I just got home from a 2 hour workshop on anger and acquired some helpful tools and insights. I wanted to share the same resource with you so you can apply these skills in your work, family and relationships.
The premise of the workshop was about a theory on non-aggressive communication. It is a skill that takes practice to learn and it’s not just for people that are more bent towards anger.
So what’s the surprising purpose of anger? It’s actually personal needs not getting met. I definitely find this true in my life.
I will get triggered by something someone says or does, then I react in anger. In that state of anger, not only do I need to look at what triggered me, I need to look at the cause of that anger and what needs are not being met. Tricky stuff to do in the heat of the moment!
Here’s an example from my own life 5 years ago:
I was in the process of moving out of my rental suite. The landlord came to give the cleaning inspection and she was being overly meticulous. I was stressed out and trying to do the best I could. The last straw was when she came out of the bedroom that I had just vacuumed and showed me a small fluff ball that had been missed. I just snapped!
It wasn’t my landlord’s fault for making me angry. It was MY perception of how she treated me and I needed to take responsibility for that. In the heat of the moment, I need to shut up and go through 3 steps:
1. What was the trigger? – the landlord complaining about a hairball
2. What was the cause? – I didn’t feel good enough
3. What needs are not being met? – I wanted to feel appreciated for my hard work
This can be complicated to figure out, especially the cause and needs. Often, we don’t know what we need and we get the cause confused with the trigger. Dr. Marshall Rosenberg will help you figure that out in his book “The Surprising Purpose of Anger”
If you don’t remember anything else, just remember….keep quiet! It’s incredibly hard to do but it spares us from making the situation worse than it needs to be.
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