Your emotional tape measure – scaling

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Emotional measurement.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What tool should we be using to measure emotions?

Most of us know that we can measure a board with a tape measure. There is a big difference between a shelf that is 6 inches long and one that is 72 inches long.

We can check a child’s fever with a thermometer. It matters if your child’s temperature is 98.6 or 106.

You can see if you’re overweight or underweight by standing on a scale. Please fill in the weights as needed.

Does it matter how much of an emotion you are feeling? It may be the difference between ignoring what was said to you and getting into a fight.

What tool do you use to measure the size and shape of your emotions?

Emotions like so many other things in life come in sizes and shapes. We get ourselves into a peck of trouble by equating all emotions as being the same size and importance.

Take anxiety for instance. Most of us are either anxious or we are not anxious. Anxiety is sneaky that way. There is that little kitten size anxiety and there is that big hungry lion size anxiety. It is important to know which is which.

If every time you feel the sound of hissing you run for your life you will be hiding from a lot of kittens. We talked a little about developing a scale of anxiety and learning to adjust the volume in a previous post on “selective desensitization.”

Anger is a similar creature. Lots of people have only two extremes when it comes to anger, not-angry, and violently angry. People caught in these two extreme modes of feeling anger jump from not-angry to furiously angry at the drop of a – well it could be a drop of almost anything.

One method used in anger management is to develop a scale. Say your anger is at zero when you are feeling happy and loved. When you “lose your temper” your anger is at a ten. How might you develop a scale of degrees of anger in-between?

One way of developing this scale or tape measure for your emotions is to find other similar words for your anger and place them on a scale. First, let’s scale the anger creature, and then our old sometimes-friend anxiety.

What other words might describe feeling sort of like anger but more or less intense?

How about – annoyance, irritation, fury, rage, antagonism, ire, wrath, dander, exasperation, rile, aggravate, provoke, and so on. While these words may not say anger to all of you, you can see that there is a lot of difference between rage and irritation. If you go looking I bet you can find more words that describe feelings similar to anger.

Take your list and arrange them by intensity from the most awful total feeling to a very mind form of anger.

Now comes the challenge. When you find yourself going from not-angry to furiously rage-full how can you turn the volume down on that anger and move from an anger rating of 10 to say a 6 or 5?

Learning to turn the volume up and down on emotions is a skill called emotional regulation. Being able to feel the necessary level of feelings when you need them can make your life a whole lot better.

Now, what about reducing anxiety?

Words for your scale might include nervousness, worry, concern, unease, apprehension, disquiet, fretful, angst, fear, terror, dread, horror, distress, panic, alarm, trepidation, and so on.

Again there is a lot of distance between being uneasy and being panicked-in-terror. Work out your own list and then consider – is this anxiety you have right now a 10 or a 9. How might you learn to turn your anxiety volume down?

It is worth noting here that we have talked about two scales, words and numbers. What most people find is that by changing the word they used to describe a feeling it also changes the number they would give it.

So if you are feeling panic but tell yourself well this is not really the worse panic I have ever had so maybe it is really worrying, you may find that the anxiety meter 10 turns down to a 5 or even a 4.

Try constructing an emotional tape measure and learning to scale your feelings and see if this does not help you learn to turn the volume down on negative feelings and turn the volume up on those happy positive feelings.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Anger and Depression beat Contentment and Serenity.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Angry person

Anger.
Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

How fast do you have to drive to reach Serenity?

The advertisers’ version of contentment and happiness is a car, preferably a convertible, and a supermodel of your preferred sex, driving down the highway going as fast as you can. Despite repeated efforts, most of us find no matter how fast we go we never make it to happiness or contentment.

We don’t start to look for positive emotions like contentment, serenity or happiness until we are overwhelmed by all those negative emotions. Swamped with anger and disappointment we realize we can’t run or drive fast enough to reach contentment.

What if we started the other way around?

Is it possible that the really happy person is sitting in their car in the driveway, not having anywhere they have to be? Better yet, is true happiness sitting on the grass under the tree, not having to make the payment on that new car?

Until we become so busy that we can’t do it all, we do not recognize the benefits to be had from sitting quietly and enjoying our ease.

It is only when we experience the pain of negative emotions that we are able to realize the value of those less charged positive emotions like serenity or contentment.

