By Follow Your Own Rhythm
You’re driving in your car with your husband and someone cuts you off. Your husband gets angry, starts yelling at the person who cut you off, and then starts yelling at you for being a “bad driver.” What do you do?
Or you come home from work, and your wife gets angry that the house is so messy, and that you never do anything around the house. She is yelling and calling you names. What do you do?
Normally what we all tend to do in these situations is react and respond with anger. We get angry because we don't like to be yelled at, because we feel we have to defend ourselves, because our peace is being disturbed, and because the other person can’t control their anger.
But is that really the best way to deal with this situation?
I know that in the moment when someone is angry and yelling, it’s easy to get triggered and yell right back, but then, we are just adding fuel to the fire. I think we can all agree that when we react with anger to a person who is angry, it just makes things worse, escalates their anger, and then things that shouldn’t be said are said and more unnecessary problems are created.
So what CAN we do?
I will give you three ways to deal with this situation in just a sec, but first, we have to understand something about anger.
Anger is a human emotion, and anger isn’t necessarily bad. We have been conditioned to think that anger is bad, but the energetic boost that we get when we are angry can be used for good. Anger can propel us to make positive changes in our lives and in the world.
Imagine watching an eye-opening documentary about the food industry and how big corporations are genetically modifying our food to make more money at the expense of our health and our planet. Your response to this is complete anger and fiery as you wonder how people can be so greedy and cold. You then use this anger as fuel and energy to make a difference, educate yourself and others about food, expose the food industry, start eating organic, or try to solve this world problem. The passion driven by anger CAN be used for good as long as you don’t remain in that angry state forever and as long as you don't let your anger control you.
Anger becomes a problem when it becomes our go-to response for almost anything inconvenient that happens to us, when we struggle with expressing ourselves without anger, when we say things we don’t mean while angry, or when we hurt other people because we are angry. This is when it starts to take over our mind and forces us to act in uncontrollable and irrational ways.
So the thing we have to understand is that when a person is under the spell of anger, they cannot think clearly, and they are not being themselves. This negative emotion, stemming from a conditioned pattern they have picked up, has taken over their sense of clarity, and they can no longer be rational. What people say when they’re angry is not necessarily what they mean, because it is anger, not truth, speaking through them.
So when you notice someone around you who is really angry, it is best not to add fuel to their fire by yelling at them, telling them to stop, criticizing them, making fun of them, belittling them, or telling them to calm down.
Just imagine yourself when you’re angry. Do you want someone to tell you to calm down or stop being angry? No, that just pisses you off more.
So if you want to deal with people’s anger in a positive and helpful manner, here are 3 things that I found to be the most effective. These are short term, immediate solutions for alleviating someone's anger. However, if you are dealing with an angry person on a consistent basis and they are negatively affecting your life, you can absolutely apply these practices, but you should try to take other measures to either get yourself out of the environment for good, or ask them to seek professional help.
3 Ways To Deal With An Angry Person Effectively (so you don't get sucked in)
1. Separate yourself from the person
The simplest thing you can do when someone is angry, yelling and venting their frustrations is to just walk away from the situation. Seriously. Because by you walking away, you take away the continued opportunity for the other person to keep yelling at you and venting to you. Plus, you give the angry person time to calm down, and you create the space for each of you to process what just happened without any distractions. This will force the other person into self-reflection and they will start to calm down faster.
By you walking away, you are also sending a much bigger message without even having to say a word. Actions speak louder than words. By you being strong enough to walk away, you are showing that you are not putting up with their negative behavior. You are showing that you know you don't deserve to be treated like this, and that you have enough love and respect for yourself to not let it continue. You are courageously standing up for yourself and sending a message that the other person WILL pick up on.
And prior to leaving, make sure not to say anything negative or sarcastic such as "well you're crazy so I'm just going to leave now" or "you make me sick, bye" or "I can't stand your nasty ways" or anything that would further trigger their anger. Just walk away without saying a word, and later, when both of you are calm, discuss how they made you feel and resolve the situation.
2. Don’t say a word
If for some reason you can't walk away from the situation because you're in the car with them or in another confined space, just stay quiet, even if you are really angry. Don't say a word. Don't react. Don't get sucked in. Stay strong and quiet.
Let them be angry, let them yell, let them get it all out without you saying anything in response.
Because when we are angry, the things we say come from a hurt and defensive place. So when you are responding from this energy, you will just trigger more anger within the other.
I know it feels good to yell back at people and to let out your anger, but ultimately, it will just add fuel to the fire.
It's important to remember that when a person is angry, they are not thinking rationally and they're operating at an unconscious level; meaning that they are acting out conditioned patterns that they have picked up throughout their lives.
Most of us have learned that when we don't get what we want, things don't go our way, or people don't fulfill our expectations, that we should react with anger and frustration. We have not been taught to be conscious of our emotions and to deal with life situations in a more mindful way.
So when a person is angry, it is a habit that is coming to the surface and not necessarily their true selves.
Obviously if they are physically hurting you, speak up and take protective action, but if they are just angry and yelling, and there are no kids or other people around, just let them yell without fueling their fire even more.
Initially it might piss them off that you are just quiet, and they might say things like "oh so you're just not going to say anything?" or "what, so you're ignoring me now?" or "come on say something!" and they might even taunt you by saying "yea, you're quiet because I'm right and you know it, you don't have anything to say." But you can't give in because these are all traps. The moment you say something, it opens the door for another angry comeback.
And eventually, the person's anger will pass, at which point you can discuss the situation and make a decision of how to move forward in your relationship with them.
3. Be a conscious responder
This builds on the previous practice of staying quiet, but is a bit more advanced. This practice requires that you remain completely present, emotionally intact, and not take what the other person says or does personally. It means understanding that they might have had a rough day or that you might have to take responsibility for something that you did. You have to separate yourself from the blame, the yelling and the anger, and be there in the moment. You have to have compassion for the person for feeling this way.
From this place of compassion, you can respond accordingly, because whatever you do will be intentional and full of love. In turn, the other person will feel your loving, supportive, and high energy vibe, and it will help with their anger.
And this doesn't mean that you speak and act like everything is okay, and that what the other person is doing is acceptable behavior. No. You can be straightforward, honest, explain yourself, and speak the truth, but you do it from a conscious, non-angry, and non-reactive state, rather than from a place of irrationality, anger and defensiveness.
This is obviously the most ideal way to deal with an angry person, but if you are not totally present, it can backfire. Here's why.
When we respond to anger, we are often times also coming from an angry, frustrated, annoyed, or stressed place, because their anger triggers our anger. This is based on how we have been conditioned. We might not say it out loud, show it or even be aware of it, but subconsciously we want to protect ourselves and blame and attack the other person.
So when you are fully in the present moment, you are conscious of yourself, conscious of your agenda, and conscious of your emotions, and you can move forward in the most conscious way possible, and this is when you are in touch with your inner wisdom and can come up with the most creative and helpful solutions. You can very well have the power to shift a person out of their angry state and help them get in touch with their truth which ultimately, is love.
But if you can't get to this state when someone around you is angry, it's better to stick with option 1 or 2.
Ultimately, we are all brothers and sisters sharing this beautiful planet, with the same problems and the same struggles. We all get angry. We are not better or worse than one another, and there is no need to blame or belittle those who we feel threatened by; that just creates more separation. What we need to do is reconnect with others by healing ourselves, and helping others heal with us.
Don't let anger define a person, because we are much more underneath the surface. And if we focus on all that we are, we naturally won't have much to be angry about. :)
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends!
Also, leave a comment below to share how these practices have served you or how you deal with angry people!