Anger is an emotion that is useful and necessary as well as harmful. We teach anger management skills as well as interventions for resolving the underlying reasons for an individual’s anger
DEALING WITH AN ANGRY PERSON
It is valuable to attempt to understand the underlying factors that may be influencing a person’s level of anger. By doing so you are more able to “depersonalize” the conflict while increasing your empathy for the other person.
You can also incorporate constructive options for dealing with anger, helping you gain a sense of control when confronted by an angry attack. At the very least, they will enable you to develop skills that will allow you to avoid becoming entangled in a “no-win” argument. Continued practice will provide you with the potential ability to defuse the other person’s verbal assault and convert a potentially destructive encounter into an opportunity for a healthy exchange of feelings and the creative resolution of interpersonal conflict. Armed with these tips to guide your responses, you can choose not to submit to accepting the role of helpless victim of someone’s aggressive “anger attack.”
Factors Influencing Another Person’s Anger
• Degree of arousal • Past learning • Present situation • Interpretation of the arousal • Temperament, personality • Threat to self-esteem • Unfulfilled needs • Fear • Need to be right • Lack of recognition • Need to feel appreciated • Need for attention • Need to impress • Need to avoid embarrassment or humiliation • Feeling unsafe • Stress level high
Options for Dealing with an “Anger Attack”
Constructive/Productive: Listen non-defensively and “tune-in” to the other person’s hurt feelings (as much as you can).
Destructive/Counterproductive: Refuse to listen and express yourself by attacking back in anger and/or crying.
Constructive/Productive: Express your understanding of their feelings and acknowledge responsibility for any behavior on your part that may have contributed to hurting the other person and provoking their angry outburst. (See Tips On – Communicating Anger). (Is this going to be hyperlinked to another document? If not, what is being referenced here?)
Destructive/Counterproductive: Defending yourself and counter attacking by expressing your anger in destructive ways.
Constructive/Productive: Assertively express how you feel about being the recipient of their “anger attack,” clearly and sensitively.
Destructive/Counterproductive: Attacking back using aggressive behavior, fleeing or freezing up, and/or stonewalling your feelings.
Constructive/Productive: State your preference for a time, place and style of communicating your feelings in a non-hurtful way so that the conflict can be resolved.
Destructive/Counterproductive: Use ambush and hitting under-the-belt or other tactics to win at any cost, using a win/loss attitude.
Expressing Your Own Healthy Anger to Accomplish Your Goal
• What were you trying to accomplish? • Keep your comments focused on the subject, not on the person. • Do not limit other peoples’ anger. If you shout, others have a right to shout back. • Mutual anger expressed diffuses your need to control. • Make sure your anger is justified. Displaced anger is unfair. • Ask for an explanation before you become angry. • State why you are angry. • Avoid making threats. • If the situation is settled, do not continue your anger. • Is anger limiting your life? • Are you spending a lot of energy on being angry? • Did you accomplish your goal? • What did you think and how did you feel after this experience?
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