Posts tagged ‘Relationships’

March 31, 2014

Listen With Your Heart

Contributed by Omaira Gonzalez

listen-with-your-heartI remember a time when my daughter and I were getting ready to attend a women’s conference. She had been asked to perform a dance that day. As we were getting ready, I spent moments earlier holding her in my arms consoling her from a heartbreak she had experienced, drying her tears. I didn’t know what to say that would make things better or make the pain feel any less. I remember mumbling words hoping something I would say would stick or would work like Tylenol and ease some of the pain. It felt like a hopeless attempt every time. We arrived at the conference and she put on her strongest face, smiling though you could still see pain piercing through her eyes. I smiled and chatted away, trying to distract everybody from the obvious question everyone wanted to ask. The moment finally came when my daughter had to perform… but how do you do it? How do you give it your all when you are hurting, your mind is foggy and you feel like a part of you is crushed? She stood there and with all of what was left, she gave it her all. It was one of her most memorable and best performances ever. She took the pain inside and used it to fuel her to dance while tears rolled down her face.

This experience brought me to an important realization… When your kids have a  cold, you give them cold medicine; if they struggle with school, you help them with more tutoring; if they fall, you place a band-aid on them. However, what do you do when your child has had a traumatic experience in his or her life? How do you help? No band-aid can fix it, no tutoring or cold medicines can give pain relief. You may even feel a bit frustrated because you don’t have the skills, insight or resources to deal with it at the moment.

Today teens are dealing with more than a heart break. They are dealing with suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, sexual identity, divorce, loss of a friend or loved one, and substance abuse, just to name a few. How we respond to this is as important as knowing when to get professional help when necessary. As a parent, our influence is very important. We need to be prepared to talk to them and walk them through their crisis with wisdom, compassion and the tools to help them heal. A friend once shared with me this advice: “Listen with your heart.” That was one of the best advice she could’ve given me when dealing with my teens and some of the crises I came across. I was so used to always using my head in dealing with their issues that many times I left out the most important part – my heart! I forgot that when you listen with your heart then you begin to connect with them emotionally, instead of trying to figure out the problem and search for quick solutions. I realized that once I started listening with my heart, I had better results. We connected better, because I understood them more and started to see where they were coming from and what they really needed.

Hopeless times may come when your teens face some of the most difficult moments in their lives. Remember that wisdom, compassion and most important— to “listen with your heart”—will help you get through those hard times.

March 3, 2014

10 Love Challenges

Contributed by Sarah Pichardo

lovechallengeI’m from a family of six girls. As you can imagine, getting a word in can be a little difficult, especially since all six of us are pretty opinionated. If there’s one thing, however, that all six of us have in common, aside from being stubborn, is that we are all do-ers. Our parents taught us, mostly by example, that in order to make a difference in the world, you have to show love not just simply speak about it.

What we do speaks volumes about who we are. What do your actions say about you?

Put your love into action this month and take the Love Challenge. Do all 10 of these challenges and you’ll see that it will not only make a difference in the life of another person, but will also make a difference in your own life.

Love Challenge 1: Do something nice

You’ve heard the saying a million times, “actions speak louder than words.” Do something out of the ordinary today for someone you love. Wash their car, bring them a cup of coffee, clean the kitchen, buy their favorite dessert, fold the laundry, cook them their favorite dinner – whatever it is, do it with love.

Love Challenge 2: Say something nice

How much do you appreciate your spouse, parent, child, friend? How often do you tell them? Take time today to say a simple “thank you for…” or “you make me happy because…” and make their day.

Love Challenge 3: Spend time with someone

Make a simple sacrifice to spend time with someone. Take a chunk of your free time, and devote it to a friend or family. Don’t just physically be there but be there emotionally and mentally. Pay attention to that person. Really be there, in that moment. Because that’s a moment you’ll never get back. And life is all about moments.

Love Challenge 4: Buy a thoughtful gift

I don’t know one single person that doesn’t like to receive a gift every now and then. An unexpected gift can light up someone’s day very quickly. Pick up a book you think they’ll like, their favorite flowers, a gift card to a restaurant, etc. You don’t have to get them something big – just something thoughtful.

Love Challenge 5: Give ‘em a hug

Have you hugged someone recently? A hug is a great way to let someone know you care about them and brighten their day. Plus, did you know research shows that hugs lower pressure, improves your immune system and relieves stress? Who doesn’t want that?

