Mon | May 29, 2017

Dealing with an angry person

Published:Sunday | July 5, 2015 | 7:00 AM

How many times have you had to deal with someone who gets angry easily and frequently, whether an angry boss, family member, or a significant other?

It is easy to get flustered or upset when you are confronted by these individuals and if you don't know how to respond, you can easily make the situation worse.

Dr Anthony Allen shared with Outlook ways in which you can deal with them. He noted that when you respond to anger calmly and with empathy, it will help you stay in control, and defuse the situation in a professional and courteous way.

How to treat it: Boss dilemma

Dr Allen noted that when you understand that the workplace might be stressful, and it may cause frustration, you are better able to deal with any situation that may be thrown at you.

He also explained that when it comes to the workplace, many things can trigger your boss's behaviour. So it is best to distance yourself emotionally - sometimes another person's anger has nothing to do with you. On the other hand, if you are the cause of the person's anger, it is important to take responsibility for your actions: don't distance yourself.

In some cases, a boss may feel like if he or she wants the best from their workers then he or she should put them down. Dr Allen also noted that he or she might express his or her anger in a disrespectful way, but there are ways to combat that behaviour without making matters worse.

He admits that one needs to recognise that we all have the right not to be disrespected, listened to and recognised in a different way. "We should take an angry person's behaviour in a passive way; two wrongs can't make a right," Dr Allen explains.

He advises that you should give the person feedback and let the person know how you feel. "Say to them, "when I am interacting with you, this is how you make me feel. I would prefer if when we communicate, it is done in a decent manner." On the other hand, see if there is anything on your side that needs to be changed.

Dr Allen stresses that you can also take a reconciliatory approach to resolve some of these issues at work. "When you let someone know exactly how they make you feel about their behaviour towards you, they might react with anger at first, but will eventually go and reflect and apologise."

He adds: "We have to learn to forgive more." Even if the person feels like they are always right, we should examine ourselves and change our approach towards the person.

He explained that if your boss is burnt out and under pressure, you will automatically be under pressure. So do your best to always do what is required of you and leave no room for your boss to get upset with you.

How to treat with it: Relationship dilemma

If you are in a relationship with such a person, it requires much more attention and tolerance, because of the equality and commitment that should exist. Dr Allen notes that a relationship should not be about one person.

"When you enter a relationship, you should be able to show respect and be prepared to find way to fix the issues that may arise," he said adding, "both of you need to have standards on how to relate to each other and maintain that," Allen noted.

There should be some agreement on how one should behave in the relationship thus avoiding conflicts.

General signs of passive-aggressive anger behaviour:

- Pretending not to hear or understand requests

-Avoiding involvement, or acting 'distant'

-Obsessing

-Sulking

-Behaving secretively

-Ignoring others

- Demonstrating an 'angry smile'

How to treat these behaviours

- Identify the cause of the person's anger and try to see things from the other person's perspective as he or she expresses his or her feelings. Use active listening, so that you really listen to what they say.

- When it is your turn to talk, ensure that you speak slowly and calmly, lower your vocal tone, and use non-threatening body language.

- Don't respond with anger - do your best to respond calmly and intelligently when you face angry people. Practise deep breathing and learn how to manage your emotions. Or just politely take a break from the conversation - go for a walk to calm down. But do not walk away.

- Help them to control their anger - encourage the person to learn how to control their anger after they are fully calm and in a good mood.

- For more on how to deal with an angry boss or partner contact Dr Anthony Allen, Psychiatrist and Wellness Consultant in Church-based Health Ministries, at 8 Durham Avenue, Kingston 6 or call (876) 702-2898.

cathy.risden@gleanerjm.com