How To Calm Myself Down When I Am Angry Calming Upset High Conflict People With EAR

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Calming Upset High Conflict People With EAR

Everyone gets upset at times. High conflict people are often upset. A simple technique called the “EAR Statement” can help you calm others down. This is especially helpful if you are in a close relationship or position of authority. High conflict people tend to lash out emotionally at those close to them and those in authority, especially when they are frustrated and unable to manage their own emotions. The intensity of their uncontrollable emotions can really scare you. But if you practice making EAR statements, you can approach upset people and usually help them calm down.

Ear statement for high conflict people

EAR stands for Empathy, Attention and Respect. It’s the opposite of what you feel like giving when someone is upset and verbally attacking you! Yet when you do it right, you’ll be surprised at how effective it is. The EAR statement connects to the person’s experience, their feelings. For example, let’s say someone verbally attacks you for not returning phone calls as quickly as he or she would like. “You don’t respect me! You don’t care how long I have to wait to deal with this problem! You’re not doing your job!”

Instead of defending yourself, give the person an EAR statement such as: “Wow, I can hear how upset you are. Tell me what’s going on. I share your concerns about this issue and respect your efforts to resolve it.”

This statement includes:

Sympathy: “I can hear how upset you are.”

Notice: “Tell me what’s going on.”

Respect: “I respect your efforts.”

The importance of empathy

Empathy is different from sympathy. Having empathy for someone means that you can feel the pain and frustration they are feeling, and have probably experienced similar feelings in your own life. These are normal human emotions and they are usually evoked in close people because emotions are contagious. When you empathize with another person, you are treating them as a peer who you care about and with whom you may be in a similar predicament.

Empathy is when you see someone else in a worse situation than you are. You can feel sorry for them and sympathize or pity them, but it’s often a one-up and one-down situation. There is a wide gap between those who give sympathy and those who receive it.

But you don’t need to use the word “empathy” to make a sympathetic statement. Here are some examples: “I can see how important this is to you.” “I understand it can be frustrating.” “I know this process can be confusing.” “I’m sorry to see you’re in this situation. “”I’d like to help you if I can.”

Importance of attention

Attention is one of the most important concerns of high conflict people. They often feel ignored or disrespected and struggle as a way to gain attention from those around them. Many have a lifelong history of being withdrawn from the people around them, so they look to others – professionals, friends and new acquaintances. Yet they are rarely satisfied and continue to seek more attention. If you show that you are willing to give them full attention for a while, they usually calm down.

There are many ways to let someone know you care. For example, you can say:

“I will listen as carefully as I can.”

“I will attend to your concerns.”

“Tell me what’s going on.”

“Tell me more!”

You can also show attention non-verbally, such as:

Maintain good “eye contact” (keeping your eyes focused on the person)

Nod your head up and down to show that you are paying attention to their concerns

Lean in for a closer look

Place your hand near them, such as on the table next to them

(Be careful about directly touching a sick HCP – can be misinterpreted as a threat, coming or put-down)

The importance of respect

Anyone in crisis, and especially HCPs, needs respect from others. Even the most difficult and uncomfortable person usually has some qualities that you can respect. By recognizing that quality, you can calm down a person who deserves respect. Many high conflict people have a habit of being irreverent and independent and “not needing others”. This characteristic brings them into conflict with those around them, who do not want to see them as superior and are tempted to put them down. This further upsets the HCP. Here are several statements that show respect:

“I can see you’re a hard worker.”

“I respect your commitment to resolving this issue.”

“I respect your efforts on this.” “I respect your success in completing _____________.”

“You have important skills that we need here.”

Why is the ear so important to high conflict people?

Disturbed people, especially high conflict people, do not get sympathy, attention and respect anywhere else. They have usually alienated most of the people around them. That’s the last thing anyone wants to give them. They are used to being rejected, abandoned, humiliated, neglected and disrespected by those around them. They are hungry for sympathy, attention and respect. They are looking for it wherever they can find it. So just give it to them. It’s free and you don’t sacrifice anything. You can still set limits, deliver bad news, and maintain social or professional distance. It just means that you can approach them to solve a particular problem and treat them as equals, whether you agree with their part of the problem or strongly disagree.

