Grief is a response to loss. It’s characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, depression, numbness, anger, and guilt. The goal of successful grief resolution is to reestablish emotional balance. Not everyone grieves the same things or expresses their grief in the same way. And then there’s what we call “disenfranchised grief.” (You probably know what it is, and you may have even felt it, but you might not know what to call it.)
Recognizing that loss comes in many forms has been one positive thing we’ve taken away from the pandemic. For example, loss of:
A prom or graduation
A dream wedding
People are more aware of “disenfranchised grief” now. Still, it’s helpful for us to think beyond the pandemic to other commonly overlooked losses. That way, we can support those suffering from them.
Understanding Disenfranchised Grief:
Grief that isn’t typically recognized by societal norms and/or lacks cultural expression.
Grief that is often minimized, invalidated, stigmatized, marginalized, or misunderstood.
★ Disenfranchised grief (DG) leaves individuals to process their loss on their own or in secret. They lack the supportive benefits available to people whose losses are more socially accepted, expected, acknowledged, or understood. Often, people tell those in distress, “You didn’t even know them that well,” or “Move on,” or “Get over it.”
Even if we don’t understand it or agree with it, it doesn’t make the pain any less. The pain is REAL.
Examples of losses that are frequently disenfranchised include:
death of an “ex,” an absent sibling or parent
loss of someone who was not a “blood relative”
loss of a co-worker or pet
an adoption that fell through
loss of possessions, loss of location due to a relocation or move
loss of mobility or health, loss of a body part
infertility, miscarriage, stillborn child
incarceration of a friend or family member
deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, suicide*, or overdose
loss of personality due to dementia, etc.
Frequently, the loss itself may not be disenfranchised, but the manner in which an individual grieves may be.
Those around them may criticize the length of their grieving process or the form their grief takes. Societies and cultures can have “unwritten rules” when it comes to grief. People often question, criticize, or invalidate expressions outside those “rules.” These things can complicate the grieving process.
For many circumstances that individuals experience, there is no “race for the cure,” support group, lapel ribbon, hotline, celebrity fundraiser, foundation, or “public awareness” campaign. There may not even be a Hallmark card for it. This doesn’t mean that feelings of grief are invalid or illegitimate.
Often, people don’t even know they are experiencing DG, let alone know how to work through it.
Instead, people have a tendency to minimize or invalidate their loss by comparing it to what a person (or society) believes is a “legitimate” loss.
Disenfranchised Grief. They say if you can name it, you can tame it. It might begin by being honest with yourself, admitting you’re grieving, and not feeling guilty about it.
Stop faking smiles. Then find some support. The people around you are probably more than willing to help you. They just might not recognize your “outside the box” loss.
For those of us who may know someone experiencing DG, support might begin by expanding our definitions of “loss” and “grief.” We can follow up by making ourselves available to those who are hurting and grieving. We can listen and empathetically validate their sense of loss.
About 2.5 million people die in the United States each year. They all leave an average of five grieving people behind. Not all those grieving people grieve the same.
If we can expand our perspective on grief, we can expand our support to those who are grieving.People are hurting, and we can help.
*If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there are a number of websites and organizations with excellent resources for you. HelpGuide is a great place to start, along with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Grief-01.png10422500John Daumhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJohn Daum2021-06-10 13:11:002022-07-25 13:54:45What You Need to Know About Disenfranchised Grief
You can help them express themselves in healthy ways.
Eight years ago, my wife and I embarked on a journey. A journey with no map, no guidebook, and filled with mystery and surprise. A journey of blazing our own trails. You may know this journey… it’s called parenting.
Now, here we are with two curious, fun-loving adventurers, one 8 and one 5. Both of them are full of life and laughter and a full range of emotions. This stage of parenting brings a new element: navigating those emotions. The dirty diapers and potty training are gone; we live in a world of attitudes. Any other elementary-age parents out there feel me? I wasn’t ready for this.
One of the more challenging emotions to address has been anger. How do I help my child navigate being angry? How do I help them express their anger? Do I want them to be angry?
