1. Consider changing your behavior that triggers their anger.
Sometimes the most practical thing to do is to change whatever it is that triggers anger in people close to you. Not that you should go overboard on this, but simple changes can do a lot, especially if they don’t lower your self-esteem or don’t “cost” you a lot to change.
2. Think about terminating the relationship
Truth is, some relationships we get involved in are so “toxic” that it is self-abusive to continue in them or to try and repair them. At times, you need to protect yourself from people in your life who create an atmosphere that is not good for your well-being.
3. Limit your time spent with them
If terminating the relationship is too drastic of a step, consider simply limiting the time you spend with toxic people in your life. Decide you can put up with the person several times a year at the family Christmas party, for instance, or that you will be tolerant toward your angry ex-spouse once a week for the sake of your children.
4. Ask them directly why they are often appear angry toward you
A straight line is the shortest distance between two points. Sometimes the quickest way to find out why someone appears constantly angry with you is to simply ask them. They may not even realize they were communicating angrily toward you, so your inquiry may open up a great opportunity for dialogue.
5. Communicate clearly how their negativity affects you
Honestly letting people know how their behavior is affecting you emotionally is often an “eye-opener” to the other person. Start with “I feel” statements rather than “you” or “you should” statements.
6. Adjust your expectations of them
People may be chronically angry toward you because you communicate that they are disappointing you in some way and they are perceiving you as overly critical. Adjusting those expectations you have toward others may result in their being less angry toward you!
7. Stop trying to solve unsolvable problems in a relationship
According to some marital researchers, up to 60% of issues in a relationship are unsolvable due to the couple’s being “gridlocked” around it. Trying to solve unsolvable problems creates much anger. Instead, find a way to dialogue about the issues and live with each other around them, rather than trying to fix them.
8. Suggest ways to remedy anger, if the other person acknowledges he or she has an anger problem.
If the angry person in your life is open to it, suggest an evaluation by a psychologist or physician to determine what the problem is. There are many underlying problems such as Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Bipolar Disorder, and other conditions which can lead to anger problems. Often, anger management classes are recommended in addition to treatment of an underlying problem.
Ari Novick, Ph.D. is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a certified anger management provider for both adults and adolescents. Dr. Novick is also an adjunct professor of psychology at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology. His corporate website is http://www.ajnovickgroup.com and his innovative online anger management class is available at http://www.angerclassonline.com