What’s Worse Than Being Angry, It’s Being . . .

This past week presented me with an opportunity to re-think an old issue–trying to understand what the difference is between anger and revenge. It appears to many this is the same issue just spelled differently. I have come to understand them as being very different from one another.

Anger is an emotion. It is often triggered in us as a response to something unjust–something that has happened that is wrong, unwanted or something that has challenged us in some way for which we may have no reply. For instance, being criticized in public in the presence of family or friends or being challenged in some way that is clearly an effort to embarrass us. Our response to anger is usually not pre-meditated but rather a defensive act of some kind either verbal but sometimes physical. Anger is also very powerful. It can be used to summon energy or direct emotional energy into an act that sometimes focuses on a reply that is not warranted or is not calculated. It just happens. I’ve known people to experience ‘whiteouts’ meaning losing all sense of what is happening around them at a particular time and then becoming aware that damage of some kind  has been done to another person or property.

ANGER can also be used as a force for change-a cause of some kind. It can be used to focus on creating positive outcomes when tenacity may be needed to stay a particular course of action. Anger can be used to mobilize and motivate people to become engaged in social change where ‘wrongs’ have been perpetrated on those who have little or no political power-no voice. Perhaps they are people who are always being used in some way for the gain of others. It could be about helping the homeless folks receive a better deal than they are getting currently. It can also help us deal with danger and threats to our personal safety. The point is anger is NOT always a negative thing.

So anger is an emotion. It is usually displayed as a more immediate reaction to a threat or challenge of some kind. Seldom is it planned.

REVENGE is a crafted response that has been created after thought and consideration over a period of time. There is no real good that can come from acts or behaviours that are born from ‘getting even, proving a point or showing up the other guy’. I can hear many who are reading this groaning about another ‘do gooder’ or ‘bleeding heart’ but the fact remains that some people spend countless days, weeks or even years planning and plotting their revenge. Hate grows and poisons people to the point where they can think or feel nothing but negative emotions. There is no room for joy or celebration and certainly no chance to gain any peace.

Some believe that to do nothing about a perceived wrong would be, in some way, disloyal or perhaps indicate that you don’t care about what happened. That is not true at all. We all show our grief in different ways.  I admit it feels good sometimes when a bad guy gets what he has coming to him/her but it is short lived. In the end it is not as satisfying as the planner would have hoped. Once the deed is done there is a huge vacuum left in us with nothing to fill it with. As good as it may feel at the time the ‘bad guy’ wins again because he/she has stolen something from us and we gave it up willingly–our time.

The other day a guy asked me the inevitable question: what if someone took or hurt your child. Wouldn’t you want to get even? Wouldn’t you want to hurt that other person so bad so they would know what it felt like to be hurt as they hurt others? Honestly–damn right I would. I would want to see justice done. I would want that to be at my hand. No doubt about it.

The power of revenge has no bounds really. I know, for me, I would not want to waste my precious time on someone who didn’t deserve another minute of it. I would not spend time trying to ‘forgive’ nor would I try to forget. I would spend time, I hope, remembering my child and how precious he/she was and how important they were to me. I would want to remember what good they brought to the world. I would honour them and I would cry for them and I would live my life for them as well. Spending time plotting and scheming would only find me in a negative hole so deep I would not be able to climb out and carrying through with the plot to ‘get even’ would not help me escape the pit I had fallen into. Truthfully I’m not sure how I would overcome that but I do know what I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t keep the hurt alive by remembering it everyday. That’s what happens when we try to figure out how to make the other guy pay.

So revenge is a behaviour. I understand that it is fuelled by an emotion but I ultimately have control over how much time and energy I will spend on planning and plotting my revenge. Once I execute my plan or plot I realize that nothing can or will be the same again. I’m not sure that is the legacy my child, using this example, would want from me.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim


Please send this along to family and friends. If anyone has a comment to make please send it to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or through my web site at: jimcloughley.com

(This image by pinterest.com is being used for criticism, education or research purposes. I do not derive any financial benefit from the use of this image.)