In the collective, we mostly say we want world peace.  But inside ourselves, whether we admit it or not, most of us are hoping for some excitement, even if it comes at the price of more stress and emotional costs.

Try running a web search for “Contentment classes” and then compare those results to “Anger Management Classes.” You will find that few people are looking for contentment, but many are looking for ways to control their anger.

Is it possible that less doing and more being could have relieved this imbalance?

People who value serenity will tell you that they found their inner peace not by more searching but by sitting still and learning to appreciate where they were and what they had.

One of the great illusions of depressions is that there is something we need to find to make us happy. More things, another person in our lives, may be nice, but that sort of happiness does not last. Learning to be content by yourself, in the situation you find yourself, leads to an inner peace that may not resemble that car ad but will be a lot more valuable in the long run.

Sad to say but it appears that everyone is motivated to flee depression, anger, and anxiety, but not many people are willing to sit still and experience contentment and serenity.

Related articles

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

List of Feelings Posts

Counselorssoapbox.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Here are some of the past posts on feelings and emotions.

Some of you have told me that it is hard to find past posts on a particular feeling. Here is a list of some of them as I find more I will add them. If you notice a post on a particular feeling, mine or another blogger’s, which has been helpful please leave a comment.

Anger – Why Controlling Anger does not work

Anxiety – Fear, anxiety or phobia?

Nervous constitution or Anxiety disorder?

              – How to turn anxiety into paranoia

Communication –

Contentment – How far is it to Contentment?

Empathy –  Emotional Chameleon or naturally empathetic?

Fear – Fear, anxiety or phobia?

Guilt – Guilt and Shame

Happiness – Pretending to be happy?

Happy Enough to make your bed? 

Hope – Hope is contagious

Listening – Learning to hear – Do you need to relearn?

Love – Model for unconditional love – your pet

Nervousness – Nervous constitution or Anxiety disorder?

Pain – When Mindfulness makes you feel worse – about pain

Paranoia – How to turn anxiety into paranoia

Perfectionism – Perfectionism – good thing or bad thing

Shame – Guilt and Shame

Trust – What will the therapist tell me about trust? Trust issues

Worry – Why worry may not be a bad thing

How many feelings do you feel? The feelings problem  

That seems to be most of the feelings posts – for now. But we will need to talk more about these and other feelings again in the future.

Hope you are all making progress on your recovery from whatever you see as your challenge and are moving forward on your journey to a happy life.

David Joel Miller, LMFT, LPCC

Why Controlling Anger does not work

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Angry person

Anger.
Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

Some anger management programs make things worse.

Some common prescriptions for anger management do not work and can make things worse. There are things that work quickly and efficiently to eliminate anger but we try to wait till you have used up all your insurance and savings before we teach you these techniques.

Counting to ten is a prescription for disaster.

I do not know about you, but for me trying to count to ten when I am angry is a really bad idea. By the time I get to ten, I will have thought of ten new ways to dispose of your body. Counting to ten just gives me the time to leave my anger on the heat long enough to let it explode.

The trick here is not to learn to control your anger. The key is to learn techniques to not anger yourself in the first place. No anger – nothing to control. You think this sounds crazy, don’t you?

Albert Ellis one of the founders of REBT and CBT therapies wrote about this in a book titled “Anger: Living with it and living without it.”  It is in plenty of other books by Ellis and others. This formulation is so simple that once you get it, you almost instantly stop getting angry unless you chose to do so.

This model sometimes referred to as the A-B-C-D-E method has even made its way into an official government publication. This anger workbook is available free from the SAMHSA website. A free self-help book that also works? What a deal.

Here is my brief example of a way I use this model.

One night while teaching a class at the local college, a student in the very front row suddenly slams her books shut, grabs her stuff, and goes running for the door. No phone call, no explanation, she just runs from my class. We had a break coming up, couldn’t she wait till then?

This is clearly very rude. I feel disrespected. She has really made me angry. I vow that next week before I start class I am going to have a talk with this impolite person.

What she did, running out of my class, has disrespected me and made me angry.

A = activating event.

Which is what she did. She did it and she made me angry.

C = is the consequence, my anger.

So A caused C. Her action made me angry. With me so far? In class when I explain this, the students usually argue with me as we go along, trying to make me angrier. I am hoping you will hang in to the end.

