How to deal with someone else’s anger


What’s anger?

Anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.

Anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, for example, or motivate you to find solutions to problems.

What are some of the positive aspects of anger?

Many of the longer-term outcomes of anger are negative. Yet, anger is part of our biological history. It is part of the fight-or-flight reaction. It had survival value in the past and it has some positives in the present. Many of these, however, are short-term benefits as few of us like to spend time with angry people.

But excessive anger can cause problems. Increased blood pressure and other physical changes associated with anger make it difficult to think straight and harm your physical and mental health.

 

How to Help Someone With Anger Issues

1. A Five-Step Approach

•The first thing we can do to fully understand how to deal with someone else’s anger is to recognize that people express their emotions differently. Some yell, some grow quiet, and others just lash out. This means your approach to anger will inevitably vary depending on the person. With that said, the following tips from Ryan Martin, PhD from the University of Wisconsin are a good starting point:

•Determine if the anger makes sense in the situation – Sometimes, the

anger someone feels is reasonable. If you rear-end a vehicle, then it’s understandable for the other driver to be angry. However, the second part of the equation is how the person expresses their anger. So, while angry feelings are understandable and even reasonable and justified, expressing them aggressively or yelling and insulting typically isn’t.

•Remain calm – If you respond to someone’s anger by yelling or swearing, you might escalate the situation. Instead, try to deal with them in a collected manner by speaking in a calm, low voice. And we’re all about faking it in these situations. You don’t have to feel calm to behave calmly.
Don’t judge their character – It’s important to avoid saying things like, “Why are you always angry?” or “Don’t you ever get tired of yelling?” Attacking an angry person’s character is counterproductive. Instead, try to stay in the moment by asking them to talk with you more calmly so that you can both think and deal with the problem at hand.

•Back up and stay safe – There may come a time when you’ll realize that the person you’re trying to reason with is just too angry. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to back away or take a break. You can resume discussions once they’re calm. As you can imagine, some angry people have the potential to lash out in a way that could cause irreparable damage. If you feel your safety is at stake, get out of there ASAP.

 

2. Listening deeply

•When people attack, your best-defusing strategy is to listen. Listen. Give the angry person some time to completely express his frustration. The ideal way to show that you’re listening is to paraphrase what’s been said.

•Controlling pace, space, and breath
Arguing in parking lots and other open spaces merely increase the chances of escalation. You can bring those risks down by moving to another, more contained space, such as a nearby coffee shop or the inside of a store. Locations such as these usually inhibit people from getting physically or verbally abusive.

 

3. Asking for clarification

Many arguments occur when two people simply fail to understand what each other is trying to say. Rather than assume you know what the argument is about, why not be sure by asking for clarification? You can restate what you think is going on, but say that you want to be sure that you have it right. Ask about or query the other person regarding any part of your communication (or the other person’s) that you think may remain unclear.

4. Speaking softly

Have you ever listened to the voice volumes of people while they’re arguing? You probably can’t think of many times when arguments proceeded at a soft volume. A soft, patient voice tone and volume keep emotions in check. It’s as simple as that — pay close attention to your voice volume when an argument threatens to break out.

5. Connecting

When you feel disconnected from people, it’s far easier to feel angry with them. On the other hand, even a small bit of connection can dampen hostile feelings. You can start by asking angry people what their names are. Then use the names several times during your encounters.

Dropping defensiveness: verbally and nonverbally
Defensiveness communicates an intense need to guard against criticism or other hostilities — whether real or imagined. Defensiveness increases, rather than decreases, the chances that someone may attack you verbally or physically. That’s because defensiveness is a weak response, whereas non-defensiveness communicates strength and confidence.

6. Finding agreement where you can

No matter how obnoxious or outrageous a person’s viewpoint may be, you can almost always find a sliver of agreement. Express partial agreement with phrases such as the following:
“I can see how you might look at it that way.”

“Sometimes that’s probably true” (even if you don’t think it is at the moment).

“You may have a point” (even if you doubt it, it’s always possible).

7. Expressing understanding

When dealing with an angry person, show that you understand by empathizing with the other person. Be careful to avoid saying you know exactly what the other person is feeling. You don’t for sure. You can empathetically toss out a possibility but allow the person to disagree.

8. Developing distractions

Distraction involves abruptly changing the subject or focus of attention onto something else that’s unrelated to the conflict at hand.
Most disagreements don’t call for distraction. For example, if someone argues about getting short-changed, you wouldn’t want to change the subject.

9.Considering a timeout

Sometimes a resolution will elude you. The argument goes round and round and fails to progress. You see no solution in sight. When that happens, it’s time to stop.

