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Do you have doubts and/or struggles?

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This may get long and whiny, so I do apologize in advance.


Do you ever have doubts about being a Christian? Or struggle tremendously with being a Christian?


For the last 2 months, I have stopped going to church. I have stopped praying. I still read my bible, but I am mostly searching for answers, not really enjoying it and learning like I used to.


My dh, who is not saved, keeps saying I'll pull out of this "slump" and eventually I'll get to the point where I know God wants me to be.


The thing is, I absolutely positively do NOT want what I know God wants of me.

I'm sure you all have heard the phrase "Delayed obediance is disobediance"? That is pretty much how I feel when dh says that. Like just waiting things out and hoping this feeling of greatly disliking God and railing against what He wants will pass isn't enough. I know God wants these things NOW (more like awhile ago, but hey) and I just can't do it. So even waiting this out means I am being disobediant.

Right now, I really have a hard time being around Christians. I am quickly getting fed up with how they act and being told nothing in my life or past matters, just give it to God. Just pray about it. Just go to church. Just do this, that or the other. Just just just! Like its so easy!


Anyone else ever been there? :(

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Yes, life got a lot harder for me after I became a Christian. It's like this---the devil can't have our souls because we are saved and will spend eternity with Jesus. So he (the devil) does everything he can to mess up our lives while we're waiting around for eternity to get here. He knows our weak spots and he will push all of our buttons to mess up our walk with the Lord. We're always going to have these rough spots but they will pass. I am praying for you. Good for you for bringing these feelings out in the open.

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The thing is this...none of how you feel or what's going on with you has taken God by surprise. I think we've all gone through this, or atleast something similar.

Only you and the Father know what's truly in your heart. He loves you. He loved you enough to give you your own 'Free Will'. Yes, you are walking in disobedience; and He will allow it. He will allow it, and allow you to reap from it until you turn your heart back to Him. The sad thing about walking in disobedience to His will for your life, is that not only do you suffer for it, but the people (your children) suffer as well. He is a patient God and He has only wonderful things in store for you and your family...things that no human could ever imagine or attain outside of Him.


I'm going to be very up-front and in-your-face because as a sister in Christ, I love you and I'm obligated to tell you the Truth. We ARE living in the last days. WE ARE. Your adversary, Satan, has come into your life to do 3 things...to steal, to kill, and to destroy. He is very suttle and disceptive. He comes when you're at your weakest. He is NOT stupid. He knows full well where you are at in your relationship with God right now.

Satan wants to STEAL your: finances

your relationships

health and the health of your loved ones

ALL that you hold dear

Satan wants to KILL:


Your kids

your husband

the love you and your husband have for each other


Satan wants to DESTROY:

your marriage

your childrens lives

parents' lives


your testimony...


If satan can destroy your testimony (the miracles God has performed in your life), he can ultimately destroy EVERYTHING and EVERYONE around you.


2 Timothy 3: 1-5

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the LAST DAYS.

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of Godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.


You do have an enemy. And he IS SEEKING to devour YOU!!

You have to remember that there is a battle going on and it begins in your mind. Your struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of darkness in the heavenly realms. Satan always begins his attack in your mind...your thoughtlife; causing you to doubt God, your salvation, God's very existance, and your purpose in life.

Read Ephesians 6:10-20.


God never said any of this would be easy. It's not!


James 1:2-15

Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kins, because you know that the TESTING OF YOUR FAITH developes perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that YOU MAY BE MATURE and COMPLETE, not lacking anything.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

But when he asks, HE MUST BELIEVE and NOT DOUBT, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man (or woman) should not think he will receive anything from the LOrd; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

**skip to verse 12**

Blessed is the man (or woman) who perseveres under trial, because when he has STOOD THE TEST, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.


It's very late (12:53am). There's so much more I'd like to say. Brenna, just hang on! Be encouraged sister! I will be here for you anytime you want to talk. OK?


Be blessed~


Carla in Ga.

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I understand


I have been a christian for 13 years and I have personally struggled with my "walk" with Christ. I have my ups and my downs but so did Paul. One thing you have to remember is your feelings are valid and they are ok to have. We are humans but our emotions/feelings are not the truth. Most of the time our emotions lie to us to cause us to make decisions we wouldn't otherwise make.


If you feel that your feeling are more just that rather than fact. Find the facts in the word and remember where you want your life to end up when you are looking back from a very old age.


I get mad at God and I sometimes refuse to talk to him, but surprisingly He is always there ready to talk to me and ready to listen when I am ready. He is more loving and patient than we will ever truly know.


You are not alone in your struggles.....

