Relationships

How To Tackle The Root Cause Of Domestic Violence

The problem of domestic violence has been in the news again, as it seems to be every few months or so. Out come all the stereotypes of battered women suffering at the hands of evil men, along with tasty sound-bite comments from mostly-female spokespeople working at the coal face in vastly underfunded community organisations. Domestic violenceNot all violence is committed by men; women are sometimes violent too. And violence is not the only form of abuse happening behind closed doors in our society: emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse can be equally damaging. Nor is the simplistic innocent-victim/evil-perpetrator model always the full truth. But for the sake of simplicity, let's roll with the stereotype for a moment since it tends to cover the majority of domestic violence cases, and I primarily work with men anyway. Despite the excellent work done on a shoestring by the various organisations working to prevent domestic violence, the problem of men's violence towards women and children continues to hang around like an offensive odour.

How can this be, when it's in the news so often?

I believe it's because we aren't tackling the root cause of the problem. When domestic violence is in the news, I very rarely hear commentators asking the obvious, basic, underlying question:

Why are men violent? (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago
Emotions

How To Manage Anger Constructively

I grew up in a home where anger wasn't handled well. Let me take you back there: [caption id="attachment_2532" align="alignright" width="300"]Do Other People Push Your Anger Button? Do Other People Push Your Anger Button?[/caption] Now, don't get me wrong. My mother lets her anger flow freely, but she rarely uses the actual words "I am angry". Instead, her anger comes out as hurtful criticism, put-downs and emotional bullying. My dad isn't any better. He bottles his anger up so badly that he often seethes with resentment so loud that I can hear him muttering under his breath when I'm playing in the next room. It's frightening. All it takes is for mum to walk in and say, "What's wrong with you, you stupid creature?" and, bang, next round of World War III is back on again. What I learned from all this was the idea that anger was somehow a bad thing, that it was a bad emotion that I should never feel, because it always seemed to be expressed destructively around me. As a result, I learned to push down my anger very hard, to suppress it. In fact, I pushed it down so hard that in the end I barely even felt it. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago
Emotions

How Your Emotions Work

Hi, I'm Graham. I had 18 years of formal education - that's 12 years of primary and high school, and then another six years at university studying engineering - and during that time, I learnt a lot about how to think but very little about how to feel or how my emotions worked. In fact, I can't remember in that entire time a single class where I sat down and had a teacher teach me how my emotions work. Now, possibly maybe in art classes or in music classes or maybe even in English they might've come close, but really nothing all that direct and concrete. And that's a shame because, fundamentally as humans, we're all driven by our emotions. All our behavior is an attempt to either move towards pleasure or move away from pain. So emotions are absolutely key to getting what we want in life. They're also the key to a successful relationship, especially with women. So in the rest of this article, I'm going to give you a quick introduction into how your emotions work. https://youtu.be/sgPUXEQnA2Y (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago
Family

How To Cut The Emotional Umbilical Cord With Your Mother

G’day, guys. Today I want to talk about how to cut the emotional umbilical cord with your mother. Now, you may wonder why you want to do this or what I’m talking about. So the emotional umbilical cord is a metaphor to refer to that ability that your mother has to control or dominate you or influence you in ways that you may not like. Now, the origin of the emotional umbilical cord goes back to when you were an infant, when your ability to comply with what your mother wanted was kind of essential to your survival since you were totally dependent on her to feed and clothe and house you. And at some point during your development, you need to cut this emotional umbilical cord if you want to grow up from being a boy into being a man. http://youtu.be/PLFVP6n8XYg (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago
Relationships

