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How to Deal With Someone Else's Anger
by Greg Baker
4/02/2010 / Christian Living
There is a very revealing verse in the Bible that helps define the psychology of an angry person.
Proverbs 22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:
The warning is very poignant. Angry people are exceptionally difficult to deal with. But for many of you reading this article, you don't have the luxury of avoiding an angry person. Perhaps you are already friends with an angry person. Perhaps you're married to a person who has a short temper. Maybe one of your children has a short fuse.
Dealing with an angry person is problematic at best. You need to be aware of several things.
YOU CAN NOT RATIONALIZE WITH AN ANGRY PERSON
So don't even try. When someone is angry, you won't even be able to rationalize with them. It's possible, that you can calm someone down with words, but helping them deal with their source of anger is not something you can do when they are angry.
Your goal isn't to expose their erroneous thinking process, but rather get them to a place where they are willing to listen. Angry people don't listen. Have you ever argued with someone and both of you were angry? What were you able to accomplish? In most cases you didn't even listen to what the other person had to say. Your anger just propelled you on with little regard to what the other person was saying.
BE CAREFUL ABOUT TRAPPING OR EMBARRASSING AN ANGRY PERSON
If you corner a wild animal, no matter how docile it may appear to be, it will defend itself. If you trap someone, expose their faults in front of others, or embarrass them, they will just get angrier.
Anger is a defensive measure that people retreat towards when some fear, conscious or subconscious, is evoked. People will defend an indefensible position out of anger. Be very careful about backing them into a corner. You will not like the results.
You may win the fight. But your relationship may be damaged beyond repair. Thus you may end up losing the war.
MAKE AN EFFORT TO CALM AN ANGRY PERSON DOWN
Your words may only exasperate their sense of injury. Saying nothing may irritate them. Walking away may frustrate them. Trying to calm them down may only make them feel that you are patronizing them.
So how do you calm someone down? That largely depends on the person and what they are angry over. For most people there are three things that will help them calm down when they are angry:
1. They feel the problem is being appropriately addressed
2. Time and distance from the source of their anger
3. The sudden realization of their irrationality
If you can make a person feel that the problem is being addressed, they may calm down. For many people, it takes time to calm down. For others the sudden shock of how irresponsible or embarrassing they must appear to others will help calm them down.
You can cause the third reaction, often, if you can make a person feel that the problem is being addressed. It takes a bit of skill, imagination, and ingenuity, but it can be done.
NEVER GET ANGRY YOURSELF
Two angry people are like hand grenades threatening each other. When one goes off, so does the other. Anger only fuels anger. You can't win a fight if you get angry.
Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes. Try to understand the source of their anger. Don't let their anger towards you offend you. Shove it aside and try to focus on solutions. Don't blame, accuse, rail, yell, defame, or anything else that is attached to anger.
Trying to out 'rage' each other is like adding oil to fire. It doesn't put out the fire.
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