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Hi ladies,


I understand how you must feel. I can say I have been there, however there was a choice to make, stay in the race or quite. I stayed in the race and asked God to increase my understanding of his word, his way, and his will. I ask God to reveal what he want for me, the next step, the next day or the next month or year.


I kept looking at things through my eyes. I found out that God do not work as I see it with my eye.


I stayed, I prayed, I fasted, I studied, I worshiped.

I try to do all that is within me to bless His Holy Name.

When we have done all that we can do, Jesus steps right in when we need him the most.


Times get hard, things get tough, your kids needs help, and your husband makes you sick at times. Your mother or mother in law is in the kool aid. Your dad you lost or he did not treat you right. You may have a sister or a brother, but you can't turn to them, you find that they have the same problem or worst. I know it is a struggle. God chastens whom He loves and if you are struggling, he loves you.


I encourage you to stand still, hold on to Gods unchanging hands. He will bring you through. God did not say it would be easy. I can testify that things will get better, but I can't promises that it will be soon, only God knows.


Tonselmom he love you


heathbar he love you


Theresa6 he love you


onehotmama he love you


CarlaH he love you


and those who names are not called


Father we pray right now in the name of Jesus

Father the names that I have named and the one who were not,

Father we are asking for change, deliverance, and to be set free.

Father we pray for your strength to carry us through

Father we pray for your light to shine in our life that we will know you and not just of you.

Father we are weak and we are asking for your strength and joy to come in and rest with us

Father we need you in our lives to keep us in you.

Father we know that you are there and we keep seeking, knocking, and asking for you to bring a change in our walk, and a complete ease in our lives, that we will be able to claim mountains in with You in our life.

Father we pray for protection and change in our kids, mother, father, sister and brother.

Most of all Father, change our hearts, oh God, may we be like you.

Father restore, refresh and make new.

Father we pray this prayer in Jesus name. Amen.

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Tonelsmom, I just read your post. I want to post something that will help you okay. Let me research and find something. I'm praying for you and your family and I will be posting something for you. Keep the faith you have been doing sooooooooooo gooood in your walk. Oh yea supervisor made me sooooo mad language got ugly (I was mumbling to myself) had to ask for forgiveness several times. I will tell you the details later. We all stumble.


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here is where i struggle


I don't even have a walk with God right now. I have been a christian for34 yrs. I have anger towards God that I have never felt before I guess it is all of the healing process. I found the courage the other day to tell my dad that my husband had cheated on me 5 yrs ago. His response was have you forgiven him? The blood of Jesus can wash that bitterness away. I went off kinda and told him not to start preaching at me. I had just told my father and I wanted him to be angry for me not quote me scripture.


I am angry with God for abandoning me as a 5 yr old and my entire life growing up even when I was faithful and my walk was great. He wasn't around when UI was gettin smacked or screamed at or beat with a belt or being raped and molested. I was a helpless child that nobody protected. I am pissed about it. No I am supposed to just turn to him and pray and let him help me through this why didn't he help me when I really needed help.


I can't really say much more right now

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Tonelmom, I found a short story for you. I hope it gives you some renew hope and strenght. This Christian road is not easy. Satans is always trying to get you to come back. He has done it to me many many many times. We have to remember to have on the whole armour of God Eph. 6:11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. I stumbled yesterday at work. I was closing and the for some reason they let everyone go home a 8:30pm :eek: and we close at 9:00 then I was left with managers who's only task is to pick up a pen and punch a key on the computer.:( The store was a mess. I got so caught up in the thought of me alone trying to clean up this big store that my language got well....ugly mumberings to myself. Whew thank God that he is Merciful. Well enough of my ramblings here is the story.




For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways….

Ps 91:11


It had always been Ken Guaub’s goal to help those who were hurting. “Some people just need a little boost, and I wanted influence their lives in positive way,” he says. He became a traveling missionary and with his family, conducted crusades not only throughout America but in many foreign countries. He established a magazine, a radio and television ministry and a youth outreach program.


But sometimes even preachers get drained and discouraged and they wonder if they should consider another line of work. That was how Ken felt one day in the 1970s as he, his wife, Barbara, and their children drove their tow ministry buses down I75 just south of Dayton, Ohio. God, am I doing any good, traveling around like this, telling people about? He wondered silently. Is this what you want me to do.


“Hey, Dad let’s get some pizza!” one of Ken’s sons suggested. Still lost in thought, Ken turned off at the next exit, Route 741, where one sign after another advertised a wide variety of fast food, A sign, Ken mused. That’s what need God, a sign.


Ken’s son and daughter-in-law had already maneuvered the second bus into a pizza parlor’s parking lot, and they stood waiting as Ken pulled up. The rest of the family bounced down the steps. Ken sat staring into space. “Coming?” Barbara asked.

