Deal with Other People's Anger
At Work vs At Home vs On The Phone ... and 4 more

Edited by sheryl hernandez, Anonymous, Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo, Doug Collins and 2 others

It is emotionally and physically healthy for a human being to periodically express anger, or else depression, addiction or physical illness can result. However, it can be quite challenging to be the recipient of anybody's anger, especially if the anger is being expressed in an inappropriate way and escalating into an abusive or violent situation.

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It's normal for a child to have tantrums but unacceptable in a mature adult.

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Types of Angry Behavior To Watch Out For

Healthy expressions of anger are direct, impersonal and do not last longer than ten minutes. However, most humans are manipulative and reactionary, choosing to express their anger in passive-aggressive and directly aggressive that create defensive reactions, resentment and even more conflict.

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To deal with anger effectively it is important for you to realize the telltale behaviors and warning signs that a person is very angry and the situation is about to escalate. These include:

  • Being illogical, ill-humored and unreasonable
  • Blaming you specifically for all that is wrong
  • Shaming you for any efforts to help solve the problem
  • Whining, complaining and nagging to annoy you until you are angry
  • Making you the scapegoat for a problem that has nothing to do with you
  • Avoiding civil speech and eye contact
  • Giving someone the silent treatment
  • Pretending not to understand or hear requests
  • Making agreements and promises and then not following through
  • Spreading gossip or rumors
  • Consistently bringing up a past you are unable to change
  • Belittling you or telling cruel jokes about you
  • Using emotional blackmail to make you feel guilty about their issue
  • Behaving secretively or plotting against you
  • Treating belongings or equipment roughly
  • Outright accusations
  • Purposefully embarrassing or making a fool of you in public or in the workplace
  • Acting out in the form angry outbursts and accusations
  • Bullying and intimidation physically or verbally

A lot of anger is passive-aggressive in nature and disguised as humor.

Here are some ways to deal with other people's anger in various situations.

Method 1: At Work

Dealing with other people's anger might be crucial to keeping your job.

While you are at work, it may be part of your job to deal with anger with a little more formality and decorum than usual. Here are some ways to diffuse angry attacks when you in a professional situation:

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  1. 1
    Acknowledge the fact that the person is upset and then demonstrate empathy or sympathy.
    Say something like, "I understand you are you are upset."Anger on the job is usually provoked by the idea that there has been some kind of injustice, whether it be a boss that feels you are cheating him by not working hard enough, a co-worker that is jealous of an accomplishment or customer that feels that he deserves a refund. In some situations where your job or a client is at risk, it is okay to immediately tell the individual "You are right. I apologize." This usually prevents the situation from escalating to a crisis.
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  2. 2
    Ask the individual to state exactly and in what the problem is and affirm that you are listening carefully.
    If the person is very angry they may refuse to answer you or be sarcastic, and say something like, "You mean you don't know, what the problem is?" or "What did I tell you the problem was weeks ago.?" If you are belittled you can walk away and say, "I would like to ask you to take a moment to calm down. I will come back to you when you are ready to communicate your needs clearly to me. At this point you may get a tirade. Simply listen with great patience and validate them by mirroring what they say, as in "I understand that you are mad about (name the issue) and you have every reason to be."
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  3. 3
    Ask the angry individual what they would like you do to do to fix the issue.
    This diffuses anger because it puts the angry person, who likely is angry because he does not feel in control, back into the driver's seat.
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  4. 4
    State calmly whether or not you are able to help the individual with their grievance and what your limitations and capabilities when it comes to solving the grievance.
    Express a willingness to find a solution and try to present more than one option for the problem. Usually the person calms down by this step, but sometimes this can lead to an even greater confrontation, in which you may have to walk away from the situation or ask for assistance with others.
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  5. 5
    Keep your distance and involve others if the situation escalates.
    Sometimes this makes the angry person realize that they are taking things too far. They may apologize or feel embarrassed. If their temper escalates out of control at this point you may have to ask the angry person to leave or call the police.
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Method 2: At Home

Anger expressed by family members can be passive-aggressive in nature.

Anger expressed by family members can feel like "it's personal" and that is because it is. Family relationships can be complicated because family members expect unconditional love, nurturing and acceptance. If the family has a history of codependency, mental illness or addiction, there can be problems with respecting other's boundaries. This can cause expressions of anger to rocket out of control.