Before I go further, let me say this slowly and clearly: Anger is normal. There is nothing wrong with being angry. It’s what we do with anger that matters. Anger often reveals our passions and sense of justice. We just can’t let it control us. [Read Why Anger Isn’t Good or Bad for more on this]
Now that we’ve got that clear, here are four ways you can help your child deal with anger:
Teach them about their feelings.
Our kids are constantly learning. From day one, they are discovering a new world with new sights and sounds. Feelings and emotions are no different. They learn happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and joy. Our job as parents is to help them learn these emotions and name them. They may not know how to express what they feel, but we can give them the words.
When they’re mad or upset, help them investigate why they feel that way. As you both discover the expressions of their emotions, name them. Give them words like sad, mad, happy, disappointed, maybe even hangry (my kids get angry).
Model how to handle anger in a healthy way.
Kids are sponges. They watch and listen. You may have heard it said, “More is caught than taught.” That’s parenting gold right there. Researchers have found that much of what we learn comes through social interactions. This is called the social learning theory.
What it means is, how you handle anger directly influences how your child handles it.
If someone cuts me off in traffic, I get mad. Just being real. I often don’t want to say nice things about said person. (Confession is good for the soul; glad I got that out there.) I’m conscious of this in myself, so when it happens and my kids see me mad, I tell them that I’m frustrated and why. And I own my actions or feelings.
It’s healthy for us to express what makes us angry so our kids can learn how to handle the same emotions. Now, we don’t have to express all of our frustrations to them. There are plenty of adult problems that our kids need to be protected from. But we can define some of our frustrations, how they make us feel, and why.
They are watching and listening anyway, so take the opportunity to teach.
Help them communicate their feelings.
When we help our child name their emotions, we are helping them communicate what is going on inside. If my kids are angry, I don’t want them to throw a tantrum or become overly upset because things didn’t go their way. I want them to be able to express what they’re feeling and act appropriately. This goes back to modeling. Remember, they’re watching.
Make a plan to handle anger.
Anger is normal, but what we do with anger matters. If you want to help your child manage their anger, it might be a good idea to make a plan before they get angry. Trying to make a plan while they’re dealing with the emotion won’t work. Here are some thoughts on what could be part of your plan:
Engage in a calming activity (coloring, reading, taking a walk).
Take a “time in.” When they feel frustrated, take a few minutes to calm down. Reflect on what they think or feel and calm down before speaking or doing something. Remember, this isn’t a punishment.
Take deep breaths or count to 10.
Once they have calmed down, talk through the situation and their responses. Acknowledge and applaud them for handling the situation. It’s important to recognize what goes well. A wise man once told me, “What gets recognized gets repeated.”
It’s healthy for children (and adults) to express and feel their emotions. It’s our job to teach them to do this in a healthy way.
If you feel your child’s anger is increasing despite your best efforts, consult their pediatrician. We want to do everything in our power to help our children be successful and develop into extraordinary adults.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/pexels-ketut-subiyanto-4546116-scaled-e1618930313120.jpg387900Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2021-04-20 10:52:082021-04-28 10:17:504 Ways to Help Your Child Deal With Anger
“I was in the thick of raising two children. Both my husband and I worked full-time jobs and the biggest thing I was struggling with was feeling like I was doing everything,” Tamara said. “I was frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how to get my husband to jump in and just do stuff without me having to ask. He was very willing to help, but he just wanted me to tell him what to do.”
After reading the book, Tamara felt like she was armed with some tangible ways to engage with her husband differently.
“We actually sat down and divided up chores,” Tamara said. “Clarity around responsibilities was huge for us. He does the dishes and puts them in the dishwasher. I unload the dishwasher. This used to be a huge point of tension for us. I don’t mind letting dishes pile up in the sink and he can’t stand that. Now we’ve got our dance going.”
They realized that the chore one of them liked the least, the other one didn’t really mind doing. Clarity around who was going to be responsible for doing what removed a lot of frustration from their relationship.
Another huge takeaway for Tamara was to stop correcting her husband every time he did something.
