Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peace 101

By Belinda

The other day, when I was talking to my friends from upstairs at work, about better ways to deal with anger, I grabbed my well worn copy of Diffusing Anger and Avoiding Feeding the Flames by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.,and told them how it helped me. "Read it to me," they each said, and I did, paraphrasing to make it easier to understand for people with developmental disabilities, trying to put it in plain language.  When one man said that some of the words were still too difficult, I promised him that I would try to write the main points in simple words for him--and me. I'm going to have a shot at it here.

  1. When people disagree and one is angry, saying ANYTHING will  feed the anger and make it grow.
  2. The angry person may say things that make you mad. Now two people are mad.
  3. Your own anger grows as you defend yourself and try to control the other person.
  4. Both of you are now trying to control the other person's behaviour, feelings or views.
  5. When we are yelled at, or blamed, we defend or explain, trying to change the other person's mind. 
  6. The other person threw out a hook and we bit on to it.
  7.  Instead, one of the people needs to let go completely, and not get hooked into a fight.
  8. Don't walk away angry, or to punish the other person, but to take care of yourself.
  9. You accept that you cannot control the other person but you are getting out of the way of attack.
  10. Completely letting go, is loving to yourself and the other person. 
  11. When the other person is friendly again, you can both talk with no hard feelings.
Well, I don't know if this is simple enough, but it's my attempt at a "Coles Notes" version! I'll try it out tomorrow and see if it is easier to understand for my anger support group! :)

Proverbs 15:1

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Proverbs 15

 1A SOFT answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.(A)


Anonymous said...

Some great points - simply put - buy hard to put into practice :-)

It is always a wonder to me that if the other person who is angry at you is so right - why are they so angry!!

I've also found that keeping quiet can fuel the fire as well. It is hard to know what to do.

Thanks for addressing such a difficult subject.

Dave Hingsburger said...

I'm a bit the same as Anon above, someone who 'walks away' (for whatever reason) makes me so much angrier ... and the 'silent treatment' fuels the fire even more. Anger is a tough issue. At Vita, where I work, we bought an Anger Management curriculum for people with intellectual disabilities and the staff trainers said that they learned, themselves, better strategies for dealing with their own anger. If you'd like I can get the reference for you.

Belinda said...

Anon, I agree that putting this into practice isn't easy.

I also know that silence can fuel the fire. Paul would go silent with anger and I would go from wondering what I did, to anger at him for giving me what I perceived as "the silent treatment." It took years to understand that he was so angry he couldn't talk about it and was holding back because he didn't want to speak rash words that would hurt.

Belinda said...

Dave, I would really appreciate the Anger management reference if you would have time to send it.

As for walking away, I know that in the moment that might sound like it's maddening. And the "silent treatment" is just wrong, but one party taking care of themself by staying clear of Mutual Assured Destruction until the emotions have calmed enough to talk about it has to be better than the alternative.

Talking it through when hearts as well as ears can hear is the answer in the end.

Angcat said...

Lots of great input. Belinda, I'm going to share this with my kids as well. It applies perfectly to a heated sibling 'discussion' that happened tonight.
Also, what if the person walking away from the argument said 'Let's talk later when we're calmer' or something like that.
Then the other person isn't rejected and more angry, but understands that the party leaving is practicing self control.

Belinda said...

Ang, I hope it helps the kids. I talked about it with Tippy and Tori yesterday when we were hanging out together and they got it.

Yes, saying something like you suggested would help avoid the appearance of rejection!