Love Challenge 6: Help someone

Life is hard sometimes and we can all use a helping hand. Is someone moving? Have they just welcomed a baby into the world? Are they having a financial difficulty? What can you do to help them out during this time? Again, it doesn’t have to be huge – just the smallest action can make a big difference.

Love Challenge 7: Decide to forgive

This one can be a doozy. Forgiving is hard but worth it. Forgiveness is a process and not an immediate, one-time act and may take time for the heart and mind to follow along. Start with making the decision to forgive. Doing so will release a burden and release more of your inner beauty.

For more in depth information on how to forgive, download the gloo mobile app and check out our “FORGIVE” program.

Love Challenge 8: Volunteer

Find ways to assist those living in your neighborhood or community. Practice conscious acts of kindness and giving. It’s good for you and good for others. Just do it.

Love Challenge 9: Listen

Listening is underrated. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who just listened to you vent – no interruptions, no judgments? Wasn’t it wonderful? Make an effort to give someone your undivided, fully concentrated attention. Showing understanding of the other person’s feelings and thoughts is all that’s needed to ease their burden and do them a world of good.

Love Challenge 10: Be kind to yourself

So you have shortcomings – we all do. Learn to accept yourself. Focus on your many positive traits, on your strengths and your abilities. Let go of harsh judgments, comparisons to others, and self-hatred. See yourself as the divinely inspired person you are. Love yourself.

February 16, 2014

Hold on to Love

Contributed by Eva Fleming

EVERLASTINGLOVEChildren are full of hope. Every day I hear mine talk about how great their future houses, families, and careers will be. In turn, I kindle their hope by telling them that they have the power to make it so. I encourage them because I know that hope is a life sustaining force. It is like oxygen; essential to a good life. Unbeknownst to them, I cherish a big hope for them too: I hope they have everlasting love.

As a child, you were probably like my kids believing that tomorrow held a great promise. We start out with such great hopes but life hits us hard so we begin to write off love and lose hope in marriage and relationships altogether. If you’ve had a relationship that ended in a break up, or you saw how your parents ended up getting a divorce after 20 years of marriage, you may have become a skeptic. It isn’t hard to lose hope in love, when in addition to your own past failures, all you hear are your friends constantly talking about their unhappy relationships. You start piling up the reasons why it could never be and end up envisioning a society without love; children who survive without the support of their parents; life without people that bring you support. If this is how you have been feeling lately, I ask you to go back to the hopes of your youth and imagine a world where family units continue to keep the fiber of society strong; a society where children can count on their parents, and where husbands and wives love and respect each other. Imagine a society where your talents and virtues are appreciated and wanted and envision what would happen if all your friends got infused with that much hope!

 “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane,” Said Red from the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Red was right, hope is dangerous, but it is also wonderful. It is better to be insane than to be bitter and full of regret because we refuse to pursue love. When I talk about hope and the power of love, I’m not talking about wishing upon a star or the exercise of positive thinking. I’m talking about the kind of hope that fuels our daily living so we can change the course of our lives.  Since my children’s minds go so easily to the future, I use that as fuel to encourage them to study hard, never miss school, practice their instruments, and exercise.  I tell them that hope has legs and getting through all these small, menial and daily tasks is how their wonderful future will begin to unfold. What about you? What small, menial, daily tasks can you incorporate in your daily routine to nourish hope? Is it physical exercise and healthy eating for a healthier you? Is it having a studying and reading time for a well-educated you? Is it service time for a more generous you? Do what you must but don’t give up on love, friendship, and family only because you don’t want to be driven insane by the winds of hope.

Love and hope are not tied up to a romantic relationship. You can be single and still cherish life, love and family. It is possible to be single without being alone. Hopeful singles don’t poison their emotional well being with crushed hopes and dashed dreams.  Hopeful singles are not stuck in the failures of their past. Hopeful and happy singles have taken charge of their reality and given up all envy to pursue optimism while still holding on to love. They have learned to be good stewards and refuse to live selfishly to fulfill only their own desires. They foster meaningful friendships and become part of a community. And when they are ready for a relationship, they engage in it with hope.