Some practical ways to manage your anger

 

1. Think before you speak

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.

2. Once you’re calm express your anger

As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but nonconfrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.

3. Get some exercise

Physical activity can help reduce the stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.

4. Take a timeout

Timeouts aren’t just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.

5. Identify possible solutions

Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child’s messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything and might only make it worse.

6. Stick with ‘I’ statements

To avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, “I’m upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes” instead of “You never do any housework.”

7. Don’t hold a grudge

Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.

8. Use humour to release tension

Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humour to help you face what’s making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.

9. Practice relaxation skills

When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as “Take it easy.” You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.

10. Know when to seek help

Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.

 

How to deal with someone with anger in s relationship

Anger is a common problem in relationships, but sometimes partners may not understand how it affects one another or contributes to other concerns surrounding their relationship. The type of behaviour displayed says a lot about how a person handles their emotions. How anger affects a relationship is based on the frequency of outbursts and the intensity. Uncontrolled anger interferes with daily living and relationship growth.

 

1. DE-ESCALATE AND NEUTRALIZE EMOTIONALITY

When you try to control an angry partner, they may become defensive and more uncooperative. It is unwise to get angry in response to a partner’s anger; better to let the other person be angry and recognize they will eventually calm down. The calmer you remain, the quicker their anger may subside.

In this way, you de-escalate the situation. The ultimate goal of de-escalation is to lessen the emotional intensity and redirect animosity toward increased cooperation.

2. BE ASSERTIVE AND RESPECTFUL

Acting assertively is the process of taking a position in which you can express your wants directly and respectfully while considering your partner’s feelings and wants as well. When you act and speak in an assertively respectful manner, you are confident, honest, and open. At the same time, by being assertive, you empower your partner to take their share of responsibility.

3. COMMUNICATE CONSTRUCTIVELY, UNDERSTAND, AND VALIDATE

People often act angrily because they think they are not being heard, not being taken seriously, or not being appreciated. They may feel disappointed and ignored.

To avoid inflaming your partner’s anger, it is wise to actively listen to them until you are sure they feel heard and understood. Go beneath the surface and try to understand their deepest needs, and validate their feelings and experiences. Validation is one way we communicate acceptance of ourselves and others.

4. PRACTICE PATIENCE AND COMPASSION

Beneath anger typically lies deeper and more vulnerable emotions such as fear, sadness, or pain, which may be less accessible for your partner to address. For a short period, anger serves as a protective shield and makes your partner feel powerful and in control. Yet, in the long run, it hurts them from within. This is why it is important to have compassion toward your partner and move away from blame and accusation.

Patience can serve as the antidote to anger within yourself as well as your partner. It entails being wise at the moment anger arises. It is about waiting—not speaking or doing anything that may be automatic or reactive. Patience and compassion are the foundations of positive energy and cooperation among people.

5. PICK YOUR BATTLES AND THINK LONG-TERM

The phrase “pick your battles” doesn’t apply only to military combat; it is also relevant to relationships with angry partners. Military leaders may be willing to lose some fights so they can “win the war.” They generally don’t waste resources and energy on the ones they can’t win. In the same manner, because individuals have different beliefs, opinions, preferences, and expectations, relationships can be a battlefield of sorts where exercising restraint is at times a wise strategy.

The phrase “pick your battles” doesn’t apply only to military combat; it is also relevant to relationships with angry partners.

If you want to, you can find an abundance of topics about which to argue with your partner. However, it would be to your benefit to be selective, letting go of that which matters least. Remember, it’s neither sensible nor practical to fight over every difference you have. You may win the argument, but ultimately your relationship may be weakened.

6. REFLECT ON YOUR ACTIONS AND UNDERSTAND THE TRIGGERS

To be responsible is to accept your role in being frustrated with an angry partner and reflect on what actions may trigger their anger. It also means understanding what triggers you to behave the way you do. The more aware you become, the less reactive and more constructive you may become. The result may be greater well-being for you, your partner, and your relationship.

7. ADDRESS YOUR CHALLENGE WHEN YOUR PARTNER IS CALM

When your partner’s emotional state is highly charged, their cognitive state may be impaired. There is little point in addressing your issue as long as the anger dominates. Allow time for the negative energy to settle to establish a more rational discussion.

When both of you are calm and collected, address the issue that led to your partner’s angry behaviour. At this time, they may be more open to listening and understanding. Also, don’t forget to apply this rule to yourself. When your emotional or angry parts are activated, take time to calm yourself. Anger fuels anger and calming promotes a calmer atmosphere.