“I used to go behind him as he was doing things and either redo them or point out that’s not the correct way to do whatever,” Tamara said. “Like the time he took initiative to sweep our hardwood floors… but his sweeping technique was subpar in my opinion, so I waited until he was finished and then swept after him and took a picture of the huge pile of dirt and hair that he had left behind to show him that if he’s going to do something, he needs to do it all the way, not half-heartedly… (I’m not proud of myself.) Talk about creating tension between the two of us. I totally did not stop to think about how it would make him feel. He just basically started backing off because what’s the point in trying to help when the person comes right behind you and does it their way? Letting go of that was big!
“Probably the most valuable takeaway from this read was understanding that we needed to learn how to actively listen to each other instead of allowing our conversations to get hijacked by our emotions,” Tamara shared. “I think everybody could benefit from learning this.”
Tamara said she was reminded of her high school anatomy and physiology class discussions about the brain being the center of logic and emotions and the limbic system, more specifically, the amygdala, processes emotions such as fear, anger and the “fight or flight” reflex. The prefrontal cortex controls judgment, logic and thinking.
Guess what happens when our amygdala is firing on all cylinders?
The prefrontal cortex stops working at optimum levels. Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol rush through our body, causing us to turn into something close to The Incredible Hulk. Our body is physically preparing for “fight or flight” from the perceived threat. This makes us hyper-focused on our goal of survival, which makes it next to impossible to actually understand or even hear what other people are saying. Think of a child’s teeter-totter on the playground with emotions on one side and rational thinking on the other side: When emotions go up, rational thinking goes down.
“Maybe the biggest takeaway for me from the book was learning how to deal with my anger differently,” Tamara said. “When things went south with us, both of us could ramp up very quickly. Harsh tones and hurtful words resulted in even more tension. The book talked about exactly what is happening in our brains when we are so angry with each other and it said I needed to handle the situation as if I were an FBI hostage negotiator. Say what?”
What would an FBI hostage negotiator do? They would use the Behavioral Change Stairway Model. It involves five tried-and-true steps to get someone to be able to understand your perspective and change what they’re doing. These steps are:
Active Listening – Listen to their side and let them know they have been heard.
Empathy – You understand where they’re coming from and what they are feeling.
Rapport – What they feel in return from your empathy; they start trusting you.
Influence – Work on problem-solving and come up with an action plan.
Behavioral Change – One or both of you does something different.
Many couples immediately jump to number four before they do the first three steps which can and usually does sabotage the process of coming to a resolution. Hostage negotiators will tell you, active listening is the most important step in getting someone to calm down.
Here are six techniques to actively listen like a boss:
Ask open-ended questions – You want them to open up, so avoid yes/no questions. A good example would be, “You seem upset. Can you help me understand what exactly is bothering you?” If something is bothering you and someone asks this question, seek to avoid responding with, “Nothing is wrong.”
Effective Pause – Try remaining silent at appropriate times for emphasis or to defuse a one-sided emotional conversation (since most angry people are looking for a dialogue.)
Minimal Encouragers – Let them know you’re listening with brief statements like, “Yeah” or “I see.” If you show a lot of emotion in your facial expressions, seek to keep those to a minimum.
Mirroring – Repeat the last word or phrase they said. This shows you are trying to understand them and encourages them to continue. (Note: Don’t overdo it… mirroring could become really annoying, really fast.)
Paraphrasing – Repeat what the other person is saying back to them in your own words. Not only does this show you are truly seeking to understand, it gives them an opportunity to clarify if you don’t quite have the whole picture.
Emotional Labeling – Give their feelings validation by naming them. Identify with how they feel. It’s not about whether they are right or wrong or completely crazy; it’s about showing them you understand and hear them.
“Reading this book made me more aware on so many levels,” Tamara said.
“Even recognizing that it is important for me to do things that refuel my tank, but also actually telling my husband I need reassurance from him that he is good with me doing things with friends or going to work out because I can let “mom guilt” get the best of me. He actually told me not very long ago, ‘Taking time for yourself made you a happier person, happier mom and wife. I can see the change in you.’ That made my heart happy for sure.”
Tamara’s advice to new moms? Read the book, but recognize that implementing the strategies takes time and intentionality.
“I think both of us would say we have seen significant improvement in the way we engage each other and that has been a really good thing for us and for our children,” Tamara said.
Looking for more resources on marriage? Click here!
