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Tips for dealing with aggressive people!

joannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
Anyone got any advice on how to 'rise above' conflict or aggression? 
I teach troubled dogs everyday to become desensitised to it and not react but can't teach myself how to not let aggression affect me on a deep level? 
 I get fearful and anxious around loud confrontational people, though can stand up for myself when necessary and am a confident soul but when faced with aggression even in subtle situations such as tail gating, pushing in queues etc, it really affects me and sometimes find myself re-enacting the even in my head, seeing if there was a way I could've avoided it or let it go over my head. 

Why do people seem so angry and aggressive nowadays? 

Or is it just my hyper sensitivity to people's moods.. ! 
Any advice much appreciated!


  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,674 Disability Gamechanger
    What a great question! I think that we do live in a stressful world and sometimes it can feel overwhelming, but most people I speak to do struggle somewhat with conflict and confrontation so I don't think you are alone.

    I definitely overthink situations and find myself thinking of all the different things I could have said or how I could have dealt with things.

    I try to see the best in people rather than the worst, it's easy to assume that person pushing in a queue or tailgating you is a bad person who doesnt care, but in thinking the best and wondering what is going on with them that day it makes me feel more empathetic to them.

    That's not to say I am a pushover but I certainly pick my battles and if I can avoid conflict by side stepping it, then I do.

    I look forward to seeing what other people think!
    Senior online community officer
  • joannarashelle
    joannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Thankyou @Sam_Scope
    I too try to see the best in people but because I pick up on energies and feelings so acutely I can feel aggression even from across a road and I don't even have to look at the person in fact I've taught myself to avoid contact if possible when my instincts tell me there's inner aggression around..

    I think it's because I'm a gentle soul (somewhat soft and sensitive even though I'm strong if that makes sense..!) 
    I think that everyone will be kind and gentle as it's the way I was brought up to be, it hurts my heart when I see pain and conflict I wish I wasn't so blinking well sensitive!
    But then I try to remind myself sensitivity is a gift (at least that's what I keep telling myself!) and without my sensitivity I couldn't identify where the troubles lie with the dogs I work with (or indeed their owners!) 

    Thank you so very much for your reply, I sometimes feel so alone in a world that can be so fast, I'll remind myself there are people out there who are like me, your reply proved that 

  • Nystagmite
    Nystagmite Member Posts: 596 Pioneering
    It's not just you. I've been told twice it's my fault certain people have reacted the way they have done towards me. Last time I checked, I can't control how you (general) react towards me. 
  • Angelstar59
    Angelstar59 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    i used to rare up at people who threatened me intil i realised it only fed thier aggression. now i stand tall and walk away. i used to be a fraud officer and have been assaulted verbally and physically but i stood my ground calmly until they settled down. i realised they were frustrated and angry but not at me as a person so i made them see me..... it didnt always work and it has taken a toll on my health so i do not work anymore. hope that helps.
    Namaste. In love and light may blessings shower your day.
  • joannarashelle
    joannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Thankyou @Angelstar59 for your help, it's so hard to teach ourselves to stay calm when being attacked isn't it, you must've had your fair share while doing your job, it takes so much inner strength to not retaliate or react, I'm reading Gandhi's autobiography at the moment to see if I can learn how to forgive aggressive people more, instead of feeling so affected. 
    Not started it yet! Best I get reading! 

    Thankyou for your advice and sharing your experiences, it makes me feel others feel the way I do 

  • laila
    laila Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Hi all, To cope with aggressivity, I ve started to practice sport, to avoid what can be avoided as situations or people, I ve also reduced the quantity of tea or coffee I drink.I relax short times in bed listening to calm music and thinking about nothing.
    I ve replaced it with laughing at wrong things instead of losing my temper.
    I ve understood that we re different and we can t change all the situations.
    It is good good to space some good with friends that s what soothes the temper.

    I hope my tips would help
  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,384 Disability Gamechanger

    I deal with aggressive people all the time. My observations have been that there are usually a small number of reasons for it.

    Frustration, either problems are not being resolved or they are not being listened to.

