Significant media coverage this election cycle has focused on the angry American voter and why a highly charged political environment is fueling the rise of non-traditional Presidential candidates on both sides of the spectrum. We’ve seen anger at political rallies, debates and even in the language of social media outbursts used by some candidates.
Anger can be a potent emotional life force. However, left unchecked, it can have a corrosive effect on our everyday lives and even our health. We’ve all encountered a person in life who is always standing at the precipice of Anger. Too often we spend our lives tiptoeing around them, or trying to identify and avoid the triggers that might send them off the cliff.
Anger can also manifest in ways other than the stereotypical behaviors of yelling and stomping, such as silence. It is often linked closely with regret. Many angry people regret their outbursts; they just can’t seem to extricate themselves from this continuous cycle of anger, followed by regret.
In our recent book, HeadTrash 2, we outline ways to recognize the signs of a person with the HeadTrash of Anger, and then offer tips on communicating and working with this person. Examples include:
1) Instead of responding defensively to angry outbursts, start to think about how that person may be actually hurting and how you should try to help them. You would be amazed how less painful that relationship can become. You can almost start to feel sorry for them in how they are behaving, since you realize they are not working as effectively as they could.
2) Don’t react in kind. Instead of getting into a yelling match, let the person know you would prefer to take a “time out” and come back to this discussion once things are less emotional. Once you re-engage, monitor the language used in conversation. Refrain from using accusatory phrases and instead, turn them into sincere questions that can lead to better communication and understanding where the disagreement came from and how to move forward to fix it.
3) Understand that people who are frequently angry are seldom confronted for their behavior. Although it’s not easy to do, addressing the behavior later, once things have settled down, may go a long way toward getting them to stop behaving that way to you and others.
More identifying factors and tips on how to handle an angry person can be found in our new book, HeadTrash2: Dealing with and Overcoming Other People’s Junk, available online at Amazon.