“I’m not really hungry, “ Ken told her. “I’ll stay out here and stretch my legs.”

Barbara followed the others into the restaurant, and Ken stepped outside, closed the bus doors and looked around. Noticing a Dairy Queen, he strolled over, bought a soft drink and ambled back, still pondering. He was exhausted. But were his doldrums a sign of permanent burnout?


A persistent ringing broke Ken’s concentration. The jangle was coming from a pay telephone in a booth at the service station right next to the Dairy Queen. As Ken approached the booth, he looked to see if anyone in the station was coming to answer the phone. But the attendant continued his work, seemingly oblivious to the noise.


Why doesn’t someone answer it? Ken wondered, growing irritated. What if it is an emergency?

The insistent ringing went on. Ten rings. Fifteen…..

Curiosity overcame Ken’s lethargy. Walking to the booth, he lifted the receiver. “Hello?”


“Long-distance call for Ken Gaub,” came the voice of the operator.


Ken was stunned. “You’re crazy!” he said. Then, realizing his rudeness, he tried to explain. “This can’t be! I was just walking down the road here, and the phone was ringing-“

The operator ingnored his ramblings. “Is Ken Gaub there?”

She asked. “I have a long-distance phone call for him.”


Was this a joke? Automatically, Ken smoothed his hair for the Candid Camera crew that must surely appear. But no one came. His family was eating pizza in a randomly selected restaurant just a few yards from where he stood. And no one else knew he was here.


“I have a long-distance call for Ken Gaub, sir,” the operator said again, obviously reaching the limits of her patience. “Is he there or isn’t he?”


“Operator, I’m Ken Gaub,” Ken said, still unable to make sense of it.


“Are you sure?” the operator asked, but just then, Ken heard another woman’s voice on the telephone.

“Yes, that’s him, Operator!” she said “Mr. Gaub, I’m Millie from Harrisburg. Pennsylvania. You don’t know me, but I’m desperate. Please help me.”

“What can I do for you?” Ken asked the operator hung up. Millie began to weep, and Ken waited patiently for her to regain control. Finally she ecplained: “I was about to kill myself, and I started to write a suicide note. Then I began to pray and tell God I really didn’t want to do this.” Through her desolation, Millie remembered seeing Ken on television. If she could just talk to that nice, kindly minister, the one with the understanding attitude….

“I knew it was impossible because I didn’t know how to reach you,” Millie went on, calmer now. “So I started to finish the note.


And then some numbers came into my mind, and I wrote them down.” She began to weep again. Silently Ken prayed for the wisdom to help her. “ looked at those numbers,” Millie continued tearfully, “and I thought-wouldn’t it be wonderful if I had a miracle from God, and he has given me Ken’s phone number? I can’t believe I’m talking to you. Are you in your office in California?”

“I don’t have an office in California,” Ken explained. “It’s in Yakima, Washington.”


“Then where are you?” Millie asked, puzzled. Ken was even more bewildered. “Millie, don’t you know? You made the call.”


But I don’t know what area this.” Millie had dialed the long distance operator and given the numbers to her making it a person-to-person call. And some how she had found Ken in a parking lot in Dayton, Ohio.


Ken gently counseled the woman. Soon she met the one who would lead her out of her situation into a new life. Then he hung up the phone, still dazed. Would his family believe this incredible story? Perhaps he shouldn’t tell anyone about it.


But he had prayed for an answer, and he had received just what he needed a renewed sense of purpose, a glimpse of the value of his work, an electrifying awareness of God’s concern of each of his children-all in an encounter that could only hve been arranged by his heavenly Father.


Ken’s heart overflowed with joy. “Barb,” he exclaimed as his wife climbed back into the bus, “you won’t believe this! God know where I am!”


Momofateen-I hope this helps it helped me when I was reading it.

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I hope this helps you. I know these things take time. I'm praying for you.


If interested, email me for my popular article/model on "The Four Faces of Anger." You'll find a good portion of the article below]


The Four Faces of Anger: Model and Method

Transforming Anger, Rage & Conflict

Into Inspiring Attitude & Behavior





E-Book: $15


Paperback $20 + Priority Shipping (5.00 in the US; $7 Canada and Mexico; other locations to be determined)


Send a check payable to Mark Gorkin


Send to:

Mark Gorkin

Stress Doc Enterprises

9629 Elrod Road

Kensingtpon, MD 20895





Reader Testimonial:


My anger

From: regdb@


My reason for writing to you is this: I think you are right about constructive vs. destructive anger or, purposeful vs. spontaneous anger. I have extrapolated from your examples a better way for me to handle my own anger, that is, to be constructive and purposeful. I will add what I learned from you to what I know of myself and let you know what the deal is later on. You may expect a letter from me in two or three weeks. In the mean time, if you have any insight, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time, doc. Best wishes,


Reginald D



Just a quick note to let you know that I got the book and find that it contains wise and constructive advice.