    Learnt behaviour, these are people who believe that the best way to get what they want is to start by being aggressive intimidates the person into getting what they want.

    Indignation/sense of superiority, my likes to watch a lot of the fly on the wall cop shows when people are pulled over in their cars or caught doing something they shouldn't.  Typical of this type of behaviour is why not catch real criminals, you just broke the law, by definition you are a real criminal.

    Bigotry or pure bullying. These are people who for some reason think they have the right to accost a complete stranger for some perceived wrong in their twisted minds.

    I rarely have to deal with the latter on a personal level. I do try to step in when I see it happening. If I can by physically putting myself between the person and the bully. If it continues I will engage with the person to detract them from their intended victim. The one thing which really sets me off though is 'people like that should not be allowed out in public.' At this point I will agree with them, pointing out that I think it is intolerable that people should be subjected to small minded and bigoted people who can only feel good about themselves by putting other people down, and it is a shame decent people have to listen to such BS. At this point the original victim is usually forgotten. The bully becomes enraged and it is usually easy to turn their arguments onto them.. 'You can't talk to me like that!' Yes I can, you gave me permission to do so when you spoke to the lady/gentleman the way you did. etc.

    With aggressive people one of the key tools I use to dealing with them is remain calm and not get into a shouting match. This is not about letting people walk over me, it is about remaining in control. Sadly we do seem to be living in a less tolerant society and with a government which often uses derogative language against certain groups, and the arguments used during Brexit those in the latter group above have become a lot more emboldened to be more verbal, and in some cases physical, in their bigotry on others. However they only have control over you if you let them, and yes I know that is easier said then done.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • laila
    laila Member Posts: 48 Connected
    [email protected], ending your talk by:'it s easier said than done" that's what I was thinking about.I personally have no intention of bullying but when someone takes my turn when I m driving or shows some dicrimination towards my gender or other forms of social chaos, I just lose my temper and I hope I could keep myself calm.It happens sometimes that I shout to release my anger. It s not because I have a twisted mind but I hate social disorder.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 740 Listener
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  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,384 Disability Gamechanger

    Hi DannyMore,

    I could not agree with you more. One of the biggest problems with the police is how they try to 'blame' the victim for being a victim. If I was told by police not to visit a store or other business to avoid abuse I would make a point of visiting and apologising that I won't be using them anymore as this is what I was told by the police. Let them explain to the business owners why they are punishing them rather than the thugs.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,384 Disability Gamechanger

    Hi @laila

    From what you have said I would say yours is more reactionary than the intention of being aggressive or wanting to put others down.. I can understand your position when being put down for your sex and such nonsense. The problem is by losing your temper you give control to the other person over you.

    Sadly stupidity is a social disease which surrounds us.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • laila
    laila Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Hi @Geoark, thanks for your reply. I would like To have some tips of how I should control myself.
      Even when I fix the idea that the problem is in them and that I shouldn't care about, it doesn'T work.
    Sometimes I explain it with the impact of my job as a teacher on my behaviour ( we spend days correcting mistakes )
  • laila
    laila Member Posts: 48 Connected
    I ve tried to conrol myself today and it worked well. I was exposed twice to situations to which I normally used to get irritated but I was calm and didn t reply. Thanks a lot. I think that sharing in this community is very useful.
     I d never thought before that a person can have such a control of the mood.
  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,384 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @laila and well done!

    Sorry for not answering before, as I was trying to find the right words to describe how I cope with it.

    A large part of it is understanding what your body is telling you when these situations start. Does you breathing quicken, does your body tense up, teeth clench, or do you form a fist? Once you are aware of what is going on you concentrate on making changes. So if you breathing quickens concentrate on breathing more slowly, physically stop yourself from clenching, fist balling etc. Many of these trigger the body to release adrenaline which prepares our body for fight or flight.

    A bit cliché, but using the ten count rule can make a difference, count slowly to ten in your head.The moment passes and with the above avoids the situation from getting out of hand.

