How Do I Deal with Angry People? – Top Ten #9
Greg Baer answers the question, "What can I do when people are angry at me?" We all hate conflict. Responding to anger with anger yields only more anger. The only genuine solution to anger is love. Watch how to deal with angry people.
Responding with Anger to Angry People
In question six, I said that the real reason for the anger in our lives is a lack of Real Love. When we don't have enough of that one element essential to our happiness, we’re in constant pain and in that condition we respond badly, often with anger to the slightest provocations. When we understand that we can respond much more productively to angry people when people get mad, we tend to take it personally, don't we?
I come into the room and with an angry tone and facial expression, I say to you, “I'm sick and tired of you, whatever, leaving your socks on the floor.” The list is endless. We've all seen where this usually goes, haven't we? Understandably you'll feel like I'm attacking you because I am and one way to defend yourself is to attack me in return.
So, you snap back with something brilliant like, “Oh right, and this from the guy who always leaves milk out of the fridge” or whatever. Now, what we exchange snippy comments back and forth until the conversation is hopelessly bitter and entangled, nobody wins, everybody is unhappy and will avoid each other at least until tomorrow. And we've done this kind of thing hundreds of times before because we don't understand what's really happening.
Understanding What's Going On with Angry People
All over the world people are repeating these kinds of foolish and destructive conversations because they don't understand what they're doing. But with an understanding of Real Love, you do understand what's going on with other people's anger now. You know that when people are angry supposedly at you, they're really saying without realizing it, “I feel empty and alone. What I really need and don't know, is to feel accepted and loved.” When you can look at an angry person and see that, miraculous solutions become apparent instantly.
So, let's do that scene again that we did just a moment ago. But this time instead of me coming into the room, it will be someone in your life that you sometimes do have conflicts with. Picture that person in your mind right now. I don't know if it's a he or she, just cheat and use the term they.
They come into the room and with an angry tone and facial expressions say to you, "I am sick and tired of you, for example, leaving your socks on the floor." But see, this time you're not gonna be fooled. No, you're way too smart for that now. You're not going to make this about you and get offended. You're not going to be tricked just because they said they're sick and tired of you leaving your socks on the floor. You're not gonna be tricked by those words. Just because they use the word ‘you’ twice isn't going to fool you into thinking that this conversation is about you, right? Yeah. You're not gonna fall for that.
You're going to remember that angry people invariably feel empty and unloved. So what does this angry person in front of you need? Love. Right now. What does that look like? How do you love an angry person while they're angry and screaming at you about socks or whatever? Is this the time to give them a dozen roses? Nah, probably not. Or a kiss on the cheek? Again, probably not. The problem is this: they're angry because of a lifetime of not feeling loved and every time you leave your socks on the floor, it's just one more reminder to them that people don't care about them.
Like we talked about in question six, they're badly sunburned. And when you leave your socks on the floor, it's like you reach out and poke their sunburn. Now by itself, it really isn't a big deal, a little poke, but with the sunburn, it's enough to knock them right over the edge. It's about them not feeling loved, not about the time it would take for them to pick up a pair of socks, which would be what, two seconds because you're a genius now. You know that it's really about love.
What to Say to Angry People
So you say to that angry person, Fred or Wilma or whoever it is, “You're right about those socks. I leave them on the floor all the time. And it's not just socks. I often leave my shorts and shoes there too. And you've asked me to turn off the light when I leave the bathroom, but I don't do that either. In many ways, I do things that show that I'm not thinking about you. I've been selfish and I'm going to think more about that. I can't tell you that I won't do it again. I'm way too flawed for that. But I am going to be thinking about it. I'm going to go pick up the socks now. And in a week I'd like to ask you whether I'm doing better overall at paying attention to the things that matter most to you. Would that be all right?”
Now, how do you think that person would be feeling right now? You didn't defend yourself. You told the truth about yourself. You admitted you’re selfish. You really listened. And you offered a plan for following up on your progress at dealing with your selfishness. Each one of those acts is extraordinarily loving. By comparison, giving somebody flowers and candies—nothing. I mean it.
Responding to anger with anger yields only more anger. Responding to blood with blood only yields a larger bloodbath. The only genuine solution to anger is love. This isn't a theory. I've seen it work enough, 1000 times to know this for a fact. I look forward to having you with us here at RealLove.com, where you'll be given a vast array of tools with which you can eliminate, not just manage or control, but eliminate your anger, and that will revolutionize your life.
Learn more about understanding anger.