I have thought about the strategic position that I must take to avoid becoming upset. I find that the part about thinking through the response reaction versus just “reacting” is crucial. This is very important to me because since the chemistry is really not right, my personal feelings towards this individual have been influencing how I feel. Who can work with that type of stress and turmoil? However, there is light because awareness of this and the need to look at things calmly and objectively is taking place within me. This will help with the response and less emotional defensive reaction that I have been giving. Thank you. God bless you,


Maria R



Introduction and Format


What comes to mind when you read the word ANGER? This is the opening of The Four Faces of Anger, a book that will likely challenge many preconceptions you may have of this highly charged emotional and expressive state. The books major purposes include:


a) debunking the notion that anger is only negative or one-dimensional – all “bad or mad” or a “sad” sign of weakness or immaturity,


b) transforming your overt unproductive aggression, sense of victimization or your covert smoldering (resulting in passive-aggressive or depressive tendencies) into vital energy and interaction and


c) disarming rage and hostility in others with both affirming and amusing “how to” techniques and strategies.


And the Stress Doc continuously draws upon and shares his own professional and personal experiences and evolution – from being bottled up and bullied in childhood to being a mid-90s stress and violence prevention consultant for the US Postal Service.


“Four Faces” is divided into four sections comprised of articles, essays, Q & As and, even, rap lyrics:


I. Anger: Theoretical Overview and Technical Application


This section illustrates and outlines the “Four Faces” matrix and provides working concepts and case vignettes revealing how self-defeating aggression and even rage can be transformed into productive anger. A primal scream encounter between the author and his father illuminates the healing possibilities of “letting go.” In addition, there are styles and profiles of “Self-Defeating Anger” and “Violence-Prone Personalities.” Finally, a variety of assertive “I” message and creative communication skills and strategies come to life, including a 5-step, IDEAL method of constructive engagement and tools for disarming the harsh critic or belligerent bully.


II. Disarming Aggression Vignettes


Section Two is mostly comprised of short essays on confronting, outmaneuvering and/or negotiating with antagonists in a variety of interpersonal settings. Scenarios range from taking a critic’s best shot to playfully biting the hand that feeds you to guilt busting with a mother and a mother triumphantly leaving a manipulative, tantrum-throwing child speechless. Throughout these encounters you’ll laugh if not marvel at the Doc’s wit and “fast food for thought.” And finally, you’ll enjoy and reflect upon the outrageous wisdom and therapeutic success of two “Wise Old Rabbi” parables.


III. Anger Q & As


Now the Stress Doc responds to five cyber queries – from confronting rude, controlling and passive-aggressive individuals to fortifying a wounded SELF and grieving the loss of a cold critical parent. You’ll relate personally and professionally to these questions. The answers provide in-depth psychological understanding and tangible problem-solving steps.


IV. Rockets and Shrink Raps ™


An essay on “emails vs. e-missiles” and two of the Doc’s insightfully outrageous lyrics: “The Self-Righteous Rap” and “The Song of Safe Stress.”


V. Appendix


Managing a Critical Agressor

The Art of Saying "No"


Stress Doc Testimonials


The Stress Doc’s writings are insightful, sensitive and supportive served with humor and personal care. His Shrink Rap (essays are) delightful and playful while at the same time perceptive and thought-provoking. He shares his own experiences, giving the reader a feeling of familiarity and comfort while dealing with uncomfortable issues. His articles for The Bright Side (http://www.brightside.org) garner rave reviews and heartfelt thanks from readers across the globe. If Marks words were films, I’d give them an enthusiastic two thumbs up.

Shie Rozow, Founder, Psych Minded, Inc.



Mark Gorkin has been a contributor to the Workforce.com site for years, and his insight has been very valuable for our audience of about a quarter-million executives worldwide. Gorkin has a real-world, hands-on perspective about what causes stress, and what can be done to deal with it. He clearly is one of the Michael Jordans of dealing with stress, depression and burnout, and millions of people can benefit from his advice.