    I am sure there is a better term, but I find when I get into situations where my body gets uptight, or my mind starts getting in the way I run interference. The best way I can find to describe this was the first time I used it. Years ago I had to get fork lift licence to keep my job and was sent on a week long course. I thought I was going to fail until the last day I stumbled across a way to calm everything down. I knew what to do, and how to do but had failed on every attempt. So during one of my last practices I started singing Mary had a little lamb.I don't understand why but it stopped the negative stuff from coming through. I continued to do this for six weeks after I returned to work, By this time my mind and body had learned to relax when using the forklift. Since then I have found more subtle ways of doing this for when singing is not appropriate.

    The other thing I noticed you mention is that you are a teacher, a job I know can be very stressful, as can be driving at times. My best advice for this is learn ways of stretching and relaxing during the day. I work behind a desk and do this all the time. Try some breathing exercises while in the car before you start driving if possible.

    Do you know what you did different to create the different outcomes?

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • laila
    laila Member Posts: 48 Connected
    [email protected], I appreciate very much all the ideas you're suggesting here. I like the fact of listening to the body,obviously we are usually focused on what's going in front of us and we miss to care about the self.
       I like "Mary had a little lamp" also, the aim here is to distract the mind from the stressing situation.
       I usually sing and breathe while driving ,I think that I've started to master this one.
       Actually some cases of failure in life do affect us and the fear of being unsuccessful reoccurs whenever we are set in a difficult situation.
       What I did different is the fact that I' ve starved to think that I m not concerned with the mistakes that the others are doing because there are people whose job is to stop the offenders.
    I also used what you said"not to acost somebody with ..." those who are yelling or saying some nonsense don't impact me .I just think they 're rude.
      I think you may be a good coach!
    Thanks a lot again.
  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,384 Disability Gamechanger

    Another thing I have found is sometimes we cannot change what others do, but there are small changes we can make to change the outcomes.

    Example One. During board meetings I found that a particular individual would always contradict me. Very soon I ended up looking straight at them waiting to see what they would say. I found my own actions were starting to escalate the differences between us.  So I changed seats so I could not get easy eye contact with this person. Immediately the level of confrontation in my mind was reduced and I actually began to listen to what the person was saying and better understanding where they were coming from. So I learned to consider this persons viewpoint when taking part in discussions.

    Example Two. I used to get annoyed when queuing for a bus for a while, the bus would turn up and people would suddenly push in. It took me time to realise how much things had changed. We have far more bus routes with many stops now serving several bus routes. In some ways with this haphazard approach queuing doesn't make a lot of sense. As most of the time I know I will get on the bus, or there will be another along shortly - unlike in the past when I could wait 30 minutes for a bus. So now I let women, older people, families, those who have difficulty standing on first. Occasionally at the end there will be myself and someone else both trying to let the other get on first. If they offer first or insist after i have offered to let them on first I will just get on and say thank you when passing them.

    Sometimes just understanding what is going on and changing how we do things can take a lot of the stress away.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • laila
    laila Member Posts: 48 Connected
    Hi Geoark, thanks for sharing your experiences. You're absolutely right about the fact that the position you're sitting in has effect on the conversation. 
     I have deduced from your second example that you take it easy about what's going on. Means that you don t struggle to make things happen, instead you content yourself with waiting until it becomes easier to reach. Accordingly you reduce a great amount of stress and you train yourself in being more patient.
         I ve just realised that patience needs exercise and that the more we stress ourselves, the less patient we become.
    I ll start practising all your tips and I d let you know about my experiences.  Thank a lot.
    Kind regards.
  • nanof6
    nanof6 Member Posts: 200 Pioneering
    after reading all this, im going the fast track road,  and take up boxing,   only joking

  • bendigedig
    bendigedig Member Posts: 254 Pioneering
    edited April 2017
    Just a point to think about.

    Agression should never be confused with assertiveness.   Those that confuse the two would do well to rethink their perception of the circumstance in question and act accordingly.  

    Agression by definition is:-

    1. Hostile behaviour
    2. Unprovoked attack

    1. Showing aggression
    2. Forceful

    aggressively adv aggressiveness n.aggressor.

    I personally have been accused of being aggressive on occasion.  On the times that I have "been aggressive",  I would happily concede that indeed I have been. I dont have a problem with that.  Indeed why should I have a problem with it?  It may have been entirely apropriate?

