If employ. The best (’emotionally intelligent’) approach

Ifwe want to effectively deal with other people’s anger in a way thatresolves the issue and maintains the relationship, there are certainkey strategies and behaviours which we need to employ.

Thebest (’emotionally intelligent’) approach involvesa combination of communication and problem-solving strategies. Thisde-escalation processalsoinvolves certain stages which need to be followed sequentially.SafetyFirst.

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Ifyou’re confronted with someone with out-of-control anger, firsttake steps to protect yourself from any potential violence (leave, goto a safe place, wait until your spouse is sober, etc.). Often, a”time-out period” reduces the hostility level. If you stay in avolatile situation, it may spiral into violence, so the most rationalthing to do, if possible, is to just walk away.That’snot to say you should never confront someone just because it willbring on a conflict situation. You have to know how you’re going tohandle that conflict, though. Size up the person you’re confrontingand be ready to protect yourself, especially if it’s a stranger.Defuse.

To help de-escalate the situation, experiment with the followingthree steps: Look for the unmet need. Ask the angry person, “What is it you are angry with me about?” and listen for the unmet expectation or need. (Anger always involves a frustrated need or expectation).

The initial step in defusing the anger is therefore to clarify that you have understood what has brought it on. One of the best ways to do this is to paraphrase the situation back to the angry person, minus the anger. Thus, a parent might say to an angry teen: “Let me make sure I understand you. You’re saying you’re upset because I asked you to choose between the class trip to Rajasthan and the rural camp?” This kind of feedback clarifies the core reason for the anger, putting aside the clutter such as fumes about “You always…

” and “You never…”, and “I wish I were…”.

With these out of the way, the problem becomes more life-sized.Empathyis the key word in this process. Genuinely strive to look at thesituation through the angry person’s eyes. Suspend all judgment.

Take care you do not come across as impatient or condescending. Hereare some effective de-fusers:–”Ican understand your frustration…” –”I can certainlysee why that would upset you…” –”I know how annoyingthat can be…” –”I know what you mean; that hashappened to me, and it can be very upsetting.”Apartfrom empathy, you can also use sympathy:–”I’msorry you’ve had a problem…” –”I’m sorry thishas inconvenienced you…” –”I’m sorry to hear aboutthat…”


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