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/couple-embracing-enjoying-enjoyment-2250589-scaled-e1597259788226.jpg300450Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2019-10-21 00:00:002022-04-04 10:44:06How Not to Hate Your Husband
Controlling your emotions is hard, regardless of your age. When you’re in the checkout line at the store and a 2-year-old has a meltdown because they can’t have a candy bar, nobody is shocked because well, they are two. It’s totally another story when an adult who is unable to regulate their emotions has a public meltdown.
Unfortunately, a rising number of teens and adults seem to be struggling with emotional and impulse control, and the results are often disastrous. Think road rage, someone cutting in line or even publicly expressing a different opinion in a rude manner.
The Child Mind Institute defines self-regulation as the ability to manage emotions and behavior in accordance with situational demands. Consider it a skill set that enables children, as they mature. It directs their own behavior toward a goal, despite the unpredictability of the world and their own feelings.
Being able to resist highly-emotional reactions to upsetting stimuli,
Calming yourself down if you get upset,
Adjusting to a change in expectations, and
Handling frustration without an outburst.
Children who don’t learn this skill struggle to self-regulate as they get older. And, if you’ve ever experienced this out-of-control feeling, you know it’s not a good thing. Often controlling your emotions feels the same. There is good news, though. If you didn’t learn this skill as a child, it is still possible to learn it as an adult.
Your emotional brain processes information in two milliseconds. Keeping yourself under control during a frustrating experience involves being able to pause between the feeling and your response.
There is a trigger; someone pushes your buttons (we all have an easy button). An instant reaction follows, accompanied by a strong emotion, often followed by a feeling of remorse. This is the body’s automatic built-in protection system, AKA “fight, flight or freeze.”
Your rational brain, which helps you make sound decisions, processes information in 500 milliseconds, 250 times longer than your emotional brain. People have to learn how to assess situations quickly, but if they don’t pause long enough to discern what is actually happening, their emotional brain can take control before their rational brain has a chance to kick into gear.
If you or someone you know struggles with self-regulation, it’s not too late! You just have to be intentional about choosing to behave differently.
Think about what you can control and what you cannot. You cannot control how other people behave, but you can choose how you will respond or engage with them. Sometimes, the best response is to do nothing.
Learn how to master your feelings, versus letting them master you will serve you well. For example, when someone cuts you off when you’re driving, you suddenly feel your heart rate go up, adrenaline starts flowing, and your first instinct is to go after them. However, if you practice emotional regulation, you can take a breath, even acknowledge that that makes you angry, but then let it go because the consequences of your actions could bring harm to you, that driver and others who never involved themselves.
This should not be interpreted as people not being able to stand up for themselves or being silenced. Instead, learning how to master controlling your emotions can help people develop calm and constructive ways to have their voice heard. When people are out of control, it’s highly unlikely that anything positive will come from the situation.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/daiga-ellaby-7edWO30e32k-unsplash.jpg8531280Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2019-07-29 06:30:002020-10-01 14:47:50Tips for Controlling Your Emotions
Over the past 30 years, Gary and Carrie Oliver have worked with literally thousands of couples. Some were preparing for marriage while others were trying to figure out how to make their marriage work. “Every couple we have worked with began their marriage with a proclamation of their love and commitment to stay together ‘until death do us part,’” says Gary Oliver, psychologist and co-author of Mad About Us: Moving from Anger to Intimacy with Your Spouse.
“In many cases, the couples we worked with talked about being madly in love with each other. But over time the madly in love feeling turned to feelings of being mad at each other. The vast majority of failed relationships have at their core the inability to understand differences, deal with the emotion of anger in healthy ways and engage in healthy and constructive conflict.”
Close to 90 percent of people say they want to marry. Clearly, people want to be in relationships. Most married couples will tell you, however, that differences that were so fun and attractive while dating tend to cause marital conflict.
“More than 96 percent of the people we have worked with view conflict as negative and something to be avoided at all costs,” Oliver says.
He has spent thousands of hours playing referee for couples who do not understand that there is both unhealthy and healthy conflict. As a result, responding instead of reacting can make all the difference in the world. He says that conflict pushes buttons of fear, hurt and/or frustration, and things tend to get very personal. “When people feel misunderstood, the relationship doesn’t feel trustworthy or safe. Needless to say, this does nothing to build intimacy in a relationship.”
