Anger is an extremely disturbing emotion. One can even say that it is verbal violence. It is not completely useless or wrong; it has its advantages. However, no one wants to be at the receiving end of anger but everyone wants to be angry with someone. When someone shouts at us, our immediate reaction is to shout back. We lose our mental peace. But is there another option?
In this post, I want to explore the reasons why someone gets angry with us. Understanding the reasons might help us in changing our responses to them:
1. You have hurt that person in the past. Now, that person wants to take revenge.
2. You belong to a particular group and someone from that group has hurt that person. So, he/she thinks that the whole group is ‘bad’ and hence wants to hurt you to take revenge from the group. Example: An extrovert might have made fun of you and you may think that all extroverts are mean. Or few Muslims are terrorists and you think that all Muslims are ‘bad’.
3. He has misunderstood you/your opinion/your actions completely. Or he is just projecting his/her flaws onto you. His anger is not towards you but his perception about you which is not even true. Basically, he is attacking something that doesn’t even exist.
4. He is self-righteous. He genuinely thinks that what you are doing is a sin. He thinks that he has to save the world from his idea of evil. If you truly believe that his idea of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is subjective and is not the absolute truth, why are you affected by his anger?
5. His position is under threat because of your irresponsible behavior. Example: you don’t do your work properly because of which your boss has to suffer.
6. He wants to shout at you because doing so will make him feel powerful. Someone else have made him feel powerless and this is his only way to feel powerful. This has got nothing to do with you.
7. He cares about you and genuinely feels that you should be doing things differently to be more happy/successful etc. However, he doesn’t know how to communicate this to you in a peaceful way.
8. He is unable to take responsibility for his happiness and hence, wants YOU to make him happy. Unless you have made some kind of promise to fulfill someone’s expectations, there is no reason why you should feel guilty.
9. He thinks that he knows more than you. However, he secretly doubts his beliefs and knowledge and if you are doing something that proves his knowledge/beliefs wrong, he will get upset. He tries to deal with this through anger. The problem is not you but his attachment to his beliefs.
10. He is having a bad day or upset with someone else. It has got nothing to do with you.
11. There might be some unconscious or subconscious reasons. Sometimes, even if we are not having a bad day, even if the person in front of us is behaving perfectly, we still get irritated for no rational reason. It’s similar to the connection we feel with someone who doesn’t even possess the qualities that we like in people. There’s nothing you can do about it!
Out of all these points, only 1, 5 and maybe 7 are related to you. In case of 1, you can settle things by talking heart-to-heart with the person. In case of 5, if the fault is yours, then there is no reason why you should hold any grudge against the person. In case of 7, you can analyze yourself and see if that person is correct. Even if he is wrong, then there is no good reason to hold a grudge because at the end of the day, his intentions were good.
In all other points, the person is not even attacking you, he is just dealing with his own assumptions, beliefs, doubts, ideas, expectations etc. Is it a smart idea to take things personally then?
This doesn’t mean you take shit. No. Be firm and voice your opinion. But why should YOU get disturbed because of them?