So whether you are a single person with many past hurts or a married person that has lost hope in their relationship, learn to rise above the failures of your past. Stop dwelling. Dwelling is the absolute opposite of hoping. Hope is rooted in your relationship with the future; dwelling focuses your thoughts in the past. Thinking about past things that could have been good or bad, rarely, if ever, compel one to act. Instead, continue to develop strategies that will help you move forward, learn to plan for difficulties, setbacks, and disappointments and give love, friendship and family another try. You can become part of the group of dreamers that work to rebuild a society that still holds on to hope. Hope has renewed my relationship with my husband during the last 22 years over and over again and hope is what I give to my children so they too can pursue everlasting love.

January 6, 2014

The Promises I WILL Keep This Year

Contributed by Jane June, PsyD

Resolutions-411x306I’ve always had mixed feelings around making New Year’s resolutions. Oftentimes, I set myself up by making resolutions that are impossible to sustain so they end up discarded by February or I let the busyness of life drown out my good intentions and forget about them along the way. Either way, I end up feeling badly about not keeping them. Can anyone relate?

So, as 2014 is quickly approaching I am faced with a dilemma. Do I make new promises or do I forgo them altogether? I have yet to decide, but I do have some thoughts on what I’d like to hold onto in the new year.

As a working mom of two little ones, I find myself hurried and overwhelmed by all the things that need to get done. Whether it’s cooking a meal, doing laundry, or shooting out a work email in between naps, playdates and preschool, I feel like the demands of life don’t slow down and neither do I! When you find yourself going grocery shopping between 11pm-midnight, there is no slowing down.

But, it’s when I step back and look at what is most precious to me, I realize that being efficient and productive is not what’s most important. It’s my children, my husband, and the people around me that I value the most and if I focus all of my energy in trying to get things done, I will miss out on what’s most important.

So, in 2014, I promise to hold onto relationships and people, and I can only hold onto this if I make myself available emotionally, mentally, and physically. This means making space in my life for people to enter and for relationships to grow. It means doing less and saying no to extra commitments, not because they aren’t worthy, but because I know it will keep me from holding onto what is most precious: my family, my friends, and a healthy me.

December 30, 2013

Change Your Old Script for a New One

Contributed by Dr. Alicia La Hoz

scrabbleListen carefully to yourself and you will recognize a familiar script that seems to automatically roll off your tongue. Your spouse and children easily recognize this script. Instead of mobilizing them toward action, your words seem to touch off a trigger point, causing them to roll their eyes or to aggressively assert their point of view. You find yourself repeating yourself over and over again because people haven’t done what you have asked them to do.

Working with families and couples, I have heard variations of the same script; “I have to watch out for myself because no one else will”; “You are selfish”; “You don’t listen so I . . . “; “I have to do everything myself”.

We seem to carry these phrases around and launch them to our spouses or family members during stressful conversations, during moments of exhaustion or when things are not working out. Tension acts like a magnet during these situations, drawing out phrases that would be better left unsaid. These words keep the argument fresh in the mind of all parties involved, creating a toxic environment charged by negative emotions.

This phrases, or scripts, hide some of our most basic needs; the need to be loved, valued, recognized and respected. Instead of meeting these needs, however, they can keep you and your spouse stuck in a cycle of perpetual conflict.

You may keep falling back to this script because you are frustrated from not being listened to and at things not changing.  The reality is that each time you fall back on the same script, the opportunity to initiate change in behavior dissipates. As shown from past experience, your trusty script doesn’t inspire or motivate anyone to change.

I challenge you during 2014 to take on a new script. Get rid of the old script that you have nurtured over the years. You can do so by replacing your script with one of forgiveness and grace. Start with, “I am sorry”; “I am thankful for who you are in my life and all you do for us”, “let’s try to work things out”, “How can I support you in all of this?” It is time to recognize that the old script only leads down the trail of bitterness and resentment and has no resolution in sight. Choose to adopt a script that empowers, engages, and forgives. As you recognize and validate others, your ability to listen and connect with others will improve. You will model an attitude that shakes away the bitterness and embraces love and grace.

This New Year, start with a clean slate and become a source of inspiration and motivation to those you love. Become a cheerleader and champion for the dreams of your friends and family and nurture their gifts along the way. As you focus on raising others up, you will transform your home into a place of cultivation rather than destruction, of renewal rather than exhaustion.

October 17, 2013

No Marriage Shutdown

Contributed by Eva Fleming  

iStock_000008099278XSmallWe just came out of government shutdown. Lawmakers from both political parties persisted on talking past each other without actually talking to each other, creating a crisis for many Americans. The folks in government finally came to a temporary compromise and have ended the shutdown. What would happen if, in our marriages and families, we acted like politicians and decided that no matter what, we aren’t going to compromise? Our relationships would be pretty miserable, don’t you think?

