

TO BE CONTINUED. . . . . 

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Anger Styles: What They Reveal About You PART FIVE

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CONTINUED. . . .

6. The release of anger.

There are times when you feel a surge of anger, yet wisdom reveals that the emotion needs to be left unspoken.  Not every agitating circumstance has to be addressed.  You can acknowledge that although anger can have a constructive function, there are times when other personality traits need to be given utilized.  This allows you to appeal to higher priorities. 

The release of anger requires discretion as you determine that sometimes the greater good can be served as you simply accept life’s imperfections.

The release of anger can be displayed in many ways:

  • Showing tolerance toward others’ differences

  • Being patient

  • Choosing forgiveness as a means of finding personal peace

  • Accepting others just as they are

  • Knowing when not to press a point

  • Choosing to be decent even when others have not acted decently toward you

  • Staying out of fruitless debates or arguments

  • Acknowledging that life is not always fair

  • Dropping the requirement that others should be ideal

  • Choosing kindness as a means of finding influence.

By choosing the release of anger you recognize your personal limitations, and that people will not always fit your mold.  You recognize the inevitability of human error. And instead of having to correct all wrongs, you make allowances for human fallibility.

What releasing anger reveals about you:

When you choose to release anger, it can reveal that you have realistic expectations about life.  You can certainly still exercise the need to assert your self-preserving needs, but not at the expense of emotional balance.  By releasing, you display wisdom, and even courage, as you seek to be known as one who can be taken seriously when difficulties arise.  You demonstrate poise, which positions you as a voice of reason. 

People who properly release anger are inevitably mindful of their own imperfections.  They often think:  “I know I don’t manage everything right in my own life, so it makes no sense to be overly demanding of others.”   They display a willingness to bear a certain amount of discomfort if it seems apparent that good will can ultimately prevail over discord.

Summary

Your predominant anger styles provide a window into your soul.  You can learn most about a person’s guiding beliefs, not in the smooth moments, but in times of tension and conflict.  That is when the real you shows up. 

Stereotypically, we tend to think of anger as an impulse-driven emotion, and that is often the case.  Yet by comparing and contrasting these five anger styles, you can choose to be more measured in your use of the emotion.  It’s possible, after all, to use reason in the midst of an emotion like anger.

You can find the necessary focus and discipline as you ponder a primary question:  How do you want to be known?

Let’s hope that you will be aware of the necessity of self-preservation when anger alerts you to the need to stand firmly for what you believe is right and best.  But let’s also hope that wisdom will prevail as you choose the anger style that keeps alive the potential for ongoing dignity, respect, and civility.

 

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Anger Styles: What They Reveal About You PART FOUR

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CONTINUED. . . .

4. Assertive anger.

Remember, anger can have a constructive purpose.  When misunderstanding has occurred, when a person has wronged you, your anger can prompt decisive and

corrective action.  In self-preservation you can speak and act in ways that let others know of your desire to be respected.  The assertive style of anger is typified by open efforts to address problems while at the same time choosing to maintain dignity toward the ones being addressed.

Assertive people feel no need to belittle others in the process of managing tensions.  They can be firm, but also respectful.  They can maintain strong principles without having to invalidate others’ principles. 

Examples of assertive anger would include:

  • Knowing when to say no

  • Being straight-forward in communication

  • Speaking with a clear, concise voice

  • Showing concern even as problems are addressed

  • Demonstrating confidence when others disagree

  • Being known as one who can and will follow through on responsibilities

  • Standing firmly when others are clearly irresponsible or uncaring

  • Holding to correct standards without being demeaning

  • Responding to resistance with calm resoluteness.

By choosing the assertive style of anger, you recognize that you deserve to be heard, and that preserving personal convictions is an act of responsibility.  Yet you can also maintain a sense of modesty as you make room for the needs and perspectives of others. 

What assertiveness reveals about you.  As you consistently manage anger assertively, you show yourself to be a “big picture” thinker.  That is, you want your momentary choices to coincide with your long-term plans.  You are not inclined to let petty, momentary moods derail your reputation as a strong person.

Assertiveness is grounded in an overall respect for the well being of others.  When conflict arises, you care enough to address it, yet constructively.  Being assertive, you demonstrate empathy since you are aware of the impact your message can have on others.  Goodness and love remain strong, and clearly you consider others as your equal.

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Anger Styles: What They Reveal About You PART THREE

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CONTINUED. . . . .

3. Passive aggressive anger.

Some people have decided that there are times when the openly aggressive style will create more problems that it will solve, so they instead become stealth with anger.  Feeling aggressive, they still harbor disdain, but they communicate it in more hidden means that allow them to be less exposed. 

People inclined toward passive aggressive anger have concluded that “less is more,” in the sense that they can preserve personal needs while revealing little about their vulnerabilities.  They like keeping others guessing because it is its own form of power.

