Release destructive emotions


The Search for Power

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Putting down the tools of war and picking up the tools of communication, conflict resolution, connection and commitment can create a life that produces long-lasting love. Breaking into bullheaded thinking will give you an increase in personal power.” – Lynne Namka, from Your Quick Anger Makeover Plus Twenty Other Cutting-Edge Techniques to Release Anger!

The Big Game of Life is a power struggle with others which serves to allow the player to avoid personal responsibility and refuse to look at his own behavior. Virginia Satir first described the Big Game. The Big Game is often one aspect of the Family Disease or “I Have the Right to Tell You What To Do!” The power struggle disease is prevalent in families with dysfunctional behavior.

Some young people have a strong quest for power and rebel against authority which means you! Some even want to scare grownups just enough so that they will be left alone. Some create a bad attitude and use anger to gain power to make adults back off. Some kids learn to give you the LOOK. You know what The Look is. It’s that glaring face that children past the age of 12 learn and use The Look to get the parent to stop asking questions. It is that blank look of the face that says, “What you are saying/doing is so stupid, so back off.” These behaviors sometimes are a part of the necessary search for who they are. Children develop covert ways of acting that are passively challenging your authority. Yet there are other ways of becoming a powerful person than trying to gain dominance over others.

power children parenting identity

Behaviors, such as giving you The Look, sometimes are a part of the necessary search for who children are. They develop covert ways of acting that are passively challenging your authority

Misguided power is the search for personal competence and identity can encompass all these areas:

  •             Parental Power
  •             School Power
  •             Religious Power
  •             Physical Power
  •             Sexual Power
  •             Economic Power
  •             Political Power

Author Henry Miller said, “The goal of life is not to possess power, but to radiate it.” Personal power comes from good self-esteem where others are valued along with ourselves. It’s a balance of giving and receiving and correcting imbalances in relationships as they occur. It’s that old rule of sharing that we learned in kindergarten. Talk with your children about small injustices in the family and in their friendships that they can address with healthy conflict resolution skills. Is what is happening fair and kind?

A longer article about Virginia Satir’s concept of The Big Game of Life is featured on my website at

Imbalance of power in your home? Are your children mean to each other? See my interactive video called It’s Not Okay to Feel Good by Making Others Feel Bad at To my knowledge, this is the only curriculum that approaches bullying from the point of helping the bully. It calls bullying for what it is—puffing one’s self up by putting others down and then gives an approach that helps the child stop while boosting his self-esteem at the same time. The video is also on You Tube with my other videos.

What Do Today’s Teens Want?

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Most families go through a period during their child’s adolescence in which the parents and kids have trouble living together. If you have problems, you have lots of company.” – Robert and Jean Bayard, How to Deal with your Acting-Up Teenager

A few years ago, an eccentric English woman followed dogs around to find the answer to the question, “What do dogs want?” After weeks of spying on them, she concluded that dogs just want to run around with other dogs. Cats just want to lie around and occasionally chase something that moves fast.

Teenagers, on the other hand, want to:

  • Be left alone by their parents.
  • To be loved and nurtured by their parents. (Yes, I know that’s contradictory, but it’s the nature of the beast!)
  • To be in with their friends.
  • Being on the computer playing games, surfing and instant messaging their friends.
  • Be up on the latest fads and know more about the latest technology than their parents.
  • Be left alone by all grownups.

And paradoxically enough, teens want to be listened to by their parents! So while they insist on pulling away and isolating themselves, they still want to be seen and heard!

Teens, identity, parenting techniques

Remember that the driving forces of the teen years are fueled by the search for identity. It’s just a phase so keep your cool as a parent.

Remember that the driving forces of the teen years are fueled by the search for identity. Young people need to be seen as cool. They have an intense need for privacy as they sort out who they are engage in what seems mindless activity to you. It is normal for teens to isolate themselves and spending more time in their room, plugged into ipods, playing constant videogames and instant messaging with their friends on the computer.

There is a conflict between the need for connection and the need for autonomy and most kids swing back and forth. The forces within them is the need to be like you (have your values) and be different from you (try on values modeled by peers, media, entertainment) while developing their identity.

The most important thing for you to remember to keep you sane during this time is that children go through a phase of identity seeking and the need to be separate from the parents. Expect it so that you won’t be dismayed by the pull-away-from you stage.

Keep telling yourself that most teen baffling behavior is a phase they will pass through IF you don’t freak out about it. And if you don’t reinforce it with too much attention. Don’t make their issue about you and get wounded by their lack of interest in the family. It’s about identity! What teens are doing is for the most part normal and part of their identity search. They will get through this seemingly selfish phase of their life if you learn some tools to handle your emotional reaction.

Positive parenting is the theme of this blog. Share this with blog with others who share your interests in helping children grow up to be the best they can be.

Invest in the New Cool-Yourself-Down Techniques

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13  

“The Energy Psychology techniques release feelings through the use of touch, tapping or eye movements to balance the body shift the meaning of a bad experience. The energy techniques help the mind and body return to the state of homeostasis after feeling stressed or threatened.” – Lynne Namka

Self-soothing is an important skill in learning to work with the stressors that children and we all feel. We all need techniques of self-soothing. One of the most important things you can learn to bring harmony to your home is to teach your children how to calm their central nervous systems by self-soothing. Another important thing is for you to learn the new Energy Psychology techniques. They are quick and easy to learn and use to release feelings and get back to your calm, loving self. You can learn these innovative approaches yourself and then teach them to your children. Your household will be much calmer if each person is made responsible for taking care of their own disconcerting and unruly feelings!

calming techniques, self-soothing, eft, emdr, breathing, minfullness, mediation, Tapas Acupressure Technique

One of the most important things you can learn to bring harmony to your home is to teach your children how to calm their central nervous systems by self-soothing. Give EFT, EMDR, breathing and meditation a try.

The Emotional Freedom Technique

Acupressure by tapping or rubbing your body is a form of self massage that feels good. Tapping briskly on your body when you are upset gets your energy moving and helps you relax. The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) combines acupressure with counteracting negative thoughts, owning the problem and forgiving yourself. EFT helps calm down the fight or flight response by balancing your brain hemispheres. It helps desensitize triggers that make you angry or frightened and helps release strong emotions, negative thoughts and anxiety. There are many web sites that feature EFT. Try Googling “the tapping technique.”

Deep Breathing

When you are scared, you probably contract your body and hold your breath to try to squish the feelings in order to keep from feeling bad. Pulling your body in tight and stopping your breath keeps you from getting good oxygen to deal with whatever upsets you. Breathing helps calm the fight, flight or freeze reaction that you can go into when stressed. Deep breathing helps bring you back to where you can think more clearly and reason. Any time you have a family crisis moment, tell your children to stop and have a deep breathing time so you can problem solve together.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a technique for releasing old trauma and negative beliefs. This tool helps release stressful and uncomfortable emotions stored away in the body and mind. EMDR is helpful in releasing uncomfortable memories of being criticized, embarrassed and shamed by others as well as being unmotivated or stuck on certain emotionally stressful issues. Through the eyes shifting back and forth while focusing on a problem, feeling or inner body states, old repressed feelings come to the surface and are released. If you feel overwhelmed and anxious much of the time or have unresolved trauma in your past, find a therapist who can do this fantastic stress management technique with you.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness is keeping your attention on what is happening in the moment. You just watch how you inhale and exhale and observe the thoughts as they come and go. You calm yourself by focusing on your breath until the negative emotion leaves. Just watch the events and emotions as they come up instead of reacting to them. The focus shifts to just being the neutral observer of the events. Stop the knee-jerk reactions and keep your mind in neutral!

The Tapas Acupressure Technique

The Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) is a simple method that helps people get in touch with and release information about what is bothering them by holding certain points on the forehead and back of the neck with their fingers while focusing on an issue. With this technique, the front and back of the brain are connected and brain rhythms become more balanced as you go through steps to release your issue.

It’s a Tough World Out There. Make it less Tough on Yourself!

Stop and ponder on these two questions: Who would you be now if you had learned how to handle destructive arousal when you were young? How would your life be different if you had learned to read other people and their agendas early in life?  With sufficient practice and determination, you can learn to modulate your emotions. It’s not enough to know these techniques—you have to do them continually to make them an instinctive habit instead of going into flooding and stupid behavior! Practice makes permanent!

Learning to deal effectively with your feelings is a life-long process. Using these techniques daily to reduce the arousal that comes up when you are upset helps you grow emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. You are as mature as you are able to take responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings and behavior! As I tell myself, “What better thing do I have to do with my life than do what it takes to become the best person that I can be?”

Lynne Namka, Ed. D. is a mom, grandma and a psychologist in private practice in Tucson, AZ. She is the author of The Doormat Syndrome, The Quick Anger Make Over plus Twenty Cutting Edge Techniques to Release Anger and Teaching Emotional Intelligence to Children and other books. Her award winning web site is at

Steps to Help Your Child Learn to Deal with Negative Feelings

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

““The more feelings needed to be avoided, the more energy is spent on keeping them at bay—energy that  should have been used for feeling alive and open to new experiences. What is felt remains unchanged or gains in inward pressure, which forces people to step up their methods of avoidance. This is the sort of vicious cycle that trauma creates. Abandoned feelings call out for attention from the growing shadow of existence.” – Leading trauma researcher, Bessel van der Kolk

Children can learn to express their feelings when they are given a safe place to do so. Listen to your child’s anxiety or anger to try to understand it. He may have a legitimate gripe but doesn’t have the words to talk about it. Do not let him ventilate his feelings or negative emotions at you with the same, repeated story. Rehashing the injustices of life merely adds salt to their wound. Telling the same story over and over is not productive as it entrenches the feelings at a deeper level. Move him from the injustice he feels about the event to problem solving. Get to a feeling level as quickly as you can.

feelings negative feelings emotions hurt

Children can learn to express their negative feelings and emotions when they are given a safe place to do so. Listen to your child’s anxiety or anger to try to understand it.

Anger, frustration and irritability are often top layer feelings that shut out deeper feelings that are hidden deep inside. Today’s teenagers can express anger quite well. But often it becomes the only feeling they can verbalize. It’s expressed as “annoyance” and being “pissed.” They become the one emotion kid, substituting anger or it’s derivatives for the more vulnerable emotions such as hurt and sadness due to a sense of loss.

Usually there are unmet expectations under anger. Look for feelings of disappointment, betrayal, hurt, sadness and grief. Try to get to the bottom of your child’s anger and other strong negative feelings by asking open-ended questions about details about his emotions:

  • How were you harmed or threatened by what happened?
  • How was your body hurt or threatened?
  • How was your property hurt or destroyed?
  • Tell me about your hurt feelings.
  • Did you feel bad about yourself because of what happened?
  • Tell me what scared you? (“It’s okay to be scared. Anger is one response to being afraid.”)
  • Check to see if you are sad or hurt about this as well as angry.
  • Has anyone ever done anything like that to you before? How did you feel then?

For a nifty tool to help children of all ages release strong feelings, see my book Goodbye Ouchies and Grouchies, Hello Happy Feelings at

 The Perfect Gift for Children in Your Life

anger management

 The Mad Family Get Their Mads Out 

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