Todd Raphael, who runs the award-winning Workforce.com site


Mark Gorkin, LICSW, “The Stress Doc” ™, is a keynote and international/Celebrity Cruise Lines speaker, training consultant and syndicated writer on stress, anger management, reorganizational change, team building and HUMOR. America Online’s “Online Psychohumorist” ™, Mark is the author of Practice Safe Stress: Healing and Laughing in the Face of Stress, Burnout & Depression. The Doc has also been a stress and violence prevention consultant for the US Postal Service. Interviewed by BBC radio and Biography Magazine, he has appeared in a Workplace Violence segment on CBS-TV News. Mark has pioneered a USA Today Online “HotSite” – http://www.stressdoc.com – cited as a workplace resource on a National Public Radio feature about “Bad Bosses.” For more info, email stressdoc@aol.com or call 301-946-0865.






The Four Faces of Anger: Model and Method

Transforming Anger, Rage & Conflict

Into Inspiring Attitude & Behavior



To be continued.

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Table of Contents


I. Anger: Theoretical Overview and Technical Application


1) The Four Faces of Anger: A Model for Transformation [P. 9]

conceptual foundation for debunking one-sided nature of anger and for transforming rage and hostility; glean the “Four Angry “I”s


2) The “Volatile-Victim” Employee and the Belligerent-Impaired Manager [P. 17]

How to Transform Rage Into an Assertive Plan

case vignette illustrates “Four Faces” Model as a diagnostic and intervention too; an employee confronts his past and overcomes present rage


3) The Transformational Potential of Rage [P. 24]

positives of rage: gets attention, crisis signal and potential for creative breakout


4) Seven Styles of Self-Defeating Anger [P. 26]

illustrations of dysfunctional anger to destructive expression that hit close to home


5) A Profile of the Violence-Prone Personality [P. 30]

key characteristics include power and control and rigid righteousness


6) Alarming “You”s and Disarming “I”s: Part I [P. 37]

Power Struggles vs. Powerful Strategies

assertive “I” messages vs. blaming “You”s along with role-play and other disarming strategies


7) Transforming Aggression Into Higher Power “I”s: Part II [P. 40]

An IDEAL Method of Engagement

higher power assistance and IDEAL method helps the Doc turn around a provocative supervisor


8) Disarming a Critical Aggressor [P. 45]

Awareness, Assertion and Affirmation Techniques and Strategies

a harshly critical role-play exercise illuminates defensive reaction vs. effective response


9) Quiet Flows the Courage [P. 60]

an example of standing up to hostile authority: killing them softly


10) Embracing Criticism: Quick Tips [P. 61]

from consequences of being thin-skinned to handling destructive, vague and valid criticism


11) Listening, Learning and Leading [P. 62]

Technical Skill and Motivational Art

to be continued

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four keys of active listening and foundational concepts for relation-based communication


12) Defining Conflict and the “Murray Story” [P. 65]

a classic ego-power struggle involving boss-employee, generation gap and hard heads


13) Communication Strategies at the Communal Battlefront [P. 67]

Surviving Laundry Wars

defusing an aggressor before the spin cycle gets out of control


14) Creative Couple/Family Counseling [P. 70]

Discovering the Paradoxical Pass in the Impasse

paradoxical and playful strategies help motivate a “special ed” kid while rebuilding a father-son and husband-wife bond


15) Disarming Aggression and Organizational Power Struggles [P. 73]

From the Heart of Team Focus to the Art of “Tongue Foo-ey”

from verbal martial arts to diplomatic aggression with a “Nursus Tyrannosaurus”


II. Disarming Aggression Vignettes


1) Challenging Aggression [P. 77]

dealing with know-it-alls through quotes and comebacks


2) Gaining Control [P. 78]

creatively and outrageously disarming a tantrum throwing three-year-old


3) Guilt Buster [P. 79]

don’t bust a gut; use the mother of all busters


4) Disarming Humor [P. 80]

The Fallacy of Sincerity

saving face and getting the narcissist to laugh at himself


5) Bridge the Divide, Laugh and Conquer [P. 81]

taking your antagonist’s best shot and overcoming diversity barriers


6) Playfully Disarming a Provocative Exchange [P. 82]

The Art of “Tongue-Foo-ey”

don’t go postal; playfully bite the hand that feeds you


7) Finding the Pass in the Impasse [P. 82]

when being on the hot seat has your brain cookin’


8) Disrupting Escalating Group Tension When Consensus Is Critical [P. 83]

an embattled jury and a hair-raising trial with the Stress Doc

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9) Defusing Tension in a Wartime Environment [P. 85]

out of the box absurdity rescues folks from in-house wartime stress


10) The Mastery of Jealousy: Old Rabbi Tale [P. 86]

creative use of paradox helps a “problem child” feel special


11) Birds of a Feather: Old Rabbi Tale [P. 87]

holiday costuming leads to courage with peers and healthier mother-son relating


III. Anger Q & As


1) Challenging Rudeness with Tactful Assertiveness [P. 88]

assertive questioning to awaken a rude individual


2) Managing the Quietly Surly and Passive-Aggressive Employee [P. 90]

five strategies: from peer confrontation to critical intervention


3) Understanding and Dealing with a Control Freak” Boss/Owner in [P. 94]

