Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Relationships

Mandy Kloppers

How to deal with an angry person

There are a variety of reasons people have anger issues. Certain personality traits such as narcissism, competitiveness, and low-frustration tolerance can make one more predisposed to anger. Also, our emotional or physical state prior to a triggering event can contribute to angry outbursts. If you’re already tired, depressed, or anxious,  a trigger will lead to an angry episode more quickly.

 

Defuse the situation

Talk calmly, low consistent tone. Talk slowly

Now is not the time to ‘score points’ or apportion blame – not the time for insults or “you always” or “you never”

Tell story of Broadmoor.

Try to understand why the person is angry – increased tolerance

Repetitive statements

If possible, help them come up with a solution to whatever is angering them

When people are angry, they can lose their rational thinking and being reasonable goes out the window.

Don’t get in their face – respect personal distance. Watch your body language.

 

Consider whether the anger is justified.

Know when to disengage – if the person is not responding or you feel unsafe.

Don’t take it personally

 

If the angry person you are dealing with is your romantic partner consider whether their anger is controlled or not. Do they behave this way only in front of you or will they display angry behaviour no matter where they are and who they are dealing with?

If you are the only one witnessing their rages, you can be sure that there is an unhealthy dynamic and your partner knows that he or she can get away with it. It’s aggressive behaviour directed towards you in many ways. I recently saw a client whose husband would get irrationally angry whenever he cooked. If something went wrong he would throws things and shout and chuck the entire dinner in the bin. He never behaved this way when others were around. She became aware that he felt he could do this in front of her because he knew she would take it. The best reaction in this situation is to walk out of the room and leave them to it. Do not engage, do not try to fix the problem for them. Calmly walk away and if they tell you to come back, refuse to return until they have calmed down.

Sometimes, anger is an indirect way of projecting their own frustrations into someone else. Of course, it’s important to talk about this behaviour and try to get professional help. Someone whose anger is disproportionate needs expert help to deal with whatever they might be suppressing. Perhaps their thinking leads them to being too perfectionistic. Clearly, there will also be issues with not being able to tolerate frustration and poor emotional regulation.

 

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