Why do we get angry?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I do not like conflicts. They really stress me. I admit I do get angry myself, a lot of times actually, but I do not like to get myself into a situation where others are angry and they show it.

I remember getting really very angry just once in my life. And with that, I mean I was so very angry that I was actually shaking as a result. Only that once. What did I do? I was in a client situation and I knew I had to control it. And so I walked away, extricating myself back to my corner to manage my anger. I articulated my frustration to my colleagues and slowly talked my way back down to control. I could never forget that moment.

What makes us angry? I read here that it has to do with one's personality (e.g. someone competitive or narcissistic), his pre-anger condition (e.g. lack of sleep, stressed up condition) and his appraisal of the situation, i.e. how each different person assesses and perceives a situation, which can be different between different people, that will cause him to either accept it or be angry about it.

In the comment section of the same article, I found this "Desire Engine Law of Stress", which I find quite interesting. It puts perspective to the reasons given above, especially what causes the different appraisals in the first place.

It says, "the amount of anger and stress we feel is in proportion to difference between how intensely we desire something (for whatever reason) and how powerless we feel to affect the realization of that desire (for whatever reason)."

A sense of powerlessness causes anger - is this true? To me, it may not cause anger in all people. I think it depends on the personality. It may also cause depression, stress, frustration and avoidance.

But at least it helps me understand anger better and prepare me to manage the situation when someone gets angry and I can't remove myself from the situation. I will need to try to help the person's balance of desire and powerlessness. And if I can't, to keep silent lest I amplify his sense of powerlessness making him even angrier.

You may be wondering why I'm so hung up on this. It's because of my communication with this one person that keeps running into dead ends. Things I said frustrated him. Questions I asked irritated him. So I'm asking why is this happening. I did not do anything wrong, at least that is what I think. I was just asking questions for verification but he gets irritated.

Now I know it could be that I'm amplifying his sense of powerlessness. So what can I do? The next time I go talk to him, I must be able to provide enough information to give him a sense of control of the situation.

And sadly, I must lower down my sense of inquisitiveness and sense of excitement. At least with him.

pearlie

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