Patterns of Anger - Deepstash

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How to Handle Other People's Anger Like a Pro

Patterns of Anger

There are certain predictable situations, times, events and triggers where anger appears. Sometimes when we act spontaneously or reactively, the other person can get stressed and defensive, and the symptoms for those emotions can be misinterpreted as anger.
A way out of this is to approach conversations in a planned way, with thought and preparation. If we can understand the patterns of other people's anger, we can anticipate them and handle them better.

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How to Handle Other People's Anger Like a Pro

How to Handle Other People's Anger Like a Pro

https://nickwignall.com/other-peoples-anger/

nickwignall.com

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Key Ideas

Anger and Aggression

  • Anger: An emotion felt when we believe we have been wronged.
  • Aggression: is an act of expression of the anger, by our words our actions. Aggression can be insults, sarcasm, shouting or physical forms like breaking things. It can also manifest itself in stress, loneliness, anxiety, guilt, or awkwardness.

When we criticize the anger, we are providing fuel to the fire, leading to further aggression on the angry person's part. If we ignore and give in, we are setting a wrong example and the person learns that it is ok and effective to be angry.

Validation and Boundaries

  • We can try and validate the anger felt by an individual by making them know that their anger is maybe justified while putting firm but respectful boundaries on their aggression.
  • We then need to be clear about what type of aggression we are willing to tolerate, setting boundaries on the unacceptable.
  • We may have to put our foot down and be ready to leave the conversation or escalate the issue, without falling into the trap of guilt and emotion.
  • If possible, we need to restart the conversation when things have cooled down, and diffuse the issue in a calm way.

Avoiding Speculative Self-Talk

Unchecked self-talk can easily turn into self-delusion. The stories we create almost always make you look like the good guy and cannot be termed as objective.

  • The way to get out of this speculative self-delusion is to avoid any speculation about other people's anger, at least initially.
  • Make sure to note down the facts of the situation. This can make the story less according to your gut instinct, and more towards the objective reality.

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Anger ≠ aggression

Anger is an emotion, while aggression is a behavior. They differ entirely in one central dimension - control.

  • You can't control your emotions directly. In the legal system, nobody gets sent to prison for how they felt, regardless of how angry they were. They get punished for what they do.
  • You can influence your emotions indirectly by how you think and behave. For example, when you focus on how terrible all the drivers in your town are, your anger will likely increase. But, if you listen to music and think about how grateful you are, your anger will probably subside.
Expressing anger

While you can't control your emotions of anger directly, you have control over your aggression, which is a decision to express your anger.

Aggression does not only involve acts of violence. Being overly-critical or judgmental of someone in your mind is an act of aggression, as is replying sarcastically or rolling your eyes at someone.

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Validate, Not Solve

When someone talks about their problems, we are jumping in the problem-solving mode straight away. While dealing with people, this approach can backfire. A better approach is to just listen and validate their struggles, make them feel heard and understood.

Actions Have Underlying Functions

Many times, the external appearance of behaviour isn’t the full story and has underlying functions. It is just a symptom and not the problem.

Example: When a teenager is mad for no reason, it helps to understand the underlying problems they usually have in this age, and be compassionate.

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When you feel anger, try controlling your breath. This will result in your entire body instantly calming down. Remember, anger can never prove productive.

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Fancy a happy place to keep your anger under control

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