Angry people use anger to cope with feeling inadequate or threatened. An angry addict typically abuses substances to cope with these feelings. Not knowing which came first, the anger or the drugs, the root for both is painful feelings of shame. The fear of rejection or abandonment may cause angry outbursts toward loved ones. The angry individual may accuse, attack, humiliate, or criticize. Learning to manage living with or loving an angry person takes some skill.
Your first step is to not expect healthy behavior from an angry person. This will only frustrate you more. When speaking with an angry addict consider these tips.
- Do not react. In fact, don’t even speak until you feel relaxed and centered, using deep breathing
- Acknowledge him by saying, “I can see you are angry. I’m listening to you.”
- When shouting occurs, you can say, “ Ican’t hear you when you raise your voice. Let’s talk when we can hear each other.” or “I can’t see you when you are criticizing me.”
- You must empathize in order to have effective communication with an angry individual. Consider where the anger is coming from, because chances are it has little to do with the current topic the individual appears to be upset about. Consider past trauma or pain. Do not bring this up, only think to yourself.
- Focus on the positive.
You may consider an redeeming quality about the angry individual or a positive thought about the current situation.
Gather your power before responding to anger. Maintaining restraint is crucial to keep the addict’s anger from escalating. If you are ever fearful, remove yourself and do not engage in communication until you believe the anger has subsided. It is important to assert yourself when the timing feels right. Ask for what you want or need with specificity. Have confidence that communication will go well before you begin. Apply the same tips if attacked with anger again. The cycle may continue. However, the less you engage, the more diffused it will become.