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Archive for January, 2014

Keeping emotions in check can help people choose positive outcomes in conflict. Anger management skills lead to developing an objective frame of mind leading to appropriate responses. This is achieved before a person’s emotional anger takes over creating a strong reaction. When a person is in control of their anger they they have control over the choices of how to respond to anger. The choice is how to think it out first, then proceed.

Anger management is just that, managing anger. Anger is a normal emotion but it’s what we do with it that makes a difference. When other people around us get angry the tendency is to react with anger as well, especially when it is directed at us. When two people get angry at each other it can escalate into an argument or worse. However, in a moment when anger is directed at us there is a choice. For example, to use a fishing analogy, a fish has a choice to go for a baited hook or not. Sometimes they bite and sometimes they don’t. Think of an angry person in the same manner, the other person’s anger is like a baited hook and it comes down to choosing whether or not to bite into that anger.

So what can a person do when confronted or being around angry people? Here are a few tips that can help a person choose an appropriate response without getting wrapped up in someone’s emotional situation.

1. Check first to make sure whether or not the other person may have a legitimate point. Allow for appropriate ownership and if necessary make amends of the wrongdoing before responding, apologize if necessary. Most people who perceive an injustice calm quickly when others take ownership of their behavior. However, stay objective and make sure the perceived wrongdoing is appropriate.

2. Use rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is about not taking things personally and working with the angry person to explore more about what they are angry about. Get curious with their anger but make sure you stand your ground, stay objective to be able to agree or disagree with the condition of their anger.

3. Hear it out and let it go. Sometimes there is no need to do anything either way. A few head nods, uh-huh’s and walk away.

4. If the person’s anger is extreme and/or attacking anger then call them on their behavior. This is bordering on bullying and more about stopping abusive behavior.  Make sure to use “I” statements in this scenario to prevent the perception of attacking back. For example, “I don’t appreciate being talked down to like that,” or, “I am not going to listen/stand here/talk to you unless we can have a decent conversation.” The idea is to get the other person to see how inappropriate their behavior is and to let them know you are not not going to tolerate demeaning or abusive behavior, from them, or anyone. Most people cower and just try to get out of a situation like this. That does not teach the other person anything except that they can be mean and abusive and get away with it. Standing up to this kind of behavior signals that next time they may think twice first.

5. Being human means sometimes we get angry. If the anger does get to you a good way to relieve it is to walk it off. Go to a park, feed the ducks, toss out a fishing line, watch a funny movie, pray or indulge with spiritual activities, socializing, exercise or learn relaxation skills. This list can go on and it’s takes some creativity to create distraction and get the mind off of dwelling on the trigger that is creating the anger.

A cautionary note regarding anger. There are some people in this world who have psychological anger issues. This is often found in clinical diagnosable conditions such as Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Other conditions such as narcissistic, borderline and antisocial personality disorders can also present with uncontrollable anger issues. In these situations typically long term therapy is needed to resolve underlying issues related to the anger and other symptoms commonly associated with these conditions.

Brian Murray holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University-Orlando Campus. He currently works at the ECC Counseling Center of Central Florida as a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern.

 

 

 

 

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