How Do You Know If Someone is Addicted To Something…3 Ways To Check

When we consider the world of addictions we often limit our view to just three or four behaviours: alcohol use, illegal or prescription drug use, food consumption problems and more recently internet addictions where our children are at risk as well. There are many things that we can become addicted to such as: pornography, chocolate, gambling, watching violence, media games like ‘Warcraft’ where graphic slaughter is routine and on-line shopping to identify some others.

What follows here is a bit of my history which I mention only to establish some credibility. Prior to my retirement a few years back I had spent a great deal of time learning how to survive my own substance abuse issues which had plagued me for many years. Eventually I earned an opportunity to put my experience and my education to work as an Addiction Counsellor in a local in-patient treatment facility. I did this work for close to 25 years and now I act as a private consultant to those who are not sure if they have an addiction problem or not.

The question I am asked most often from the clients who seek me out is–“I’m not sure if I am an addict or if I am addicted to (????) or not. Can you tell me?” The two questions I ask them in return is “do you really want to know or is this about satisfying a request from family or a partner to get some help?” If you are hearing complaints or concerns from your family and friends this might be an indication that the issue is more important than you are willing to admit.  The other question is “what do YOU think? What has happened recently that has prompted you to seek answers now?” If any of this sounds familiar here are three questions to ask yourself. The answers to these questions will provide you with a much better idea of whether or not you have an addiction problem.

1. Simply look in a mirror and ask yourself if you think there is a possibility that your substance use /behavior is becoming an issue to be concerned about. You can lie to others but you can’t lie to yourself.  What I am suggesting is not easy by the way. Most will try to defend their recent activities even to themselves not wanting to say there may be a problem. If you are defensive and angry or argumentative when asked about your use or behaviour you might want to talk to someone outside your social circle who can provide an unbiased assessment.

2.  Have you thought about switching or changing from wine or liquor to beer or from cannabis to hash for example just to prove that you can stop using a particular substance anytime you choose. If this idea has crossed your mind the possibility certainly exists that you might just be further along the trail than you want to believe.

3. How far are you willing to go to find out if you have an addiction problem? The most daring and radical of the three suggestions is for you to take the 30 challenge-that’s what I call it anyway. In essence you stop taking any form of drug either liquid or solid (not including any medication legally prescribed by a physician) or engaging in any form of behaviour that relates to your initial question or concern. You might ask a good close friend to help you with this. It has to be someone who really does have your best interest at heart and will provide you with honest feedback. YOU have to be sure that you don’t get angry at the friend for the observations he/she makes. Best, if you are a male, to ask a male friend and females need to work with other females. Do your own monitoring as well. During the 30 days you pay attention to things like how often you think about using or engaging in the behaviour that concerns you? How often and under what circumstances do your moods change? Who do you associate with at the time you are craving? Have you become more edgy, anxious, nervous, distant from family and friends lately? Have your sleep patterns change? Have dietary patterns changed? Do you experience an increase or decrease concerning energy levels? Do you feel less interested regarding participating in recreational activities? All of this needs to be recorded daily by you and by your friend so that you can review and compare both reports at the end of thirty days. Are they similar? Ask yourself if you could do another thirty days. Do you want to do another thirty days? Do you feel good being abstinent? It won’t take too long for you to answer these questions if you have been honest. Herein lies the answer to the big question: ‘Do you have a substance use/behavioural problem?’

Personally I don’t believe that substance abuse/behavioural problems, unless they are directly connected to a physiological or chemical source, are the explanation that makes the most sense to me regarding addictions. I don’t believe that it is a disease either. I do believe that people will simply seek a remedy that works the best to deal with whichever discomforts they are faced with. When I understood that I could exercise control over my cravings and behaviour by changing how I thought and by what I did to alleviate the discomfort my life changed most dramatically for the better.

We really can be the authors of our own good fortune.

Anyways, that’s how I see it

All the best, Jim

If you have a desire to connect with me for further comment or info get me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com  OR jimcloughley.com




Calling All Parents . . . Pay Attention. Our Kids Are At Risk.



