Awhile back, I had some conflict with a good friend. I really could have handled it better. It got me thinking, “How can I be better at handling and even defusing someone else who is upset with me”? There has to be a better way—better than engaging in defensiveness or other bad habits. I am willing to learn from others who are better at it.
Of course, our own mindset and mood going into the conflict can easily play into how well we handle it. If we're already experiencing some fairly negative, hurtful moods and stress, it makes it all that tougher to handle conflict well.
Perhaps understanding why people tend to get angry in the first place will help? I've always heard that fear leads to anger. I have discovered over the years that pain can, too. Also, consider that “Angry People have 2 main beliefs: (1) This is unfair and (2) This is out of my control (or am losing control). The reaction is to make it more fair and gain more control.
Anyway, what is defusing a problem, or emotion? I looked it up, and found that to Defuse is “to make (something) less serious, difficult, or tense.”
So, what can help us do that? Part of the answer is how we listen to them (or not); and part is in our own verbal response. (In addition to our non-verbal posture we take).
I want to take the actions, and have the viewpoints, that will decrease the tension, not make it worse!
It seems to me, from what I've known so far, that proper skills going into a conflict, and a desire for a win/win solution (not “you're making me mad so I'm going to show you a thing or two), make as much a difference as anything.
So, some phrases I can use with the other person that show mutual respect and concern:
“I can see you're angry/upset.” “I can see your point, and I can ALSO see the need for...." “I can see that (personal trait-like fairness) is important to you; it is to me too.” “I think I understand what you mean now. On the other hand though....” Just a few possible ideas, among many!
We all could probably stand to develop an improved skill set for handling conflict. Of course each time is different; but, having a few skills going into the stressful moments can often lead to an improved outcome, and relationships.
We at Family Restoration Healing Center can help you find a counselor, if need be, to gain additional skill in this area. Please see this link for more information.
If you are looking for more great strategies on anger management, our book, "360° Wholeness", can help. Click Here for more information.
Stephenson, Richard N. (2010, August 6). “21 Ways To Defuse Anger and Calm People Down
.” Richardstep.com. Retrieved from http://richardstep.com/self-help/book-review-21-ways-to-defuse-anger-calm-people-down-staver-45-stars.
Merriam-Webster online Dictionary. (2015) “Defuse.” Encylopaedia Brittanica Company. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/defuse.