Every day we hear of another instance of person-on-person violence. We blame lax gun control laws and television violence because they are easy targets. The problem is more complicated than that. Society has denied us the use of coping skills necessary for dealing with righteous anger and frustrations. In From Rage to Resolution, author DeAnne Rosenberg provides tools for legitimizing anger and hostility, making intelligent decisions regarding hostility generating situations, and empowering people to confront conflict effectively.
Using real-life situations and anecdotes of people confronted with challenging, anger-producing situations, From Rage to Resolution offers methods to help you • recognize that even the simplest conflict is intensely complicated; • realize why the strategy of don’t-get-mad-get-even doesn’t solve problems; • use the five traditional methods of conflict resolution effectively; • become skilled at verbally addressing conflict so that a win-win outcome is assured; • mediate a conflict; • recognize the relationship between anger/hostility and health/illness.
From Rage to Resolution illustrates that there are many opportunities for conflict and resolution every day. Some problems are truly beyond your control, but you can decide how you deal with these conflicts. You do have choices. You are in control.
Recognizing that acting out is a product of holding anger inside many parents have found it helpful to hang a few punching bags in their garage. One has a female wig on it, the other a moustache and man’s wig. When the children are angry, they are encouraged to go to the garage and have it out with the punching bag as the offending party. In this way, children learn early on that being angry is permissible and normal. They also understand that they have choices about what they can do (other than paste the offending person in the mouth) when they do get angry. A parent can show the child that he/she is very much in control of his/her anger by asking the child, “How long do you want to be angry?” The parent should then wait for an answer. The child might respond, “Ten minutes”. Then the parent can respond, “When you are finished being angry, let me know so we can talk about it together and figure out what you might want to do”. The parent could also ask, “How angry do you want to be?” After some thought, the child might respond, “Red angry." Parent: Red Angry? Child: Well, maybe really dark pink angry. If every person understood from early on – like age three – that he/she was in control of his/her anger, many of the random acts of hostility we see today would not occur. We need to teach our children that anger is not some strange, powerful force outside of them and entirely beyond their control. We need to show them how to own their anger rather than blame it on someone else. There is a power in owning anger. It means you can calibrate it and you can control it. Teach children to say, “I am angry” and not “You make me angry”. “I don’t like what you’ve said” and not “How dare you say that to me”. You do not have to answet other people's questions, especially if those questions are manipulative. Here is a situation where you do not want to be drawn into a lengthy explaination of your decision to a manipulative neighbor. Neighbor: I see you had another large barbecue party last weekend. You: Yes, we did. Neighbor: You neglected to invite us. Why? You: You’re right, we did not invite you. Neighbor: You must have had at least ten patio parties this summer and you didn’t have us to a single one. You: Ten patio parties? Neighbor: Well, maybe not ten but there were sure a lot of them. You: I see. Neighbor: So how come you never invite us to your barbecues? You: You’re right. I have never invited you to our barbecues. Neighbor: If you were a good neighbor, you’d have invited us to one or two. You: I am a good neighbor and I didn’t ask you to join us. Neighbor: I’ll bet it’s because you think we drink too much and we might embarrass you in front of your precious friends. You: Perhaps you’re right. Neighbor: Why didn't you invite us? If Chuck and me had a party, we’d sure invite you. You: Thank you.
DeAnne Rosenberg has been helping people improve their communication skills for more than thirty years. The author of Skills for Success and A Manager’s Guide to Hiring the Best Person for Every Job, she has spoken internationally and has published articles in business publications. Deanne resides on Cape Cod.