Anger can be like static on a radio or TV broadcast. It blurs and distorts everything the other person is trying to communicate, both to you and in their mind. Anger is a valid emotion and can be a powerful expression. But it can also tip the balance in a person’s mind toward poor reasoning and decision-making skills. Here we’ll review some helpful tips for dealing with someone who has anger issues.
Acknowledge their anger
A person who frequently gets angry likely feels out of control or ineffective in some way. They may feel frustrated, defeated, or may be highly sensitive to stress. Many times, these more vulnerable emotions may come out as anger. Anger can be empowering and help a person get some energy behind their concerns. However, it can also be destructive if used as a substitute for thoughtful conversation or as a tool for gaining control.
When you acknowledge a person’s anger and hear them, doing so can diffuse it somewhat. It may not solve the whole problem, but it can help them dive into the problem more deeply. You may need to encourage them to discuss their issues when they have calmed down. But acknowledging their emotion is a good start.
Stay as calm as possible
When someone is angry, they are more reactive to everything in their environment. This includes your behaviors and emotional state. You may be tempted to jump in and get angry yourself, maybe for good reason. Even if you feel angry along with them, you can manage your behavior differently to keep things from getting out of control.
Breathe slowly and don’t say anything that may provoke them further. If you need to repeat yourself, say something like, “We are both upset, so let’s talk about this later,” or, “We can’t talk about this right now; we need to calm down.” Say this while taking deep breaths as you attempt to calm yourself. If you don’t participate in their angry moment, they may give up and step away.
Avoiding arguing or making decisions when they are angry
Avoid making decisions while feeling highly emotional. When you talk about important issues or make choices based on emotion, you can easily discard other essential parts of the situation.
Emotion puts you in a state of mind that prioritizes immediate satisfaction. This approach can distort reality. A person with an anger problem may still attempt to do this because anger is a normal part of their behavior. They may have grown up watching family members argue or had learned that getting angry gave them a voice.
They may not be aware of this tendency, so it may be up to you to step away. You don’t have to participate in an argument or decision process when the timing is wrong, even if the other person pressures you. Hold your ground and tell them you can talk when both of you are calm.
Allow some space for them to calm down
When a person gets angry, give them space to calm down. It’s difficult to maintain intense anger for a long period. They may be less upset after a while and you could try approaching them again.
Pushing on an issue rarely helps. If the situation requires immediate action or is a matter of safety, it may be necessary. But for most situations, everyone is better off with some space and time to cool off. Part of the reason people feel angry is often a lack of control over a problem. Pushing them to talk or do something can make this worse.
It’s OK to disagree with whatever is making them angry
Emotion can be powerful, and you may feel pressured to go along with whatever the other person wants because of their anger. This is not a healthy or helpful way to look at things. When a person realizes they have leverage over you when they are angry, they may try to push you over when they want their way.
If you disagree with the other person’s viewpoint, address it when they are not emotional about it. Even they may have a different perspective when they’re calm. Take their concerns into consideration if they have merit, but don’t take anger as a sign you need to cave in. It’s their job to handle their emotions appropriately.
Anger in relationships – staying calm is key
Staying calm is the key to diffusing someone else’s anger. You can’t stop them from feeling angry, but your calm response can change the dynamic between you. Coping with someone else’s anger isn’t easy some days. But in time, your efforts can make a difference in your relationship.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.