Anger grabs us all. It’s hand reaches out and shakes us to our very core. We so often think, “Hey, I will not get angry!” Then, when we least suspect it, a little, internal button clicks and we are caught in the web. We feel that rush of emotion coming to a head. We may raise our voice, trying to be heard. Or, we may pace the floor desperately thinking of what to do next. Whatever our pattern, the internal emotion is not comfortable. It is not the place we want to be!
So, then what can we do? Here are a few tips.
When the voice is our own…
- Try to take a moment away from the emotion. If in conversation, excuse yourself. Take yourself away from whatever it is that is increasing your blood pressure and pushing your buttons.
- Whether or not you can get away, try to observe what you are feeling. That is, acknowledge your own anger. Recognize that you are feeling angry. Then start to trace back to what started this feeling. What was the trigger and why did it trigger you? Were there other factors that created the feeling? For instance, are there other circumstances that contributed to your feeling, like being fatigued, ill, or stressed? If you can understand what is driving you, you might be able to look at another solution other than letting the anger boil to the top.
- And that leads us to the next item. Analyze your options. What will the effect of your anger be? What is your goal? What do you need? Maybe you just need to be heard and understood. Will letting the anger loose help or hinder your goal? My guess is it will get worse instead of better. Weight your options then. Will waiting until you are calm help?
- Finally, if the angry voice comes in a conversation, consider listening to the other side. Perhaps there is something you are not connecting with or not hearing because your buttons have been pushed. Try to hold off judgement for a short while to listen. Listen by repeating back what the other person has said. And ask clarifying questions. See if you have understood properly.
If the angry voice is speaking to you…
- It is very challenging to listen to someone when they are angry. Yet, this may be exactly what they need and what stimulated their anger. Active listening is the best way to help them move from anger to a resolution. The first step is to set aside your own reaction and listen to the words they are speaking.
- Reflect back the words they have used. For example, if they say, “You b&%ch, you are constantly saying you will help me, but instead, you create more problems.” You can say, “Sounds like you are really angry with me and frustrated that I am not helping.” Be aware that they may get more animated and say a lot more, but that is a sign they feel free to express more of their frustration. Keep listening and reflecting.
- If listening does not help, you can suggest that you both talk about it later. If it does help, then wait until they are able to talk more calmly and clearly. Then you can share your own thoughts and perspective so that you are both having a conversation and not a shout out.
The above are only tips. The truth about conflict is that it is complex and sometimes does not respond to the classic tips and processes. However, ultimately remind yourself what you need in a conflict. How would you want others to respond to you? If you can give to others what you need, you will have won half the battle. The other half depends on the other person!
The picture above is from Disney’s Inside Out. It was a fun movie to watch.
The conversation is based on today’s Daily Prompt, Angry.