His Boss Was a Woman, and Other Irrational Reactions

Zinedine Zidane and that head butt in the 2006 World Cup soccer final

What a way to end your career! Head butt an opponent in the World Cup final, in the last few minutes of your final game, get a red card, be sent off and do it all in front of 28.8 billion World Cup soccer viewers. What an amazing example of The Almond Effect. It’s up there with Mike Tyson biting off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear during their 1993 world title boxing match.

Tyson said later on 60 Minutes: “Any kind of rational functioning was totally out of the window…I don’t know what happened…I was just in a real serious frantic zone…but the way I struck out was totally unacceptable.” This incident was not a ‘one-off’ for Tyson who had lost control on a number of previous occasions.

Does Tyson, or anyone else you know, have Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

The results of a USA nationwide study reported in June 2006, shows that 1 out of 20 Americans suffer from the condition IED, or intermittent explosive disorder. The condition is defined as repeated and uncontrollable anger attacks that often become violent. “Our new study suggests IED is really out there and that a lot of people have it. That’s the first step for the public to actually get treated for it, because if you don’t think it’s really a disorder, you’re never going to get treated for it,” said one of the researchers, Professor Emil Coccaro, Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago.

The research team, who included Harvard researchers, studied activity in the amygdala, the section of the brain that controls emotional responses to threats. “People with this problem have a low threshold for exploding and that’s probably genetically and biologically mediated,” said Coccaro. Source: http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/060713/inthenews.shtml

Could serial road-ragers have IED? Could it be implicated in people who regularly ‘lose it’ at work or at home?

He couldn’t understand why it made him so angry when she told him what to do

In everyday life, our immediate reactions are connected intrinsically to our ingrained emotional memories stored unconsciously in our brain. These memories are called upon to identify threats and create reactions. Do you stay and fight or take flight? People react to varying situations differently because they are programmed by their experiences. The brain’s reaction however remains the same, a chemical reaction resulting in an emotional response.

Primarily our responses are emotional and irrational. The amygdala is the first to receive the stimuli and the first to react. The frontal lobe then kicks in with a more appropriate response. In between times, the transmission can get a little blurry and this is where The Almond Effect takes over.

Take Stephen for example, a young new age guy with ambitions for a career and a family. Stephen had just landed a great job, the money was better than he expected and the responsibility and rewards were just what he wanted. However, there was going to be one problem for Stephen, though he didn’t know it at the time – his boss was a woman.

Now being the new age guy that he thought he was, this shouldn’t have been an issue. When first introduced to the woman Stephen was fine, she seemed like a reasonable, easy going boss. It wasn’t until she began to give him directions that the problems started. When she asked him to do something he became irritated and annoyed and he wasn’t sure why. He resented her telling him what to do and how to do it.

His reaction stems back to his unconscious childhood memories. He grew up in a household where his father was the boss and his mother did what she was told. In his experience, the man was always dominant and in control. Stephen never realised that this was his attitude towards women. Yet within a short time he felt threatened, he felt that he wasn’t in control and this made him angry.

After a couple of weeks, his boss talked to him about his attitude and asked why he was always rude, indignant, and unwilling to take direction from her. This discussion itself infuriated him and he lashed out verbally at her; consequently and sadly, he was fired.

This is no doubt a brain hijacking. Stephen didn’t even realise where the hostility was coming from yet it was so powerful he couldn’t control it. He certainly didn’t believe he would react like this to a female boss. Yet before he could even rationalise his behaviour, he reacted emotionally with a career-limiting move.

How many ways of behaving do we sub-consciously learn from our parents? Even down to the little things; such as when we assert that we will never use the sayings our mothers always used – and then hear ourselves saying the very same things!

A better understanding of The Almond Effect, how our sub-conscious programming can cause us to react in ways we never expected and how to manage it would have been helpful to Stephen. Let’s hope he learns from the experience.

Managing The Almond Effect

Where did that come from? How to keep control in any situation. Proven Tips to Manage The Almond Effect ®

Have you ever ‘just lost it’? Or said or done something then felt embarrassed, regret or despair at what just happened? Have you used phrases like: “I didn’t mean it to come out like that.” “I was so angry I couldn’t think straight.” “I don’t know what came over me.”

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions then “Where Did That Come From?” is for you.

And maybe you know someone else who needs it too! A great gift ( and subtle hint!) for those people in your life who need tools to control their emotional outbursts.

In “Where Did That Come From?” I share proven strategies so that you can stay in control when situations get out of hand causing potentially embarrassing and derailing moments in our lives, at work and at home.

For more details, sample chapters and table of contents, click here

Ask Anne

Do you have a question or comment about The Almond Effect®?

Or do you want to know more about how to attract, retain and motivate your employees, delight your customers and have stress-free relationships at home?

If so, email me and I will provide an answer or solution on my blog or privately if you prefer.

© 2009 – 2014, Anne Riches. All rights reserved.

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