Misunderstanding anger is one big issue the Olivers deal with as they counsel couples.
“Anger is a complex emotion,” Oliver says. “One of the major reasons why the emotion of anger has gained a primarily negative reputation is that there is so much misinformation about what anger is and can be. We only tend to hear and read about unhealthy expressions of anger. It’s tragic that the mostly incorrect and inaccurate misinformation far outweighs the true and accurate facts regarding this powerful and potentially positive emotion.”
Consider these common myths (and facts) about anger.
Myth: If you don’t look or sound angry, you don’t have an anger problem.
Fact: Just because you don’t look or feel angry, or because your friend wouldn’t describe you as an angry person, does not mean you don’t have an anger problem. Anyone who does not understand and appreciate the potential value of anger may have a problem with it.
Myth: Anger always leads to some form of violence, so it is never good to be angry.
Fact: Anger does not always lead to violence, nor is it always a bad thing to be angry. The key is to understand and control this emotion rather than letting it control you.
Myth: Expressing anger to someone you love will destroy your relationship. Anger and love just don’t mix.
Fact: Being aware of your experience of anger and choosing to express it in healthy ways can actually increase mutual understanding, It can also help, strengthen and enrich your relationship.
Myth: Spiritual people don’t get angry.
Fact: Anger is a fact of life. Everyone experiences it. If you want to be smart and healthy, choose to understand your experience of anger, then express it constructively.
Myth: The best way to deal with anger is to stuff it. Expressing anger breeds even more anger and leads to loss of control.
Fact: When in doubt about what to do with your experience of anger, don’t stuff it. Healthy expressions of anger allow you to deal with the root issues and decrease anger. They are constructive and lead to greater control.
Myth: The best way to deal with anger is to dump it. Just get all of that anger out of your system. You and everyone else will be better for it.
Fact: When you are angry, take the time to understand your experience of anger. It can help you express it in a healthy and constructive way.
“Most couples we worked with were surprised at the degree to which they have believed many of these myths and the degree to which these myths have negatively impacted their marriage relationship,” Oliver says.
“In fact, my wife and I both realized that neither of us grew up with models of what healthy expressions of anger looked like. Learning how to express anger in healthy ways tore down walls of fear, hurt and pain. It also helped us build bridges of understanding and trust that became the pathway to deep levels of intimacy in our marriage.”
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoringyour computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Mad-About-Us-Part-1.jpg9001400Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2018-07-02 00:00:002020-11-03 16:10:46Mad About Us, Part 1
Almost daily, unhealthy anger causes some kind of devastation. It could be anything from child abuse or domestic violence to road rage, or to children methodically preparing to harm their teacher. The emotion of anger in and of itself isn’t the problem, though. When people allow themselves to be controlled by this powerful emotion, it can become unhealthy and cause harm to others.
“We have to continually remind ourselves that anger is energy and energy is neutral,” says Gary Oliver, clinical psychologist and co-author of Mad About Us: Moving From Anger to Intimacy with Your Spouse, with his wife, Carrie. “We have total control over how we choose to express our anger, so we can choose to express this emotion in unhealthy or in healthy and constructive ways. Plus, we can choose to spend the anger-energy by expressing it in ways that hurt ourselves and others. Or, we can choose to invest the anger-energy in building a healthier relationship.”
The Olivers believe that anger can be an alarm or warning sign that we need to look at some aspect of our lives or relationship. It can serve as a powerful source of motivation. Healthy anger provides the power to protect loved ones, and healthy anger can lead to more intimate relationships.
“Disagreements usually involve the emotions of fear and/or hurt and/or frustration. These are the primary emotions that lead to the secondary emotion of anger,” Oliver says. “Anger sets most people up for conflict – and most couples don’t know how to do conflict well. Couples can choose to spend their anger-energy by dumping, blaming, attacking or walking out. Or they can choose to acknowledge the fear, hurt or frustration and invest their anger-energy in seizing the opportunity to better understand their spouse.”