Many HCPs find it difficult to manage their own emotions. Brain researchers have learned that we “mirror” each other’s emotional expressions, so it makes sense to respond to upset people calmly and matter-of-factly—so that instead of you mirroring their upset mood, they’re mirroring yours (which is what most people do a lot of the time—and that makes things get worse).

Managing Your Amygdala

Of course, this is the opposite of what we think. You may think to yourself: “I’m not going to listen to this after the way I’ve been verbally assaulted!” But that’s just your amygdala talking, trying to protect you from danger. Our brains are very sensitive to threats, especially the amygdalas (one in the center of your right brain and one in the left). Most people, growing up, learn to manage the impulsive, defensive responses of their amygdalas and over-ride them by rationally analyzing situations using their prefrontal context behind the forehead.

In fact, there is much more to adolescence: learning what constitutes a crisis that requires an immediate, defensive response (amygdala) and learning what situations are not crises and instead require a calm and rational response (prefrontal cortex). People with high conflict were often abused or abused growing up, and did not have the safe, balanced connections necessary to learn these emotional self-management skills. So, you can help them by helping yourself without over-reacting to them. Just use your own prefrontal cortex to manage your own amygdala – which will help the upset person manage theirs.

It’s not about you!

To help you stay calm when the other person is upset, remind yourself “It’s not about you!” Don’t take it personally. It’s about the person’s own discomfort and lack of skills to manage their own emotions. Try making EAR statements and you will find that they often end the attack and calm the person down. This is especially true for highly conflicted people (HCPs) who find it difficult to calm themselves on a regular basis. All of the above EAR statements are silencing statements. They let the other person know that you want to approach him or her, rather than threatening him or her. That’s their point and you don’t need to defend or explain yourself. It’s not about you!

What to avoid about EAR Don’t lie: Anxious people are often susceptible to lying. If you really don’t feel sympathy for the person, find something you can respect for what he or she has done. If you really can’t respect that person, just pay attention. You can always just say: “Tell me more.” This calms the person, because it tells him or her that you will listen without being pushy. If your body language shows that you’re open to listening, most upset people feel better and will calm down enough to tell you what’s going on.

You don’t have to listen forever: the ear isn’t just about hearing. This is a statement you can use anytime in response to the person’s upset mood. It can help finish the conversation if you have something else to do. High conflict people are known to talk endlessly. Remember that high conflict people don’t find relief from telling their stories or talking about their pain – they’ve said it too many times and it’s stuck. Usually, they are so caught up in trying to get others to give them sympathy, attention and respect, that if you just give them an earful, they don’t need to talk or talk much longer. The longer you interrupt an upset person, the more you can empathize with and respect that person.

EAR doesn’t mean you agree or disagree: offering your empathy, attention, and respect helps you connect with the upset person as a human being. It doesn’t mean you agree or disagree with their point of view. Often, people get stuck arguing about “problems”. But with high-conflict people “the problem isn’t the problem”—it’s their own feelings and sometimes their inability to manage their behavior. If you are challenged about whether you agree, explain that you care or want to help.

Maintain an “arm’s-length” relationship: Giving your distressed person your sympathy, attention, and respect doesn’t mean you have to have a close relationship. You still have professional relationships, co-operative relationships, neighbor relationships, etc. can keep In fact, it’s wise not to get too close to a high-conflict person, lest they expect you to be responsible for them. Well-being or planning to spend more time together than you wish.

Conclusion Everyone gets upset at times. You don’t have to be a high conflict person to be upset. In moments of trauma, anger, and sadness, what we really need is the human connection of knowing that someone is empathizing, paying attention, and still respecting us. You can give an ear statement to help someone calm down. Nothing in this article is intended to offend only HCPs.

Making EAR statements—or nonverbally showing your empathy, attention, and respect—can help you calm down or avoid potentially high-conflict situations. This can save you time, money and emotional energy for years to come. But it takes a lot of practice. You can start calming high conflict people today!

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