The following week this same student is waiting at the door for me to unlock the classroom. Before I can read her the riot act she begins apologizing. She explains that she is so sorry that she ran from the room last week. She ate some food she bought from a street vendor on the way to class last week and she had a sudden attack of diarrhea.

Am I still angry at her? Probably not. See in between the “A” the Activating event, in this case, her running from the classroom and the “C” my anger, there is this other thing a “B.”

B = Belief as in “my belief about why people do things.”

If I believe that the reason people do things is to be mean and disrespectful to me then I will be angry. If I think that they did it because of some problem they have, then I do not take it personally.

Note that it does not matter whether it is true or not. I do not need to know if she is telling the truth to either become angry or feel sorry for her. If she really just was bored and chose to leave the class and make a scene but later decided to apologize and make up a story, I will still not get angry if “I believe” that she was not being rude.

Also if I chose to not believe her, even if she did have an attack of food poisoning, I will be mad at her despite the apology and the excuse.

The key to my anger is not in her actions or her apology. It is in what I chose to believe.

So anytime I feel myself getting angry I can –

D = dispute that belief.

If I can think of other reasons that people do things, then I can come up with alternative feelings. The result of this revelation is that I can disconnect those buttons and thereafter no one can ever “make me angry” by what they do.

The result of all this D (Disputing) is that I can choose to believe what I want and create an:

E = Effective new belief.

Now there may still be times that people do things that I find unacceptable and I will allow myself to get angry even if they did those things out of an acceptable reason. Or I can choose to never anger myself about what people do because if I anger myself I am likely to be the one who reacts out of anger and gets in trouble.

Now some of you are resisting this idea. You would like to hang onto your belief that other people make you angry because they don’t do things they “should do.” Or they refuse to do things they “must” do. Ellis had a lot to say about the dangers of “shoulding on yourself” and “Musterbation.”  I will let you read him for that.

Consider that there are evil people in the world and they do evil things. There are “stupid people” and they, of course, do “stupid” things. I do not need to like those things. I may even resist or oppose those things, but I do not need to anger myself when stupid people do stupid things. That is, after all, what they are supposed to be doing right?

Once you grasp this principle you do not ever need to allow anyone to make you feel any way other than the one way you chose. You may, however, need to cut some stupid or inconsiderate people out of your life because you choose not to put up with their behavior towards you.

If your ex continues to make you angry then you are choosing to continue to be in a dysfunctional relationship with them.

Consider this idea and maybe check out the SAMHSA anger management book or one of Albert Ellis’s books. If this idea makes sense to you let me know. If this post made you angry because you continue to believe that other people control your emotions and you chose to comment and tell me so, I may choose to delete your comment so I do not anger or upset myself over hostile comments.

Hope you have a happy and anger free day.

Give this process a try and see if you don’t find that you can anger yourself or not anger yourself depending on what you chose to do.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

How many feelings do you feel? The feelings problem

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Man with feelings

Managing feelings.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you let yourself feel too much or too little?

Two types of feelings problems cause people distress.

Some people feel too much. Excesses of fear and sadness keep them from having the happy life they want. Other people have an insatiable appetite for pleasure. They overindulge, damage their relationships, and suffer the consequences. They act impulsively and then regret the result but they tell me they can’t stop themselves even when they try.

Other people tell me they can’t feel anything. They are numb, cut off from their emotions. They don’t know what they feel even when they are feeling it. The numbness robs them of the chance for happiness.

How many feelings are there?

The list of feeling words is immense. Psychologists have looked for ways to make this understandable and have constructed shorter lists of primary feelings. These lists typically include 7 to 11 basic feelings.

1. Joy

2. Interest

3. Surprise

4. Fear (anxiety)

5. Anger

6. Sadness

7. Disgust

All of these feelings have survival value at times. Joy and interest might stimulate us to find and eat food. Fear could help us avoid a man-eating animal. Not everyone experiences these feelings in the same way. We could lump the emotions of fear, anxiety, nervousness, scared, or uncomfortable together. Experience has shown me that teenagers will deny feeling any fear but may have a sizable list of things that make them nervous or uncomfortable.

Individual variation

Not everyone experiences the same event by feeling the same emotion. One person may see a tornado and experience fear, another sadness and a third may experience interest and becomes a storm chaser. Past experience, beliefs about the event, and genetics may all play a role in how we perceive an event.

