PROS: Very useful tips and methods for not only handling high emotional situations with others, but (first and foremost) how to keep yourself in check. Very practical and you would be hard-pressed to not take at least one good piece of advice from this work.
CONS: As you can tell from my notes, it seems like attention / details started to trail off toward the end. There probably could have been less than ’21’ ways and it wouldn’t have hurt the book at all – combine a few for good measure.
ASSESSMENT: If practiced, then you will handle tense situations more proficiently after reading/listening to this book. I recommend it – we can always benefit from greater communications skills –> 4 /5 Stars <–
My Notes for this book are available by clicking the link below:
“If the only tool you have in the toolbox is a hammer, then every problem begins to look like a nail.” -Maslow?
01) Learn how to stay calm in any situation. F.E.A.R. = Finding Evidence Against Reality.
02) Learn how to deal *constructively* with other people’s anger. >>> It’s all about results <<< Not about how you feel, but about how you can obtain the results you want for the situation. There are times for being dramatic and times for being ‘laid-back’
03) Learn how to eliminate your own behaviors that aggravate tense situations & help create and environment where less outbursts occur. Avoid other people’s ‘hot buttons’.
[Do These Questions, Seriously]
What angry outburst have you recently handled well? What were results?
What angry outburst have you recently NOT handled well? What were results?
What would you like to do differently after this program?
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. This usually ends up as an escalation of perceived unfairness and out-of-control-ness.
[5 Basic Stages of How an Angry Person Develops]
–> Think of a bell curve and superimpose these stages on it <–
Stage 1: Bottom start of curve – start of annoyance
Stage 2: Upward ramp of curve – escalation
Stage 3: Upper most peak of curve – crisis
Stage 4: Downward ramp of curve – resolution (with false remorse?)
Stage 5: Bottom end of curve – back to norm
Before Stage 1 and after Stage 5 is the ‘BASELINE’. This is the person’s nominal existence. Their usual personality, behavior, habits, et cetera. If more and more instances of anger occur and tools are not properly used to get back to the BASELINE then the BASELINE can move up on the curve. This means that the new ‘normal’ state for the person can change to be an ‘escalated’ or ‘false remorse’ state.
As person gets angrier, the quality of self-control and judgment goes down.
When threatened, clarify by making a statement: “That sounds like a threat – I take threats very seriously.”
[Top 10 >>Myths<< About Anger]
- Getting angry is the only way to get things done – manipulative myth.
- It’s only natural to respond in an angry way – excuse myth.
- Strongly confronting an angry person will get them to back down.
- Intimidation wins respect.
- Verbal of physical venting will have lasting, calming effects.
- Anger is a bad emotion. Not bad or good – just an emotion – it’s just anger. Direct toward constructive.
- There is only one way to deal with an angry person.
- Anger can’t be helped – “this is just the way I am – I was born this way.”
- Not getting angry means ‘they’ got away with it. “It’s the principle – they *need* to be a target of my anger.”
- Ignore it and it will go away. “Time heals all wounds.” Not so – sometimes it infects.
[Techniques To Defuse Anger & Calm People Down]
01) Staying Calm: Yourself
1) breathing: do it – breath in through nose/out through mouth – keep it slow
2) relaxing: relax muscles: jaw/neck/shoulders/all muscles in general
3) your attitude: be non-defensive/don’t take personal – pretend they are hanging out in front of you/never make it to you – take it to 3rd person, if necessary – be confident (self-assured)/not arrogant (exaggerated sense of self-importance) – do not take yourself too seriously/but take other person seriously. Try a coping statement before: ex) “Stay calm and relaxed – you can handle this.”
Very Effective Coping Statement: “I can’t change this person.”
Don’t let them see you sweat. What symptoms do you exhibit when you get angry? sweaty palms, clenched fist, faster/louder talking, flushed, et cetera. Stop it.
02) Pre-Venting Anger
1) This ONLY works at Stage 1 of the anger curve
2) The 2-minute vent: This only works for minor things (annoying neighbor, flat tire, etc.). Let everyone know venting is acceptable, lasts for 2 minutes total, can say anything BUT verbal abuse, they go for 1 minute, at 1 minute ask if they need another minute, if so go 1 more minute, at 2 minutes stop — we’re done. Do NOT interrupt the person. Don’t tell them to calm down, don’t give advice, don’t give feedback. At end of 2 minutes they release and are done, but SO DO/ARE YOU!
03) Understand the Elements of Empathy
– understand the value of parallel experiences. Put self in experience that is similar (NOT the same as) to angry person and explain your view through their eyes.
1) Understanding: I care enough about what you’re experiencing to try and really understand it the best I can.
