How to Handle Anger: Part Two-When Someone’s Angry at You
As I shared last week, I’ve been learning a lot about how to handle anger in a positive way. The post includes my insights based on working with the concepts shared by Gary Chapman in his book called, Anger: Handling A Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way. I hope you find the information helpful!
The other aspect of anger to consider is how to handle a situation where someone else is angry with you. When someone is upset, the energy they give off is very uncomfortable, so our natural response is to want to shut down the angry feeling. Chapman provides a much better solution, one that will allow a healing to occur rather than implosion or explosion from the person who is angry. He suggests the following steps when dealing with someone he is angry:
“Listen to the person.” This isn’t easy to do when someone is upset. Try to be patient and not to react to their anger with defensiveness. The key is to let them feel heard and to really get to the bottom of what is making them upset.
“Listen to the person.” Chapman suggests you ask them to repeat what happened again, so that you get the whole picture before responding.
“Listen to the person.” Listen again by asking questions that allow them to clarify points. Chapman says it takes three or four times of repeating the story for the person to get out all of their concerns.
“Try to understand his plight.” Would you feel angry if you were in this person’s shoes? Consider if you were coming from the same background and personality as the person while you are asking yourself this. Can you understand why they are angry?
“Express Understanding.” I’ve found this is a step often overlooked. When I feel an injustice has occurred, I am looking for someone to acknowledge that and hear me. If you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes and acknowledge that you would also have been upset, that helps to validate their experience and feelings which goes a long way to diffusing the anger.
“Share any additional information that might shed light on the situation.” This is the step where misunderstandings can be cleared up.
“Confess any wrongdoing and seek to make right any wrong you may have committed.” I’ve found simply having the person acknowledge that something unjust occurred and asking for my forgiveness can correct the situation. Sometimes additional action is needed, but often a sincere apology does the trick.
When we are able to take these steps for the person who is unhappy, it gives the person what is needed to really let the anger serve its highest purpose. While it isn’t easy not to react with your own anger, learning to do this can help us all have much healthier, kinder, and more compassionate relationships with others.
I’m sure I will be sharing more on this topic as I work with these new techniques. Becoming adept at working with anger is not only important to us in our personal relationships, but is vital for creating a more peaceful, harmonious collective unconscious and world community.