Being around angry people

When you live with or interact frequently with people who get angry at others a lot, a very common pitfall is you so want the other person to stop getting angry, that you pre-emptively get angry at whoever they would normally get angry at so that they themselves do not get angry. You fear the angry person getting angry, so to avoid that you do their dirty work for them and get angry at others so that the angry person does not get angry.  This is a big mistake.

When you get angry like this, it does somewhat prevent the other person from getting angry at the time, but it sends the message to the angry person that it is alright to get angry. Also, it starts setting up a dysfunctional pattern where you get sucked into other people’s anger. It also means you are creating the causes of getting angry yourself and you destroy your relationships with the people now you are getting angry at. No good can come from this.

One of the big reasons why it happens is the angry person gets angry at you because you are not doing anything to prevent the anger-provoking behavior from occuring. So they blame you for negligence and for not solving the situation. It also happens because you have strong aversion to the other person getting angry. You hate it when they are angry and are tired of dealing with it, so you will do anything to prevent it from happening. You are also trying to defuse the situation before it gets worse because you know if you do not step in, the angry person will start getting angry and then it will be a bigger problem.

I don’t entirely know (yet) what the solution to this problem is. But it involves much of the following.
1. Recall Dorje Shugden. Remember that this is taking place in the pure land, emanated by him, as part of your retreat and training. So you need to accept the situation and view it as an opportunity to practice and train your mind, learn things about the Dharma, etc.
2. Remaining disciplined to not get angry yourself. Anger never solves anything, so you need to yourself not get angry.
3. Show an alternative way of dealing with the situation without anger. You need to gain in skilful means to be able to resolve situations without resorting to anger. This will show a different example which can then help educate the person how to do things differently.
4. Patiently accept the suffering of having to experience the other person getting angry. Much of the motivation for this mistake is an aversion to the other person getting angry. We need to overcome our aversion to other people being deluded. If we are attached to others not behaving in deluded ways or we are averse to being around deluded people then we will never be able to help anybody.
5. Categorically refuse to back up the angry person when they are wrong. You can even say that you won’t back them up because in your view they are wrong. This will of course infuriate them more at the time, but you need to accept that too. But what it will do is make them confront the fact that they are wrong and their angry ways are self-defeating and counter-productive.
6. Apologize to the person that is the object of the angry person’s anger, helping them know how to deal with angry people (make the distinction between the person and the anger, how to not let it bother you when somebody else gets angry knowing that it is the other person’s problem not yours, get them to objectively examine their own behavior and eliminate any faults or mistakes they might be making, etc.
7. Once things calm down a bit, help encourage the angry person to apologize to the object of their anger so as to minimize the damage done.

If you have a situation like Claudine’s father where nothing will ever get him to stop being angry and they are not showing any desire or intention or effort to try change, then the best thing to do is to establish some basic ground rules with them saying that if they cannot behave themselves in a mature fashion, then they will simply not see you or be around you.

5 thoughts on “Being around angry people

  1. You need to face the problem. Saying, you hate it when etc is you talking about yourself.

    You teach people how you want to be treated. Children are a great example of the manipulators of feelings. As are angry people. They manipulate peace of mind by harming those around them. How can you teach people how to treat you? Since they have you jumping through mental hoops and you are now blogging about it.

    If you teach people that you will take it, you will be around it, then you teach them to treat you like that. Simple. Each situation is different, but the theme is the same. Teach people how you want to be treated and let people get on with being angry. You are Heruka, respect yourself.

    Bowing down to others’ delusions is bowing down to your illusionary self.

    Non-harm, the vow, and virtuous assertiveness is the way forward.

  2. I saw this today actually. The more i practice Vajrasattva, the more i realize my true nature. The more i realize others’ true nature. People in general do have hissy fits and go nuts. It;s not them at all. It’s mistaken appearance and conception. They have always been pure. That angry person dies moment by moment, yet ultimately their real self is still pure, timeless, deathless.

    When we let go of our past actions by honest confession and so on, we can accept and let it go and let go of what we think about that person, our thoughts of these people too are simply ‘past experiences with them’ so we can let that go and, we become reborn. We see previously that we were under the sway of delusion but we see that purity has always been there. We can see things freshly with new perspective, like we are about to meet them for the first time instead the ongoing resentments and story-lines.

  3. That is a great tip especially to those fresh to
    the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate info… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

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