Times of Rapid Change

identifies challenges for small business owners and tips for not freaking out when an employee


4) Fortifying a Wounded SELF with Hostile Relatives [P. 100]

confronting Sensitivity, Envy, Loyalty and Fairness (SELF)


5) Grieving the Historic Loss of Nurturing and the Impending Death [P. 105]

of a Cold, Hurtful Mother strategic grief tips, including acceptance both of anger and of mother’s weaknesses and strengths


IV. Rockets and Shrink Raps ™


1) The Stress Doc's Tips on Internet Etiquette: [P. 109]

How to Avoid Being an E-Messaging Stress Carrier

techniques for preventing your emails from becoming e-missiles


2) The Self-Righteous Rap [P. 112]


3) The Song of Safe Stress [P. 114]




Managing a Critical Aggressor


The Art of Saying "No"

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A Multifaceted Model


It's time to flesh out and attempt to capture (more likely coax) this wide-ranging, ever changing creature. Let's examine the apparent contradictions within "anger" and try to make sense of its protean nature and multifunction. To do this, let me sketch my "Four Faces of Anger" Model. To break out of a unidimensional box, try thinking about the interpersonal expression of anger along these two dimensions:


Is your anger expression "purposeful" or "spontaneous"?

Is your anger expression "constructive" or "destructive"?


Let me briefly and loosely define my terms:


"Purposeful" - when anger expression is intentional, with a significant degree of consideration or calculation; there is also a significant degree of self-control


"Spontaneous" - when anger expression is immediate with little premeditation or planning; there is little-moderate self-control


"Constructive" - when anger expression affirms and acknowledges one's integrity and boundary without objectively intending to threaten or violate another's integrity or appropriate boundary


"Destructive" - when anger expression defensively projects and rigidly fortifies one's vulnerable identity and boundary by intending to threaten or violate another's integrity and appropriate boundary (whether the intention is conscious or not)


Returning to our model, the 2x2 matrix yields four possibilities:


1) Purposeful and Constructive Anger Expression

2) Purposeful and Destructive Anger Expression

3) Spontaneous and Constructive Anger Expression

4) Spontaneous and Destructive Anger Expression



Four Faces of Anger Matrix


Constructive Destructive



Purposeful Box 1 Box 2



I ---------------------------------------



Spontaneous Box 3 Box 4






The Four Faces of Anger Game


To understand the multifaceted nature of anger expression, let's play "The Four Faces of Anger Game."


A. Let's start with Box 1. What word comes to mind when you read Purposeful and Constructive Anger Expression? If a word or phrase doesn't immediately come to mind, does an image or, even, an example of what you might say when expressing this kind of anger?


My choice is "Assertion." Are you surprised? So many people associate anger with yelling and being out of control, that they don't associate assertion and anger...it's too rational. But expressing anger can happen with a firm, basically controlled tone of voice and volume, direct eye contact, a confident posture that's neither aggressively forward nor robotically restrained.


To illustrate the four faces, we'll follow the interaction between a mother and her eighteen-year-old daughter, after the daughter, having used the family car, came home late and did not call. Notice how the anger expression changes as we focus on each interactive "face."


The mother addressing her eighteen-year-old daughter, the following morning: "I'm angry. I let you have the car Friday night with the understanding you'd be home by 1:00am. (Author's note: There's been inflation in permissiveness since the time of Cinderella.) Or, if you were going to be late, we agreed you'd call beforehand. When I didn't hear from you, I was very worried. What happened? I want to talk with you about the car borrowing policy, and the consequences if this happens again."


With assertive confrontations, the communicator takes responsibility for her emotions and clarifies her expectations and limits. While sometimes requiring premeditation, "I" messages are not necessarily intellectualized or overly rational. In fact, while typing these two examples, too bad you couldn't see the motion of my fingers as they firmly rapped, more than touched, the keyboard. "I" messages are infused with nonverbal cues and energy.


B. For Box 2, what comes to mind when you read Purposeful and Destructive Anger Expression? Again, try for a word, image or expressive statement.

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My preference is "Hostility." Now hostility can take many guises, from condescending comments and being highly judgmental, to "scarcasm" and put down humor, to planning to get even when you feel slighted or injured. And passive-aggressive lateness or forgetfulness certainly falls under this category.


