Saturday, February 19, 2011

5 Things Not to Do When Someone Is Angry With You

Anger is scary.  I react to it like I'm a little kid and the world is ending.  It says 'grrr' and I turn to run away.  I want to learn to react like a grown up, with some grace and stability. 

Some segments below have been tailored from the original source to directly address PWBs (people with borderline personalities).

  1. Do not keep pushing and prodding for explanations or for conversation in general.
  2. Do not overcompensate.  Going to desperate lengths to fix the problem comes across as phony and makes the person more angry.
  3. Do not beat yourself up.  Tearing yourself apart will not improve the situation.  Resolve to yourself to make a change.
  4. Do not turn the situation around and get angry at them.  Resist the urge to make them the problem.
  5. Do not try to get revenge.  [I find this one confusing, like, what on earth kind of revenge would one take on someone for being angry, but 4 out of 5 helpful tips is not bad.]

  1. make a sincere apology
  2. give them space
  3. assure them you will be there when they are ready to work things out
  4. maintain emotional balance because falling apart is a flawed and unfair defense  (see previous post)
Specifically, this last one means you still have to eat, sleep, exercise, hydrate, go to work, and take care of any children or pets in your care, and, if possible, do extra little things to nurture yourself like bake cookies or go for a long walk and smell the warm spring air and accept a world where someone being mad at you can coincide with an unseasonably sunny Saturday in the impossible month of February.  

The world hasn't ended.

Watch Grey's.  Go to sleep.  Wake up tomorrow.  

Try again.


  1. I wish it were that easy for me....

  2. Well, first of all you need to determine if the other person's anger is justified before you making apologies. Believe it or not, other people besides the PWB can be at fault and most often it's both to some extent.

  3. Good point, Anonymous. This time, in my case, the other person's anger was definitely justified :-)

    But you are so right. It is important to remember that conflicts between borderlines and partners are usually produced by the *interaction* between the two, not by the borderline alone. (Brings to mind my previous post from a few months ago called "Who's Eggshells?")