For example, Oliver spoke with a couple in the middle of a serious conflict. The husband made a comment at a party, and his wife responded with a joke about it. Her response embarrassed him in front of their friends. He was making a serious point and, she spoke without thinking about how it would impact the situation. Since this was not the first time she had done something like this, her husband was hurt, embarrassed, marginalized and frustrated.
When they headed home, the wife asked him what was wrong. Although he initially denied being upset, he releases his frustration after several questions.
In working through Oliver’s seven conflict management steps, they discovered that the wife had no idea he was being serious. The husband realized that his wife didn’t intend to make him look bad, but his friends started laughing and he felt naked, exposed and embarrassed in front of them. As they talked, the wife truly felt bad and apologized. This was a landmark conversation for them because they were actually able to talk through what had taken place and understand each other. Then they set a new direction for how to manage their conflict.
Couples who develop the healthy habit of working through differences often find that listening, asking questions, listening again and asking more questions leads to understanding. Additionally, it provides a window into each other’s hearts and a pathway to greater intimacy.
“When you know someone loves you enough to take the time to understand you rather than take a walk out the door, you know that person’s love is not a shallow, superficial, conditional love,” Oliver says. “That type of love makes a person feel safe and secure. This type of security leads to an increase in trust, which creates the perfect environment for deep levels of intimacy to grow.”
If you’re seeking to more effectively manage the conflicts in your marriage, try these seven steps:
Define the issue. Listen and seek understanding. Whose issue is it? Is there more than one issue involved? What is my spouse’s core concern? What is my core concern?
How important is it? On a scale from 1 to 10, with one being low-ticket and 10 being high-ticket, how important is this?
Ask yourself, “What is MY contribution to the problem?”
Do I need to apologize or ask for forgiveness?
Choose radical responsibility. Don’t wait for your partner to reach out and seek understanding—be willing to take the first step.
Choose what both of you can do differently.
Make changes and review them.
“Healthy conflict is good,” Oliver says. “When a couple has a disagreement and one person takes the time to listen even if they think the other person is wrong, that says to their spouse, ‘I value you and you are important to me.’”
It isn’t always about agreeing on something. When you know your spouse is trying to understand what is going on, it increases your sense of value and safety.
One of the best ways to go from being mad at each other to “mad about us” isn’t reading books on new sexual positions. Instead, it’s about creating a sense of trust and safety within your marriage. A spouse who feels understood will feel safe and be willing to trust. Consequently, that trust leads to the deeper levels of intimacy every person longs for. Guaranteed!
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoringyour computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Mad-About-Us-Part-2.jpg9001400Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2018-07-02 00:00:002020-11-03 16:17:28Mad About Us, Part 2
Job exits can ruin relationships if you’re not careful. Sara* was sick and tired of the way she was being treated at work, so she decided it was time to leave. She totally planned to let her boss know how she felt about things on her way out.
There was no way to know that three years later she would be interviewing for another job – and her interviewer would be the very person she unloaded on when she left her former workplace.
“This is not unusual,” says Pamper Garner Crangle, President of Pamper Garner and Associates, a consulting firm that helps companies manage and measure “people problems.”
“People get emotional and feel the need to vent before they leave a job. They often don’t care how they come across because they are leaving. But, I try to remind them that how they express their frustration is very important in the world of business. I tell people that your reputation often precedes you. If you handle things poorly at one company, chances are good that it will get around to other companies in the area. Like Sara, you never know when you will have to interview with someone you threw a tantrum in front of years ago.”
Studies indicate that lack of loyalty is one reason people feel justified in leaving a company badly.
“Years ago most people were very loyal to their place of employment,” Crangle says. “Today, many young people have seen their parents work in a loyal fashion for many years, sacrificing time for their marriage and family relationships, only to be downsized. So they have decided they don’t want to put in extra hours or put their personal ownership in the workplace.”
Even if you don’t feel a sense of loyalty to your company, there are good reasons not to leave on a sour note. Two of those reasons include future references and job possibilities.
“I think sometimes people forget the importance of relationships,” Crangle shares. “In a day and age where broken relationships are all around us, people tend to think of leaving a job like trading in a used car for a new one or getting a new cell phone.”
