Have you ever had someone attacking you and you can’t figure out why?
They may say it is because of something you said, did or wrote, yet you know that it had nothing to do with them.
This happens more than we realize. And knowing how to recognize it and how to deal with it, is important in business and life. Quite often, an angry or even violent reaction from another person is due to a conflict or perceived threat with his or her inner belief system. On a fundamental level, the information or action triggered fear for their survival.
You see, when our inner beliefs are challenged, when tend to go into protection mode. It can shut down our ability to think and respond clearly. And quite often, we are not even aware of what these inner beliefs are.
Many if not most of them were developed in our childhood when we were learning how to survive and how everyone around us did things.
This is why, you can have two or more people in the identical situation and they all react differently. It’s not the situation that’s good or bad, it is just the viewpoint of the person experiencing it.
When we look at these beliefs, we can find that many of them no longer serve us. One destructive belief that I have seen people hold is that they can’t be wrong, ever. It apparently is a death sentence to be or even appear to be wrong. So when someone else has a difference of an opinion, then it becomes about right / wrong as apposed to just being different.
I have seen people shake and go red when someone else gives a different perspective on an issue then what they thought. This is very destructive in business. It stops production, and destroys teamwork. It can cause other people to be nervous about saying or doing anything, especially if the reaction came from a boss, team leader or supervisor.
So, what do you do when some one is freaking at you?
Getting mad or shouting back rarely if ever resolves the situation. This will only escalate the situation. Neither will insulting them work, as they probably don’t even know the real reason for their reaction. As far as they are concerned in that moment, it is something that you said or did.
It is important to remain as calm as possible and ask, “Why are you angry?”
The answer at first will probably be about what you said or did. Then repeat the question and ask, “But why are you really mad? What is it about this that has you so upset?”
However, there are situations where it’s best to get away from the person for safety reasons. You can say that you would love to talk with them when they are calmer. It can often help to write a letter to the person, because when they are angry they are not listening anyway.
Most people don’t even understand that they are reacting to something else and if given a chance; they will realize that it had little or nothing to do with the person that they are focusing their anger on.
It also helps to have a third party suggest that the person look at the real issue. Many psychologists have stated that people are never angry for the reason they think. And when they can look at it and communicate with themselves and others about it, they can then make real inroads at never being controlled by the destructive belief in the future.
Actually, we can all do this. Start noting when you are reacting instead of responding and then ask yourself, “Why do I feel strongly about this?” When we take the time to make insights into our own behaviour, we can release the control the destructive beliefs hold over us. Then we can have a happier more productive life.