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Exaggerating the Benefits of Anger

“Are you going to vote for the new school facility plan, Marc?” “No, Phil.  It calls for combining the two high schools in our town so that there will be nearly 2,000 students in the combined school.  I prefer small schools.  I say, keep them small, keep them personal.” Turning red and glaring into Marc’s eyes, Phil begins to holler, “What are you, stupid? We…

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Suing Fellow Student For Bullying

On this blog, from time to time I provide some commentary on news stories involving bullying.  There was the case of students tormenting a 68-year-old bus monitor:   And another one in which a 12-year-old girl leaped to her death after more than a year of being cyberbullied: And several others as well. Another Example This week I want to discuss a story about some…

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Providing Criticism with Shouting, Insults and Threats: Is There a Place for It?

“Left turn!” hollers the drill sergeant to his new recruits. Private Smith begins to turn right, but catches his mistake as he notices the other recruits turning in the correct manner.  He manages, although a bit clumsily, to end up turning left. “Boy, don’t you know your left from your right?” the drill sergeant shouts in Private Smith’s face. “Yes, Drill Sergeant.” “I’m so glad…

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DEALING WITH SUBTLE FORMS OF CRITICISM

If you have been following this blog, you know that from time to time I have been discussing insults and criticism.  In earlier posts, we looked at situations in which people end up feeling insulted because someone provided negative criticism. I have argued that rather than to feel insulted, it is possible to learn to welcome criticism, as well as words that might come off…

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The NFL and Bullying: How to Change the Culture

This is my third “NFL Bullying” post since the topic splashed all over the national media this past Monday.  The first (“The N.F.L. Culture and Bullying“) presents the theory that one reason why bullying is sometimes viewed as acceptable is the belief that it can increase motivation to reach a level of excellence not achievable without bullying. Whereas there may indeed be legitimate examples of some…

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CONFESSION OF A FORMER BULLY

This past Wednesday, my wife and I went to Ithaca to see the emotionally charged play, “From White Plains.” The title is meant to suggest plain white kids from a suburb.  As the lights first brighten the stage, thirty-year old Dennis hears that he has won the Oscar for his film based on the bullying he and his friend faced in childhood.  When Dennis reveals…

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ANGER SUPPRESSION VERSUS CHALLENGE

Despite the ample evidence that anger is fraught with danger, human debasement, and ineffective functioning, many people seem reluctant to put their heart and soul into learning more effective alternatives.  Why is this?  One of the biggest reasons is that our culture presents in both direct and subtle ways the theory that suppressing anger can be harmful.  Here we will explore this theory.  As we…

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ANGER, STRESS AND UTILIZING THE CHRONIC STRESSORS SCALE

Last week I began to answer the following question from one of my students: “I have been finding many of my new conflict resolution skills very helpful.  However, to my dismay, sometimes I’m feeling stressed out and then if I become angry I find my skills fly right out the window.  Why do you think that this occurs, and is there anything I can do…

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ANGER, STRESS AND THE SIGNALING TO BACK-OFF TECHNIQUE

While taking my conflict resolution class, Sara, a young woman around thirty, asked the following:  “I have been finding many of my new conflict resolution skills very helpful.  However, to my dismay, sometimes I’m feeling stressed out and then if I become angry I find my skills fly right out the window.  Why do you think that this occurs, and is there anything I can…

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CRITICIZING YOURSELF: FIVE LEVELS OF MATURITY

Earlier, I wrote a post titled “Providing Negative Criticism: Five Levels of Maturity.”  When I gave examples of people using the five levels, they typically involved someone providing criticism to someone else.  And yet, if you think about it, you probably criticize yourself at least as much as you criticize others. So, it is time that we begin to take a good hard look to…

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