The Day I Finally Stood Up To My Critical Mother

My mother and father are still together after 50 years of marriage. They are good, church going people who are very community minded. They show love by acts of service and are often kind and generous to other people. But the way my critical mother treats my largely passive father is toxic, and I recently took the opportunity to stand up to their behaviour in order to reverse the negative effects it has had on my own life. Here's how it panned out: [caption id="attachment_2396" align="alignright" width="300"]Standing Up To A Critical Mother Standing Up To A Critical Mother[/caption] Recently my parents and I all attended my maternal aunt's 90th birthday party, along with my maternal cousins, my two older sisters, and all their husbands/wives and families. We spent the weekend in a lovely guest house in the country and since it was a long drive for my aging parents, they asked me to give them a lift there and back. I am a little apprehensive because I know the way my parent's behaviour often triggers me, but I see it as an opportunity to connect with them and spend some additional quality time together. The two-hour drive to the guest house is relatively uneventful, with occasional friendly chatter and lunch at my parents' favourite cafè on-route. However, I am starting to notice the pattern in my parents relationship that often upsets me: my mother “corrects” everything my father says, in a way which sounds critical and belittling to me. His reaction is to withdraw and shut down in response to this criticism; a common trait I particularly dislike in myself. Initially, I just witness what is happening and my internal reaction. But over the course of the weekend as I notice more and more incidents where my father says something that my mother thinks is foolish, wrong or otherwise in need of correction, I become increasingly agitated. In my ideal world, all the years of therapy and emotional healing that I've had would insulate me from the effect of this and I'd be free to let them relate however they choose without me being triggered. But in the real world, I'm not that enlightened. Not yet, anyway. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago
Spirituality

How To Deal With People Who Offend You

I've woken up this morning, and the world's gone crazy again. Men with guns have killed people who offended them, plus a few other random people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Last month it was my own hometown of Sydney, this month it's another city I love, Paris. [caption id="attachment_2340" align="alignright" width="300"]I am Charlie. So are you. I am Charlie. So are you.[/caption] Social media and the newspapers are abuzz with political leaders and lay people saying they won't cave in to “terrorists” by giving in to fear. Police and military forces have responded, and most of the gunmen and their accomplices are now dead. So are some of the hostages. I feel deeply saddened for the people who have lost their lives, and the families they leave behind. Yet I don't buy the rhetoric that says we won't feel fear because that would just be giving the “terrorists” what they want. To be honest, I feel frightened and powerless when I see people much like myself caught up in hostage dramas and ending up dying at the hands of men with guns who believe their martyrdom will earn them rewards in an afterlife I don't even believe exists. How can I possibly hope to influence the behaviour of people who subscribe to an ideology I don't agree with, following a religion I don't know much about, with a spiritual leader who appears above criticism in their minds? Even within Islam, different sects have a history of killing each other over what appear to me to be relatively minor doctrinal differences (or more likely because they just wanted their land and/or possessions), so the answer doesn't appear to lie there. That said, if the pen really is mightier than the sword, I'm willing to give it a go. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago
Emotions

How To Express Anger Constructively

Hey, it’s Graham here, and today you’re going to learn about how to express anger constructively. So anger is an emotion that’s perfectly normal and natural thing for a human being to have, and like any emotion it can be expressed in a way that’s constructive for you and the people around you and it can also be expressed in a way that is destructive for you and the people around you, or it can be suppressed which is another destructive way of handling anger. So let’s have a talk about how to express anger constructively. And the first obvious way to do this is verbally, to actually say that you’re angry. Now, if you don’t do this, you can end up repressing your anger and that can lead to a whole heap of problems in your life, in your relationships, your health can suffer. It’s just bad shit to start repressing your anger. http://youtu.be/xU3N7ujUB-g (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago
Emotions

Unlocking Repressed Anger: What To Do If You "Never Get Angry"

Hey, it’s Graham here, and I’m feeling cranky today so let’s talk about anger. Now, there are two mistakes you can make with anger. The first one is to suppress it, pretending you don’t feel angry and just push that emotion down. And the second one is to just spew your anger out so that you express it destructively. Now, today I want to talk about the first one of those, which is suppressing your anger, and why we do that and why it’s not a good idea and what you can do about it. http://youtu.be/5nRQUWOPoRw (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago
Emotions

Angry Men, Passive Men by Marvin Allen

Hey guys, I read a lot of books on personal development and as a result of that it’s pretty rare nowadays that I come across a book that contains brand new concepts or ideas that I’ve never heard of before. So what I’m looking for in the books that I read now is more a matter of how they affect me, like how they make me feel. Because I really believe that if you want to make a lasting change in your life, then you need to deal with emotions and particularly the emotions that we have been avoiding feeling in the past and all that business that’s repressed in our subconscious. http://youtu.be/gQJFSuT_Pto (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago
Emotions

Basic Emotions

HappinessMany of us guys lack a basic emotional literacy; we have physical sensations when we're feeling something, but we often don't know how to identify what we're feeling, nor are we able to recognise emotions in other people. Being able to identify emotions is the basis of empathy, which is a core communication skill. In short, most of us don't understand how our emotions work. Simply learning to identify and express the following basic emotions will improve your relationships dramatically: (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago