How to identify Domestic Abuse


Have you ever wondered if your significant other is abusing you? Maybe they push you, lash out violently or pressure you to take part in unwanted sexual activity. Or perhaps you are unsettled by their passive-aggressive behaviour: they way they monitor your financials, your phone, or keep you from seeing other people.

When we’re in an abusive relationship, it is easy to excuse these actions as ‘normal’. Maybe your partner even makes you feel like these incidences are your fault, and this is what a standard, committed relationship looks like. Perhaps you’ve found every excuse possible for your spouse, because they promise they will change and you love them.

This infographic by NowSourcing and lays out exactly what Domestic Abuse is. Aside from detailing the stats that show how prevalent this is in households across America and the world, it also pin points the different types of Domestic Abuse you may encounter.

These include emotional and psychological abuse; physical abuse; sexual abuse; financial abuse and digital abuse. Take a look at the infographic and see if you recognise any of these traits in your relationship.

Are you concerned about the way your significant other is treating you and/or your children? Are you afraid for your safety, or are you scared to come home? PLEASE ask for help. This is not reflective of a normal, healthy relationship and you are worthy of feeling safe and secure.

In Australia, please call 1800-RESPECT, or 000 to access help immediately.



Are you concerned your significant other may be abusing you? Would you like support as you navigate the best way to move forward in your relationship? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

13 Steps to Manage Your Anger


We all know someone who flies off the handle. Perhaps it’s a friend, a loved one, a colleague or even yourself. The fact is, we all experience anger in our lives, but if we don’t handle it correctly it will consume us and harm the people we care for the most.

Anger management takes time, and it goes a lot deeper than simply choosing to not slam the door any more. You must uncover the experiences and emotions that trigger anger within you, to reach a point where you can control anger instead of it controlling you.

Here are 13 steps that will help you work through anger in your own life.

  1. Recognise and understand the faces of anger
  2. Admit that all angry expression, good or bad, are the result of choices.
  3. Let go of the unnecessary dependencies. This means your anger management is inwardly directed rather than externally determined.
  4. Choose to let go of your need for control and you will experience freedom.
  5. Ground yourself in truth and put aside idealistic myths.
  6. Keep your lifestyle habits consistent with your emotional state.
  7. Live in humility rather than self-preoccupied pride.
  8. Hold your defences to minimum; trust your healthy assertions.
  9. Accept the inevitability of loneliness as you struggle to be understood.
  10. Relate to others as equals. Do not consider yourself above them or accepting a position of inferiority.
  11. Pass along to the next generation your insights about anger.
  12. Avoid the temptation to rationalise your anger; assume full responsibility for who you are.
  13. Be accountability for your ongoing growth and open about your anger management.

Sit down and discuss these steps with your spouse, your family or close friends, and be open to their feedback. Often when we experience anger, we are unaware of how we are perceived by the people around us. If you’d like additional support, contact Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment with Duncan, click the icon BOOK ONLINE NOW and you will be taken to his online appointment calendar, and follow the prompts.

Managing Anger in the Workplace

Duncan recently featured on a podcast for In this enlightening interview hosted by Ken Burgin, Duncan discusses the topic ‘Managing Anger in the Workplace,’ addressing how it is caused and strategies we can use to best deal with it. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.

If you are experiencing anger at work or are feeling the effects of a colleagues anger and need support then here’s what you need to do: contact Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how Watersedgecounselling can best help you or press book now to book on our online diary.

Dealing with Anger at Work


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Anger displayed in the work place can come in many forms. Whether you are a boss who is angry at a worker, a colleague who is annoyed at your boss, or a worker who is furious at a peer, there is an appropriate method of dealing with anger in each situation. Having personally been in each of these circumstances, I have realised that it is essential that we acknowledge and respond to conflict in the workplace; however the method of doing so will depend on the professional relationships unique to each work place.

When your boss is angry at you

Your response to an angry colleague will alter depending on their role in the workplace. If your boss becomes angry at you, it needs to be determined whether his/her anger is abusive or is a result of inappropriate behaviour from yourself. Bullying in the workplace is never okay, however if your boss often displays anger there may be little that you can do in an attempt to improve the situation at your place of employment.

The first action in any disintegrating relationship should be to address the issue with the other person; in this case your boss. There is a strong chance that you are not in a position to address this matter with your boss, and they may not care for your opinion. If this is the case, you need to ensure your own personal safety and wellbeing as a number one priority. This may mean that you need to look for other employment.

Depending on the size of the company you work for, there will be grievance procedures which help to solve these conflicts. However, if the company is small and the boss is the owner/director, you are unlikely to have an avenue to follow. You always have the choice and right to notify work safe, but even when you choose to go down this path, you need to ensure your wellbeing and safety.

When you have conflict with a colleague who is of an equal or lower position than you

In trying to understand why anger is being displayed, it needs to be determined whether the person is angry as a result of a specific incident with you, or if they are simply an angry person for what appears to be no apparent reason. If a colleague is angry at you about a specific incident, it is likely a one on one conversation in a calm, professional manner will resolve the situation. This will provide both people with the understanding and opportunity to apologise for a one off incident.

If a colleague is often angry, it is likely the anger is an unhealthy tool they use to get their point across, to make their presence felt, and to feel powerful. As stated previously, the ideal strategy is to discuss the behaviour with the colleague. There is a slight chance that the angry colleague is unaware of their behaviour and following a discussion with them, they will change. The other alternative is that the person won’t be prepared to listen to you. At this point grievance procedures for your company should be implemented.

In your work place, grievance procedures will be similar to the following:

  1. Speak with colleague
  2. If no resolution, speak to your manager
  3. The manager is likely to involve HR If they want too. A number of possible scenarios may follow:
  • The Manager or HR will provide a form of mediation with you and your colleague.
  • The situation is managed through performance in which case it is unlikely you will know the outcome; however you can certainly hope to see a change in behaviour.
  • If you do not agree with the outcome, you can either speak to your manager’s manager or report the incident to work safe.

In all situations with people, it is best to understand that we cannot change them, we can only change the way we respond to them. For example, if person A is angry at Person B, B is unable to change A. B can only change the way they respond to A.

If you feel you are on the receiving end of anger from people, seeking professional support can provide you with strategies so you can respond in a healthier and safer way.

When you are the angry person

The previous situations have dealt with being the recipient of anger. This section will look at the responsibility of the angry person.

Whether you are in leadership/management or a peer to the people you get angry with, you need to take responsibility for your actions. It is highly likely that you feel justified in your actions and comments; however displaying anger at others shows a lack of respect, professionalism, and undermines the value of other people

If you are in leadership or management and you regularly display anger, it is highly likely that your team are under performing and you have a high staff turnover rate; this will be costing you money. By being prepared to review your behaviour and implement different strategies for dealing with stress and pressure, you will not only save yourself work and money, is is quite possible you will have a much happier and productive team.

If you display anger at your colleagues, it is likely you will be limiting your career options. People who regularly display anger at work are identified as bullies and this label can have a detrimental effect not only on their career, but on their sense of self-worth.

As an individual you may enjoy getting angry, however I expect that deep down you are quite embarrassed about this behaviour; you my even feel powerless to control your angry outbursts. Whatever the reason you use anger at work; it can have a detrimental impact on yourself and the people you work with.

Anger is something that can be managed. By seeking professional support, your triggers for anger can be identified and strategies implemented so that you control your anger rather than it controlling you.

If you are experiencing anger at work or are feeling the effects of a colleagues anger and need support then here’s what you need to do: contact Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how Watersedgecounselling can best help you or press book now to book on our online diary.

Responding When Your Partner Is Angry: What to do, what not to do


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Physical or emotional abuse is never excusable. This article only deals with a display of anger from a partner but does not address, nor excuse the abuse than can come from anger. If you are in a violent relationship please seek professional advice immediately.


You love your partner and they love you, yet they still have outbursts of anger. As someone who has struggled with anger, I never appreciated when my wife attempted to confront me while I was still angry; it only made the situation worse. At the time of anger I believed I was right. When I calmed down and was apologetic for my outburst, my wife was able to speak calmly about my behaviour and how it impacted upon her and my children. On one occasion my wife and two children sat me down for a conversation about my angry behaviour. It was important that they did this when I was calm and open to the discussion as in reality I was embarrassed and ashamed of my behaviour.

DON’T challenge your partner while they are angry, it will only make the situation worse.

DISCUSS with them the impact of their behaviour when they are calm and willing to listen.


Be patient and supportive of your partner, one quality conversation won’t resolve their anger. In my experience, my wife had the discussion multiple times and never blamed me, but spoke of the negative impact my behaviour had on my family. At times this will be a struggle, but as long as your partner is making improvement and continually trying to control/manage their anger there is hope.

DON’T nag and argue the point with your partner.

DO be supportive and patient.


Encourage your partner to seek professional support for their behaviour. This may mean you attend sessions/ meetings with them if they are willing. In order for this to happen, your partner will need to show vulnerability and know that you still love them. The advantage of seeking professional support is that a discussion can be had in a safe environment for you and your partner. This may also provide you with opportunities to have ongoing open and caring discussions that will make your relationship stronger due to the assistance of a professional.

DON’T think your partner can manage their anger without the support of a professional.

BE PREPARED to support your partner through this critically challenging process.


Managing angry outbursts and behaviour is a journey. As your partner learns how to manage their anger your relationship will strengthen, however it is highly likely that other personal issues will be uncovered which will also require self-work with a professional. In much the same way as you peel an onion and find another layer, so it is with managing self and other issues that arise. This process can mean that a different version of old behaviours is displayed until your partner has a realization that more self-work needs to be done.

DON’T be deceived into thinking the initial process will make your partner perfect.

BE PREPARED for a continually developing healthy relationship as you join your partner in the journey of self-growth.

These tips on how to respond to a partner who is angry are not designed to legitimise physical or emotional abuse being given or accepted in any circumstance. All people should be treated with love and respect, and these tips have been moulded to assist couples who have recognised anger issues within their relationship and in doing so desire to work through them. If you are currently in a relationship and have been/are being physically or emotionally abused, please do not hesitate to call 000.

If you recognise you are in a relationship that needs the support of a professional in dealing with anger, contact Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment with Duncan, click the icon BOOK ONLINE NOW and you will be taken to his online appointment calendar, and follow the prompts.

5 Steps to Help Manage Your Anger


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In my personal experience, anger is a secondary emotion that is triggered by a primary emotion such as powerlessness, rejection or inadequacy. It took me a long time to understand that my angry outbursts were more than spontaneous rage. Over many years of professional support, I discovered that when I felt powerless the result would be an angry outburst which was detrimental to my relationships and in one instance even cost me my job. From my own experience, here are 5 steps that can help you to manage the anger you feel in your own life.

1. Take responsibility

I would often have somebody or someone else to blame for my outburst and in this could justify my anger because “they made me do it”, I now know that I am responsible for my own actions and reactions. Taking responsibility for my own behaviour was a challenging process, but in hindsight I see it was one of the keys to managing my anger. By admitting you are responsible for your anger, you are also recognising that it is something that you need to work on and can experience a great freedom in knowing this. We need to own the responsibility for our actions and reactions if we are to commence change.

2. Identify the trigger for your anger

The trigger for my anger was a sense of powerlessness, and with professional support I now recognise precursors to potential outbursts such as a tightness in my chest which tells me I am about to ‘explode’. If you know what triggers your anger, then ask yourself this question, do you know what type of feeling you experience just before you have an outburst? Working on understanding this is a fundamental aspect of begin the process of dealing with your anger.

3. Have strategies when the feelings of anger become present

Having recognised where anger manifests itself before the outburst, I can now stop, think and take a breath before I embarrass myself with an outburst. I consciously understand that my anger is building and am therefore able to give myself the space to overcome that moment.

Note: This still continues to be a work in process. If you are tired, these precursors may be harder to recognise but strategies to manage anger will become more natural as you grow. It is always a choice to implement these strategies no matter where you are at in your journey with anger.

 4. Have an outlet or two

It is important that your anger does not become pent up, and it is healthy to have an outlet for it so long as your anger is expressed in a safe environment. Physical exercise is a good way of getting frustrations out- assuming you don’t injure an opponent while playing a team sport! Exertion of physical exercise, not abuse or physical altercations with other people assist us in releasing angry energy.

Seeking professional help is also a great outlet for anger. It can be useful to talk to people you love, but often we are too proud to listen and/or we will get angry with them when they tell us some home truths. In seeking professional support as I did, not only are you in a safe place but your loved ones are kept safe while you work through the process.

Note: This process took me well over 10 years working with different professionals as I found that much like an onion, when a layer of myself was peeled back, a need to work through further issues arose.

 5. Share your journey

Enhance your relationships with those you love by sharing understanding of your journey. Help them to understand that you alone are responsible for your inner journey, not them. As you become emotionally healthier, sharing your thoughts and processes with those you love can enrich the trust within your relationship.

Do you struggle to control your anger? Are angry outbursts common place in your life? Contact Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment with Duncan, click the icon BOOK ONLINE NOW and you will be taken to his online appointment calendar, and follow the prompts.

What The Parable of The Frog Can Teach You About Your Anger

man holding head in handsHow does your body let you know you are angry and what happens to your body if you ignore it's warnings? Do you remember the story of the inattentive and unwitting frog who was placed in a beaker of cold water? The beaker was placed over a Bunsen burner so that the temperature slowly rised until, the frog unaware of his slow demise, was boiled alive.

What was that frog thinking? Clearly, it was not paying attention to the warning signs. In my experience many people approach life in much the same way. Often the people closest to us know we are angry long before we become aware of its presence. How can that be? Anger betrays itself in subtle ways such as the way you gesture or a slight grimace, and the people who know you best are familiar with your body's repertoire.

Why do you fail to notice the warning signs of anger?

  • Anger is an uncomfortable feeling, and you have worked very hard since childhood to ignore it.
  • People raised in a strongly religious family, may hold the belief that anger is ‘a sin'.
  • You learnt that anger is inappropriate or unacceptable because anger was never expressed in your family of origin and/or you were punished for being angry.

How do you fail to notice the warning signs of anger?

  •  Distract by keeping busy
  •  Disconnect from yourself emotionally
  •  Deny your anger by rigid, critical and controlling behaviour

What are the warning signs of anger to notice

1. Frustration and/or anxiety These feelings are inviting you to resolve the issue that has triggered the strong emotions.

2. Tension Your muscles tighten, sending you the message that you have not resolved the problem that has already been causing feelings of frustration and /or anxiety.
Tension can be produced in any part of the body – headaches, chest pain, back pain and abdominal pain may be indications that your body is holding tension as a result of repressed anger.

3. Physical and mental illness Physically your blood pressure, blood glucose and heart rate may become abnormal, increasing physical pain, sweating and difficulty breathing are all part of the body's warning system.
Mentally, unacknowledged anger becomes internalised causing depression.

Are you paying attention to the warning signs of anger or are you like the frog in the beaker, ignoring your rising temperature  until you realise that irreparable damage has been done to yourself or, as a consequence of your anger, someone else?  It is time to act. There are strategies to manage your anger.  You can read about some in my article, ‘6 Tips to Manage Anger' at…managing-anger/
It is important that you are proactive by seeking professional counselling to talk about your own particular experience of anger and strategies that work for you. If you want to grow, experience wellness and reach toward your full potential then here’s what you need to do: contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or if you are ready, go to the orange button to book an appointment online now.

How to Enjoy Christmas Without Letting Your Anger Hijack It


Purported in song to be ‘The most wonderful time of the year'.

A season marked by love, joy, peace and goodwill to all.

People anticipate Christmas Day as a day of celebrating with family, gift-giving and a festive meal.

Our anticipation is heightened as the latest Christmas Cinema Movie  is advertised (this year's offering is Rise of the Guardian) and re-runs of old Christmas movies dominate the T.V. menu.

Carols by Candlelight features well-known songs whose lyrics talk about the joy, peace and love that Christmas promises to bring.

Sadly, it may be your experience that Christmas has not always delivered everything that  the Christmas songs and stories promise. Christmas  can be the most difficult time of the year when your memories of past Christmas' has been impacted by a family crisis, family rifts, disappointment, violence or grief. As Christmas Day is anticipated, you are bombarded with Christmas reminders, triggering feelings of emotional vulnerability, irritability and anger. You feel like a ticking time-boom, just waiting for the trigger that will release all the pent up anger within you.

For many people, anger is nurtured by their high expectations and the inevitable disappointment when reality does not live up to the expectation. Can you identify with that experience?

When you are able to identify your unrealistic expectations of Christmas you will be able to enjoy the season without letting your anger hijack it.


1. Let go of your expectations of Christmas

I have to confess that I love watching Christmas movies. The typical formula for a good Christmas movie goes something like this: as Christmas approaches everything goes wrong; relationships break-up, snow storms prevent travel, accidents and family drama occur. In spite of all the challenges that are thrown up to prevent a happy family Christmas get-together, barriers are finally overcome and the movie concludes with the scene of a happy family enjoying Christmas together.

The message of these movies is that no matter what difficulties you face, Christmas is a magical time when challenges are overcome, relationships are healed and families come together in unity and love to celebrate the season.

What expectations do you hold for Christmas? You set yourself up for disappointment and an outburst of anger when the expectations you hold for Christmas are not realised. Is it realistic to expect that the day will go smoothly without drama? Is it realistic to expect that family members will ‘get along' with each other? If problems exist within your family, then those problems will inevitably emerge when the family gets together because emotions are heightened and easily triggered.

Approach Christmas Day with the knowledge that whilst it is a day that celebrates love, joy, peace and the bond of family, your family relationships and interactions may not live up to the ‘ideal family Christmas'. Determine to enjoy the day for what it is, and let go of what you expect Christmas ‘should' look like. Focus on appreciating the day in its ‘ordinariness' – look out for the simple things that make the day pleasurable.

By approaching the Christmas season with this attitude you will feel less irritable and more appreciative of the small pleasures that Christmas brings.

2. Let go of your personal expectations

Personal expectations are notorious for beginning with the words ‘I should..'

I should feel happy

I should have a gift for everyone

I should be excited about being with family

I should create the perfect Christmas dinner

When you hear yourself beginning a thought with ‘I should', ask yourself why? The expectations you hold for yourself create stress and put you under unnecessary pressure. Let go of personal expectations that increase anxiety and stress and you will be able to approach the day  feeling much calmer and more in control of your anger.

3. Let go of the expectations you have for other people

What do you expect from the people you will spend Christmas with? What do you believe they ‘should'  do or  ‘should not' do. (Notice the ‘shoulds' again?)

They should know what I want for Christmas

They should ‘get on' with each other without those ‘snide remarks' and inappropriate behaviours

They should do Christmas according to our family traditions

They should be delighted when they open my gift

The children should play nicely together without any dramas!

When  you hold expectations for the way other people behave, you will be disappointed every time and your anger will hijack the pleasure you could otherwise experience.


4. Take personal responsibility for your enjoyment of the day

By determining to ‘let go' of your unrealistic expectations of Christmas Day and having a few strategies to help you remain calm and settled, you take responsibility for your own enjoyment of the day. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be mindful of how much alcohol you drink. Drink it slowly and have a glass of water between each drink of alcohol.
  • withdraw from situations that you anticipate will be a trigger for anger. Go for a walk, or choose to sit quietly in another room.
  • have an object on your person that has a calming effect when you hold it (a favourite object that instill good feelings or a stress ball)

Planning ahead can ensure that you have an enjoyable Christmas without the threat of your anger hijacking it.

If you want to grow, experience wellness and reach toward your full potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you.


6 Tips For Managing Anger

 A regular weekend leisure activity that my husband and I enjoy together, is going to watch the AFL football game in Geelong. Last week's match didn't let us down as our team ( Geelong of course) put on a good performance to win the match . By the last quarter, the crowd's excitement was at its fullest as people yelled at their own team, at the opposing team, at the umpires and at just about anything else that moved!!

Team sport evokes great passion from its followers and for many people it is an opportunity to vent the ‘pent up' anger  in a context where it is seen to be acceptable and appropriate. You could describe it as a ‘cathartic' experience – given expression, anger is released and you settle once the game is over.

If you have an anger issue, you will know that the anger rarely settles. It may recede for a time, bubbling just beneath the surface waiting for an opportunity to erupt again, but it never goes away. Feeling helpless to control it, the anger controls you.

 Here are 6 tips to help you gain some control over the anger:

1. Regular exercise

Going to the gym, jogging, swimming, biking or whatever it is that you enjoy, you need to incorporate into your daily schedule.
If daily exercise is not part of your regular routine include it with something else you enjoy. For instance, ask a friend to do it with you and reward yourselves with a coffee afterwards. Use the opportunity to nurture your relationship with your partner or another family member. Do the exercise down at the beach, river or local park. Take the dog for a run with you and invest in some headphones to listen to your favorite music. The ways to approach your daily exercise routine are endless.

2. Calm Yourself

Understand what it is that calms you, and put it into daily practice. Begin to take notice of the times when you feel more settled. What are you doing (or not doing)? Is it when you are walking, swimming, resting, gardening, reading, having a cup of coffee or focusing on something else in particular? Do more of it. Think about how you could integrate that into your everyday life. If you are aware that there are times when you are particularly vulnerable to the anger, could you do a calming exercise before that event to settle you?

3. Creative Pursuits

Expressing yourself creatively can give expression to the anger that you hold.
Art, dance, drama, journalling, blogging are some examples of creative expression. Imagine what it is that you might enjoy creating and have a go. Creative pursuits allow the anger to be expressed and its energy released, in a positive way.

4. Volunteering your time for Others

I have found that individuals who struggle with anger, are frequently highly compassionate people who are strongly motivated to help others. When you choose to focus on how you can help others more ( in particular your family who will get a full serving of your anger fairly regularly) rather than focusing on having your own needs met, you will feel better about yourself and the anger will diminish.

5. Pursuing your Dreams

As a young person you had a dream about who you wanted to become and what you wanted to achieve. What happened to your dream? Have you achieved it or has ‘life' got in the way? When you are doing what you have a passion and vision for, you will find that anger will lose its power. How could you get back in touch with your dreams?

6. Deal with Unresolved Issues

This is the most difficult because it is about honest self- reflection. While you choose to blame others for your anger, you will continue to hold on to it. When you are willing to go to the places within yourself that hold pain and begin to talk it, you are on the road to healing.

If you want to grow, experience wellness and reach toward your full potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you.