I don’t claim to have any medical knowledge around teenage depression. I cannot prescribe medication, diagnose, recommend or say with any degree of absolute certainty that any child is suffering from teenage depression. Having said that I know enough to recognize certain possibilities and behaviours, hear a child asking for help or determine that he/she is not in a good space. A trained professional is then required. I understand enough about the topic to say that teenage depression and adult depression can present themselves quite differently. Adults could present as being lethargic and sad whereas a teenager might present as irritable showing occasional episodes of anger and becoming easily frustrated with situations that usually don’t elicit the response you may have witnessed. Adults are more likely to withdraw from most people around them whereas a teenager might move away from some but will keep relationships open with others. This certainly makes it more difficult to determine what might be going on with your son or daughter.

As parents we can not afford to slough off what we are seeing. At the same time, while we have to be diligent around paying attention to our children, we can’t be running off to the emergency room or the doctors office at the first signs of ‘the blues’. We’ve all had times when we get up or down with life events in general. This does not mean that we are depressed. As parents we need to respond when we see prolonged behaviour that is not characteristic of our kids. The caution for me is always about putting our kids on anti-depressants as a first response. That, in my opinion, can be just as detrimental as not paying any attention at all. Making excuses like ‘oh that’s just a stage he/she is going through’ or ‘I don’t know what’s going on with him/her-maybe it’s puberty-who knows?’ is not very helpful and can be dangerous. Believing it happens to other families but not this one is a fools game.

As adults we often ask ‘what could be so bad-so horrible–that my kid is depressed?’  Unfortunately there are a multitude of reasons why kids become depressed at early stages of their lives. Being bullied seems to be a very popular but unhealthy activity among teens whether that happens on Facebook, any of the other popular sites kids use, physical threats or the whole world of ‘selfies’ is now becoming a problem because of poor decisions made in the heat of the moment and then presented on an I-phone can and often does came back to haunt the picture taker. The embarrassment to themselves or their families-their parents and their brothers or sisters can be devastating. Our kids are being told to grow up more quickly than they are capable of managing. They have adult bodies in a framework that is still working as an adolescent and often ill-prepared to grasp the responsibilities of being an adult.

Here are some of the signs that a parent needs to look for regarding their kids behaviour:  sudden changes in sleeping patterns, becoming hostile and irritable quickly over something that usually wouldn’t elicit that kind of response (usually coupled with other outbursts or demonstrations of some kind), sudden deviations of emotions to tears and prolonged crying, withdrawal from friends and family, lack or loss of interest in previous activities that were important to him/her, increased use of alcohol and drugs and a general lack of enthusiasm for life itself. These are some of many pointers we should notice if we are paying attention. I can only say again that teenage suicide is a rapidly developing crisis that can be managed IF we pay more attention to our kids and spend time with them. A great deal of teenage depression comes from feeling disconnected to a family system or that they don’t have a place, they don’t feel they belong and they don’t feel valued. The feeling of hopelessness that arises is one of the most disturbing and difficult emotions that teens have to deal with.

What can we, as parents, do to help and support a child who is diagnosed with teenage depression?

–Pay attention. Our Kids are trying to tell us something important about their lives.

–Get more involved in their lives; encourage them to be more active and be active WITH them.

–Let them know that they are loved and are cared for. Don’t go overboard here but be consistent.

–Talk to them about things that they enjoy talking about or used to enjoy.

–Allow them to talk to you without you lecturing them or judging them in some way. Don’t try some hocus pocus strategy that you read about somewhere. Simply validate their feelings about things they experience and encourage them by telling them they do not have to be alone–you want to help in some way.

I have included an excellent resource-just click on this highlighted text to go to this site. Read it–all of it–make the time because your kid is worth it and it will help you immensely. Becoming more aware could be the difference maker in terms of helping your child survive this illness or not.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best, Jim

If you want to contact me please do so by sending me an email at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com  OR  through my web site:    jimcloughley.com

PLEASE pass this article and link on to your friends and ask them to do the same


The Week That Was . . .