In a marriage, we should try harder to make compromises that work for the whole family, as the ramifications of shutting down go past a temporary period of inactivity. A marriage shutdown will hurt your children and your well-being for many days to come.

Much like politicians, marriage partners can use selfish tactics to get their way without compromising by pushing and shoving and even bullying their way through. But all this pushing and shoving can be toxic for the marriage and consequently the family. A family cannot survive if there’s no tolerance and compromise in the marriage. A marriage is guaranteed to break down if the minute we can’t agree, we stop talking to each other. Our kids can’t thrive in a parental, antagonistic environment. In order for a marriage to survive its differences and for children to thrive, there must be an open dialogue where two people express themselves calmly in the midst of the storm.

We should be less like politicians and more like sailors. In a violent storm sailors learn to manage the force of the wind in order to move their vessel. They don’t shut down because they know if they do, they will drown! Life brings a variety of wind and sea conditions that, together with our partners, we need to learn to master if we want to get to shore.

In order to stay calm in the midst of this storm, we must exhibit selfless humility. Selfless humility ushers in grace and opens the door for intimacy. Intimacy is the opposite end result of a shutdown and it is essential for a healthy marriage. Antagonism, on the other hand, is what happens when we don’t work together. Antagonism’s end result is not intimacy, but regret and resentment. When we are acting antagonistic towards each other, the voices of difference cause our disagreements to escalate until we reach the point of becoming hurtful. When the winds have died down we are then left with the consequences of the unmanaged argument. At this point we have a choice to make:  We either shut down or give grace. If you have ever been the recipient of grace, you are more likely to freely give it because you have come to understand that grace is the ultimate expression of love. The more we walk in the garden of grace the more we smell like the scent of the flowers. In the same way, the more grace we give, the more likely we are to receive it.

So let’s exhibit an abnormal amount of empathy, deliberate humility and lavish grace in our disagreements. May our discourses from here on out be less antagonistic and much more tolerant; and may our marriages thrive on compromises that suit the whole family so we don’t have to resort to a shutdown.

January 25, 2013

Confessions of an Ex-Plastic

Contributed by Ashley Reed

562650_380865761975579_597577331_nSauntering down the hall with their Barbie-esque figures and saucy attitudes, the pink clad clique portrayed in Mean Girls resonates with many teenagers through its reflection of the social hierarchy played out in middle and high schools. In the film, a group of girls known as “The Plastics”, led by Queen Bee Regina George, spend their days harassing their peers and flaunting their perceived superiority. Enter, Cady, a homeschooler who enrolls in public school for the first time. Thrown headfirst into the jungle of high school drama, Cady goes from being an outcast to a member of Regina’s circle, becoming just as malicious as the Plastics in the process.

I went to a small private middle school where the girls had been in the same classes since pre-school. I didn’t really fit in and spent most of my time buried in books. That changed, however, when one of the girls from my grade’s version of “The Plastics” came up to me and informed me that I was now considered a friend. Eventually, I was accepted into the world of 3-way phone calls dripping with gossip, mall trips spent trying on clothes that were way too small and that we would never buy (or be caught wearing in front of our parents), and checking out guys at the movie theater. The thrill of being accepted into one of the recognized cliques at my school was exhilarating.

As you can imagine, the experience was not beneficial to my character whatsoever. I began to take on the characteristics of the girls around me – lying, gossiping, and teasing others. Ironically, the parents of the other girls liked having me around, seeing me as a positive influence for their daughters.  Inside, I was wracked with guilt, but didn’t want to lose my friends or gained status. Like Cady in Mean Girls, however, I eventually resurfaced into reality.

Breaking away from my old friends when we graduated from middle to high school wasn’t difficult, as they enrolled in a private Catholic prep school while I went on to a public high school. Transitioning from a small school to an institution with a student population of 2,500 was terrifying, but it also was a relief to let go of the daily gossip and rumors that pervaded my old friendships.

My take away from my adolescent experience is that you become who you surround yourself with.  Relationships formed in cliques are like plastic, breaking easily under pressure. I have learned that friendships are not built by music genres or clothing trends but by common interests and trust. Currently in college, I now have some sweet friendships that are unbound by the constraints of high glamour or feigned superiority, and it is liberating.

January 3, 2013

I don’t feel like it!