Passive aggressive anger is displayed with these types of behaviors:

  • Being evasive in general

  • Shrugging, then giving “I don’t know” responses

  • Promising one thing, then doing something quite different

  • Procrastination, laziness

  • Sabotaging others’ plans

  • Being unreliable

  • Refusing to prepare for tasks, assignments

  • Making lame excuses for poor behavior

  • Giving the silent treatment, withdrawal as punishment

  • Prioritizing play or frivolity when other matters need attention

  • Giving half hearted efforts

  • Being wasteful, even after requests are made otherwise.

Often passive aggressive people can feel rewarded for their style of anger since it generates much strain in others.  It can feel empowering. 

What passive aggressive anger reveals about you:

People inclined toward passive aggressive anger reveal low levels of trust toward others.  They have concluded that being self-disclosing is too risky, that others will use information against them.  That is why they have become clandestine.  They have little optimism that conflict can be managed cleanly, leaving them with little incentive to share personal matters clearly.

These individuals operate with a fear of vulnerability.  The less that is known about them, the better.  They still have aggressive impulses, but they have chosen a conniving manner of self-preservation.  Beneath it all is a quiet sense of entitlement that they should be above others, even as they reveal little about how they truly struggle inwardly.

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Anger Styles: What They Reveal About You PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . .

2. Openly aggressive anger

Usually when people think of anger, it is the openly aggressive style of anger that comes to mind.  That is only natural since it is the loudest, most boisterous way to communicate the emotion. 

While the aggressive person is in a self-preservation mode, it is handled in a manner that shows little regard for the others involved.  The reason for feeling angry may actually be valid (although sometimes it is not), but the delivery is so disruptive that the appropriate message gets lost. 

Openly aggressive anger can be displayed in these ways:

  • Being critical or bossy

  • Speaking dogmatically about your beliefs

  • Being forceful and pushy

  • Shouting, using a raised tone of voice

  • Blaming, accusing

  • Going into rants or long lectures

  • Displays or threats of physical force

  • Being blunt and insensitive

  • Complaining and griping

  • Bickering and being snippy

  • Cursing, name-calling, insulting

  • Interrupting, refusing to listen

  • Pushing an agenda that others will inevitably resist.

By using the openly aggressive style of anger, you can illustrate a strong belief that others cannot or will not make good decisions without you being overwhelming.  It implies a lack of confidence that people will coordinate life with you if you just leave them to their own devices.

What open aggression reveals about you:

First, when you use this style of anger, it implies that haughtiness has taken over your personality.  It is as if you are saying:  “No one knows better than ME.”  There is little or no room for separate ideas, preferences, or interpretations.   Additionally, the aggressive style illustrates little or no empathy.  Surely the other person has feelings and preferences, but filled with aggression, you have concluded that the only person whose feelings matter is yourself.  You are showing no deference to the other’s distinctions. 

Likewise, fear is revealed via the openly aggressive style.  The severity of the anger is your way of indicating:  “I’m afraid that no one will take me seriously if I speak in a normal tone of voice.”  Aggressive people have concluded that they have to coerce to be heard.  Their overwhelming style is a compensation for feelings of inadequacy, fearing that they will be nobody without this caustic veneer.

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Anger Styles: What They Reveal About You PART ONE

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Do you ever have moments of anger?  Of course, the answer is yes, in the sense that each person feels this emotion at some level, and there are multiple types of anger styles.

Let’s not stereotype our understanding of anger by presuming that it only involves rude, mean-spirited communication. Yes, people often misuse it that way, but it is much broader than that. Included in our identification of the five anger styles are reactions of frustration, annoyance, irritability, agitation, impatience, and so forth.  It is a broad based emotion with many manifestations.

Anger is part of your personality’s alert system, and it is triggered by the need to preserve oneself. 

Specifically when you feel angry, you wish to preserve:

  • Your worth as a human:  “Would you please show me respect!”

  • The legitimacy of your needs:  “I want you to regard my needs.”

  • Your primary convictions:  “I have beliefs that define who I am, notice them.”

It is well and good that you might feel angry, but as you acknowledge the emotion, you can go deeper by also asking,  “What does my use of anger reveal about me in general?”  Unfortunately, many people are not disciplined with their anger, and it is little more than a force for disruption.  Others, fearing what might happen as they express anger, allow insecurity and pessimism to prompt coy or devious expressions.

But let’s hold onto the notion:  With all anger styles, you have choices.  You can choose to let it run its course negatively.  You can let it eat away at your inner self, resulting in an unhappy manner of living.  Or you can choose to blend your anger management in with a constructive manner of life.  Where do you want to go with it?

Once your personality registers anger, there are five different anger styles that you can choose. 