In our "taking the car and getting home late vignette," how do you feel about a mother reacting to her daughter in this manner?: "I can't believe how irresponsible you were last night. You didn't call. You made me sick with worry. You expect me to trust you with the car? We'll see when you get the car again," said with a sneer and a haughty tone. That's quite a difference from the assertive response. Plenty of those blaming and judgmental, globally hostile, potentially guilt-inducing "acc-you-sations." Know any such "blameaholics?"


C. For Box 3, what word comes to mind when reading Spontaneous and Constructive Anger Expression? Many people find this combination a most challenging association. That's not so surprising when anger is often linked with being belligerent or dangerously out of control.


Let me reveal my choice by providing some recent historical context. I suspect you can remember watching or listening to the highly charged Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings? Do you recall having any strong feelings? Did any cherished principles seem under attack? Perhaps it stirred some "passionate" beliefs? That's my association: "Passion."


Now "passion" is a very intriguing word. In fact, let's digress for a moment. What's the first thought when you read "passion"?: "Intense emotion." "Desire." "Love." Hey, let's go for the "S"-word. (In my current hometown, Washington, DC, we know what the "S"-word for passion is..."Senator." And you thought I was going to say "sex." How could you?) Actually, the "s"-word for passion in most dictionaries is neither sex nor Senator, nor even "silk," as ventured by one imaginative workshop participant. The long-awaited, if not long-suffering, "s"-word for passion is... just that - "Suffering." As in the "passion play": the sufferings of Jesus or, more generically, the sufferings of a martyr. (Imagine, all this time I never knew my Jewish mother was such a passionate woman. Just kidding, mom. ;-)


Let's go back to the mother-daughter late night (actually early morning) interaction, this time from a passionate perspective. Now, however, the mother, not being able to sleep, meets the daughter at the door, and spontaneously confronts her: "What the heck happened? I was expecting a call. I'm angry. I'm up because I was terribly worried and couldn't sleep." After the daughter attempts a brief explanation (and the mother is assured of her safety) the mother, aware of her own difficulty listening, as well as her increasingly loud voice and shaky tone, continues: "I can tell I'm too upset to talk about this now. I'm glad you're home. I'm going to bed, and we'll discuss this incident, including rules for using the car, later in the morning."


Pure emotion and pain spark Passion. However, there's a spontaneous response, not a reaction. This person still has a sense of self-integrity and the other's boundary. Passion with proportion is possible. A key point is that confrontations don't have to be wrapped up in one setting. Choosing a temporary retreat for regrouping and refocusing can prove most constructive. This approach is critical, especially if you have: a) reservations about turning the confrontation into a "win-lose" or a "right-wrong" battle, b) hope not to damage the relationship, and c) want both parties to learn and/or gain from the interaction.


D. Finally, with Box 4, what's your association to Spontaneous and Destructive Anger Expression? This is perhaps the easiest, as it seems to conform with most people's concept of anger.


There are many good answers: "Violence." "Screaming." "Hitting." My choice is "Rage." What's your mental picture of a rage state. Someone who is increasingly loud, displaying a string of profanities or threats, belligerent body posture, menacing gestures...blindly out of control. And often feeling victimized, betrayed and self-righteous about their rage. Of course, don't overlook the condition of "smoldering rage," with a low threshold for becoming unglued.


Another important clarification involves distinguishing being "outraged" from being "inraged." (I've coined "inraged" to sharpen the contrast with "outraged" and to differentiate "inraged" from the more generic "enraged.") When terrorists blow up a US government building or plant a bomb on an airplane, one is easily outraged by such unjust, injurious and invasive actions. There is a seemingly clear, external (criminal) target to which all legal action and sanction should be and, hopefully, will be directed.


When we are outraged, our emotional reaction is understandable, if not fully rational; our anger expression, however, if not careful or conscious, can cross the "constructive" vs. "destructive" boundary line. In fact, returning to our matrix model, you might visualize "outraged" as being near, if not on, the border of "passion" and "rage."


In contrast, "inraged," or the Box 4, matrix term "rage," is invariably a destructive state. The inraged individual's exaggerated emotional reaction is fueled as much, if not more, by still unresolved hurts and humiliations than by actual, immediate stimulus-and-response provocation. These never healed wounds can generate biased perceptions or highly exaggerated interpretations regarding the infliction of injustices, insults, injuries and invasions. I refer to these folks as having (or depending on their volatility) being psychic "hot buttons." They are just waiting, many times wanting, to be set off. And the trigger for a hot reactor may be trivial, simply an accidental or unintentional glance, word or touch.