2) Know-How: Having the skills necessary to be empathetic.
3) Assertiveness: Knowing when to and not to speak.
Do: short answers with great impact, tailor responses to other person (not you), use an even tone of voice, try to understand what need they are trying to have met (just ask). “I’m surprised you aren’t more angry than you already are.”
Don’t: automatically give advice (I have the answer! nope…), don’t be fakin’ it, don’t respond with a cliche, don’t sound condescending/jump to conclusions.
– Terms to NOT use: “don’t feel that way”, “I told you so”
04) Master the Art of Listening
– Phrase questions so that they encourage talk; absorption of information outside of ‘me’
1) Pay attention to what is going on beyond you; focus on the words
2) Ask questions that are curious with a purpose
3) Eliminate the ‘buts’ – effectively a ‘period’. Maybe use ‘and’ instead.
4) Avoid ‘why’ questions – it places blame and creates defensive response. Use ‘what’, ‘are/is there’, & ‘how’ instead.
5) Paraphrase, do NOT parrot
6) Ask questions to get person to talk about SPECIFIC feelings, things, underlying reasons
– Don’t be afraid to say “you might be right” – let’s investigate this further.
05) Art of Keeping Quiet / Saying Nothing
– Silence after an open-ended question, even past the moment of uncomfortable silence
– Must remove “I don’t know” from the person’s vocabulary – nicely ask “well, if you did know, what would you do?”
06) Focus on Issues vs. Actions
– do not get distracted by your own “hot buttons”
– focus on what the person is really talking about, not the signs of what they are talking about: DO NOT FOCUS ON THE SIGNS; “keep talking to me like that and I’ll punish you!” this is focusing on talking… not content.
1) Change your facial expression: don’t even address it
2) Tendency to exaggerate: “Nobody understands me at all!”… ‘nobody’? ‘at all’? no – this doesn’t help
3) Sarcasm: (to tear or to rip flesh) don’t even acknowledge the sarcasm; when it is personal, it is most damaging
4) Personal Attacks: use their power and attack instead of deflecting it. “You’re stupid!” answered with “Whether or not I am stupid is not the point… let’s talk about”.
07) Admitting Mistakes
– admit a mistake when it is absolutely yours, but do not if you are not responsible
– Apologies stop the bleeding, they do not heal the wound
– Apologies (1) acknowledge responsibility, (2) stimulate personal behavior change, & (3) (if genuine) avoid excuse making (don’t use ‘buts’!) – put a period at the end of the apology.
08) Playing Referee
– You are not necessarily involved in the argument – you are >>NOT<< emotionally connected – more of an overseer
– Ask permission before you get involved or they can turn on you
– (1) acknowledge, (2) observe, & (3) recommend
– Maintain neutrality – you are working to resolve root cause of anger, ONLY
09) (Zoned Out)
10) Provide Guided Problem Solving
– ask >> future oriented << questions
– do NOT assume you know the answer – sometimes the ‘answer’ is not even the point or desired
Stage 3 stuff?
11) De-Escalate the Angry
12) Find Safer Ground
– protect self, others, and the environment
– do not try to resolve the problem at this stage – they will only take you down farther
– the 1st time someone zings you verbally, let it go; the 2nd time – say something; any more: disengage, protect, ask for help/reinforcement
13) (Zoned Out)
14) (Zoned Out)
15) Restore Order After the Crisis has Passed
– C – Continue normal work patterns
– A – Allow people to discuss the situation
– L – Look and listen for signs of escalation
– M – Maintain confidence
16) Ground Harmful Grudges
– do not avoid the angry person after the situation is over
17) Set Expectations
– set goals and benchmarks
18) Reducing Conflict Conditions
19) Maintaining Daily Peace
20) (Zoned Out)
21) Becoming a Model Citizen
Now Start Working on Regaining Control of Your Anger
Sorry I flaked out on the notes here towards the end. But really, working with and then on your anger takes more than just reviewing some notes.
A year or so ago, I made a couple of hypnosis-style audio files that I’d use to help plant the good seeds inside for being more calm, less angry, and more tolerant. Total game changer. Sure, it took me about 21 days for the embedded habits to take hold, but it was a fun experiment.
Now I know most people don’t want to do through the trouble of doing something like this themselves – it was a lot of work. And I’d share my files but there just a little too personal for me to put them out there. Trust me – it’s a little embarrassing.
But I found something better. Clinical hypnotherapist Steve G. Jones created a program that’ll work much better than anything I could put together. It’s called Lose the Rage and I suggest checking it out if you’re serious about controlling your own anger or helping someone close to you.
Click here if you’d like to find out more about controlling your anger.
Thank you for reading and have a great day!