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May 31

DISPLACED ANGER

Do you know people who choose to take their anger out on others?  Misery loves company, and some would rather criticize, ridicule, and demean others rather than deal with their own pain.  We all experience anger in our lives, but some look to project or displace it as quickly as possible, using others as a punching bag to take their anger out on, especially if there are limited repercussions.  Why do people choose these defense mechanisms?  And are there other ways to combat anger, frustration, and resentment?  Taking ownership and responsibility for one’s words and actions is somewhat of an anomaly today.

Anger pushes people away and does not engender compassion or sensitivity from others.  We often hurt those closest to us the most, probably because they will take it or maybe be more understanding and forgiving.  When someone is whining and complaining all the time or lashing out about some injustice, it makes it difficult to provide assistance.  Our inclination is to avoid and shut down which doesn’t give the angry person the feedback they need.  The art of communication occurs when we let another person know the impact that their anger has on us and its non-productive nature.  Helping people look in the mirror and identify their own issues can be a very delicate business.  But if they are impacting you negatively with their anger, chances are they’re impacting others in a similar way.

The key is to suggest to them alternate ways to deal with the anger, frustration, and resentment.  Sometimes physical exercise helps people deal with these feelings.  Another option is to write about the feelings in a general way or write specifically confronting the person/issue head-on as a means of letting go.  In some cases, the person needs to forgive someone or maybe themselves in order to rid themselves of their anger. Often people with unresolved or chronic anger want to focus on the past and can’t let go of wrongs from their past. If you are the person with unresolved anger, choose to be assertive rather than aggressive and witness how much better people respond to you.  Respect others’ boundaries and know when to walk away or be quiet.  Remember to avoid defensiveness, blame, and justification; instead accept feedback from others and work on changing yourself.  It’s okay to be angry, as long as your feelings are expressed respectfully, constructively, and appropriately.  Lastly, be able to say it and leave it.

 

 

2 comments

  1. Carolyn B Quintin

    In reading this it occurred to me that when working with someone so angry with themselves, others or the situation, that encouraging them to write in a journal how they are feeling and to think of ways to forgive themselves and others. Because I have worked with many people laid off with anger afterwards, even when justified, they really need to move through that anger before they interview for another job. It often comes out sideways or in their tone of voice or even at me as their career coach. Thanks for this post, Dr. Tony, as I’m going to approach it with feedback rather than avoid it. Different ideas now. Thanks.

    1. DrTony

      Hopefully the different ideas will help. Remember that anger is a secondary emotion so there is usually other emotion(s) underneath that are worth noting and dealing with when offering suggestions.

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