Everyone has been there: You're standing in the doorway, trying to decide whether or not you should leave the room. A person close to you, such as a spouse, a partner, boss, coworker, or a family member, has completely lost control of their emotions and is screaming at the top of their lungs. In that moment, every second feels more uncomfortable than the last. In such a stressful situation, it’s hard to know how to react
For many of us, our first instinct is to scream back, get emotional, lose our tempers; or just leave the situation without resolving it. Luckily, psychologists have provided us with much better solutions for dealing with conflict and uncomfortable situations. In the following slideshow, clinical psychologist Dr. Albert J. Bernstein shows us how to deal with these occurrences by calming the other person down, disengaging from emotions and hysteria, offering new solutions, and changing the overall tone of the conversation. I've learned that #6 is particularly effective.
#1. First, You Need To Keep Calm
It’s simple, really: The only thing worse than one person losing it is two people losing it. If both parties in an argument are unable to separate their emotions from the discussion, then the situation is more likely to amplify and remain unresolved. Instead, try to remain calm and collected, even while the other person is expressing anger. This way, you have more of a chance of calming the other person down. Once you’re both on steady ground, you can move forward with the discussion. Deep breathing and meditation are great ways to calm down, but the best advice might be some that your mother has given you: Close your eyes and count to ten. Bonus points if you can get the other person to do the same.
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#2. Treat Them Like A Child
No, psychologists do not recommend standing over someone, patting them on the head, and using baby talk to address them (even though it would probably be wickedly satisfying). But think about it: You wouldn’t scream at a child who was losing their temper, so why should an adult be any different? Bernstein explains: “People say to me all the time, ‘You mean I have to treat a grown-up like a three-year-old? I say, “Yes, absolutely. If you’re a parent, what do you do with a tantrum? You ignore it, or at least try to ignore it. But with an adult you try and talk them out of it and it never works.”