    Some situations require aggression.  It makes a BIG BIG diference whether this "agression" is:-

    A. conditioned lymbic response to a threatening stimuli
    B. A  calm calculated show of aggression pre-meditated in order to influence the        outcome of a confrontation.
    C An "unfairly perceived" act of aggresion.  (An act that most people wouldnt regard as aggressive but a certain "individual" does).  In other words false acusation.

    Its all about context.  Its all about the specific circumstances.  Its all about details.  The devil, in this instance, is in the detail.

    Do any of you understand that agression, just like anger is part of an accepted suite of normal human behaviours?  Or are you all of the opinion that aggression is bad whichever way you look at it?

    "Agression" has like "Anger". Become very unhelpful to the established ruling order.  Did it ever occur to any of you that these normal human behaviours are there for a reason?  They are not simply the domain of "black hatted" "baddies" in a two dimensional world.

    I have seen agression used for good.  I have seen anger used for good.

    if you are Hostile to aggressiveness as a behaviour generally are you according to the dictionary definition taking an aggressive stance?  Er, yes you could be!

    I am not hostile to any behaviour except perhaps stupidity.

    I have worked with lots of young boys, men and girls and ladies who during their everyday are or were prone to aggression.  The route cause of the agression somtimes went unidentified.  Would I have been right as a teaching practitioner to take their behaviour as some sort of personal assault (non physical) upon me?  No, of course not.  Would I have been right to "log" their behaviour as a cause for concern?  (Perhaps if I was liasing with an educational psychologist or their aggression was deletorious to themselves in some way).

    In essence.  We all have to deal with anger and aggression in our daily lives.  Much in the same way that we deal with love and affection or any other range of displayed emotion.  Does that mean that we have any right to judge others according to the behaviour displayed?  

    Well,  I think that if it doesnt impact upon the health, welfare, wellbeing or saftey of either the exhibitor of the behaviour themselves or anybody else then surely we should just live and let live?  Look at the stuation calmly and try to understand it and them.

    I happen to be acutely aware of how the current climate in the UK is geared towards promoting a public intollerance of certain behaviours.  This is a complex issue, that involves both the law and a huge range of morall issues.  Often malicious political intent and or incompetence and ignorance is behind a lot of the policy making.

    To simply state that "aggression is unacceptable". Or "anger is unnaceptable". Is, in my humble opinion naive and potentially dangerous from a societal perspective.

    This is not a matter that can be decided by people who are not "qualified" to talk about it.  Nor should it be decided by those who have a " political agenda".  Thats why we are supposed to live in a consensus led democratic society.

    The number of people with ASD, mental illnesses and varying degrees of emotional difficulties that are imprissoned annually simply because of a missuse of societies perception of " anger" and or "agression" is UNACEPTABLE.

    Often people are wrongly arrested, charged and sentenced simply because of their neurodiversity.  This is a form of predjudice and indeed abuse that is backward and very dangerous in a modern supposedly enlightened society.

    In short,  inappropriately and or inaccurately commenting on aggression and or "LABELLING people" as aggresive is both unhelpful and harmful to society and the "individual".

    There are better and more accurate turns of phrase to appropriately use to describe behaviours?  To marginalise an individual on the basis of an instance of behaviour is again not helpful to the individual or wider society.  The lives of children and adults alike are harmed in this way daily.

    This is a matter that is close to my heart as I have done a lot of work with young people who display aggression and /or anger inappropriately.   My son has been accused of this behaviour. And I have too.   Often by people with axes to grind that realy should and actually do know better.

    Some people use language and politics against others in a very harmful way.   Not just "angry people" (not a term I endorse"..  Some "angry people" are societal heros!  It is the "aggression" of some, that prevents great wrongs.   It is not necessarily ALL those that display anger and or aggression in our society that are a problem. 

    Please use language carefully.  Stereotyping people because of displayed behaviours is often not helpful. Tollerance and understanding in the face of all we are presented with is a good start I think?  

    I personnally have a problem with those who display stupidity.  Including myself.  I try my best to understand and to forgive though :)


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