Let’s examine the five anger styles, noting along the way what these anger styles reveal about who you are in that moment.  Becoming self aware, you can be poised to handle anger in ways that enhance, rather than diminish, your quality of life.

  1. Suppressing anger

The suppression of anger represents an attempt at temporary pain avoidance.  When you suppress anger you have weighed the potential of an undesirable power struggle, and you have chosen the path of least resistance.  You might even have drawn the false conclusion that if you do not address the anger-producing problem, it will just fade and go away. 

The suppression of anger can be handled in many ways:

  • Withdrawing physically from a problem

  • Saying “I’m fine” when you are not

  • Appeasing in an effort to make the problem disappear

  • Being too low-keyed in your exchanges

  • Succumbing to the controller

  • Shying away from controversial topics

  • Letting legitimate frustrations pass without saying a word

  • Smiling, pretending not to feel the resentment that resides inwardly

  • Acting as a team player even as you disagree with the rules of the moment.

Suppressors make the false assumption that follows the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy.  They can presume that if they keep their emotions hidden, they will disappear.  In fact, the suppression of anger virtually guarantees a build up of other problems like resentment, depression, and anxiety.

What suppression can reveal about you:

Your inclination to suppress demonstrates a generalized fear.  It is as if you dread conflict because you presume nothing good will come of speaking out or acting upon your convictions.  Suppression illustrates an attitude of futility and disillusionment.  It shows that you have allowed cynicism to take over, leaving you in a general state of pessimism.  The more commonly you suppress, the more it implies that you have discounted your own personal legitimacy.

TO BE CONTINUED. . . . .

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How Controllers Justify Planning Out Your Life

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Controllers routinely overlook your fundamental right to be free as they concoct all sorts of plans for your life, and they are more than willing to let you know their plan. Controllers want to shape your identity into their liking, but that cuts against the principle of free will. You will only be your best as you determine, from the inside out, who you want to be. Let’s look a little deeper into how controllers justify planning out your life.

So how do controllers justify planning out your life? The answer is quite simple. Controllers are game players. They are not as interested in cultivating a relationship as they are in winning the game of Dominance. You are the designated loser even before the game is initiated. And when you respond in your unhealthy patterns, you are playing their game, a game you cannot win. 

Do you think you might be dealing with someone who is a controller? Are you curious to learn more about why controllers justify planning out your life? If you think you are, you must remember: You are free to be you, and if a controller does not accept that truth, you are STILL free to be you!

If you think you are dealing with a controller and would like to learn more, I have created a course called Free to Be that discusses freeing yourself from the controller, and step-by-step lessons to keep it that way.

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Controlling Relationships: It’s Time For You to Decide How You Will Live

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In controlling relationships, deciding for yourself might seem like an impossible task.

Why it Makes Sense for you to Decide How You Will Live, Even if the Controller Disagrees:

Think carefully about your relationship with controllers. How commonly are you reminded that those people have an agenda for you and you are supposed to know it, bend toward it, and believe in it? That’s actually a major part of the controller’s relationship with you. You’re supposed to filter your life through their agenda.

An unpopular opinion to the controller – It is good and healthy for you to wish for freedom from them, and the desire for freedom does not mean you are one not to be trusted, or a rebel. 

So why does it make sense for YOU to decide how you will live, even if the controller disagrees? The answer is simple! You are never at your best when looking over your shoulder, worrying about the ways a controller will correct you next. Being free means standing firmly in the presence of a controller’s pushy, agenda-driven mindset. It may not feel easy or natural, but as you remind yourself of the bankruptcy of the controller’s agenda driven lifestyle, you can find the necessary resolve. Setting aside their agenda, you illustrate that you believe in you. 

 

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Uniqueness in Thoughts, Feelings, and Perceptions are Inevitable

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Freedom is defined as the privilege to choose. Sometimes you choose well, other times poorly. Either way, you still get to choose who you will be. You can certainly consult others along the way, but in the end, each behavior, each emotional response, and each lifestyle priority is something you get to decide. You have the final word about who you are, and everyone has the choice to have uniqueness. 

A beautiful fact about humanity lost on controllers is that uniqueness is built into every personality. Each individual has a distinct temperament type. Each person carries a distinct blend of skills, emotions, experiences, interests, perceptions, preferences, quirks, strengths, and insights. Every person grows up with environmental influences duplicated nowhere else. 

Controllers might state that they understand the beauty of human distinctions, but in moments of conflict or differences, they habitually fall back into the habit of pressing for conformity. They might shame you, speak critically about you, or become insistent. And when you argue that your preferences should be honored, they typically double down with their insistent mode of communication. 

If you think that you might be stuck in the abuse cycle of a controller, don’t wait, seek further help now. I have created a course called Free to Be that dives deep into the mind of a controller, with the goal of teaching you how to break free from their grasp. 

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