Contributed by Alicia La Hoz, PsyD

UnknownMaybe you’ve heard this from the adolescent teen in your life recently. And maybe you’ve heard this from an internal voice that creeps up on you from time to time.  You have one of those days when you don’t feel like tackling the mountain of laundry, the outstanding bills, the files you have to put away, and now the taxes you have to prepare. There are so many day-to-day demands that you have to keep up with, it’s no wonder that from time to time, your inner self rebels and you want to be like an adolescent again that screams and slams the door against life and says, “I don’t feel like it!”  Well, now as you add a bunch more resolutions to the year, you may find that one of the deterrents keeping you from sticking to the goals you set out for yourself is your mood. Even if you are very disciplined and task oriented, your mood can determine how efficient you are in pushing through the to-dos in your life. Here is my top 10 list of “I don’t feel like it”:

  1. Doing chores and tasks around the house
  2. Getting to the honey to-do-tasks
  3. Preparing taxes
  4. Organizing the clutter (closet, garage)
  5. Getting to those tedious work tasks that I’ve done such a good job on procrastinating about
  6. Having difficult, honest conversation
  7. Confronting conflict that I’ve been avoiding
  8. Asking for forgiveness or forgiving
  9. Being thankful and going out of my way to do something nice and thoughtful for my spouse
  10. Exercising

What is in your top 10, “I don’t feel like it” list?

What we can’t afford to ignore is the quality time spent fostering the important relationships in life. When you take your spouse for granted, and you forget to notice the little things they do for you and when you ignore your children because you are too focused on the to-dos in your list – who is most important suffers. Even if you have to drag your feet to do it, it’s important to carve out time to spend with loved ones. When you spend time with them, you can connect and the opportunity to communicate occurs and with that there is a fighting chance for problems to get solved. When you spend time with them, love has a chance to flourish.

This year, Family Bridges is working with several organizations and businesses to encourage couples to spend time together and to go out on date nights. Would you consider making date nights a resolution for this year?  If you are a parent, plan date nights with your children, if you are married, plan date nights and enjoy your family and your spouse again. Stay tuned for fun date night deals, events, and resources we will be announcing in the next few weeks to help you as you plan these for the year.

July 25, 2012

Teens, Social Media & Relationships

Contributed by Ashley Reed

ImageTeens are interested in relationships – living virtually in a world all by themselves, they are left with a longing for real life relationships of virtue. Just scroll down the newsfeed of any teen’s Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, and you will find a plethora of photos and captions and song lyrics attempting to define the meaning of love, a “real boyfriend/girlfriend”, or rants against an estranged ex.

Social media sites allow teens to connect with simulations of one another while remaining isolated at the same time. You control what photos you are tagged in, what you post, and the places that you “check into”. Your life is glamourized on the dramatic stage of internet grandeur. What then, happens when you strip someone of the safety of their screen, exposing them to the elements of actual social interaction?

Awkwardness happens. All of this talk of “finding the right one” and teens can barely stand to make eye contact with one another. This may be a case of shyness for many, but it also is a side effect of too many hours spent updating one’s interests and comparing one’s Facebook life to that of a friend. The advent of social media has turned our focus from others to ourselves, making it difficult for most of us to initiate relationships or keep conversations going.

What is a member of the iGeneration to do? Listen. Put down the cell phone or iPod and pull out your headphones to take a minute to listen to something else besides Katy Perry or Flo Rida. Make eye contact during a conversation and contribute to it with your voice. It will be hard at first, but developing a habit as simple as making eye contact will elevate the perception you have among your peers while allowing you to shift your focus off of your daily drama.

Social media may encourage connectivity, but the truth is that more and more teens are feeling isolated. As members of the iGeneration, they are encouraged to listen to themselves so much that they become out of tune with the world around them. Besides “single”, “in a relationship”, or the enigmatic “it’s complicated”, Facebook will soon add a new option: Alone.

July 11, 2012

Dealing with Difficult People: Switching Off An Angry Person

 Contributed by Nadia Persun, PhD

Anytime I see people having angry altercations, I perk up my ears and observe intently. I watch their displays, not in a sadistic or feeling superior kind of way, but fascinated with how it unfolds: “Will it work for them? Are they going to get what they want with this approach”? I have practically never seen it work, not during my observations in therapy or in personal life. Even on rare occasions where it seems to work in the moment, yielding some win-loss resolution, it never works sustainably. Peace can never be found on a shaky and fake foundation of emotional tyranny, as “Nobody ever forgets where he buried a hatchet.” (Kin Hubbard/Frank McKinney Hubbard). Here are some strategies for dealing with difficult people, organized around the main psychological premises driving their anger: fear and need for control.

