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lovingpartner's avatar

Question about anger management?

Asked by lovingpartner (68 points ) December 30th, 2012

How do you manage the anger of someone who won’t let anybody to manage her anger?

I just want to help a loved one because I felt she’s not very good at anger management. She said hurtful words to someone who would hurt her, as her defense mechanism. Which I think is not good. Because you don’t have to fight back, or talk back harshly to the people who hurt you.

She won’t listen ever. How would you help someone who won’t listen to you.

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9 Answers

rooeytoo's avatar

The only thing you can control is your own reaction to the anger. You cannot control another’s anger or force them into trying to control themselves. Is there alcohol involved? If so try an alanon meeting, actually that is a good idea regardless of whether alcohol is involved or not. Alanon teaches you defense mechanisms and tells you the 3 c’s, you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it, trying to do any of those causes resentment in the other person and frustration in your own life.

lovingpartner's avatar

What if, it was your sister or any family member who you would want to help?

rooeytoo's avatar

@lovingpartner – I feel, from my own experience and from hearing a lot of stories in meetings that what I said is the truth. One must make their own choices, you cannot make them for someone else. So often if you interfere and give unsolicited advice, you end up being the bad guy. The best thing to do is teach by your example. I wish I could tell you a magic solution but I don’t know one and have never heard one. You know that old line about you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink! It is so true of humans too.

tom_g's avatar

What @rooeytoo said.
Also, I found that my anger greatly diminished when I realized that somewhere deep down I believed that being angry hurt the people I was angry at. When in reality, being angry was only hurting me. So, in a way, if I felt an injustice was done to me, then I was doubling or tripling the effects of said injustice by allowing myself to be consumed with anger.
Until this loved one honestly can see that the anger is hurting nobody but herself and the people that love her, and can only lead to more self-inflicted pain and suffering, you’ll have to step aside and let her work it out and lead by example.

tom_g's avatar

Additionally, if this person is open to meditation/mindfulness, she might find this interesting (check out the section that begins on page 53, “The Mindfulness of Emotions”).

hearkat's avatar

To continue @tom_g‘s theme, there is this quote from Buddha: ”Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

As @rooeytoo explained, you can only control your own words and actions, you can not control anything or anyone else in the universe. My son has had anger management problems. When he was a minor, I had legal responsibility for him, but I still could not control his actions in any way. When he was a teenager, there were times he frightened me, and I had to call the police on him. He has been through therapy and figured out his own ways for coping, but I am still concerned that there are unresolved issues beneath the surface. Those problems are his, and even though mistakes I made in the past may have contributed to them, they are completely out of my control. All I can do is be available to him for emotional support and to offer advice when he asks for it. If I nag or lecture, he will tune me out and avoid me, and eventually develop resentments.

So all you can do for the person you care about is talk to her – ideally, when the moment has passed – tell her how you felt in the moment of the incident, and that you are concerned that she might create more problems for herself if she lets her emotions control her behaviors. Share the quote I posted above, or perhaps another you might find. Then let her know that you will be there to support and encourage her if she chooses to seek help. Then leave it alone. Being honest is the first step, expressing what you’ve witnessed and why it concerns you. Then placing ownership of the issue in her lap, and offering support – without sounding judgmental or telling her what she should or shouldn’t do. If another incident occurs, ask her after things have calmed down, if she’d thought about what you’d said, and would she like to discuss it further? Be prepared to hear and accept “No” as her response, because even if you didn’t use judgmental phrasing, there will likely be some embarrassment on her part. Do not push the issue any further, because again you risk turning embarrassment into shame, and may wind up alienating her. If there is another incident, and especially if it happens in your presence, you can explain that you don’t like being around her when she gets that way, and limit your interaction with her.

As @rooeytoo noted, Al-Anon is an excellent resource for materials explaining why and how to detach yourself from a loved one’s issues. The material they have focuses on alcohol abuse, but can easily translate to other problems.

marinelife's avatar

You can’t/ You can only help someone who wants to be helped. You can model god behavior and avoid this person, but that is all you can do.

burntbonez's avatar

You can’t change others. The only person you can change is yourself. You, for example could change your reaction to the plight of your friend.

mattbrowne's avatar

Talk about anger seen as a fire metaphor. Once ignited the fire will burn, but then there’s a choice: letting it burn down or adding fuel. Just talk about yourself. You can only change yourself. But you can share your experience.

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