Negative and Positive Emotions

It may be easier at times to think of feelings as either negative or positive. The seven feelings could be separated into positive and negative lists. Hundreds of other feeling words might be added to the lists as variations or shades of these feelings. We could also use certain words to describe combinations of feelings or the co-occurrence for two feelings at the same time.

Joy, Interest, and Surprise are frequently seen as positive, though too much interest in certain things gets diagnosed as a mental illness if it interferes with your life. Fear or anxiety, anger, sadness, and disgust would form the core negative feelings. Research clearly indicates that while positive feelings are relatives and negative feelings come from the same family there are perceived differences between the feelings on each list.

The gender gap

Men in counseling often report having only three feelings, good, bad, or pissed-off. Women often have very differentiated feelings pallets. Men say Red, Yellow, or Blue, maybe purple. Women talk about things being Wisteria, Fuchsia, Lilac, Plum, and so on. Women typically have more feeling words and they understand the labels differently than most men.

Sometimes this feelings situation is reversed and the woman may report mostly being “numb” or disconnected while the man wants her to be able to express more of her feelings.

We learn our feelings from others

There was a time when expressing feeling was not appropriate. People were expected to be gigantic mechanical creatures who never expressed anything. To have feelings was to give in to the flesh. So some generations grew up unable to express how they feel and experiencing regret if feelings ever leaked out.

Many men remain unable to express feelings appropriately. They “suck it up” and go forward even when it would have been appropriate to show some emotion. The result is that unable to express emotions men lose the ability to name what they are feeling and as a result of not being able to categorize feelings and learn appropriate responses they may do nothing until overwhelmed.

So the feelings that are kept bottled up and unrecognized come exploding out under anger or alcohol. These people, disconnected from their feelings, are forced to reconnect when in anger management class or marriage counseling.

When feelings can protect you

Some feelings are protective. That feeling in your gut that tells you this is dangerous, that feeling we sometimes call intuition is meant to protect you from harm. People who don’t feel anything lose the assistance of feelings that tell you this is something you should not do or that is something good you need to get in on. Courage is not the lack of fear, pretending this is not dangerous. It is the ability to fully feel and appraise the situation, but to take action even in the presence of a real danger.

Positive feelings can help create and expand friendships and working relationships. Negative feelings can warn you to avoid dysfunctional relationships and abusive situations. People who use feeling as sources of information lead happier and more productive lives.

Do you feel your feelings? Are feelings your friends or do they cause you problems?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

m.

Criticizing, complaining and asking for change.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Talking to yourself

Communication.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Criticizing, complaining, and asking for change.

Communication skills part 3.

When something bugs us what should we do? When we are unhappy we are likely to react in one of a very few ways. Will you say nothing, become angry, or take a middle road and try to talk about the issue?

Some people say nothing and suffer in silence. For those people, we recommend assertiveness training. If you do nothing about a problem then you become part of the mechanism perpetuation the problem not part of the solution.

Some people react to annoyances by becoming angry and acting out. Even if the violent approach works in the short run it is likely to result in long-term undesirable consequences. An excessive response to a problem may wind up in you having to do an Anger Management class, going to jail, or permanently damaging the relationship.

In between is the “let’s talk about it” approach. Some ways of talking with the other person are more effective than others.

Criticizing is not communication.

Criticizing is the method most often used and least likely to be helpful. This method attacks the other person. You call them names for not doing what you think they should. Statements get made like “you don’t respect me, you are a slob or other personal attacks.

Criticizing does not make any friends. When we are criticized we are likely to become defensive and reply with our list of all the things the other has done. Criticize someone too often and they may stop listening altogether.

Criticizing cuts off communication rather than improving it or getting things to change.

Complaining does not help communication.

Complaining involves talking about how the issue is affecting you.  While a slight improvement over criticizing it rarely gets anything to change.

This is a recurring behavior in work settings where people complain about how they have to too much to do and saying others do not help and so on. It can become the standard operating procedure in some settings.

People who work as professionals in a complaint department know, or should know, the importance of listening to the customer’s complaint. Until the person feels their complaint has been heard nothing much is likely to happen to resolve that complaint. But eventually, the process needs to move beyond complaining.

