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An Addiction To Anger

I got an e-mail from someone who was telling me about how angry everyone in their family was. This person told me that their entire family had an addiction to anger and she was stuck in the middle of it all. So what are you supposed to do with that? How do you deal with angry people? Especially when you have no other choice but to live with them?

I think one of the best things to do when you have to deal with an angry person is to ask the question: What are you really angry about? (Pause) If that question escalates the situation, then take a step back and let everything calm down a bit more. But don’t wait more than 24 hours or the whole thing will just get brushed under the rug and nothing will get resolved…If you want to help someone work through their anger, you have to ask them what they’re hoping to accomplish with their anger? How’s their anger going to fix anything anyway?

When I’ve kind of gone there with some folks in the past, I’ve had people tell me: “It makes me feel better – that’s why I get angry!� So I ask them if it’s really all about them all the time? I challenge them to think about how their anger and the way they express it affects everyone else around them…
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What I’m ultimately trying to get to is this question: (Pause) “What are you afraid of?� (Pause) It might sound weird, but what I’ve found is that FEAR is what’s really motivating most angry people…fear of not being accepted, fear of failure, fear of being found out…so what I really want to do is help people who struggle with anger learn to talk about their fears and help them work through it…a lot of listening and a lot of understanding go a long way…

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