How do you deal with a colleague, a family member, or even your spouse when they become difficult to deal with? What do you do when it becomes an argument? The tendency is to get defensive, aggressive, or dig in and refuse to entertain their difficult behavioral outburst. None of these reactions will produce satisfying results. There are other ways of handling their behavior.
Another way to deal with a difficult person’s behavior is to surrender. You have to learn to let go of the need to control the situation and let go of the illusion that you can compel someone to change. Surrendering doesn’t mean losing yourself. Surrendering means accepting a person or situation as is. This is very different from caving in and giving up your needs simply to make peace without any effort to try to create positive change. Surrendering is an active choice to accept what life brings. Surrendering is being flexible rather than rigid and to look past a momentary block to a greater breakthrough. Surrendering allows you to let go of overthinking and second-guessing the situation.
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Pause: When you feel yourself getting angry or tensed don’t say anything. It’s hard to say nothing. I know from experience. Slow your breathing and try not to respond immediately. Let go of the need to direct the discussion.
Don’t Argue: You could have the strongest evidence and the desire to set things right. Defensiveness is a charged situation that will not change a person’s mind. It will just fuel the conflict. This is especially true if you or the other person has been drinking. Stay on topic. Don’t bring up everything that has ever happen between the two of you. Ask questions.
Empathize: Try to make a genuine effort to see the situation from the other person’s point of view. People that behave badly are suffering in some way. But this is not an excuse for their bad behavior. They are trying to avoid pain or anxiety.
Be willing to concede: Even if only 1% of their point is valid. Acknowledge that point of the discussion. You should also be willing to apologize for your own difficult behavior.
Watch your voice tone: No matter how careful you are in choosing your words they will get you nowhere if you have an edge to your voice. If your voice says irritation or sarcasm it will only fuel the anger. You have to make a big effort to do this. You may have to practice with your voice. Read the person you’re interacting with to see if your voice is doing the trick. You can even practice with the person with whom you have the most arguments.
Remember the word “respect.” You should respect yourself and the other person. Know that the word “compromise” is not a bad word. Don’t promise anything that you can’t live with. Try to collaborate. Couples and workmates should focus on how to reach their common goals by working together to find a way of attaining a solution, which works for both sides. Remember what’s important. Know that winning is not everything.
Anger management is a learned behavior. You have to practice to get it right. Spouses, children, relatives, neighbors and even police should do a little role-play to reach the point they are in control of themselves.
You should watch out for the “Guilt Tripper”, “Control Freak” and the “Anger Addict”.
The “Guilt Tripper”, blamers and martyrs activate your insecurity to get what they want. When confronted with this situation you should tell the “guilt trippers” that those comments hurt your feelings and that you would be grateful if they would stop making them. If you don’t feed into it emotionally most “guilt trippers” will lose interest in baiting you on.
The “Control Freak” micromanage, give unsolicited advice, voice strong opinions relentlessly and are rarely satisfied. Don’t try to control a controller or try to win them over. Thank them for their input and tell them you want to do your way this time. Remember “Control Freaks” don’t give up easily.
The “Anger Addict” likes to be in the danger zone. They feel anger is the way to brush people off, put them in their place, or assert their position of authority. When the “Anger Addict” is your employer remember it’s their dime you’re working with but don’t stay in an abusive job. Start looking for a new job. If it’s your spouse or family member let them know that their anger is hurting you.
Dealing with difficult people can affect your health. If you find that a person will not change their behavior you may have to let go of the relationship to protect your well-being.
Make sure you are at your best.
- Control your stress level.
- Count on family and friends in times of crisis, to help a weather rough phase in your life.
- Get treatment at the first sign of a problem to help prevent depression from worsening.
- If you have anger issues get in a treatment program.