How do you deal with angry people? Do you ignore them, absorb or personalize their anger or lash back? There are some people who always seem angry and continuously looking for conflict. We often treat those who are emotionally closest to us the worst and assume they’ll tolerate it or be more forgiving. Often their anger has nothing to do with the targeted person, but with whoever is the closest or easiest. Frequently angry people are struggling with other issues and emotions that their anger is covering up, like sadness, anxiety, fear, hurt, or insecurity. Anger becomes their armor that shields them from getting close to others and being vulnerable.
Some people express their anger directly through yelling, arguing, and belittling, while others express anger indirectly through passive-aggressiveness, sarcasm, and ignoring the person. Unfortunately social media has given angry and negative people a platform to express themselves. They often find like-minded people who add fuel to their fire and fan the flame. It can be very difficult to be around an angry person and even more difficult to love them. Hugging a porcupine can be very painful. We all get angry on occasion, but some people are chronically angry. Even when a person has good reason to be angry, the way in which they express their feelings can influence others’ response. When dealing with this type of person, the best solution is to walk away and realize that the battle they are fighting isn’t with you, it is with themselves.
Anger shuts down conversation which may be the objective of the angry person. If you are in a relationship with a chronically angry person it is best to express your concerns at a time when their anger is under control. Neither tolerating their anger nor lashing back are the best choices. It may be effective to write a note and share your feelings, being direct without being offensive or hurtful since that will only justify in their mind their own anger. Fighting anger with anger just perpetuates the problem; instead take an assertive stance and let them know the impact that their anger has on the relationship and your ability to be close to them. Maybe they will consider counseling to learn healthy and constructive ways to deal with their anger and even uncover the root of this destructive emotion. Angry people are often unhappy with themselves, their lives, and/or their choices and have decided to blame or displace their feelings on others. Until they acknowledge their own anger and take responsibility for the impact on others, nothing will change. You have to own it to change it.