Conflicts cannot always be avoided. As much as we try to steer clear of arguments, how others respond to a disagreement is something we cannot control. However, how we behave in the middle of a disagreement is something that we can definitely take control of.
Anger can be expressed in different ways. Some may sulk in a corner and avoid you completely, while others may become aggressive and lash out at you. How we respond to the other person’s actions often depends on how they exhibit their anger towards us.
In this article, let’s discuss how you can handle people who tend to get very angry and possibly even violent during a conflict situation.
Try Your Best to Stay Calm
When faced with another person’s anger it is difficult to stay calm. Most of the time, when people are lashing out angrily, you want to put your shield up for protection. If you try to protect yourself it may make them become more defensive too, which can also make the situation worse, and them even angrier!
Keep in mind that the other person’s emotions are out of our hands, so try to regulate your own emotions instead.
One way to keep your cool in the middle of an argument is to speak slowly and directly. Avoid beating around the bush, as that can aggravate the other person’s anger. Take deep breaths to maintain your own levelheadedness.
Remember that an angry person may not be able to think clearly, so de-escalate the situation by trying your best to encourage them to lower their voice, by showing you are listening to them and only them.
Avoid Responding With Anger
When faced with an angry person, don’t get angry back. You need to avoid responding with anger, and to do this you need to distance yourself emotionally. Sometimes a person’s anger is not always about you. If it is, listen to why they are angry at your actions.
If it’s not about you, understand that they are angry ‘at you’ because you are the one who is accessible and available. Once you understand where their anger is coming from you will be able to distance yourself emotionally and not give in to their negative behavior.
Learn to Walk Away
Sometimes, the best way to respond to an angry person is to simply walk away. If you walk away from them, are they still going to continue to yell and fight if you are not there? If they do, it’s not hurting you anymore.
Whatever you do, do not think that in doing so you are the one who has lost the disagreement. By disengaging yourself from the situation, you are actually the winner. Why? You took control of the situation. A bomb can’t go off if the fuse is removed.
Remember that walking away is not a sign of defeat, sometimes the other person needs to calm down first in order for them to process the situation. Once they are calm, that is the time you can have a healthy discussion with them.
In addition, keep a safe distance from someone who is clearly agitated, as they may physically hurt you, or they may try to emotionally break you with their continual barrage of anger. Therefore, always maintain a safe distance from an angry person, so you don’t become their easy target.
Identify Why They are Angry
Angry people often feel they are not being listened to. Perhaps they are not in some cases, and perhaps they have every right to feel ignored. However, if you know you are listening to them, calmly encourage them to explain what is making them upset. You can guide the person in identifying the real cause of their anger by asking open-ended questions, which can help lead to a resolution.
When getting to the bottom of the issue, try to be as empathetic as possible, and be sincere in your communication. You can also repeat what they have said to you to show you have listened fully.
Another person’s anger is not something you can control. However, you can be in charge of the situation by learning how to deal with their negativity. Ultimately, it is not about who is right or wrong. It’s all about being able to find a resolution.