Regardless of whether you feel loyal to a company or not, attitude and presentation can make or break a conversation. Believe it or not, saying goodbye respectfully and finishing well can impact your long-term career.
You can have a good job exit and maintain relationships by following these tips:
Give a proper notice. Two weeks is generally acceptable, but in some cases more time can ensure a good transition. Offering to work out a longer notice gives the company options and allows you to leave on a good note.
Keep your comments positive. You may be unhappy and ready to tell your boss some ways to improve the workplace, but should you? Your best bet is to keep your comments positive – or at least balanced. You never know what the future holds.
Stay focused. When you know you are leaving, it is easy to let things go. Staying focused and completing any unfinished business is powerful when you are looking for references in the future.
Do a good job training your replacement. Help and support your replacement as much as possible. Even if they want the scoop about the workplace, keep your comments positive and respectful. If they ask why you are leaving, give an appropriate answer. Perhaps you could say it was time for a change or you need to experience a different environment. Or maybe you could say that your priorities have changed. You don’t have to go into detail.
There are many entrances and exits in life, both personally and professionally. Your reputation hinges on the first impression and the last impression you leave. It is sometimes tempting to sever ties with others, but we live in a small world. Although it takes more effort, it will benefit you to maintain a good relationship with those for whom you worked. You never know when you will run into those people again.
What you do with it can either build up or destroy relationships.
Have you ever come home from work with an expectation that blew up right in your face?
Your “quiet evening at home” turns chaotic when one of your children says they have a science project due tomorrow and your other child suddenly needs cupcakes for the class party. So much for a calm evening after an exhausting day.
You head to the grocery store for supplies and your spouse begins to oversee the science project. When you return, you realize you should have also picked up some lice-killing shampoo.
You have no idea what time you actually fell into bed, but the alarm blares far too soon. You get up with an edge and start barking out orders to everyone. “Comb your hair! Get the dog out before she has an accident. Where are the lunches you were supposed to pack last night?” At this point, it doesn’t seem like anybody is going to have a good day.
On the way to work, as you yell at the drivers around you, you realize you are angry. The question is, “Why?”
Researchers tell us anger is a secondary emotion, the tip of the iceberg so to speak. It’s the primary emotion – things like hurt, unmet expectations, frustration, disrespect, lack of trust, dishonesty, loneliness, jealousy, rejection, betrayal, disappointment, helplessness and exhaustion – that drives the anger.
In many instances, people don’t stop long enough to figure out what is fueling their anger. While anger itself is not good or bad, how you handle it impacts not only you, but also those around you – your family, co-workers and friends.
Studies show that the emotional part of our brain processes information in two milliseconds. In contrast, the rational part of the brain processes information in 500 milliseconds – 250 times longer. Simply put, it is much easier to react than to slow down and respond.
Researchers studying couples in conflict asked them to hit the pause button before arguing so a videographer could film the argument in real-time. In many instances, the couple had calmed down and moved on before the videographer even arrived.
If you struggle with anger, here are four steps that can help you get a good handle on it.
First, determine what is driving your feelings. For the parent who expected a quiet evening at home – unmet expectations, disappointment and exhaustion could be driving the anger, in addition to not knowing or forgetting about the cupcakes and the science project.
Next, acknowledge the feelings in a beneficial way. Instead of stuffing them inside or spewing them all over everybody, consider how you will share your feelings. Statements such as, “I feel frustrated when you wait until the last minute to ask for my help with the science project,” are more likely to elicit a conversation than if you lose it.
Then, determine a course of action. You may decide to help your child this time. Later on, you can calmly share that you may or may not be able to help the next time they wait until the last minute.
Finally, make a plan for the future. Use this as an opportunity to talk about appropriate ways to deal with anger.
So many adults say they never saw their parents actually deal with their anger. They saw the anger, but never learned what to do with it. Teaching your kids that anger isn’t bad or good – it’s what you do with it that can build up or destroy relationships – could be one of the greatest gifts you give them.
But don’t stop there. Model for them what it looks like to be good and angry.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Why-Anger-Isnt-Good-or-Bad.jpg9001400Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2017-09-07 00:00:002021-01-07 15:23:11Why Anger Isn’t Good or Bad