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Handle angry family members by taking the following steps:

  1. 1
    Establish rules in your home to do with respecting each other's boundaries to diffuse unhealthy angry interactions.
    Make sure that your spouse, children and other relatives know that name-calling, interrupting and violence are not allowed.
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  2. 2
    Establish a safe place or safe way for your family members to express anger in a healthy manner.
    Have bi-weekly family meetings that allow each member to tell each other what is on their mind so that resentments and the passive-aggressive behaviors that accompany it due not disrupt your family life.
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  3. 3
    If anger is expressed inappropriately in your home, give the person a Time Out.
    Establish an area in your home where an upset person is to go to retreat. No further conversation will be entertained until the angry individual is ready to communicate in a non-accusatory manner.
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  4. 4
    Try adding some humor to the situation.
    Angry family members tend to respond well to joking and other attempts to make them laugh. However, make sure that when you do this that you do not make the family member feel like their feelings are not being taken seriously.
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  5. 5
    Study the section of this article titled Angry Behaviors to Watch Out For so that you can determine the type of anger you are dealing with and Follow all of the Five steps for diffusing angry behaviors outlined in Method 1:
    How to Deal With Other People's Anger at Work.
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  6. 6
    Tell the family member that you love him or her and that you will do what it takes to solve the problem together.
    This is usually all you have to say to diffuse the problems completely.
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  7. 7
    If terrible things have been said, ask the angry person to redo the conversation.
    Usually the angry person is grateful for the forgiveness and second chance to explain themselves without the insanity of anger driving them.
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  8. 8
    If you are in the wrong, apologize immediately.
    Sometimes the anger is justified, and in the case of a family member it is important to admit you are wrong as soon as you realize it to prevent further hard feelings.
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Method 3: On The Phone

It is easier for some people to express their rage on the phone, rather than in person, which can make it harder to diffuse the situation.

It can be a challenge not to hang up when you are being raged at by an angry person on the phone. Whether or not this person is a personal or business contact, you can take these steps to diffuse the situation.

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  1. 1
    1 Follow the first four of the five steps for diffusing angry behaviors in Method 1:
    How to Handle Angry People At Work. Even though you are not dealing with the angry individual in person the same principles of asking the person what the problem is and giving them a sense of control over the situation still apply.
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  2. 2
    2 Put the caller on hold to give him or her a chance to cool off.
    If the person is attacking you or escalating you can put them on hold or pretend you have to answer call waiting in order to give him or her a chance to rethink their aggressive approach to dealing with you.
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  3. 3
    3 Give the caller a chance to redo the conversation.
    Suggest kindly that both of you begin and again and try to discuss the matter with more civility. Most people will be grateful for the kindness and the second chance at clear communication.
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  4. 4
    4 If the angry person is harassing you, block their calls.
    Most landline plans and cell phone plans have safeguards in place that allow you to block abusive individuals for a temporary period of time or forever.
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Method 4: In a Relationship

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It is important for you to resolve issues that cause anger with a spouse.

How anger is expressed in a relationship can determine its overall health and longevity.

  1. 1
    Make a pact with your partner as to how you will express anger in the relationship.
    Vow to never call each other names, interrupt each other or act out with violent behaviors such as throwing things. Make a promise to each other that you will never go to bed mad at each other.
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  2. 2
    Know each other well enough to understand when the other individual needs their private space to deal with their feelings.
    Respect each other's boundaries and if your partner expresses anger inappropriately, ask them to retreat to their private space until they are better able to communicate their issue to you..
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  3. 3
    Try responding to the complaint with affection.
    Sometimes the only thing that is wrong is that someone has had a bad day. Giving your partner a hug may help diffuse their anger. Do not force affection if your partner pushes you away.
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  4. 4
    Try to diffuses the anger with humor.
    However, be aware this can backfire if your partner thinks you are making fun of some serious concerns or injustices.
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  5. 5
    Study the section of this article titled Angry Behaviors to Watch Out For so that you can determine the type of anger you are dealing with and follow all of the steps required to recognize the person's feelings and issues and address them.
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  6. 6
    Tell your mate that you love him or her and that you will do whoever takes to solve the problem together.
    This is usually all you have to do in order to calm down your angry problem.
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  7. 7
    If you are in the wrong, apologize immediately.
    Sometimes the anger is justified, and in the case of your lover or spouse it is important to reestablish trust in the relationship by admitting you were wrong with real sincerity.
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Method 5: Due to Depression or A Bipolar Disorder

An inability to manage feelings such as anger might be a psychiatric medication side-effect.