Disengage and don’t take it personally. People are energy conservative creatures. Just like most animals attack out of self-defense, hunger or other biological needs, human anger is also goal driven. Most people, even most violent individuals, don’t walk around the majority of the day attacking and abusing others. They lash out in spurts. Behind their violent shield, a threatening individual is feeling threatened. Maybe not by you, but by something or someone. Their anger is related to you only in a way in which some action or expressed feeling of yours has triggered some discomforting emotion within them. Threatening individuals are commonly overwhelmed and scared. Big bullies have deeply hurt and vulnerable cores. They are expanding their toxic energy to produce their angry display as a distorted way to pursue some goal related to their personal sense of safety and significance. Even though the content may be channeled at you, the driving force behind it is related to their personality, upbringing, and prior experiences. Most of their accusations are based on subjective opinions and are very loosely, or not at all, related to you personally.

Avoid ego battles and rides to the past. When it comes to aggression, an unfortunate point of difference between humans and less evolved mammals is the ego. Some people are willing to put their life on the line and injure another person physically or emotionally to protect their ego and restore their injured self esteem. Inflated egos are most vulnerable to the slightest pokes and scratches, which is a common infliction of defensive and confrontational people. Remember that ego injuries are always the deeds of the past. This is why the great focus of most angry people, when they arguing, will be buried in the past. Therefore, at all costs, avoid accompanying them on their voyage there. Drain them by letting them monologue their expired accusations. Avoid discussing with them about who did what, when and why, and how it made them feel, but repeatedly ask how they propose solving this problem now. Remember also that most angry people have a victim mentality. They perpetually feel the world owes them something and other people must fulfill their preferences or needs. What angry people say is almost never factual but emotional in content, related to their fears, frustrations, and bruised ego. Attempting to dialogue with them almost always fails, as raging people are narrowly focused, entitled, and prone to listening only to themselves.

Choose calm and sanity. An angry person is looking for a fight. Through their escalation and unfair accusations, they are asking you to engage. “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength” (Eric Hoffer). So, what is needed in the presence of a hot headed person? A cool headed person. The constructive response is not to indulge them in any action. When they shout, you keep silent or speak softly. When they come close, you increase the distance. When they say a lot, you say nothing or very little. Some people decide to respond, thinking that ignoring a provocation makes them lose and a bully to win. This is contrary to what actually happens. You win by disengaging. You become untouchable and gain control by increasing emotional and physical space. Imagine this situation. You are on a road and the driver in front of you drives dangerously and erratically: swaying wildly sideways, speeding up and pressing the breaks, honking randomly. Should you catch up, open up your window and attempt a discussion on proper driving? Of course not. You shift lanes and drive away, quietly demonstrating your intelligence and preference for safety. De-escalate the angry person in a similar manner, by exiting the scene emotionally or physically, not participating in their drama. Remember also that basic defenses of angry, self-justifying people are projection and denial. You tell them that they are scaring you with their shouting, they tell you are the one yelling. You tell them their words are hurtful, they tell you you told them things ten times worse, plus you are the one who made them angry to begin with. So, what are the ways to negotiate with reality distorters? The short answer is “there are none,” and the longer answer is, “There are none, don’t even try.”

Give out an imaginary cupcake. Cupcakes are sweet , peaceful, calming and smile inducing. Raging people are often in dire need for an imaginary cupcake. A big part of their anger is driven by their belief or feeling that they never get any or someone stole or damaged their cupcakes. So, generously give them one or even a couple, even when they seem to be undeserving of any sweetness. Despite the obnoxious behavior, loud shouting, screeching voices, clenching fists, pointing fingers, red faces and all, most angry people have a sad message. Most likely they are trying to tell you that they are feeling hurt, ignored, disrespected, unappreciated and unloved. Listening and responding to these needs calmly and empathically can serve as the key to getting more cooperation from emotionally agitated people. Just say “I think I understand what is going on here, but feel free to correct me, my friend” and so on. Then offer some reflective listening, validating their concerns to an extent. Tell them something nice and peaceful. Agree with them in theory. Do not assign any blame or argue. Establish a basic premise for peace by appealing in some way to the dormant, healthy side of their personality by extending to them some sense of grace, validation, and acceptance.

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