Focus: Dealing with another person’s anger
Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV) A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Maybe the anger you have to deal with is not your own. The condition of your emotional state and well-being may be due to the conditions you live or work in. You may have no choice about whether you will be exposed to another person’s anger on a daily basis. There may be no place you can go to get away from the anger for any length of time.
When you’re forced to deal with another person’s anger, it may be tempting to become angry yourself. A person who is addicted to anger is miserable. They thrive on attempting to make the lives of other people miserable, too. It doesn’t seem to matter what you do—in their eyes, you’re always the cause of their anger. The angry person may have rigid ‘rules’ that are impossible. Just when you think you’ve mastered their rules—they change them—keeping you in a position of always being the ‘bad guy’…or the one who ‘failed’. As much as you may want to improve—some people just can’t be pleased. No matter how hard you try, in the angry person’s mind, you will never be good enough.
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There may be valid explanations for the condition of the angry person’s emotional health. It could have something to do with you, or maybe it has nothing to do with you at all. It’s a known fact that people who go through life angry are usually very insecure about themselves in one way or another. Anger is how they cope with their own insecurity. Knowing this about them doesn’t excuse their behavior—but it might help you try to look for their weak areas and see if you can find ways to help them become more peaceful and stable. It might help to look for some area that may not be as volatile as others and focus conversation and attention on that. It may be hard to find something that an angry person is able to discuss without becoming nasty, but if you know of a neutral topic or if there is something the person actually likes to talk about—you could try to use that topic as a way of diverting their attention from looking for something to be angry about. At times when the angry person is in a more conversational mood—you could try to look for ways to cultivate peaceful conversation about things that interest them.
If the angry person is violent—you have to consider your own safety and possibly the safety of others who are targets of the angry person’s rage. There just aren’t easy answers to the complexity of having to be in constant contact with someone who is chronically angry. Sad to say, sometimes you just need to find ways to ‘stay out of their way’.
When a person is impossible to please, it’s hard to have much confidence in yourself. Often, angry people are insulting. If you’re the one who is closest to them—you have probably had to live with a lot of insults you may not have deserved. Over time, criticism can take a heavy toll on your own self-esteem and level of security. The one who is angry is quick to find fault with you, your friends, your relatives, and anyone you respect or love. All of this fault finding is just further proof of the angry person’s insecurity, as they try to turn you against everyone who is important in your life—or cut you off from contact with them. If the person who is angry isn’t able to turn you against the people you care about—they may even try to turn the people you care about against you.
Being trapped in a situation such as this requires a huge effort on your part—not to try to live up to the angry person’s expectations—but to find, and stay, in your own ‘safe place’ in God. As long as you are truly not provoking the other person’s anger, the best thing you can do is find ways to encourage yourself in the Lord and not depend on the approval of the angry person for your own peace and happiness.
The Bible says a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. You are the only one who knows how hard you may have tried to exercise patience in the way you speak. Scripture also says that the Name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous are able to ‘run into the strong tower’ and be safe. When the angry person is acting out, try saying the Name of Jesus under your breath. If you are in danger—speak it out loud—even shout it. At the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow. If you have a prayer language—this would be a time to resort to that, also.
Before David became king, he had to cope with a lot of anger from King Saul. The insults and rejection he suffered were the reason he wrote many of the beautiful Psalms in the Bible. At times, David had to run for his life, as King Saul would throw a spear at him during one of his outbursts. No wonder David became motivated to say words like, ‘Thou, oh Lord are a shield for me—the glory and the lifter of my head’.
God will always provide a way of escape. He knows what you live with better than anyone. Your greatest source of comfort is knowing that nothing can take God away from you. Of all the things the angry person has robbed you of—you will never lose the love of the Lord.
Declaration: I will find new strength by focusing on what I have and not what I don’t have. I will try to find new ways to love the angry person with God’s love, when I have nothing left of my own. I will hide myself in the Lord and praise Him for the comfort, safety, and way of escape He is able to provide.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.