An interesting week as they most always are:

Some folks will tell you they are busier now that they have retired than they had been at any other time in their lives. Honestly I was a bit scepticle of that statement but I have found that it is mostly true.

Did the third of a series of four podcasts:

I connected once again with Dr.Anne Marie Evers to talk about the third in a series of four podcasts regardng my book “A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons.’ We have been discussing each of the 4 ‘cornerstones’ needed to create a healthy and fulfilling life. During previous discussions we talked about developing a positive sense of self-value/self-esteem; anger and how it can be seen and used as a positive motivating force in our lives and living in relationships with others as well as ourselves. Next week we will talk about the fourth and final cornerstone dealing with parenting and the importance of co-parenting our children.

The broadcasts can be heard on contacttalkradio.com. Just type it in on your browser and go to the Dr. Anne Marie Evers show. It will be on the air on Saturday October 17th between 3-4pm EST or if you miss that one the link will be on my web site by Wednesday, October 21st. Just go to jimcloughley.com then go to the media page and click on the link.

Still a few spots open for speaks:

I still have a few opportunities available to speak to groups, meetings or to do ‘lunch and learns’ for businesses. If you are looking for a speaker contact me at jimcloughley.com and go to my contact page or send me an email at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com and I will be pleased to return your call.

Write your book in 90 days:

We did a writers workshop back in August but we are still offering that program on line including one to one support. If you have a book you want to write and self publish please to contact me at the above email address or go to my web page for more information. We can save you a great deal of time and resources ($) and provide you with more information than you thought possible for a very reasonable fee. Don’t let the concern about how to publish your work or how to market your work keep you from getting back to us. You will be surprised how simple it is to get your book out there if you are willing to do the work. You bring your skill and talent and we’ll help you with the rest.

APSGO.ca Conference–coming up soon:

I have been asked to present a workshop based on my book at The APSGO conference which is scheduled for November 7th in Newmarket. APSGO is the Association of Parenting Support Groups in Ontario Inc. They provide great services to parents who are challenged with parenting their children. They offer strategies, support, skill development and much more to those parents who desire a more fulfilling and less stressful family life with their children. Go to APSGO.ca for more information regarding what they do and how they do it. Everyone is welcomed to attend–it should be a promising day for all.

Video pick for the week:

It seems to me that humanity could take a lesson from our 4 legged friend. How different would our lives be if we simply loved more and judged less. Amazing.

All the best, Jim

The Week Gone By . . .

The APSGO Conference

I am looking forward to providing a workshop at APSGO-The Association for Parent Support Groups for Ontario Inc. in conjunction with their annual general meeting. A great opportunity to communicate with others who are directly involved with helping strengthen families and providing support to children at risk. It’s held in Newmarket-Nov 7, 2015–if you are close by you are welcomed to attend.

Speaks for local groups and organizations

I’m now booking speaking engagements for the fall season. If you are a group or an organization, no matter the number, and your members are interested in gaining support, education around parenting strategies or how to build stronger and more healthy relationships with their kids the topics I address may be very helpful to you. Check out my web site at jimcloughley.com for more information on my program called “Discover 10 Secrets About How To Connect With Your Kids” or email me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com.

A important podcast with expert/author  Dr. Anne Marie Evers 

Next week we will be discussing the second of four cornerstones from my book called “A Man’s Work Is Never Done : A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons.” This is a book that benefits both single moms and single dads as well as co-parents. We will discuss anger and how we can use anger for our benefit–as a motivator for change for both ourselves and our children. If you are interested in learning more about how to deal positively with anger tune into the Dr. Anne Marie Evers Show on contacttalkradio.com on Saturday October 10th from 3-4PM-EST.

Video for the week:

Folks aren’t always what they appear to be. This is about 6 minutes in length–watch it to the end you’ll be glad you did–Jim


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To connect with me please send me an email; jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or through my web page: jimcloughley.com


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