Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna.

For those of us who speak without thinking and spout off when we are irritated, the sobering words of our Lord in Matthew 5:22 are often dismissed. In today’s world, words uttered in anger may be considered to be a slight offense that can be justified by the circumstances. In our own mind, we may afterwards indulge in such justifications in which our focus remains riveted not on what has come out of our mouths, but on what the other person has said or done to us. “Well, I did get angry, but he was accusing me of something I didn’t do,” or “He had it coming to him. He didn’t recognize my hard … [Read more...]

Acceptance or Cynicism in Type A Behavior: A Matter of Life or Death

In previous posts, we have spoken about how free-floating hostility, materialistic values, and time-urgency are manifested in the Type A-behavioral pattern. Studies have show how hostility in particular involves an attack not only directed outwards, but also directed inwards on one’s entire body. In his doctoral dissertation entitled, “Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Type A Behavior Pattern”, Tony John Sorensen notes, “Hostile people have greater elevations in blood pressure, heart rate, and stress-related hormones following the introduction of an emotional stressor relative to other … [Read more...]

Free-floating Hostility and Type A Behavior

In a letter to the Abbess Felicitas, Blessed Augustine once wrote, “For as vinegar corrodes a vessel if it remain long in it, so anger corrodes the heart if it is cherished till the next day” (Letter 210). Although the Saint was speaking metaphorically, it turns out that his words can be taken quite literally as well. Free-floating hostility is an empirically identified character trait in the Type A behavior pattern leading to heart disease. It is also intertwined with the topic of the last blog post concerning time urgency. In their work, “Empirical Basis for Cardiac Psychology”, authors … [Read more...]

Time Urgency and the Virtue of Patience

We’ve all heard the expression “times a wastin.” Songs have been written with that very same title. For those who don’t demonstrate Type A behavior, the saying is just that, a saying. For the Type A person such a phrase is a mantra by which life is lived. Wasting time is the cardinal sin for which there is no forgiveness and can be no tolerance. Time is the enemy in the sense that time imposes a limit upon what can be accomplished. Essentially, for the Type A person, time is that constraint which cheats you out of more success and more accomplishments. This sense of time urgency may lead to … [Read more...]

Introducing a New Blog Series: Type A Personality

At some point in our lives we’ve all encountered aggressive, hard-charging, ambitious people who are driven to professional success at all costs. In most instances, we’ve experienced such individuals as indefatigable with a steely-eyed focus on the task at hand. Often such people are highly successful professionally and are known to do whatever it takes to get the job done or reach the pinnacle of their profession. In some societies, such a personality type is lauded and even upheld as something to be imitated. However, the pattern of behavior associated with such a personality profile takes a … [Read more...]

The Problem of Feelings of Anger and Depression in Those Suffering from Chronic Pain

While Saint Paul in his letter to the Ephesians reminds us never let the sun go down on your anger, this exhortation is especially challenging for those who suffer with chronic pain.  The inability to find relief or perform the daily tasks to which you are accustomed can lead to feelings of frustration, helplessness, and futility.  If these feelings are not acknowledged and dealt with in a healthy fashion through some of the interventions I’ve mentioned in previous chronic pain posts, anger and depression may result.  Anger and depression are powerful negative factors that severely limit your … [Read more...]

Virtue: The Ultimate Remedy for the Problem and the Passion of Anger

In the past blog posts on anger, we have seen the way in which modern approaches to managing anger can be used by Christians in a way that is consistent with the teachings of earlier ascetics. Consistency with Christianity and the message of Christianity, however, are not the same. The ultimate cure for the problem of anger is not to be found solely in techniques such as relaxation, reframing the situation, taking a time out, thought stopping , or assertiveness training, as valuable as these techniques may be. No, the ultimate cure can only be found in acquiring the virtues inherent in the … [Read more...]

How to Respond to Conflicts- Choices that Determine our Lives

As unpleasant as conflict is, it seems to be an inevitable part of life.  There are many reasons for this, but such are not the subject of this post.  I would rather like to focus our attention on the three main options available to us in responding to a person who wrongs us, namely: aggression, passivity or assertiveness.  It should be clear from the previous posts on anger that aggression against another is an unchristian and decidedly unhealthy manner in which to respond to conflict.  An aggressive response will likely lead to an escalation of grievances rife with negative consequences that … [Read more...]

Thought Stopping or Saying “Get Thee Behind Me Satan”

Disputing thoughts that make us angry require some reflection and composure that is sometimes hard to find when anger flares. There is another method proposed by the manual authors called “thought stopping,” which incidentally is not the same as thought suppression that is not really possible or even advisable. In a therapy setting, the person would be instructed to think about something that makes him or her angry and then suddenly and unexpectedly, the therapist shouts “STOP.” Eventually, the patient learns to shout “STOP” when engaged in such thoughts and even to shout “STOP” mentally. … [Read more...]

Anger-It’s a Matter of Perspective

The ABCD strategy for dealing with anger suggests that we become a bit more realistic and rational in dealing with life’s frustrations and setbacks by disputing with those thoughts that make us angrier by the minute. The fathers would also suggest being realistic and logical, but with the real being defined first of all by reference to God the source of all being and the logical (λογικό) being defined by the Eternal Logos (λόγος) that is the ultimate reason for all that was, is, and ever will be. So on the one hand, we can accept that life is not fair and get along the best we can. On the … [Read more...]