How to communicate with an irritated person?

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Irritation isn’t just “being not into the mood”, it’s suppressed aggression that for some reason can be neither expressed nor directed at whoever or whatever caused it, which is why it rolls up in a ball and keeps on boiling and roaring quietly. 

Irritation can be constantly present, taking away your power and making your life worse. Moreover, breaking through at the worst possible moments, it can force us into complicated situations and might earn us a bad reputation.

How to help someone else:

To be honest, we usually feel like abandoning an irritated person rather than helping them, that’s our self-preservation instinct. If it’s someone you don’t know, that’s exactly what you should do. However, if it’s someone dear to you, you can try to:

– ask them, “You seem irritated, or am I wrong?” Watch your tone, it has to be calm and warm-hearted;

– let the person express their feelings out loud, but never become a punching bag!

– if the person is being responsive, you can help them clarify the reasons: “Is there something you don’t like?”, “Would you prefer something to be different?”

– if you can help change the situation, try to do it; if you can’t, be empathetic, “Yes, it happens Sometimes you want something, but struggle to get it…”

– suggest safer ways of expressing irritation: tearing up old papers, doodling in a notebook, making deep breaths, imagining something nice and mentally transferring yourself to that image.

Not recommended:

– letting other people lash out at you, even if they are close to you;

– making comments like, “Chill!”, “Can’t you just stop being angry!”

How to help yourself:

try to understand which message your irritation is giving you. Write down the following question: What (who) am I actually angry at? Listen to yourself and articulate an answer;

– if you cannot manage to comprehend it, analyze your major inner zones controlled by emotions (lack of something /excess of something): 

  • Boundaries (someone is doing something against your wishes, or you are forced to play according to someone else’s rules)
  • Needs (do you have any unsatisfied needs at the moment?)
  • Physical fatigue (too much work / difficult communication / lack of sleep and rest)

– pay attention to your body: sports (relieving tension), massage (physical pleasure), water (shower, sauna, bathtub), aromatherapy;

– apply any means of relieving tension (described earlier).