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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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Stop Throwing Spears

December 2009

Sometimes when we are scared, frightened, startled, we react with anger. It is a very natural reaction, probably based back in our cave man times. If something big and scary was approaching us, we had better react with a strong offense or we would get eaten.

Unfortunately, that natural reaction that is embedded in our genes is not very useful today. Often times, the things that are startling us are not life or death. We do not need to throw a spear at a charging saber tooth cat. We are usually being frightened by a spouse, child, boss, or situation, none of which need spears chucked at them.

If you are the kind of person that yells when startled, stop, take a breath. Do not let any words pass your lips because whatever words are about to come out will not be helpful. In fact, they will probably be hurtful. Those hurtful words cause wounds. Those words we want to hurl are like small spears. They are dangerous.

Override your automatic system by taking that deep breath. Freeze for just a second. Nothing bad is going to happen. Take another deep breath. Assess the situation as a modern adult, not a cave man. What is actually needed that will be the most productive? Take another deep breath. Then act or speak.

This will not be easy to do. You have eons of genetics encouraging you to throw spears. But, with practice, you can do this. As you are practicing, you will need to spend a lot of time binding wounds because you will not get this right away. You will make mistakes. Apologize honestly for the pain that you have inflicted. Ask what else is needed to heal those wounds.

Continue to breathe. Continue to practice. Continue to strive to be the person you want to be. You will get there. You will stop hurling spears and, instead, spread peace.

Enjoy the journey.

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