Anger, Conflict, Bullying
What to do
What are people feeling when they’re angry?
Anger is really a cover-up reaction for feelings like these. Next time you get angry, stop and think about the feelings underneath the anger and then do something about that feeling.
When someone makes you angry, stay cool and let your anger out later when no one will get hurt.
Your family affect your feelings a lot because you spend a lot of time with them. Some days you may be having a bad day and be in a bad mood, other days one of them may be feeling that way.
What happens if you explode at someone?
- People get hurt.
- The problem doesn’t go away.
- You may get it off your chest, but later you feel guilty.
What happens if you keep anger inside?
- You feel stressed and tense.
- You stay angry.
- You may take it out on others.
What is a good way to deal with anger?
Even if you always stop and think about the feelings beneath your anger, sometimes you may get angry anyway. There are things you can do to let your anger out without hurting yourself or others. You are ANGRY! Go to a place on your own. Talk, swear, bang a pillow, do something physical. Get the anger out of you. Use your anger energy somewhere else. Go for a run, hit a punching bag.
You can let anger out without hurting yourself or others
To cool down:
Notice the physical feelings of your anger - like your heartbeat. Tense your muscles, then relax them. Take a long, deep breath, hold it, then let it out slowly. Talk with a friend. Think of something that makes you feel good to replace the angry feeling. Let some time pass... Now that you’ve cooled down again, do some thinking about the feelings behind the anger.
Dealing with conflict
Below is a step-by-step way to deal with a person in a conflict situation.
- Work out exactly how you feel and what you are going to say before you talk to them. By beginning what you say with “I” rather than “You”, you send a less aggressive and blameful message. “I can’t seem to make myself understood” would be better than “You don’t understand me”. Using an “I” statement makes people far more likely to co-operate with you as they don’t feel they have to defend themselves.
- Try to choose a good time to talk it over – rather than when everyone is rushing around.
- Using “I” statements, say clearly what the problem is and how you feel about it. It helps to be as specific as possible. “I feel upset when you’re late” would be better than “I feel upset when you are so thoughtless.” It’s better to talk about the other person’s behaviour rather than making a judgement on who they are as a person.
- Say clearly what you want to happen. Remember to be reasonable as you may have to compromise on some things. You may not always get what you want, but at least you got out what was bugging you. This often means that your anger towards someone important to you won’t build up.
Dealing with someone else’s anger
- Listen to them. Try not to interrupt until they’ve finished talking.
- Understand. Try to see it from their view.
- Stay aware of what is reasonable and what is not true – don’t let them bully you with their anger.
Once they've had their say
- Use “I” statements to say how you feel.
- Remind them that you gave them a chance if they won’t let you talk.
- Say you’re sorry if you think you were in the wrong.
- Ask “What can I do to make this better?”
- Talk about ways to resolve the problem.
- Stay with the subject. Don’t start blaming them for things they may have done in the past.
When anger turns to violence
Some people show their anger by threatening or hurting you. Their anger has now turned into violence. Violence is not OK ever. It is a crime and the person should not be allowed to get away with it.
People who use anger to get their own way are bullies. A bully can be anyone - a member of your family, someone your own age, a stranger, or someone you thought was a friend. You should never have to do anything because you’re afraid of someone.
What can you do if you’re being bullied?
You can do something about being bullied. Bullying makes a person feel stink - frightened and like a piece of nothing. The sooner you stop feeling like this, the better you’ll feel about yourself. You’ll feel more relaxed and safer.
Tell someone you trust now for help and support (a teacher you trust or your school counsellor, older friend, parents). Make it clear to them that it is a real problem for you and something must be done about it. Keep telling people until something is done.
Don’t be worried about telling someone about being bullied. It’s not your fault. Telling someone is the best way of sticking up for yourself there is.
Don’t think you’ll get into worse trouble with the person (or people) who are hassling you. When you talk to someone, it means you’re not alone any longer and you can think of ways to overcome the problem together.
© Mental Health Foundation of NZ & Ministry of Health New Zealand.