Anger, Part 2: How Other People’s Anger Affects You

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Previously we talked how you accept and express anger in constructive or destructive ways.  In Part 2, I would like to again give you some reflection questions and offer ways to handle now the anger of others in constructive ways.

Here are several reflection questions. Check off each one that you think applies to you.

How would you answer the following?

 Do you recognize when others seem angry or express anger?

 Do you feel surprised, uncomfortable or afraid if someone who appears angry?

 Do you feel guilty if others show displeasure towards you?

 Do you shut down, withdrawal, and / or go away sulking after someone expresses anger?

 Do you become apologetic, appeasing and compliant to get back on their “good side?

 Do you try to speak up and be assertive with others who direct anger towards you?

 Do you have regrets over not speaking up or how you have used anger?

 Do you avoid for a time or even cut-off a relationship because they were angry towards you?

 Do you tell others when someone has been angry or mistreated you?

 Do you spend time replaying the hurtful memory when another was angry towards you?

 Do you dream of “confronting” them later or plotting revenge to even the score?

 Because of past experiences with the anger of others towards you, have you become overly sensitive and ready to react towards who may show anger or injustice towards you now?

 Do you walk around with a “chip on your shoulder” waiting to flee or fight anyone who shows anger towards you?

 Are you less trusting, committed and cooperative with others who might become angry towards you now, even if they have not been so yet?

 And, did you grow up in a home where anger was misused against you or others in your family that influenced your view of anger?

 Do you, because of how anger was used towards you, tend to be an angry person towards others – treating others now because of the way you were mistreated in the past?

Feeling Ineffective and Hurt by Other People’s Anger

As the above questions suggest, feelings of helplessness and confusion can arise in settings where anger occurs.  In a few conversational moments a host of issues can arise:

  1. The conversation can affect the nature and quality of your trust, sense of fairness and confidence in the person who might appear angry;
  2. The words spoken can reshape the nature of your relationship with the person going forward, either being careful, avoidant or resentful of them ;
  3. Or the tone and pattern of that helpless and diminished feeling is but another reminder of how others have mistreated you in the past.

Help for Tense and Angry Situations

I spend a large portion of my professional time with those who sometimes feel unsafe, diminished, and helpless in certain situations in life. If you can identify and relate to a sense of helplessness, frustration, worry and regrets how to handle these and similar tense situations, I invite you to seek out help.

Here is an example of what I invite people to first consider early in the process of counseling:

4 W’s – where, when, whom, what

  1. WHERE and …
  2. WHEN does anger and tension most occur that upsets you?
  3. With WHOM does it or has distress occurred?
  4. WHAT can you say or do to feel safe in managing the situation?

Verses from the Bible

I like to remind people of several passages from the Bible that can offer a helpful perspective. These include:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience… so that (they) may be ashamed of their slander.”    1

                                

Or as The MESSAGE puts the above 1 Peter 3:13-17 passage

Don’t give the opposition a second thought.  Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention… Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.  Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath.

Other verses I like which help prepare and empower a person is under WHAT to say for the situations we discuss in counseling. These are:

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians

“And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.” Matthew

 

When you’re confronted by anger, or you feel upset by the anger around you, consider these verses. God doesn’t want you to live in a spirit of fear, but in a spirit of hope.


Christian counselor Dr. Douglas Frey believes in Biblical principles and bringing forth God’s grace in meetings and sessions. Call or email Douglas Frey Ph.D. (952-920-2789). He is a licensed Christian counselor serving individuals and families in Eden Prairie and nearby Chanhassen, Chaska, Shakopee, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Plymouth and other Twin Cities Western Suburbs.

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