Let's revisit the mother-daughter encounter, for our final, fiery illustration. The mother, furious at her daughter's late return, explodes: "You inconsiderate witch. I should slap you silly," while raising her hand, as well as her voice, in a menacing manner. "I'm here, scared to death, not knowing what the hell's happened to you. Whether you busted

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car, have been raped? How the hell should I know. Do you call? No, you couldn't give a G-d damn. I'll fix your ass later. Get out of my sight."


Whether the first violation of her mother's expectations or (more likely) not, the mother's reaction is clearly personalized and exaggerated, threatening and abusive. Her lashing anger especially stings when loaded with cutting profanity. A tendency for imagining the worst -- "catastrophizing" -- acutely heightens mom's anxiety. Not only can't the mother hear her daughter out, she can't tolerate the sight of her. Actually, she can't stand her own emotions. The mother may well need to project her own subconscious past associations to helplessness, panic and being out of control. Sadly, she, herself, has likely been a target of a volatile parent, spouse or authority figure.


End Game


Four Faces of Anger Matrix


Constructive Destructive




I Assertion I Hostility I






I Passion I Rage I






Debunking the notion of anger and its expression as being a unidimensional concept is a fundamental goal of the anger association game. By combining the "Purposeful"-"Spontaneous" and "Constructive"-"Destructive" dimensions we are able to generate distinct anger expression profiles: Assertion, Hostility, Passion and Rage. Hopefully, the four matrix faces and interactive scenarios provide common sense images and verbal handles for grasping and differentiating the broad and nuanced emotional-behavioral responses of anger. Clearly, this is vital for challenging the one-sided, negative image of anger. Perhaps most important, the "Four Faces of Anger" Model can be a tool for your own, as well as your clients' understanding and acceptance of the naturalness and power of aggression and anger expression. And with enhanced awareness, hopefully, we all will experience and communicate anger in a more responsible and productive manner.




Gorkin, Mark, "Anger or Aggression: Confronting the Passionate Edge," Legal Assistant Today, Winter 1986


Mark Gorkin, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, is an internationally recognized speaker and syndicated writer on stress, anger management, reorganizational change, team building and HUMOR! He is America Online's "Online Psychohumorist" ™ with a USA Today Online "HotSite" - http://www.stressdoc.com. For more info, email stressdoc@aol.com or call 301-946-0865.

Sorry it took so many post but I thought it would be helpful for you or whoever wants to read. I'm not a victim but I have sympathy for you and other.


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My heart is breaking for you. You have carried the burden of this your entire life. I can't begin to relate to your pain, I'm sure. Nevertheless, I am your sister in Christ, and I will be praying for you. I know you here people tell you this, until you're sick of it. But I mean it (not that others haven't), I will stand in the gap for you, speaking God's healing Words over you.


In Him~



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Heather, I can relate to part of your pain,(as you already know)but not all of it. I too am really struggling in my walk right now, but you know what as far as getting angery at God go ahead and yell at him get it out if you need to he understands and has huge shoulders. then when you calm down you can calmly discuss the matter with him(not just talk, listen to what he has to say too)

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How is everyone today? Heather? Brenna?


"You can do ALL THINGS through Christ, who strengthens you"





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This may get long and whiny, so I do apologize in advance.


Do you ever have doubts about being a Christian? Or struggle tremendously with being a Christian?


For the last 2 months, I have stopped going to church. I have stopped praying. I still read my bible, but I am mostly searching for answers, not really enjoying it and learning like I used to.


My dh, who is not saved, keeps saying I'll pull out of this "slump" and eventually I'll get to the point where I know God wants me to be.


The thing is, I absolutely positively do NOT want what I know God wants of me.

I'm sure you all have heard the phrase "Delayed obediance is disobediance"? That is pretty much how I feel when dh says that. Like just waiting things out and hoping this feeling of greatly disliking God and railing against what He wants will pass isn't enough. I know God wants these things NOW (more like awhile ago, but hey) and I just can't do it. So even waiting this out means I am being disobediant.

Right now, I really have a hard time being around Christians. I am quickly getting fed up with how they act and being told nothing in my life or past matters, just give it to God. Just pray about it. Just go to church. Just do this, that or the other. Just just just! Like its so easy!


Anyone else ever been there? :(


Father we just continue to pray for Toncelsmom, to be of good courage.

Father we pray for her strenght and understanding of you and your ways.

Father we pray this prayer in Jesus name. Amen

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HI tonelsmom yes i do understand how you feel i felt that way when my younger child went to prison i said what the use being a christian was not working for me .but after all the pain was gone God quicky reminded me that it was not about what i felt.but it was about him not me so be encouge GOD has said in his word that we are all overcomers.

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