Some relationship skill building programs suggest combining the complaining behavior with the next step, problem-solving, or asking for change. While complaining may be a way to tell the other person what is upsetting you, moving to the next step and stating the specifics you want to change are most likely to improve the situation.

Asking for change improves communication.

Of all the ways of dealing with problems, this is the most likely to improve the situation despite seeming to be the hardest thing to do.

Use good problem-solving skills. Ask for change and stay on the problem and how to solve it. The greatest chance for improvement is to find a solution in which both parties win rather than a win-lose situation. There needs to be genuine two-way communication, hearing, and being heard.

Making things better.

Make sure that when you have a problem with another person that you avoid the name-calling and the personal attacks.

Clearly, state the problem as you see it. Ask for specific changes such as not interrupting you when you speak rather than global things like being nicer.

Listen while the other person describes how they see the problem. Work towards understanding their point of view. Look for a solution that meets both of your needs.

More on communication skills can be found at:

Communication is not what you think

Just Being Honest        

Criticism, complaining, asking for change.

How are your communication skills? Are you criticizing, complaining or asking for change?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Just being honest – 5 times telling the truth is a bad thing

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Telling the truth.

Truth.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Not all “truth” is created equal – Communication Skills part 2.

As children most of us were taught we should always tell the truth, even when we knew the adults around us were not being truthful. In relationship counseling, we spend a lot of time on communications but improving communication does not always improve the relationship.

People who say they are “just telling the truth” find that their relationships suffer. Truth and honesty can build trust in a relationship but there are times when telling the truth can be both harmful and misleading.

Some people can say the most hurtful things, only to excuse what they have said by reporting “I am just being truthful.” People who use the truth defense are usually not so very receptive to having their partner reply with similar truths.

While telling the truth is a very desirable characteristic here are sometimes when the truth may damage relationships and may not be the “whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

When your version of the truth is an exaggeration.

Common statements, especially during arguments are “You always – You never, you are totally.”

Categorical statements are rarely, if ever, true. This way of saying things is meant to put the other person down and is criticism for criticism’s sake.

Criticism is a way of being hurtful and may cause permanent damage to the relationship. You don’t get to do this and then play the “I was only being truthful” card.

When you say it out of anger the truth is you are angry.

Things said out of anger are meant to hurt. Even if you avoid the exaggeration trap you are likely to say things laced with sarcasm and personal attacks. “Truths,” said in anger, are going to damage not improve the relationship.

Having hurt the other person they have no incentive to work on changing anything. When you are saying things in anger you are lashing out not looking for constructive resolution. Even if the statements were true, when you are full of anger, this is not the time to have that frank talk.

The truth-telling was all about you.

Sometimes “being honest” is about pointing out all the possible flaws in the other person in order to make yourself feel better about you.

Being honest is one thing, but there is no reason to blurt out every single defect you see in the other person. No one needs or wants that much honesty all at once. Think about the purpose behind telling someone the things you see wrong with them.

Is your honesty really about helping them improve or is it coming from a place of selfishness on your part? Honesty like meals needs to be spaced out over time as the need arises.

If you really want to be helpful talk only about as much of the person’s faults as they are ready to hear. Be sure you are not just doing these things to make yourself feel superior.

If the Honesty talk is all about the other person’s faults and you are not ready to own any of the faults this is not real honesty.

You can’t sleep at night or have an emotional hangover after truth-telling.

If after a binge of “ruthless honesty” you find you are unable to sleep at night. If you are emotionally drained for a while after the conversation then you might be experiencing an emotional hangover.

Telling someone off, like drinking too much, may feel good at the time but it is likely to come with the cost of an emotional hangover.

If you find you regret what you have said after an episode of “being honest” You know that the reason is the damage that what you said has caused to the relationship.

Excess of negative emotions, especially anger and fear will lead you to do things while emotional that you may regret afterward.

“It was true” may be a defense in a court of law but it will not make for happy relationships.

The other person is not ready to hear it – you need to use compassion.

Yelling at the deaf and showing pictures to the blind don’t aid communication. Telling someone more truth than they are ready to hear is only going to harm your relationship.

If you really want to end the relationship you don’t need to catalog the other person’s faults to justify your decision.

Remember to practice your compassion skill first and the honesty will have a place to grow when needed.

More on communication skills can be found at:

Communication is not what you think

Just Being Honest        

Criticism, complaining, asking for change

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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