Anger due to depression is expressed in passive aggressive ways. A depressed person usually feels insecure, ashamed and defensive and it can be difficult to inspire him or her to let go of the behaviors they are displaying to communicate their resentment of you. Before asking them about their issue, make sure they have the basics for them to handle their illness are in place.

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  1. 1
    At the first sign of an outburst, ask the person if they have taken their medication.
    If they have not, ask for them to take it and then bring the topic up later. If they have taken it ask if they are experiencing any other symptoms besides anger as it could signify a health crisis or problem with medication. It is also important to note that some anti-depressants taken for depression cause angry, irrational outbursts and paranoia.
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  2. 2
    Ask the person if they are hungry, angry, lonely or tired.
    This acronym for this type of anger management is HALT. Sometimes the anger expressed at you is actually about another need, such as the need to rest or eat.
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  3. 3
    Follow the first four of the five steps for diffusing angry behaviors in Method 1:
    How to Handle Angry People. Do not be afraid to call for professionals, police or doctors if you cannot handle an angry person with a psychiatric condition. This is because anger provoked by mental illness can be unpredictable.
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Method 6: When The Person is Drunk

A angry drunk person is usually not sentient enough to reason with.

When dealing with an angry drunk, there is absolutely no point in trying to ask questions about how you can help or fulfill his needs, as the person is not in a rational state. In this case, the goal of your actions is to remove the angry drunk from your presence with as little said as possible or manipulate the situation so that you can escape the verbal abuse.

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  1. 1
    Try talking to the drunk as if he or she was a little child.
    Many angry drunks regress to a much younger, psychological state while inebriated and may be managed with the offer of another drink or offering of some kind of treat.
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  2. 2
    If the drunk is ranting, tell him or her she is right.
    This is one situation where you should not mind being wrong as the goal is to contain the anger of the drunk who could react to you in any way if you try to stand up for yourself.
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  3. 3
    Distract the drunk by changing the subject to a topic he or she enjoys ranting about.
    This takes their focus off of you for the moment until you can manipulate the situation so that the run or so that you can leave.
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  4. 4
    Call for help immediately if a drunk escalates and you are unable to leave the situation.
    Call the police. Do not react back with anger no matter what the drunk does or you could provoke an attack.
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Method 7: According to the Bible

The Bible advises handling angry people with soft words and compassion.

The Holy Bible suggests some ways to deal with angry people.

  1. 1
    Greet angry attacks with agreeable comments to avoid escalating anger.
    The advice to respond with gentleness to provocations is in Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
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  2. 2
    Think before you react to an angry provocation.
    This advice is summarized in Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not hasty in your spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
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  3. 3
    Never go to bed being angry or letting another be angry at you.
    This wisdom is found in Ephesians 4:26 Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath.
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Tips and Tricks

  • It is a good idea not to internalize the insulting or abusive things that people say or do when they are angry at you; training yourself not to respond in anger to a mad person is a very effective communications skill.
  • If you have a temper, you can gain some emotional control over the situation by trying to have empathy for the person by putting yourself in his or her shoes.
  • When someone is angry at you, it is essential to remain calm, but also not be intimidated by their behavior; if you are being bullied physically or if there is violence, call the police.
  • Do not be tempted to play amateur therapist with any depressed, bi-polar or drunk individual as you could trigger outrageous reactions.
  • When dealing with drunk or mentally ill individuals, no matter how close you are to them or even if you have done something wrong, you are not obligated to prevent them from the consequences of their behavior for being angry.
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Questions and Answers

I've a niece that has asked for money. I gave her $150.00 but wasn't enough, I think she wanted a money income and I refused and now she won't have anything to do with me. How do I reconnect with her?

She is in her early forties, just going through a divorce with two young kids. Her father helped her get a BMW and he won't pay her car payments and she is upset and wants me to give her money, because she has kids to support. Now won't have anything to do with me. Anything I can do?. I have tried: Through my sister and trying to friend her through Facebook. I think it was caused by: I'm married into money and she thinks I can afford to help her. I'm on Social security and don't think it's right that my husband chips in for my relatives. He doesn't for his grown kids

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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Donna, Doug Collins, Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo

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