Understanding Anger and Coping Techniques

Anger is one of the most powerful and misunderstood emotions. It’s not totally bad to feel angry. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. In fact, a lot of really good things stem from anger, and angry feelings can lead to positive change. Many social injustices have called for people who became angry.

So, while it’s perfectly normal to feel angry when you’ve been mistreated or wronged, anger becomes a problem when you express it in a way that harms yourself or others.

You might think that venting your anger is healthy, that the people around you are too sensitive, that your anger is justified, or that you need to show your fury to get respect.

But the truth is that anger is much more likely to have a negative impact on the way people see you, impair your judgment, and get in the way of success.

When people lack skills to manage their anger, their emotions can cause problems in all areas of their lives. Many relationship troubles, career issues, and legal problems result from unhealthy expressions of anger.

How do you handle people who have anger issues?

Dealing with other people’s anger can be challenging, confusing, and sometimes terrifying especially if it’s someone we are close to like a spouse, parent, or co-worker.

It’s useful to know how to calm angry people down. When you can defuse someone’s anger, it can enhance your professional reputation, and it can help you deal with people who struggle to manage their emotions.

We will be looking at ways in which we can handle other people’s anger.

Firstly, Stay Safe, and Involve Others

If you feel threatened by an angry person, trust your judgment. Leave the room immediately if you feel unsafe, or if you are too upset to resolve the situation on your own.

Ask your boss, a trusted colleague or friend to work with you to resolve the situation. It might also be appropriate to report the incident if the person is completely out of control.

Another way to handle someone who is angry is, don't Respond With Anger. It’s very natural to get upset when angry people confront you, regardless of whether their anger is justified.

You feel under attack, and your body floods with “fight or flight” hormones, which can lead you to become angry yourself.

Do your best to respond calmly and intelligently when you face angry people. If you feel yourself getting upset, politely take a break from the conversation and go for a walk to calm down. There is this popular notion were people think by walking away, you are weak. No, you not, you are the strongest.

Avoid Character Assaults

This is another important way of handling someone anger. A guaranteed way to escalate an angry situation is to attack the other person’s character.

Insulting them, or even saying things like “You always do this” is likely to make things worse. Instead, focus on specific behaviours or feelings at the moment. Instead of saying, “You always yell at me when you’re angry,” say, “Please don’t yell at me.”

Instead of saying, “You’re so impatient,” say, “Can you please be patient with me.” Those may seem like subtle differences but you don’t want the person to feel attacked, as it will make them even more likely to lash out.

It’s quite possible, maybe even likely, that the person really is too impatient, and if this is someone you are in a relationship with, you probably want to talk with them about that impatience at some point. However, the middle of an angry exchange isn’t the best time for that conversation.

Lastly, Ask Yourself if the Anger Is Justified

Sometimes anger is perfectly reasonable and it is always emotionally wise to consider the feelings of others during an interaction.

You should ask yourself why the person is angry, what role you may have played, and if there is anything you can or should do to resolve the situation.

It’s important to note that a person can be justifiably angry, yet express that anger in an unjustifiable way. In other words, if I spill a drink on someone at a party, it makes perfect sense that they would be angry with me. That response is perfectly justified.

What would be unjustified and unacceptable is if they expressed that anger by yelling at me, swearing at me, or becoming physically aggressive.

How do you express anger in a healthy way?

Feeling angry is not bad. Allowing ourselves to consciously express that anger is actually very healthy, both emotionally and physically. Pent-up anger makes us sick. A healthy expression is good.

The problem is we aren’t really taught about healthy expression, so we end up stuffing it. It seems we are either taught to avoid this feeling along with several others completely, or we have witnessed some really not fun expressions of anger, which makes even considering expression seem terrifying.

Here are healthy ways to express anger

Vent to a friend

You may want to give the friend a fair warning that you are really going to get into it. When you do vent, really exaggerate it. However, if it becomes constant venting, always about the same topic, it's no longer therapeutic. At that point, it becomes recontamination, which is not good for our mind, body, spirit, or friendship.